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World juniors: No more Buffalo, please



Perhaps we have been spoiled through the years with venues filled to the brim during this time of the year when the World Juniors take place as one of the best hockey tournaments, if not the best.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t take away the fact that the attendance numbers in Buffalo overall have been totally disastrous for the game, for the city of Buffalo, and for the IIHF as arrangers.

Attendance has been so low that it almost took away all attention from the games.

And, the outdoor game: I am not sure what to say about that except that the cameras seemed to be handled by junior high school students and not at all designed for the rink that was built in the centre of the New Era Field, which is obviously a Football stadium.

Of course, it didn’t help much either that the American and Canadian players had to fight through a blizzard before they could settle on a winner in that game.

I am sure that I was not the only one, except those 40 000 who had, after all, attended the game in person, who turned off the stream after two periods because the lousy camera angles and the snowstorm took away all the joy and excitement of the match.

Furthermore, this is not a tournament that anyone will talk about that much afterwards, except about the outdoor game perhaps, as it will only be a page in the history of hockey books just for academic interest.

The only real upset was the Slovakian win over the home nation in the round robins, but that was it.

Not particularly exciting except for Canada and Sweden who were apparently the best teams of all among squads whose performances were very bleak.

Russia and Finland were two very big disappointments as they acted like just two alibi teams, even if Finland were defeated in the shootout stage against the Czechs.

The US team with Bellows and Yamamoto turned out to be statistics against Sweden when the Swedes with Rasmus Dahlin and Elias Pettersson as the front spears put on the big show from the second period and forward.

Switzerland, Denmark, Belarus, and Slovakia despite the shocking win over the USA, well, they probably did what they could do but not near enough to shake anyone on the ice — on the contrary, they were light years away.

The Swiss coach was refreshing with his honesty before the game against Canada, as he told it as it was, no more, no less. Something we can’t get enough of, pure honesty.

Well, the face of this tournament was somehow saved by the final game between Sweden and Canada, and what a show from both teams!

It was hard to predict all the way as it could have gone either way and somehow, it was actually one of the best finals I’ve seen myself in years.

Canada had the lucky inches on their side when Steenbergen sniped in that crucial 1-2 goal very close to the end of the game. The 3rd Canadian goal came when the Swedish net was empty but that was only academic.

That’s that and to conclude this text and the World juniors for this time, I have only one thing to say:

No more Buffalo, please.

It’ll work, if God, wind, leads, ice, snow, and all the hells of this damned frozen land are willing.

Matthew Henson, an American explorer 1866 – 1955

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Arto Palovaara, Sunday Chronicler for Sports Rants Europe. Previously, he contributed for the betting company Betsafe, Svenska fans, Get real hockey and Ice nation UK. He is also an educated archaeologist and life coach who loves literature and history. Not to forget: probably he is the only sportswriter that plays the banjo.


Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith



The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.

“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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The New World of Sports Betting in the United States



Earlier this year a monumental breakthrough was achieved when the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA, allowing each state in the nation to decide if it wants to allows legal sports betting or not.

That led the nation, and all of the states, on a new path, with a lot of lucrative opportunities in an industry that has operated underground for decades.

With casinos and eSports thriving, sports betting adds a brand new element to the gambling industry and presents one of the richest outlets for businesses, the government, and the nation.

There will likely be a boost in employment rates, a growth spike in business, and an influx of money that no longer has to be hidden from the eyes of the government.

As of now, a number of states have already started their journey, and another, Utah, has decided not to act on the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of sports betting, opting to maintain their stance on forbidding sports betting, at least for the time being.

As the world of sports, eSports, and gambling embark on this industry shifting journey, let’s take a deeper look at what has been going down so far, and what is in store for the sports betting industry, thanks to an info graphic from

The info graphic will take a look into the impact that sports betting legalization is expected to make on the nation’s economy.

The info graphic takes into account that the United States’ gambling industry already generates around $28 billion. The legalization of ports betting legalization is expected to increase tat number dramatically.

Additionally, sports betting operations will also result in a higher number of jobs, and the info graphic will provide you with an estimated number of both direct and indirect jobs that will open with the introduction of sports betting.

As the fantasy football season is ready to kick off for many of you, we should start seeing a lot of changes to the sports betting landscape and it will be interesting to see just how companies in fantasy sports navigate through the implementation of these changes.

The future of the sports betting industry seems bright, and there seems to be quite the trickle down effect that will have an immediate benefit to numerous industries.

Whether you’re ready or not, legalized sports betting is on the way, if it hasn’t arrived in your state already, and big things are on the horizon.


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Capitals owner Ted Leonsis Pays for 200 Employees to go to Stanley Cup Final Games



Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is celebrating the team’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the 1st time in 20 years in a special way.

According to the Washington Post, Leonsis surprised 200 employees of Monumental Sports & Entertainment with tickets and a chartered flight to Vegas for the first leg of the Stanley Cup Final.

The employees were chosen based off how closely they work with the Capitals, as well as seniority, and they received an email last week from a senior VP that had the subject line: “Let’s go to Vegas.”

The selected employees received tickets to Games 1 & 2.

“It’s truly amazing and out of this world,” Omar Castro, a guest relations manager, said.

“I never expected an owner of the company to do this. We get to share in this with them. … He’s thinking of us as part of a family, as part of the experience. There’s no reason for him to do it. All I can say is a big thanks to Ted and his family for the opportunity, and for truly making this into something memorable for all of us here in the company.”

Not only did Leonsis provide tickets, but he also organized two chartered flights and is putting the employees up at the Excalibur.


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