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North Korea Is Hurting Pyeongchang Olympics

The Winter Olympics are right around the corner, and relations with North Korea only seem to be getting worse. Despite the frequent weapons tests that have been conducted by the Kim regime, South Korea, the host nation, has attempted to reassure everyone that there is nothing to be afraid of heading into the 2018 Games. Unfortunately, not everyone believes that is the case. In fact, a few prominent nations have already publicly announced that if the situation with North Korea gets any worse, they will strongly consider withdrawing from the Olympics and keeping their athletes at home. Austria, Germany, and France are among the countries that are hesitant to make the trip to Pyeongchang, which could be devastating for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), considering they are all expected to finish in the top 10 in overall medal count.

Underwhelming Ticket Sales

When ticket sales opened up in February, South Korea was hoping and expecting to sell more than one million before the opening ceremonies. After the results from the first cycle of sales came in, it’s safe to say that they might want to lower expectations. Ticket sales from February to June were underwhelming to say the least. Only 52,000 of the 750,000 tickets that South Korea planned on selling to locals were sold in that time frame. On the other hand, they were able to sell nearly half of the 320,000 tickets that were expected to sell overseas. With less than five months until competition, South Korea has a lot of work to do if they expect to meet expectations, and increasing fear of a potential attack by North Korea is certainly not going to help their case.

South Korea’s Security Plan

While many organizers and IOC members have repeatedly assured people that there is no reason to be concerned just yet, winter sports fans are still fearful of the danger that North Korea could inflict on Pyeongchang. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has tried to convince North Korea to participate in the 2018 Games since being elected into office. He remains confident that they will be able to do so, and that remains their top plan for security. If the North participates, whether it’s their athletes or locations, many believe that will secure the Games, because a country would be much less likely to harm their own people.

Meet Veteran Turned Snowboarder Kirstie Ennis

The year was 2012 and Kirstie Ennis was in the midst of her second tour in Afghanistan when disaster struck. The military helicopter, which featured Ennis as the aerial gunner, suddenly went down. The crash resulted in serious damage to Ennis – fractured spine and broken. And after more than 40 total surgeries, Ennis had her left leg amputated.

Her injuries have failed to slow her down though, in fact, they’ve only made Ennis stronger. In the time since her second tour, she’s become an avid climber – scaling Mount Kilimanjaro just months after a surgical operation. Recently, the veteran has set her sights on snowboarding. Her first opportunity to tackle the sport came courtesy of the Disabled Sports USA organization a few years back. And now she is currently training to compete in the 2018 Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The last few years have a been an emotional whirlwind for Ennis, but she has showcased twice through the media recently.

ESPN’s Body Issue

When ESPN’s annual Body Issue was released earlier this year, Ennis became a star. She courageously stripped down to show off her body, including her prosthetic leg. For the shoot, Ennis went high atop a mountain. This was nothing new for her as she had just climbed both Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest. Ennis’ appearance in the magazine was an inspiration to those who suffered similar physical trauma.

Her New Home

Her hard work and determination paid off in more ways than one thanks to the gift she received just days ago: a new home. Building Homes For Heroes is responsible for constructing her three-bedroom haven in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The organization has been doing work for years, renovating homes for veterans donated by Chase Bank. The new home was designed with Ennis’ hobbies in mind, coming complete with cutting-edge kitchen appliances – cooking is one of her passions. The veteran now has a state-of-the-art residence as she looks to make another home for herself on the slopes of the Paralympics.

Top NHL Players To Play For One Team (5-1)

Playing for one organization throughout your entire career is a very difficult thing to do in the NHL. For Wayne Gretzky, he never got the chance to finish his career with his beloved Edmonton Oilers. Others chose to hang on for one more year with another team. Ray Bourque chased a Cup with the Colorado Avalanche. Both Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Modano jumped ship to the Detroit Red Wings for one last hoorah. And nobody can forget the seven-game stint Martin Brodeur had with the St. Louis Blues in the 2014-15 season. Here is a look at five legendary NHL players who were lucky enough to call one place home during their entire careers.

No. 5: Niklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings (1991-2012)

Accolades: 4 Stanley Cups, 7 Norris Trophies, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy, 13x All-Star

Like a fine wine, Nik Lidstrom kept getting better with age. Not just better, but dominant. In fact, Lidstrom put up possibly his best season during the 2010-11 campaign. He recorded 62 points and won his final Norris Trophy that season – he was 40-years-old at the time. Lidstrom was the backbone of some incredible Red Wings teams. He was the rare steady, stay-at-home defenceman that was also a force on the powerplay. He is considered by many to be the NHL’s second-best defender of all-time behind Bobby Orr.

