Fans who want to speak directly to the world leaders in hockey will have the chance -- for real, up close and personal -- this week at the Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit from Aug. 23 to 26 in Toronto.
Each session at the four-day event will feature a fully interactive session in which attending fans can ask questions and make suggestions to top administrators, coaches and players.
A sampling of the who's who that will be in attendance: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly; IIHF President Rene Fasel; Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith
; NHL GMs Brian Burke
, Ken Holland and Darcy Regier
; NHL players Daniel Alfredsson
and Jamie Langenbrunner
; and Team Canada women's gold-medal coach Mel Davidson and captain Hayley Wickenheiser.
"The fan participation is a natural part of this summit," said the NHL's Daly. "It's good to have the interactivity and fan opinions. Different points of view always inform better points of view."
"We're looking for input from all levels of hockey -- from governing bodies, leagues and players to parents, coaches and fans," said Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada. "If you have a strong opinion or ideas to help improve the game, we want you at the World Hockey Summit."
"We're looking for input from all levels of hockey -- from governing bodies, leagues and players to parents, coaches and fans. If you have a strong opinion or ideas to help improve the game, we want you at the World Hockey Summit."
-- Bob Nicholson, Pres. of Hockey Canada
The public can register for the Summit and get a full schedule of events at www.worldhockeysummit.com
. Tickets are $495, including fully interactive access at all sessions and the Opening Ceremonies. Registered delegates will participate in work groups on each topic to discuss and prepare recommendations for growing hockey throughout the world.
Each of the seven main sessions will help highlight the summit's theme: Global Teamwork Promoting the Growth of the Game.
The Player Skill Development session will include discussions on long-term player development strategies, a review of current youth development programming best practices, addressing the developmental shortcomings in youth hockey, and current trends and issues concerning player safety. The discussion will be led by Dr. Steve Norris, Director of Sport Physiology and Strategic Planning at the Canadian Sport Centre for 2002, 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, and Dr. Mark Aubry, IIHF and Hockey Canada Chief Medical Officer. Panelists include Philadelphia Flyers
coach Peter Laviolette
; Columbus Blue Jackets
assistant coach Bob Boughner and Brendan Shanahan
, NHL vice president of hockey and business development.
The Junior Development in the World session will feature topics such as the impact of European migration to the Canadian junior ranks, the effects of Europeans leaving for the NHL and AHL, and strategies for maintaining the popularity of the World Junior Championship. IIHF Vice President Murray Costello
will help lead the group, with Buffalo Sabres
GM Darcy Regier
, Brandon Wheat Kings coach Kelly McCrimmon and USA Hockey Assistant Executive Director of Hockey Operations Jim Johansson appearing on the panel.
The Vancouver 2010 Evaluation session will discuss topics related to the success of the 2010 Olympic men's ice hockey tournament, and will be led by John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee; IIHF President Rene Fasel; and Timo Lumme, IOC managing director, television and marketing services. Among those appearing on the panel will be Red Wings GM Ken Holland, Ottawa Senators
captain Daniel Alfredsson
and New Jersey Devils
captain Jamie Langenbrunner
A session dedicated toward establishing a long-term global event agenda will be led by long-time Swiss National Team coach Ralph Krueger. Topics will include addressing the need for an annual world club championship to be held, and whether the Champions Hockey League can be re-launched. Among those on the panel will be NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Toronto Maple Leafs
GM Brian Burke
, and KHL President Alexander Medvedev.
Canada women's national team star Hayley Wickenheiser will be the main speaker at a session titled Women's Hockey After Vancouver 2010, which will examine what steps need to be taken to close the competitive gap between North American and European teams to insure women's hockey remains an Olympic sport. U.S. women's Olympian Angela Ruggiero will be among those on the panel, as will U.S. Olympic women's coach Mark Johnson
president John McDonough, Ottawa Senators
president Cyril Leeder and Hockey Canada COO Scott Smith
will be among those speaking at a session dedicated to growing participation in hockey. The speakers will share their experiences and best practices in growing the game at all levels.
Also at the Summit, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will take part in a fully interactive question-and-answer session.