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Langenbrunner Vows to Return

03/04/2013, 1:45pm MST
By John Trachina

DALLAS -- A season-ending injury at 37 years old can often wind up turning into a career-ending injury, but St. Louis Blues’ right winger Jamie Langenbrunner is determined that his current hip injury will not force him out of the NHL.
After playing just four games this year, recording one assist, the native of Cloquet, Minn. succumbed to a labrum tear that appeared gradually and underwent surgery about two weeks ago.
“We couldn’t pinpoint any one certain thing and it just got to the point where it got too irritated and [I] just didn’t have the ability to push off any more, so I had to get it done,” Langenbrunner said of the surgical procedure. “It’s coming along well. I’m close to getting off the crutches, then I’ll begin the rehab, and hopefully it’ll heal quicker.”
And while his projected recovery time extends beyond the end of the 2012-13 season, his 18th in the NHL, the two-time U.S. Olympian vows that this won’t be the last we see of him.
“Not if I have anything to say about it, but you never know what happens,” said Langenbrunner, whose one-year contract expires after this season. “Obviously, it’s not perfect timing for me, but I try to get myself to get through this, feel good and hopefully get back to training and hopefully be ready to go again.”
And although he is in the twilight of a fantastic career, Langenbrunner can still play, as evidenced by his contribution of six goals, including three game-winners, and 24 points in 70 games last season. He also provided valuable leadership and mentoring to the Blues’ younger forwards, helping the squad finish with the Western Conference’s second-best record last year.
The two-time Stanley Cup winner (1999 in Dallas, 2003 in New Jersey) served as the Devils’ captain for three-and-a-half seasons (2007-11), and in the same capacity for the silver medal-winning Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
Langenbrunner, who was drafted by Dallas in the second round (35th overall) in 1993, spent eight years with the Stars during the franchise’s glory years of 1995-2002, returning on Jan. 7, 2011, in a trade with New Jersey. After five goals and 18 points in 39 games during his second stint with the Stars, Langenbrunner signed with the Blues in 2011-12.
His latest honor was being named to the Stars’ all-time team. He received a standing ovation from the Dallas crowd when he was recognized during the Blues’ 4-1 loss to the Stars on Sunday.
“It was a neat honor for me,” said Langenbrunner, whose 95 goals rank eighth in Dallas history. “Having played with pretty much everyone on that [all-time] team, some pretty special guys, to be in that group was definitely an honor for me. [The ovation] was really nice. You never know what to expect sometimes, but the fans are fantastic and obviously, I loved my time playing [in Dallas].”
He reminisced about the unique connection that still bonds the players on that 1999 Stanley Cup winning team and the one that returned to the Final in 2000 before falling to the Devils.
“You look back at the depth that we had and definitely the closeness that we had,” recalled Langenbrunner, who scored 10 goals and 17 points in 23 playoff games en route to the 1999 Cup. “We had a lot of fun, both on and off the ice, and definitely friends that you keep for life. It’s nice to have those friendships and think how that closeness we had is probably part of the reason we were such a great team.”
He also looks back very fondly on his various stints with the U.S. national teams over the years, starting with the 1994 and ’95 World Junior Championships. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Langenbrunner also pulled on the USA jersey at the 1998 Winter Olympics, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and of course, the 2010 Olympics.
“I’m obviously proud to be part of that and have the opportunity to play with some of those guys from that ground-breaking group [in ’98] with [Mike Modano] and [Chris Chelios] and Brian Leetch and those guys,” said Langenbrunner, who has amassed 243 goals and 663 points over 1,109 career games. “And then to be part of that new group in 2010 with Patrick Kane and [Zach] Parise and those guys, it was fun seeing both sides of it.”
Langenbrunner considers his time as Team USA captain in 2010 as one of the highlights of his career.
“It was fantastic. Just to be named on that team was an honor, and then a week later, getting the call from Ron Wilson and Brian Burke to be the captain, I was definitely taken aback by that,” admitted Langenbrunner, who contributed one goal and four points in six Olympic Games in 2010. “Any time you get a chance to represent your country is an honor, but being named the captain — and then to have some success, we kind of surprised some teams I think, and really came together. It was definitely an enjoyable two weeks of hockey for me.”
Having experienced first-hand the evolution of elite-level American hockey from surprise winner to perennial powerhouse, Langenbrunner believes the U.S. is poised to remain an international force moving forward.
“It’s fun seeing how USA Hockey has grown,” Langenbrunner said. “The U.S. World Juniors winning the championship [this past January] and being a force every year, it’s great to see. A lot of credit goes to the Dallas Stars, with what they were able to do with growing hockey here and the same could be said in California. I think I saw where 13 states were represented on that World Junior team — that’s pretty great for hockey and it’s great to see the game growing.”
It would also be great to see Langenbrunner return for at least one more season in 2013-14.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Three USA Hockey officials earn the chance to officiate in the NHL for the first time this season

