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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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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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World Championship Update: Panarin still rolling, Schmaltz returns

by Austin Miller / Web Contributor

When Canada's Nathan MacKinnon tallied three assists in the Canadians' 5-0 victory over Norway on Monday in Paris, Artemi Panarin was temporarily displaced atop the scoring leaderboard of the IIHF World Championship. Later that evening in Cologne, Panarin ensured his absence would not be a prolonged one. Panarin matched MacKinnon's assist total in Russia's dominant performance against Latvia, and moved two points clear of MacKinnon at the top of the leaderboard.

After sitting out a pair of contests last week, Nick Schmaltz returned to action for the United States in the Americans' 5-3 win over Latvia on Saturday. Schmaltz assisted on Nick Bjugstad's second period goal which started the rally in the red, white and blue's come from behind victory. Trevor van Riemsdyk finished +2 for the game in 15:32 of ice time.

The Americans followed up their win over Latvia by defeating Slovakia 6-1 on Sunday. Both Schmaltz and van Riemsdyk saw action as the Americans moved to 5-1 in the tournament. Earlier today, Team USA defeated Russia 5-3 to take the top spot in Group A ahead of the knockout round. 

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Prospect Report: Blackhawks well-represented at Memorial Cup

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

The 2017 Memorial Cup, which begins Friday in Windsor, Ontario, is a paradise for junior hockey fans and scouts alike -- an annual 10-day tournament that pits three Canadian Hockey League champions against a host squad, all vying to be crowned the best team in Canada. While keeping an eye on draft-eligible players, the Blackhawks will also monitor the progress of their four prospects taking part in the tournament this year, all of whom are under contract, a rarity for the club. Highlighted by 2016 second-round pick Alex DeBrincat, the team's three representatives are competing for three of the four teams in contention.

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Panarin's hot form continues at World Championship

by Austin Miller / Web Contributor

The 2017 IIHF World Championship rolled on this week, and Artemi Panarin kept his place atop the tournament leaderboard after tallying an assist in Russia's 3-0 victory against Denmark Thursday. The helper brings Panarin to 10 points through Russia's first four games. Nathan MacKinnon of Canada currently sits in second place with eight points. Russia will look to extend their lead atop Group A when they take on Slovakia next Monday.

Meanwhile, Team USA moved to 3-1 overall with a 3-0 defeat of Italy on Wednesday. Trevor van Riemsdyk was paired with Boston's Charlie McAvoy on defense and recorded one shot in 14:27 of ice time. Nick Schmaltz did not dress on Wednesday after leaving the Americans' previous game on Monday against Sweden. The U.S. will return to action this weekend, facing Latvia on Saturday and Slovakia on Sunday.

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