No. 4: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens (1950-1971)

Accolades: 10 Stanley Cups, 2 Hart Trophies, 1 Art Ross Trophy, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy, 13x All-Star

Beliveau lead the NHL in scoring twice, but topped the league in gentlemanly play throughout his career. Beliveau’s steady play helped Montreal become the mecca of hockey. He scored at least 30 goals in 8 seasons and finished his career with more than a point-per-game. The bigger the game, the better the results were for Beliveau. The Center put up 176 points in 162 career playoff games. He retired in 1971 and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame a year later.

No. 3: Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings (1983-2006)

Accolades: 3 Stanley Cups, 1 Ted Lindsay, Conn Smythe, Selke, and Masterson Memorial Trophy, 9x All-Star

Stevie Y was the heart and soul of Detroit’s dominant stretch in the mid-90’s through 2000’s. Yzerman put up incredible offensive numbers (1,755 points – 7th all-time), but leadership will forever be his legacy. During his time as the Red Wings’ captain, Yzerman guided the club to an unmatched 62 wins and 131 points in the 1995-96 season. On a team loaded with talent, including Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan, Yzerman was the glue that held everything together for the perennial cup contender. Yzerman was long a legend before scoring one of the greatest goals in NHL history during the 1996 playoffs.

No. 2: Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens (1942-1960)

Accolades: 8 Stanley Cups, 1 Hart Trophy, 13x All-Star

You know you had an amazing offensive NHL career when the league names a trophy after you. The league’s annual top goal-scorer receives the award, fitting for a player nicknamed “The Rocket.” On his way to hockey immortality, Richard netted nearly a point-per-game – 965 pts in 978 games. Richard was able to put up consistent numbers throughout a very long career. But, he wasn’t some finesse player, shying away from contact. Richard recorded more than 100 penalty minutes during five different seasons – unheard of today. His undeniable scoring touch paired with grit made him the most popular player of all-time in Montreal's illustrious hockey history.

No. 1: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins (1984-1997/2000-2006)

Accolades: 2 Stanley Cups, 3 Hart Trophies, 4 Lindsay Trophies, 6 Art Ross Trophies, 10x All-Star

According to many experts, Mario Lemieux was the most gifted athlete to ever lace up the skates at the NHL level. His biggest enemy in his race towards the hockey record books was time though. Lemieux racked up 690 goals in just 915 career games. Compare that to Wayne Gretzky, who skated in a whopping 1,487 contests. Lemieux’s career mark of .754 GPG is not even remotely challenged by any of the NHL’s top-20 all-time goal scorers. Lemieux not only made the Pens relevant with two Cups in the early-90s, but he is responsible for pulling the team out of bankruptcy in the next decade. Lemieux is the true definition of ‘franchise savior.’

Renovations Could Bring The NHL To Seattle

Oak View Group, based in Los Angeles, has released its renovation plans for Seattle’s KeyArena in an effort to attract NBA and NHL consideration for expansion franchises. The group has a formal agreement with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to build a $600 million privately financed arena to be completed by 2020. The proposed plan and agreement, commonly referred to as the Memorandum of Understanding, will be formally submitted to the Seattle City Council this week. OVG sent a compilation of renderings that were put together to give the decision-makers an idea of what the proposed arena might look like upon completion. The renderings included detailed images of the inside and outside of the arena, as well as blueprints for both the arena and parking structures. In addition, the group provided renderings of what a concert, an NBA game, and an NHL game might look like inside the complex.

Commitment To The Community

In addition to the $600 million proposed for the arena renovations, OVG is committing $60 million into the surrounding community. Professional sporting events increase traffic. It’s not a secret, and it’s not going to change; however, OVG plans to spend $40 million to improve transportation around the arena. They will also commit $20 million to a community fund, and half of the fund will go towards the city’s YouthCare program to prevent youth homelessness.

Possible Hurdles

Of course, anytime a proposal for a new arena is submitted, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to execute the plan. OVG’s proposal is not different. First, they have to get everything approved by all the appropriate government entities within the city and state. Then, the group may need to invest capital into the relocation of some landmarks that it will need to remove for its arena proposal. There are also quite a few provisions that will need to be accommodated in conjunction with the city’s proposed lease to OVG. Seattle is currently offering a 39-year lease with two 8-year renewal options. In order to extend the lease past 39 years, OVG will have to invest $168 million in improvements and will need to house both an NHL and NBA franchise.

