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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Yale Corporation Approves $23.5 Million Towards Ingalls Rink Renovation.

CSTV reports that the Yale Corporation has approved the allocation of $23.5 million in funds towards massive renovations at Yale's Ingalls Rink.

The list of renovations for the 50+ year home of Yale hockey include new men's and women's locker rooms, training and strength and conditioning rooms, an added press box, a lower-level hockey heritage area, offices for coaches of both programs, a student-athlete study area, new lights, a new sound system, and a new de-humidification unit.

"We are thrilled to announce the beginning of the Ingalls Rink project. Once completed, Ingalls Rink will have a tremendous impact on our hockey programs as well as the Greater New Haven hockey community. We are extremely grateful to the University and members of our hockey alumni association, who are helping make this renovation a reality," notes Yale AD Tom Beckett.

Ingalls Rink, named after former Yale hockey captains David S. Ingalls, Sr. (1920) and David S. Ingalls, Jr. (1956), first opened in 1958, and features a unique architectural design which incorporates a reinforced concrete arch that spans more than 295 feet in length.

Aside from hosting men's and women's varsity hockey, recreational skating, the Yale Figure Skating Club, intramural hockey, and Yale Youth Hockey also call the famed "Yale Whale" home.

Yale will begin renovating Ingalls following the 2007-2008 hockey season.

(Photo courtesy of: yalebulldogs.cstv.com)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Or is he? Schneider to Possibly Stay an Eagle?

I must agree with Elliot Olshansky in that this whole can of worms is perhaps the most entertaining storyline of the off-season.

Although previously it was reported not only here, but by other media sources (reportedly first leaked to NESN) that Boston College goaltender Cory Schneider will sign with the Vancouver Canucks, it appears as though those reports were, if not absolutely spurious, at least a tad bit premature.

Olshansky reports, courtesy of an interview in a Boston media source, that according to Schneider, nothing has been signed. Well, at least for now.

"I haven’t signed anything yet; I am mulling it over. We’re discussing and talking, but nothing is official. I don’t know where the reports are coming from," notes the BC netminder during an interview with metrobostonnews.com.

Schneider will, however, attend the Canucks' prospect conditioning camp, and says that he will have a decision made by sometime this week.

Boston College will be in a precarious situation if Schneider were to leave, as they would have only one goaltender on their roster. That one goaltenter, Adam Reasoner, has seen one collegiate game during his tenure with the Eagles.

One would think that the Canuck situation, however, shouldn't be appealing to Schneider. Although he is a highly coveted prospect, he will likely see plenty of minor league time before making the step up to the NHL. To further complicate things, Vancouver already has a star goaltender in Roberto Luongo on their roster.

On the strength of Schneider's play, BC has done quite well over the last few years. While Schneider was pulling down nice numbers in-net while an Eagle (GAA of 2.053, 15 shutouts, and a save percentage of 0.923), the Eagles were tearing through the NCAA tournament in 2006 and 2007, only to be stopped by even hotter teams in the NCAA championship game. And perhaps that - the opportunity to still win a title as an Eagle - will keep Schneider from signing on the dotted line.

But of course, the NHL, and perhaps the urge to get payed for his hockey endeavors, could be too much for the Marblehead, Massachusetts native.

Perhaps Elliot Olshansky said it best,

"(Schneider) has room to grow at the college level. He gave up four or more goals in seven games this season, one sixth of the games he played for the Eagles. While most of those games came early on in the season - the embarrassing loss to Notre Dame, the Election Night loss to Harvard, the pre-Thanksgiving disaster against New Hampshire - there were also a couple later in the season. One school of thought on when players should make the jump to the professional level is whether one is truly ready for the next level before he's dominated the level he's at. If that's the case, Schneider should focus on being dominant over a 34-game regular season before he sets his sights on 82."

Alaska Legislature to Appropriate $1 Million Toward New Seawolf Arena.

KTUU.com reports that the legislature of the state of Alaska will appropriate $1,000,000 towards the planning and development of a new multipurpose sports facility and arena to be located on the Alaska-Anchorage campus.

The new complex will reportedly house state-of-the-art basketball facilities and a new ice hockey arena. In addition, the facility will likely be the new home for UAA basketball, UAA hockey, and the annual Great Alaska Shootout basketball tournament.

