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Weekend Quick Fix: CWHL holds draft, Hlinka semis and more

Well, I don't have any big new articles for you today, but I thought I'd give a few notes on the world of hockey since we do have some notable events to talk about.  I didn't get a chance to go through all of this last night, as I was busy watching my Saskatchewan Roughriders absolutely demolish the British Columbia Lions 37-13 in the CFL Hall of Fame game.  It was also Donald Narcisse Day in Saskatchewan, one of the greatest CFL receivers of all time and my personal favourite player of all time, as he is set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend.  So, I had other things on my mind, pucks aren't always the top priority.  That said, the world keeps skating hard, forechecking and kicking out pad saves, so here's a few notes on what has been going on.

The newly re-configured Canadian Women's Hockey League held their first ever entry draft last night at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  It's being viewed as a big step forward for women's hockey, both in North America and for European internationals looking to play at a higher level of competition.  No players who plan on playing NCAA hockey were picked, as players had to apply to the league to indicate their interest.  Also, since the players won't be making their main source of living from the league, the draft was essentially limited to the three Toronto area teams:  Burlington, Brampton, and Toronto.  The teams in Montreal and Boston will be made up of players already living in those areas.  Two CWHL teams will play for the Clarkson Cup at the end of the year against two teams from the Western Women's Hockey League, last year won by the Minnesota Whitecaps.

The European Torphy has fully kicked off, as Djurgardens will be the last team to play their first game tonight when they play Linkopings.  The Finnish teams took advantage of starting at home, with only SC Bern being able to defeat Tappara to give the Swiss champions a big road win.  Follow the scores here, as there are 8 games today and 7 games on Saturday. 

Early action from the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament has been concluded, with the placement games done.  Finland beat Slovakia in the 7th place game 6-4, and Russia edged the Swiss in the 5th place game 5-4.  Currently, the USA and Sweden are tied at 3 in the 2nd period of their semifinal, and Canada and the Czechs have yet to start.  I'll have more after the medal games.  Follow the scores here

Finally, it should be noted that there is hockey going on not just on the other side of the Atlantic from North America, but the other side of the Pacific as well.  The Australian Ice Hockey League season is nearing the end, with games this weekend and next to finish off the regular season.  From what I can tell, the top 4 is almost completely decided, as the Sydney Bears are one point away from clinching a berth in the Goodall Cup Finals on August 28 and 29th in Melbourne.  The Gold Coast Blue Tongues need to win out their final two games and have Sydney lose their final three games in regulation to pass them.  The Newcastle North Stars, Melbourne Ice, and Adelaide Adrenaline have all clinched a spot in the Finals.  The New Zealand Ice Hockey League season also has only two weekends left of regular season action, but their finals are on September 4th, with an All-Star game a couple weeks later on Sept. 18th to wrap up the year.  The Botany Swarm look to have clinched a spot in the Finals, and their opponent will likely be either the West Auckland Admirals or the Canterbury Red Devils.