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World Hockey Summit looks to improve the game

by Shawn P. Roarke
TORONTO -- Last week, the National Hockey League gathered here -- in one of hockey's capital cities -- to undergo an examination of its game in the form of the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series. It turned out to be an enlightening two-day exercise for the League's movers and shakers.

Now, it is the global game's turn to put itself under the microscope.

Starting Monday, many of the sport's luminaries and power brokers will convene in Toronto for four days of introspection and dialogue about ways to improve the sport at virtually every level during the Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit.

This unprecedented meeting of hockey minds is designed to examine the current global state of the game and identify and address concerns and issues, while also identifying ways in which hockey can grow the sport even more aggressively.

"The goals of the Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit are to provide an inclusive forum to table the most pressing questions surrounding our game and work together to find implementable solutions." -- Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson

"As leaders, stakeholders and fans of hockey we have a shared responsibility for the care, nurturing, protection and development of our game," Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson said. "The goals of the Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit are to provide an inclusive forum to table the most pressing questions surrounding our game and work together to find implementable solutions."

The ambitious agenda -- united by the Summit's theme of "Global Teamwork Promoting the Growth of the Game" -- was developed by the World Hockey Summit Steering Committee, which includes NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Horst Lichtner, secretary general of the IIHF, Nicholson, Ken Corbett, board chair of Hockey Canada, Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, David Branch, commissioner of the Canadian Hockey League, Mike Ouellet, chief of business affairs for the  NHLPA and Pat McEleney, director sports and entertainment for Molson Coors.

The Summit features topics like contracts and transfers and how they affect the global game, the agent's role in working with young players, the state of the game as it expands into non-traditional markets, all of which will be handled during Monday's Hot Stove Sessions at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Tuesday's sessions include player skills development initiatives and junior development in the hockey world, as well as a Q-and-A session with Rene Fasel, president of the IIHF.

An evaluation of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic hockey tournament and the creation of a global hockey event calendar will be tackled Wednesday, which also features a Q-and-A session with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

On the event's final day, the state of women's hockey in the wake of the 2010 Olympics will be examined. Also, there will be an in-depth discussion on the continued growth in hockey participation among players.

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, and Kontinental Hockey League chairman Slava Fetisov are among the bold-faced names joining the steering committee that will take part in an unprecedented give-and-take with not only their peers, but passionate hockey fans from around the globe.

Fans can purchase tickets for the week of events or just for Monday night's special hot-stove sessions at the Hockey Hall of Fame and will be afforded the opportunity to ask questions and present opinions to the sport's leaders during the various sessions.

"We’re looking for input from all levels of hockey -- from governing bodies, leagues and players to parents, coaches and fans," Nicholson said. "If you have a strong opinion or ideas to help improve the game we want you at the World Hockey Summit."

More information on tickets and the week's agenda can be found at

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