"Construction of a sports complex to meet both the needs of our students and the Municipality is an important step in strengthening community partnerships and developing the Anchorage campus," notes UAA chancellor Fran Ulmer.

According to the KTUU report, the hockey and basketball arena capacities have not yet been finalised, and will likely not be finalised until plans for the new facility are completed (about one year from now). When the story was first leaked, however, The UAA Fan Blog reported that the new hockey arena might contain a seating capacity of around 10,000.

In addition, Donald has posted an update regarding the new arena at his blog.

UPDATE: Apparently after some thought, Alaska's Governor Palin has decided to veto a percentage of the state budjet which included the UAA arena funds.

(Photo courtesy of: goseawolves.com. Hi-res photos available at: The UAA Fan Blog)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Schneider Close to Leaving BC.

The College Hockey News reports that Boston College goaltender Cory Schneider is close to signing on the dotted line for the Vancouver Canucks.

On the strength of Schneider’s in-net play, Boston College appeared in the last two NCAA championship games, but were defeated in both contests by Wisconsin and Michigan State in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Schneider’s record, after three seasons (98 games), stands at 66-26-7.

In addition, Schneider amassed a GAA of 2.053, 15 shutouts, and a save percentage of 0.923 in his last three seasons with the Eagles.

Schneider, if he were to sign at this point, would very likely see plenty of minor league time before stepping up to the Canucks, however. As Vancouver GM Dave Nonis notes, “Cory needs to spend more time developing, playing 50 or 60 games (in the minors) and being in a pro environment.”

Nonis, who currently has star goaltender Roberto Luongo on the Canuck roster, also downplayed trade rumors which include the BC standout. As Nonis notes in the Vancouver Sun, “I’ve had teams inquire about him lots of times, but we know what Cory is. He is a very good prospect who has worked hard to develop and come a long way.”

Vancouver selected Schneider, a native of Marblehead, Massachusetts, with the 26th overall pick in the 2004 draft.

(Photo courtesy of: http://bceagles.cstv.com)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

MacMillian’s New Gig.

“We have an opportunity that our family is very excited about, but I am not at liberty to discuss yet,” noted former Nanook head coach Tavis MacMillian during his departing press conference.

Now, I doubt this was the “opportunity” that MacMillan was referring to, however, it looks as though MacMillan (pictured to the left with the Alaska Governors cup) will not be leaving hockey coaching entirely.

WCH reports (courtesy of Elliot Olshansky of CSTV) that MacMillan will be the new head coach at Minnetonka High School, a high school located in Minnetonka, Minnesota (a southwestern suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota). According to their official website, The Minnetonka Skippers finished 16-6-4 last season and lost their first round state playoff game.

Allegedly, one of the reasons for MacMillan’s leaving of Alaska centered around his wife finding better employment within Minnesota, however no reports have been issued clarifying what exactly that new job was.

Chris at WCH reveals MacMillan would not be alone in regard to high profile hockey people taking jobs at Minnesota high schools, as former Wisconsin assistant coach Troy Ward and former 20-plus year NHL veteran Phil Housley currently coach high school teams in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

MacMillan left Alaska-Fairbanks on April 5th and was replaced by former UNO assistant Doc DelCastillo.

(Photo courtesy of: The UAF Sun Star)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

NHL Draft: An Alternative View – DHMILFs.

(A. Allens Note: You know, I was going to avoid NHL draft coverage for two reasons. One, about 80% of the time, I cannot tolerate the NHL. Two, honestly, coverage wise, I would have gotten intellectually destroyed if I posted anything draft-related when compared to what is available at the other big blogs and websites. Donald, however, has posted perhaps the greatest draft analysis of all.)

I watched the NHL Draft today. I’m a hockey fan, but frankly, I don’t usually have enough energy to closely follow anything other than my beloved Seawolves. But, jonesin’ for hockey has its results, and in this case, I looked forward to the draft show.

I’ve read tons of stuff from the experts and was impressed with the extent of some of pre-draft research these bloggers must have done in order to sound like they knew what they were talking about. And now, there is an absolute plethora of mavens, geniuses and otherwise pretentious assessments of the draft results all over the “Internets.” Over at Western College Hockey, Chris provided much pre-draft linkage and included his own mock draft. There’s literally dozens of great hockey minds covering (too many to link here) the event and offering their analysis. You’ve probably read some (or perhaps a lot) of it already. Honestly though, I'm pretty burned out on it all. How many times can anyone be expected to read about how and why that Russian kid slipped down the draft list?