Top NHL Players To Play For One Team (10-6)

Today was an important day for hockey fans, more specifically Arizona Coyotes’ fans. Despite a relatively messy exit this offseason when Arizona decided not to re-sign him, Shane Doan announced his retirement from the NHL after 21 seasons with the Coyotes’ organization. He did test free agency before he decided that if it wasn’t Arizona, it wasn’t worth it. In honor of Doan’s tremendous career and loyalty, here are the top ten NHL players to only play for one franchise.

Honorable Mention: Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens (1971-1979)

Accolades: 6 Stanley Cups, 5 Vezina Trophies (Top Goaltender), 1972 Rookie of the Year, 1971 Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP), 5x First Team All-Star, 1983 Hall of Fame Inductee

Dryden is the only goaltender to appear on this list, but he only makes honorable mention, simply because he only played eight seasons in the league. Think about that. Six Stanley Cups in eight seasons. He remains the only player to win a Conn Smythe Trophy before winning Rookie of the Year, as well as the only played to win a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe before losing a regular season game.

Honorable Mention: Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens (1955-1975)

Accolades: 11 Stanley Cups, 1 Bill Masterton Trophy (Perseverance), 1x First Team All-Star, 3x Second Team All-Star

The younger of the Richard brothers, Henri has won more Stanley Cups than any other player in NHL history. He may not be on the same level as some of the players on this list, but he certainly made an impact on the Montreal dynasty teams. He finished in the top 10 in assists and points in seven of his 20 seasons with the Canadiens.

No. 10: Stan Mikita, Chicago Blackhawks (1958-1980)

Accolades: 1 Stanley Cup, 4 Art Ross Trophies (Top Point Scorer), 2 Hart Trophies (NHL MVP), 2 Lady Byng Trophies (Sportsmanship), 6x First Team All-Star, 2x Second Team All-Star, 1983 Hall of Fame Inductee

Stan Mikita played 22 seasons with the Blackhawks organization, led the NHL in points four times, and was named MVP twice. His number 21 jersey was the first number to be retired by the franchise, and he and teammate Bobby Hull currently have statues standing outside the United Centre, the Hawks’ arena.

No. 9: Denis Potvin, New York Islanders (1973-1988)

Accolades: 4 Stanley Cups, 3 Norris Trophies (Top Defensemen), 1974 Rookie of the Year, 5x First Team All-Star, 2x Second Team All-Star, 1991 Hall of Fame Inductee

Considered the savior of the Islanders, Potvin was widely regarded as the NHL’s top defenseman once Bobby Orr retired in the late ‘70s. In the eight seasons that Potvin was captain, the Islanders never failed to make the postseason, made the Finals five times, and won four consecutive Stanley Cups. Upon retirement, he was the NHL’s all-time leader in points by a defenseman.

No. 8: Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche (1992-2008)

Accolades: 2 Stanley Cups, 1 Hart Trophy (NHL MVP), 1996 Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP), 1 Lady Byng Trophy (Sportsmanship), 1 Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player), 3x First Team All-Star

The greatest player in Avalanche history led the team to two Stanley Cups in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Joe Sakic’s numbers stand for themselves. He currently ranks in the top 15 in NHL history in career goals, assists, power play goals, points per game, assists per game, and shots. He also ranks ninth all-time in career points with 1,641.

No. 7: Alex Delvecchio, Detroit Red Wings (1950-1974)

Accolades: 3 Stanley Cups, 2 Lady Byng Trophies (Sportsmanship), 2x Second Team All-Star, 1977 Hall of Fame Inductee

Until 2012, Delvecchio held the record for most regular season games played for one franchise in NHL history with 1,549. He finished first in games played eight times and second four times. Although he took a back seat to star teammates Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay, Delvecchio was the captain of the Red Wings.

No. 6: Mike Bossy, New York Islanders (1977-1987)

Accolades: 4 Stanley Cups, 1978 Rookie of the Year, 1982 Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP), 3 Lady Byng Trophies (Sportsmanship), 5x First Team All-Star, 3x Second Team All-Star, 1991 Hall of Fame Inductee

Simply put, Mike Bossy was a scoring machine. Sadly, he was forced to retire at the age of 30 due to back problems, but when he was on the ice, he was dominant. He finished in the top 10 in scoring eight of his ten career seasons, including seven 100-point seasons. He became the first player to reach 50 goals in 50 games and still holds the highest goals per game average in NHL history. He is the third fastest player to reach 500 career goals and ranks third all-time in career hat tricks with 39.