Wednesday, June 20, 2007

College Hockey Blog Round-Up (June 20th)

Back by popular demand, it’s the College Hockey Blog Round-Up – the June 20th edition. Let’s begin, shall we?

- The big story thus far is Kyle Okposo deciding to return to Minnesota for his sophomore season. According to the Gopher Hockey Blog’s “Gopher Blogger,”

“The word behind the scenes was that Okposo was interested in going pro if a legit chance to make the NY Islanders roster was going to be available. But once he met with NYI people, it was pretty clear this was not in their immediate plans. In particular, Islanders head coach Ted Nolan apparently made it clear that (Okposo) was not seen as a legitimate contender for a roster spot next season.”

While one WCHA team knows what exactly is happening with their young star player (for at least one more year), another young player at another WCHA program is still in limbo regarding his professional aspirations…

- Goon’s World reports that North Dakota’s Brian Lee might “possibly” be leaving early, according to an article. According to that article, the Ottawa Senators are trying to contractually tie down both UND’s Lee and Michigan State’s Jim McKenzie for the upcoming season. However, as of right now, no word has been given by Lee regarding his future with the Sioux. The Blog’s “Goon” states that…

“I would like to see him come back… however, that... is up to Brian Lee to decide and, if he leaves, so be it. I believe that most Sioux fans would welcome Brian back with open arms, but, if he wants to go pro, hey, good luck to you Brian and get the money while you can. Life is about decisions and I can’t fault a kid for wanting to take the money; heck, if someone told me “Hey! you could make $200,000.00 if you sign on the dotted line!” I would (sign the contract) in a nanosecond.”

Staying in the WCHA, but shifting gears to recruiting…

- Aside from attempting to amass money for his potentially upcoming Final Five trip, Donald at the UAA Fan blog reports that Alaska-Anchorage picked up a pair of new recruits in Luka Vidmar and Craig Parkinson for the upcoming season. Vidmar, a defenseman and former member of the Slovenian Jr. National Team (2005-’06), played last season with the USHL’s Chicago Steel, where he amassed the 19th leading scorer position among defensemen, and overall, in 57 games, tallied 6 goals and 22 assists. Parkinson, a forward, comes from the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals, where, in 188 games (three seasons), he amassed 72 goals and 82 assists (’04-’05: 2G-10A, ’05-’06: 28G-35A, ’06-’07: 42G-35A).

Staying in The Last Frontier…

- As reported here, and as reported by the Nanooks Hockey Blog’s Eric Carlson, Doc DelCastillo was announced as the new head coach at Alaska. According to the blog, DelCastillo was a finalist for the UAA job in 2001 (Anchorage hired current Minnesota assistant John Hill), and in 2005 (UAA hired current head coach and former NMU assistant Dave Skyiak). In addition, according to Carlson, the 38-year-old DelCastillo was a recently coached the Rochester Mustangs, where he coached former Nanooks Kerry Hafele (2000) and Scott McIlroy (2001). As Carlson states, although DelCastillo did not get the job in Huntsville,

“… he looks like a much better fit for the Fairbanks program…. It appears he understands the relationship of the Fairbanks community with the program, the realities of coaching a Division II school in a Division I sport, has demonstrated his recruiting ability for our kind of hockey program,… comes into the job with years of experience in both the CCHA and WCHA, and has experience as a general manager and head coach in the USHL.”

Carlson also reports that U of A has locked up a new recruit for 2008-’09 in forward Jordan VanGilder. Last season with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, in 54 games, VanGilder amassed 9 goals and 8 assists.

- A transfer note, Tim at “The Second Best Feeling In The World” (a Michigan Tech blog) reports that Phil Axtell, who played at forward for MTU, will be transferring to Northern Michigan after he “violated team policy,” which subsequently caused his releasal from the program. Axtell, due to NCAA transfer policy, will not be able to dress for Northern until September of 2008.

- And speaking of Northern Michigan (and speaking of players going pro, for that matter), Rob Balmes at nmuhockey.net reports that forward Mike Santorelli has decided to forgo his senior year and sign a contract with the Nashville Preditors. Hockey’s Future rates Santorelli a 6.5 C player, stating that he is “a very mobile and quick player who can be counted on to be a strong contributor from the blueline in.” According to Balmes,

“There is no doubt he could have left an immense legacy at NMU by playing his senior season. He’d have been a Hobey Baker and CCHA Player of the Year candidate. But anyone in society of sound mind would have done the same thing if offered a nice pro contract and the opportunity to play in the NHL. You can’t blame Mike one bit.”

In addition, KyleWalt Kyle, atthe “Tech Still Sucks Blog” reports that NMU is still searching for a replacement assistant coach for the departed John Olver.

- Mike McMahon’s Warrior Rink Rat Blog has been busy, but not so much with Merrimack-related musings. McMahon has written a nice article on forward Bobby Farnham’s commitment to Brown. (His Dad, Bobby Farnham Sr., had a nice football career with the Bears, and played for a period of time with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.) In addition, McMahon reports that Boston College’s Cory Schneider might also sign a professional contract with the Vancouver Canucks sometimes within this week. If Schneider does leave, the Eagles will have only one goaltender in junior Adam Reasoner.

- The often-updated Hockey in Michigan Blog reports many things. First, the national champion Michigan State Spartans men’s hockey program visited the White House on Monday. Images from the trip can be seen at the Lansing State Journal’s website.

- Secondly, Ferris State has signed four players for the upcoming season in wing Mike Embach, center Justin Menke, goaltender Pat Nagle, and forward Nate Hennig. Embach spent last season playing for both the Chicago Steel and the Indiana Ice of the NAHL, where he tallied nine goals and 18 assists with both teams. Menke, who played for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Yorkton Terriers last season, tallied 24 goals with 40 assists (team-leader in both statistics). Nagle, who played for the NAHL’s St. Louis Bandits last season, amassed a 24-8-4 record, a 2.28 GAA, and a .920 save percentage. In addition, the Michigan Junior Hockey Blog reports that the Topeka RoadRunners’ Nate Hennig also committed to FSU.

- Thirdly, the Wayne State coaching staff has announced their captain for the upcoming season. And once again, the “C” for the second year in a row will be adorned by Mike Forgie. Forgie amassed six goals and six assists in 30 games for Wayne State.

- Although the Let’s Go DU blog is in a state of blog-dormancy for the summer, the DU newswire is still wide awake – at least, it is in regard to the recruiting wire. The Western College Hockey Blog reports that defenseman Paul Phillips has recruited to Denver for 2009. Phillips reportedly played for the Chicago Chill last season, and “is considered one of the better defenseman in his age group.”

- Finally, for what it’s worth, DPlaya at the Hockey in Wisconsin blog reports that things at Wisconsin women’s hockey games might be awkwardly silent in the upcoming season without the help of some willing, big-voiced fellow. The U of W women’s hockey program is in need of a public address announcer for the upcoming season. If you live somewhere in the state of really good cheese, this page might be of some use to you.

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