Well, I’m not about to sit here today and second-guess any NHL organization or pretend I know more than professionals that have covered these events for years. I’m just a 30 year hockey fan who has only seen four of the kids taken in the first round play in person. So, what can I add that all these other geniuses haven’t said already? One thing: an analysis of the hotness (or lack thereof) of the moms of these future superstars. WTF?

Ever since I’ve blogged, I’ve noticed a propensity among female hockey fans to “rate” players on their looks. I’ve actually chided a couple of female bloggers for doing so (as I see it as a sort of reverse-misogyny). They, of course, told me to relax and in doing so I was inspired. So today, that state of mind produced this idea. I kicked back and took it upon myself to rate the Draft Hockey Moms I’d Like to… um… well… you know… “F.” Hence, the “alternative view.”

I did some quick searching for pictures, but hockey mothers aren’t exactly simple to Google and anything more than just a cursory search made me feel creepy. As to my “ratings,” they’re a combination of a fantastic algorithm I developed as well as input from a huge collection of internet wankers – most of who all spend way too much time on USCHO’s fan forum. Ok, ok, I made that up so it didn’t seem like I’m just spewing my own preferences.

The Blackhawks took Pat Kane with the 1st pick. I mention him here because his Ma was definitely the hottest in the round. On the street, I’ll pretty much always give a straight-haired brunette a 2nd look, but Mrs. Kane would be worthy of a long and inappropriate stare. I gave her a rating of 8.5.

I should say here that I’m 46 years old and am generally attracted to women close to my age. I’m not saying that if a 26 year old “super-fox” (70’s word) was stalking me I’d call the cops or get a restraining order, but experience and maturity definitely have advantages over youth in my book.

After Pat’s Mum it’s pretty much all downhill. With that said, here’s the rest…

1.) Mrs. Kane. My rating: 8.5.

2.) Mrs. Gagner. Another brunette whom I gave an overall 8. She didn’t get as much camera time for me to be really be cocky about my rating, but her hairstyle and color was enough for me to put her in this spot. My rating: 8.0.

3.) Mrs. Alzner. The only downside she seemed to have was a slight (and it was very slight) amount of that tricep-flab that you’d mostly notice if she put her arm out the window of a fast moving car. My rating: 7.5.

4.) Mrs. White. A nice looking well-shaped strawberry blonde (almost a redhead!). Her son takes after her a bit. My rating: 7.0-7.5.

5.) Mrs. Shattenkirk. Could have easily been #4 overall, but more “cute” than “hot.” I guess she’d be a “can’t miss” mid-round pick. My rating: 7.0-7.5.

6.) Mrs. Sutter. I was never a fan of any of the Sutter brutters. Sure, they worked hard and were gritty contributors – I wouldn’t take that away from them. None of them ever played on a team I liked, though, so they didn’t excite me. I’d assume Mrs. Sutter (and I have no idea which Sutter brutter she married) is probably a hardworking wife and mother as well. She reminded me a bit of Saturday Night Live’s Aunt Linda (played by Kristen Wiig). My rating: 7.0.

7.) Mrs. Blum. The most appropriately dressed mother in attendance. Again, not a lot of camera time to make my assessment. Being a cancer survivor though is kinda sexy. My rating: 7.0.

8.) Mrs. Plante. In some need of a couple of big surf and turf dinners. My rating: 6.5-7.0.

9.) Mrs. Nash. Could have been higher on the list if she actually had some eyebrows. And if you’re going with a sleeveless top you should probably do something to make sure your white bra straps don’t show, eh? My rating: 6.5.

10.) Mrs. Esposito. Maybe could have been rated a bit higher if her kid didn’t look exactly like her. My rating: 6.0-6.5.

The rest are simply not worthy of comment, but since I took notes…

“…from Mrs. McDonagh’s droopy eyes…, to Mrs. Cotoure, who could probably eat corn on the cob through Venetian blinds with those teeth…, to Mrs. Hamill, who instead of Dorothy’s cute coif, had some crazily frosted freak hair…, to Mrs. Bovace’s Martina Navratilova face…, or even Mrs. “Skeletor” Hickey who seriously needs to burger up daily.”