For the majority of young hockey players, their dream is to skate in the National Hockey League. They want to be the next Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Ryan Suter — the list goes on. This season, starting in NHL training camps, three young Americans will make their dream a reality, with one caveat — instead of playing, they’ll be officiating.

Ryan Daisy, Furman South and Cameron Voss, three USA Hockey officials, were each recently offered NHL contracts and will attend their first NHL training camps this fall.

“It’s been a dream come true, really,” South said. “I’ve dreamt of being in the NHL my whole life. I grew up playing hockey from a young age and have been a hockey fan my whole life. Ever since I learned to skate it was always a dream of mine to be in the NHL. For most of my life I have dreamt of being there as a player, but once I was done playing, my dream was to make it as an official. And I made it. I can’t wait to have my first NHL game.”

Daisy echoed the sentiment, noting that making it to the NHL level as an official has been a goal of his for awhile.

“It feels awesome,” Daisy said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of emotions going on in my first game, the first time I touch the ice in the NHL with the NHL crest on my sweater that I’ve been dreaming about for years. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

It’s a dream made reality for all three, and the ultimate payoff for many years of hard work and sacrifice.

“It’s an accumulation of all the sacrifices my family has made for me, all the supervisors and friends along the way that have helped me,” Voss said. “It wasn’t just me, it was a collection of people that pushed me and made me believe and work hard. It’s a pretty overwhelming feeling being at this point. I’m just glad all the sacrifices that we’ve made have paid off. I’m very blessed and humbled by the whole experience.”

Voss, South and Daisy were drawn to officiating from different paths, but once on it, they both climbed through the ranks and took advantage of the USA Hockey officiating development initiatives, including summer camps and the USA Hockey Officiating Program for South and Daisy to hone their skills.

Voss was the first of the three to don the zebra stripes, becoming an official at age 12, working alongside his father. It was his way to help pay for his hockey gear and get extra ice time. After closing his collegiate career at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, pursuing a career as a ref became a reality. He attended an officiating summer camp and saw all the opportunities available to work in higher-level hockey, and before long, he was working his way through them, spending time at the youth, high school, junior, NCAA Division I and professional levels in the American League.

“My eyes lit up really wide and I was just eager to start the process,” Voss said.

“USA Hockey gave me lots of opportunities to learn and hone my craft. The people involved in USA Hockey, they sacrificed a lot of time … they helped me out tremendously, especially at the grassroots level. They let me learn and grow and even let me fail and learn from those experiences. USA Hockey helped me from when I first started when I was 12 to when I got the call (from the NHL) in July.”

South played NCAA hockey at Robert Morris University. When he graduated in 2012 at age 24, he simply wanted to find a way to stay involved in the sport about which he was so passionate. He tried coaching, he instructed at camps and then he got a chance to ref a game and he loved it. He’s officiated everywhere from high school up, spending last season in the American Hockey League.

“It kind of came naturally to me and I realized it was something I wanted to pursue,” South said. “A couple of years later, it seems to have worked out.”

Daisy was drawn to officiating because it was a way to be in the game, to skate on the ice. His dream of becoming an official firmly solidified when he joined the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program during his senior year of college. With some early success, he was offered a contract to work in the United States Hockey League full-time, fueling his aspirations.

“(USA Hockey) will do everything in their power to help you achieve your dreams, no matter what level of hockey it is,” Daisy said.

From his Level 1 seminar to summer camps to his job in the USHL, Daisy has felt extreme support from every manager and mentor along the way, noting they all wanted to help him be a better official.

“You’re learning from the best,” Daisy said. “You’re learning from guys that are either currently in the NHL, have been in the NHL, officials that have worked international hockey and college hockey. They’re out there helping you become better.”

South also credits the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program as a factor in his success, noting Scott Zelkin, the Officiating Development Program manager, and the program itself gave him every opportunity to succeed as an official. To make his dreams come true.

“I can’t say enough about USA Hockey and the Officiating Development Program,” South said. “I wouldn’t have had this chance with the NHL if it wasn’t for those guys, that’s for sure.”

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