Portland Pirates CEO arrested for OUI

PORTLAND, Maine — The CEO of the American Hockey League team in Portland is free on $500 bail following his arrest this week for drunken driving.

Police say 57-year-old Brian Petrovek was released from the Cumberland County Jail on Wednesday, hours after being charged with operating under the influence.

Petrovek is the managing owner and CEO of the Portland Pirates. The Portland Press Herald says he failed a field sobriety test after getting his Jeep stuck on a median.

The Pirates are in their second year as the AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, the NHL team that supplies the coaches, players and support staff for the team.

Four Skowhegan players gain regional honors

Skowhegan’s Sarah Finnemore, Allison Lancaster, Adriana Martineua and Makaela Michonski, Scarborough’s Karli-An Gilbert and John Bapst’s Elise Tilton have been selected to the 2012 Harrow Sports NFHCA High School All-Region Field Hockey Team for Northern New England.

In order to be considered for this team, the athlete needs to be nominated by their coach and that coach needs to be a member of the NFHCA for 2012.

Maine Pond Hockey Classic set for Feb. 9-10

The inaugural Maine Pond Hockey Classic will be held Feb. 9-10, 2013 on the northeast corner of China Lake. Proceeds from this event will go to support the Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA of Greater Waterville at the Alfond Youth Center.

The Maine Pond Hockey Classic hopes to capitalize on the recent growth in popularity of pond hockey tournaments. “We wanted to bring a new and exciting event to the Waterville area” says tournament director Patrick Guerette. “Pond hockey tournaments have developed a large grassroots following, we have the resources to put together a premiere event and fundraise for a great cause.”

Pond hockey is played 4-on-4 without goalies or on ice officials, and each team is allowed to have up to 7 players on their roster for the Maine Pond Hockey Classic.

More information about the Maine Pond Hockey Classic can be found on the tournament website, www.mainepondhockey.org.

Steelers’ Roethlisberger to play Sunday

Ben Roethlisberger will return to the field Sunday for the Pittsburgh Steelers after missing three weeks with injuries to his right shoulder and ribs, head coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday.

“He has been above the line in all areas,” Tomlin told reporters. “Really, the only question we can’t answer is taking a hit. Obviously that will be answered in the stadium on Sunday. I’m extremely comfortable with his ability to work the field both vertically and horizontally. He has great velocity on his ball. We’re ready to go.”

The Steelers went 1-2 while Roethlisberger was out, splitting with their AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens sandwiched around a loss to the Cleveland Browns. Backup quarterback Byron Leftwich started one game, and Charlie Batch started the other two.

Goodell scrutinizes NFL kickoffs

Kickoffs may be closer to becoming an extinct, according to a Time Magazine report.

In a cover story this week, Time revealed that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Rich McKay, the head of the league’s competition committee discussed a proposal that would eliminate kickoff after a touchdown or field goal.

“It’s an off-the-wall idea, he told Time.” It’s different and makes you think differently. It did me.”

Kickoffs were moved up five yards last season, while coverage teams were required to start within five yards of the ball, in an effort to make the play safer. The Elias Sports Bureau found that 43.5 percent of kickoffs led to touchbacks in 2010, a rise of nearly 30 percent from 2010.

Also, players suffered 40 percent fewer concussions on kickoffs in 2011, McKay told ESPN The Magazine.

NHLPA requests federal mediators

The National Hockey League Players’ Association has asked federal mediators to return to the negotiations in the hopes of speeding up a deal with the league, the union announced.

The NHL and the union have made tentative plans to meet for a third straight day at a New York City hotel, but haven’t yet sat down at the bargaining table. The sides have spent nearly 20 hours over the past two days working toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

An NHLPA spokesperson told NHL.com Thursday afternoon that the Union requested the mediators because of a belief that it will expedite the process. The NHL must consent to that request.

Representatives from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services met with the two sides for several hours during those two days, but couldn’t move the process forward.

The NHLPA met informally throughout Thursday.

Alvarez to coach Wisconsin in Rose Bowl

Former Wisconsin head football coach Barry Alvarez will return to lead the Badgers in the Rose Bowl.

Alvarez and the Badgers will face No. 8 Stanford on New Year’s Day. The school made the announcement Thursday, two days after Bret Bielema left to take over at Arkansas.

“I’m very excited about coming back,” Alvarez said. “This will be a one-game — I’m not looking to do it any longer than one game.”

Bielema surprising departure came three days after Wisconsin earned a school-record third straight Rose Bowl appearance with a 70-31 win over Nebraska in the Big Ten championship. The buzz quickly focused on a return by Alvarez, at least for one game.

Also, Alvarez told reporters Thursday that the Badgers won’t pursue former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst for the vacant coaching job.

Joe McLaughlin

McLaughlin (right) is a Stearns High School and University of Maine graduate who worked for three years at the Aroostook Republican and News in Caribou as a reporter and editor. He has worked on the BDN...