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Highmore, Noel will share a path to the pros beyond the Memorial Cup

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

Windsor, Ontario -- In a tournament of champions, anything can happen. Saint John learned this the hard way with a roller-coaster 24 hours on Monday and Tuesday at the Memorial Cup.

One night they were on the wrong end of a drubbing of historical proportions, losing 12-5 to the OHL champion Erie Otters.

The next night they erased that goal deficit by shutting out the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds 7-0, claiming the first clean sheet of the week to book their spot in Friday's semifinal.

"We've been working hard this whole week," forward Matthew Highmore said afterward. Relief was palpable on the faces of the various Sea Dogs scattered around in postgame scrums. "We continued to believe, and we did a really good job regrouping in the last 24 hours and played a good game of hockey."

Highmore, 21, is the oldest member of a Saint John club that has improved steadily over the five seasons he's played there. An alternate captain in his overage season, the Halifax, Nova Scotia, native caught the eye of the Blackhawks around Christmastime and signed a pro contract with Chicago in early March.

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NHL Draft Fan Fest set for June 23 and June 24 outside the United Center

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks, in conjunction with the National Hockey League, will host NHL Draft Fan Fest outside the United Center on Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24 as a part of the NHL Draft festivities. Interactive games, photo opportunities with Blackhawks players and alumni, music and a special appearance by the NHL Centennial Fan Arena are all part of the NHL Draft Fan Fest. MB Financial Bank and Gerber Collision & Glass are proud sponsors of NHL Draft Fan Fest.

Hockey fans of all ages are invited to celebrate the next generation of talent through an interactive festival open Friday from 3 - 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in United Center Parking Lot C, directly north of the United Center.

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DeBrincat hopes to end his junior career with Memorial Cup triumph

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

Windsor, Ontario -- Alex DeBrincat's roots are showing. The dye job that the Erie Otters subjected themselves to at the start of their Ontario Hockey League playoff run has started to fade, now clashing dully with the cadmium yellow team polo he's wearing.

But that's a good thing. This is exactly where he wants to be -- rocking a fairly impressive beard, still playing hockey at the end of May, and one win away from assuring a spot in the Memorial Cup final. The Otters remained undefeated with a historic 12-5 win over Saint John on Monday evening, setting up a showdown with the hometown Spitfires (the other team without a loss in the tournament) on Wednesday.

In each of the last two seasons, the Otters lost out to the team that eventually won the Memorial Cup (Oshawa in 2015, London in 2016). Now they hope to end the season on top.

"It's tough to get to the finals and having the feeling of getting there and not winning," DeBrincat said. "A lot of guys in the room knew what that felt like, and it's obviously great to win the [OHL] championship, but that was just a stepping stone. The real prize we want is the Memorial Cup."

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Kruger takes gold, Panarin bronze, at World Championship

by Austin Miller / Web Contributor

Marcus Kruger and Sweden took home the gold medal at the IIHF World Championship with a 2-1 shootout victory over Canada yesterday. In the gold medal game, Kruger played 14:02, winning five faceoffs and recording one shot on goal.

The gold medal is Sweden's 10th World Championship gold, and Kruger's first. Kruger finished the tournament with a final tally of three assists in 10 games played.

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Chicago Blackhawks statement on the passing of Bill White

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks today released the following statement on the passing of Bill White:

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss. He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."

White played with the Blackhawks from 1969-76 and spent a total of nine seasons in the National Hockey League. The defenseman scored 30 goals and tallied 149 assists while wearing a Blackhawks sweater and won a gold medal with Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series. He appeared in six consecutive All-Star Games (1969-74) and helped the team reach the playoffs in all seven of his seasons with Chicago. White served as head coach of the Blackhawks for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.

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Knott showcasing offensive flair on Memorial Cup stage

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

Windsor, Ontario -- It wasn't the most auspicious start to Graham Knott's night. Just a few steps into his pregame skate, the Windsor Spitfires forward stepped on a puck and went down in a sprawl, sliding belly-down through the high slot as if he were blocking a shot.