I’m sure they are wonderful moms and all that. I’d bet most of them are probably excellent cooks or perhaps even skilled professionals if they have jobs other than hockey mom. But yeah, I wouldn’t pork any of them with Dean Talafous’ litt…(A. Allen’s note #2: Heh… use your imagination, folks.).

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.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

UMass-Lowell Hockey Officially Saved: New Arena Deal Reached.

A quick update on Lowell's now ending plight.

After a series of city and university trustees' votes, a new arena deal has been approved between the city of Lowell and UML, and the RiverHawks will live to play again for at least one more year. Although nothing was mentioned regarding the reduction of per-game fees, the $50,000 fee UML pays to use Lowell's Tsongas Arena has been entirely axed, and also, UML will recieve a larger cut of food and advertising profits, the Lowell Sun reports.

While UML will be paying less to play at Tsongas, the city of Lowell approved a fee-raise for the city's minor league team. The Lowell Devils will now be paying a yearly fee of $275,000 to play at the city's arena -- up from $150,000 last year.

However, with the financial restructuring of both of the arena's hockey tenants, city officials are still worrying about taking massive arena-related losses in the future. Tsongas, as of the 30th of April, lost over $780,000, and is on a record pace to lose more money by the end of the '07 fiscal year.

Link : New Arena Deal Between University and City Could Save Hockey Program.
Link : Arena Woes Continue for UMass-Lowell, Program in Limbo.

Friday, June 08, 2007

North to Alaska… Literally: UNO’s DelCastillo Gets the Head Coaching Job in Fairbanks.

The newest Nanook is coming. His name? Doc DelCastillo, and he hails from Nebraska.

Actually, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, to be specific.

The CHN reports that UNO assistant Doc DelCastillo has been hired as the new head coach at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. DelCastillo is the seventh head hockey coach at Alaska-Fairbanks in the 27-year history of the program.

DelCastillo replaces former head coach and Alaska-Fairbanks Alumnus Tavis MacMillan, who, after three seasons, amassed an overall record of 46-54-15 with the Nanooks. During his tenure, MacMillan guided the Nanooks to nine CCHA playoff victories, three first-round road playoff series wins, and wins against three #1 ranked teams – including a memorable series against Minnesota in 2005, where UAF defeated and tied the #1 Golden Gophers in consecutive nights at Mariucci Arena.

MacMillan resigned from Alaska’s head coaching position on April 5th, noting that he wanted to “pursue other opportunities in the hockey world.” Although MacMillan did not clarify what those “other opportunities” were, CHN reports that MacMillan will be following his wife to Minneapolis for business-related reasons.

Before coaching at UNO, DelCastillo was a head coach in the USHL for three seasons, and also was an assistant at St. Cloud State. DelCastillo played at SCSU from 1988 to 1992, and was named as a captain at forward in his senior year.

Alaska AD Forrest Karr noted that DelCastillo, who was a finalist for the head coaching job at Alabama-Huntsville, was hired in part because of his recruiting prowess and his “… history of elevating some Division I programs that are within Division II athletic departments.”

DelCastillo beat out St. Cloud State assistant Eric Rud, current Alaska assistant Wade Klippenstein, and Wisconsin assistant Kevin Patrick for the job.

For more information regarding the new hire in Fairbanks, visit Eric Carlsons “Alaska Nanooks Hockey” Blog.

(Photo courtesy of: http://alaskananooks.cstv.com)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New Arena Deal Between University and City Could Save Hockey Program.

UMass-Lowell hockey has possibly been averted from the direction of the trustees’ axe for, at the least, one more year.

The Lowell Sun reports that a tenative, 1-year arena deal between the City of Lowell and UMass-Lowell has been reached, allowing the program to continue using the city’s 6,500-seat Tsongas Arena.

A University-hired task-force requested the University’s trustees to terminate the hockey program if a number of arena fees were not either reduced or completely done away with by June 21st – the date of the trustees’ next meeting. It was reported that UMass-Lowell was paying a yearly $50,000 fee and a per-game fee of $6,000.

The Lowell Sun reports that the new deal would eliminate the $50,000 fee, give UMass-Lowell a larger percentage of concession profits, give the University a 50-50 split of advertising profits on the arena’s exterior billboard, and disallow future Lowell Devils (the city’s minor league team)/UML Riverhawks doubleheaders.