That was the last wrong step Knott would take all evening, as the Blackhawks' 2015 second-round pick netted two goals and an assist to help lead the Memorial Cup hosts to a 7-1 win over Seattle.

About half an hour later after his spill, Knott glided toward the net at the other end of the ice -- on his feet this time -- before receiving the puck off a slick pass from the half-boards. Opening his body for a forehand shot, he flipped the previously offending object over Seattle's netminder to open the scoring for the Spitfires and send the hometown crowd into an early frenzy.

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White played tight defense on the ice, kept team loose off it

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

Bill White, a steady and selfless performer who also briefly served as coach of the Blackhawks, has died. He was 77.

White spent seven years in the minors before the National Hockey League grew from six to 12 teams in 1967. When the expansion Los Angeles Kings gained his rights, he immediately earned acclaim as an extraordinary stay-at-home defenseman. During the 1969-70 season, Pat Stapleton of the Blackhawks incurred an injury. With his club a serious contender, General Manager Tommy Ivan acquired White from the Kings. When Stapleton returned, he and White formed one of the NHL's finest blue-line tandems, the former expertly generating offense and the latter adept at laying back.

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World Championship

Nikita Kucherov, Artemi Panarin power Russia to bronze at Worlds

Lightning forward scores goal against Finland; Blackhawks left wing leads tournament in scoring

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com Correspondent

COLOGNE, Germany -- They didn't leave with a gold medal from the 2017 IIHF World Championship, but Nikita Kucherov and Artemi Panarin made sure Russia left with a bronze.

Kucherov, a Tampa Bay Lightning forward, scored the final goal in Russia's 5-3 win against Finland at Lanxess Arena on Sunday. Panarin, of the Chicago Blackhawks, had an assist to give him 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in the tournament.

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Panarin, Kruger into semifinals at World Championship

by Austin Miller / Web Contributor

With a goal in Russia's 3-0 win against the Czech Republic today, Artemi Panarin extended his points lead among players at the IIHF World Championship and helped push Russia into the semifinals, which will take place on Saturday.

Panarin's Russia squad will face Canada, who defeated Germany 2-1 today in Cologne. The matchup will be a chance for Panarin to face off with Nathan MacKinnon, one of his top challengers in the scoring race.

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Blackhawks name Colliton head coach of AHL's Rockford IceHogs

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have hired Jeremy Colliton (KAWL-ih-tuhn) to serve as head coach of the organization's top minor league affiliate, the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs.

"Jeremy's experience as a player and a coach will allow him to be a great leader and mentor for our young prospects in Rockford," said Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman. "He is coming off a great start to his coaching career with four successful seasons in Sweden and fits very well into our plan of continuing to develop our younger players."

Colliton spent the last four seasons as the head coach of Mora IK in Sweden (HockeyAllsvenskan). A native of Blackie, Alberta, Colliton guided his team to a league-best 35-4-13 record and 105 points during the 2016-17 season. Following the regular season, he led Mora IK to promotion to the Swedish Hockey League for the 2017-18 season after defeating Leksands IF in six games (4-2) of the best-of-seven series. Colliton joined the coaching ranks with Mora IK in an interim head coaching role during the 2013-14 season before taking over full-time the following season. In four seasons with Colliton behind the bench, Mora IK posted a 98-18-57 record.

"I'm honored to join the Blackhawks organization as they have a proven track record of winning that I'm excited to help continue," said Colliton. "In Rockford, we will do everything we can to help our young prospects develop into the best players and people they can be."

Prior to becoming a coach, Colliton had an eight-year professional career primarily in the National Hockey League and AHL. He appeared in 57 NHL games across five seasons (2005-09, 2010-11) with the New York Islanders, notching three goals and three assists. He was originally drafted by the Islanders in the second round (58th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft.

The 32-year-old also spent parts of six seasons (2005-09, 2010-12) in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, recording 203 points (77G, 126A) in 326 career games. Additionally, he had stints with Rogle Angelholm (2009-10) in the Swedish Elite League and Mora IK (2013-14). He also had experience on the international stage, earning gold and silver medals while representing Canada at the 2005 and 2004 IIHF World U20 Junior Championships, respectively.

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