A tripping point of the new UML deal could arise with the city’s minor league franchise, however. A current deal between the Lowell Devils and the city of Lowell explicitly gives all arena advertising profits to the city’s minor league team. The city’s contract with the Devils will expire after the 2007-’08 season, but the Devils have the option to accept a 2-year extension of that deal by December 31st.

Although terms of the deal were agreed upon by Lowell city manager Bernie Lynch and UML AD Dana Skinner, the new deal still awaits the vote of the City’s arena commission, which will take place Thursday (6/7).

(Photo courtesy of: http://www.goriverhawks.com/)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fear Not The Big Ten Hockey Conference.

College Hockey America is tanking. Not the latest news to most of us college hockey fans. Bemidji St., Alabama-Huntsville, Niagara, Robert Morris and Wayne St. are all looking for a permanent conference home and not many doors are being opened for them. It began last season when Air Force decided to move to Atlantic Hockey. They have lots of good reasons, I suppose, but I think the CHA should have sued them. Doesn't matter at this point. There's five teams looking for a home.

Bemidji St. went "all in" prematurely with their "let us in the WCHA or we'll fold" strategy. Unfortunately, they didn't bother to gauge the WCHA's "we ain't changing a damn thing" attitude before that gambit. Alabama-Huntsville potentially has the most to lose. Doug Ross doesn't deserve to have his 25-year career there tarnished by outside forces right after he retired following UAH's first trip to the NCAA's. UAH was an "Independent" team back in the day along with UAA and UAF. I feel their pain in particular. If the WCHA hadn't agreed to accept UAA then I'd probably be out mowing the lawn instead of writing this. The situation at Mass-Lowell might present an opportunity (if a current ECAC team wants into HE) for Niagara, though I doubt anyone really wants to see that stupidity turn out badly for Lowell. I don't really know what will happen with Wayne State and Robert Morris. But, without a major change from both the WCHA and CCHA, the CHA programs could be toast. The NCAA is giving the CHA one more year with an auto-bid for their undersized conference. After that... they're on their own.

This subject inevitably leads in a discussion of conference realignment, which inevitably leads to discussion of the formation of a Big Ten Hockey Conference (BTHC). There are endless conference realignment scenarios. Some OK, and some not as OK. Most of them have an attempt at regionally aligning teams for reduction of travel and eventual building of regional rivalries. All well and good. But I'm not about to jump into that, lest I feel like Mendelev shuffling crap around to create the periodic table. Best to mention that, unlike the logic and beauty of Mendelev's periodic table, I'd likely come up with something ugly that nobody likes. It isn't easy, and someone isn't happy no matter the proposal. Someone needs to step up to help the CHA.

It won't be the WCHA – they don't want to change. Its members fear it. Big successful entities are always like that. It's just a fact of institutional evolution. If it ain't broke, don't fix it... eh? But the truth is the WCHA's desire to maintain the status quo could potentially bite it in the ass. Minnesota and Wisconsin are going to bolt for a BTHC. It's as inevitable as the melting of the global ice caps. Seriously, about 4 seconds after another Big Ten school announces a men’s hockey program, Bucky and Goldy are gone. Big Ten alumni all over the country want to see it, and they notoriously are big contributors to their schools athletic departments. There is a new Big Ten Cable/Satellite TV Network. The BTHC is gonna happen. Anyway, aren't Wisconsin and Minnesota sorta like Ununoctium and Ununhexium? They're the big boys on the periodic table, but have less and less relevance to the broader community. I don't think Germanium and Iridium should really lose any sleep because two really heavy elements might be short-lived. The CCHA would likewise survive; it would likely gain some parity. There are 4 haves and a lotta have-nots in that league. Having three of the haves jump to the BTHC would mean better overall competition and NCAA appearances for a school or two that are now pretty much have-nots.

So what is it that the WCHA fears so much that it'll bury its administrative head in the sand? Losing their cash cows. Minnesota and Wisconsin in the league = more money than Minnesota and Wisconsin in the BTHC. They're rink-fillers. Not as many people show up to watch DU play Robert Morris as when the Gophs or Badgers come to town. When you've got two big boys in the conference to boost your attendance (even if it is on a rotating unbalanced schedule) that's something you grasp tightly. The Final Five is the big loss though. It has very high attendance, a fat TV contract and all 10 league teams share its handsome profits. A WCHA tournament without Minnesota and Wisconsin might not outdo the Frozen Four anymore but it can still make money. I doubt though, that there's a single WCHA AD that would take any action that might lead to Minnesota and Wisconsin leaving. But that is short-sighted in my opinion. Planning for the inevitable is always smarter than pretending it ain't gonna happen. And there just doesn't seem to be any way to keep the BTHC from happening at some point. If you know what the future holds, then plan for it.

Does anyone really think very much would change on the college hockey landscape with a BTHC? I sure don't. Hey Donald... the BTHC would dominate recruiting! Don't Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin already "dominate" recruiting? One of those three has had the #1 recruiting class since I can remember. If anything, come tournament time, it's likely that more than a couple of the BTHC teams would be on the outside looking in. As it is, more of them get into the NCAA's than don't. It actually might be more challenging for them to make the tourney from the BTHC. And doesn't that mean that some other team(s) might get a bid? How is that a bad thing? Oh, but Donald... wouldn't they all just get into the tourney and keep the other 54 schools from winning it all? They do plenty of that already don't they? So yeah... those teams will continue to be a huge factor in terms of national championships. No difference to the college hockey world.

So I think there is only one reasonable alternative. Embrace change. Fear not the BTHC. The remaining 8 WCHA teams will do just fine and could likely pick up two potential future powerhouses in UBC and Calgary (Canadian schools seeking NCAA membership). Predicting any sort of major demise for a WCHA without Bucky and Goldy is imprudent and overly sensationalistic in my view. The terrorists are not going to follow us home. Such pronouncements are just fear-mongering. Could WCHA members lose a couple of bucks? Yeah, they could. Cede the mighty Big 10 schools their greatness and allow (nay... push, cajole, encourage) them into a Big Ten league. There's no downside for the Big Ten schools. I can't imagine why they'd be against it and the minimal downside for the WCHA (and/or the CCHA) isn't worth crying about.

Only the BTHC can save CHA member programs. Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Minnesota have a chance to save almost 10 percent of the programs in Division 1. They should step up by stepping out on their own. They can handle it. They're the Big Boys. Will they? I have my doubts.

A Thank-you (or Two), a Heads-up, and Does Anybody Like Re-runs?

First off, some housekeeping to take care of. A big thanks goes out to Chris at the Western College Hockey blog for a nice plug. Also, a big thanks to those bloggers that put this blog in their link-list; I know that bunch includes the Hockey in Wisconsin Blog, the UNH Men’s Hockey Blog, the Wisconsin Hockey Blog, and the UAA Fan Blog. If I somehow forgot mentioning your blog, please E-mail me and I’ll make an edit to this post. Really, a ton of the growth here has been thanks to the fellow bloggers out in the college hockey blogosphere.

And speaking of growth, the growth here thus far has been quite nice. We’ve had over 550 visits and 1,100 hits as of early morning June 3rd. I say that’s not bad, considering the blog’s only about four days old or so. That merits a nice “thank you” to our new readers.

And speaking of that UAA Blog, as many of you know, Donald will be posting his thoughts regarding this crazy, crazy world of college hockey here at tCH(&OS)B. For those of you who don’t know of Donald and his work, it might be a good idea to get out from under that large boulder before you suffocate (A harmless joke, folks!). Anyway, Donald is the one-man show at the Fan Blog, and is perhaps one of the sharpest and funniest bloggers out there. Be forewarned, however, as some people know from his USCHO.com forum days, Donald is very opinionated and can be extremely controversial. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Donald’s comments contain that certain “bite” that is unique to Donald alone. I personally am quite excited to read his first post here, and think that many of you will enjoy his future posts here as well.

And before I forget, I need to thank Donald for giving this blog an excellent plug. Anyway, if you want to get a preview of what Donald might bring here, you might want to check out his UAA Hockey Fan Blog.

Anyway, speaking of blogs, I will probably toss together another College Hockey Blog Round-Up in about two weeks or so, but it might get pushed forward or back depending on other blog updates and whatnot. Stay on the lookout for that.

Finally, as many of you know, aside from waiting to hear UMass-Lowell’s fate and the announcement regarding U of A’s new head coach, the last couple of news days in the college hockey world have been slow – something to be expected in the off-season. However, when it’s close to the off-season for just about every college sport, all of these college sports-dedicated television networks on the lower satellite and digital cable tiers start getting desperate for programming. Thankfully for us, some college hockey game re-airs tend to get tossed into the fray to fill a few hours. (I guess you can only show that USC volleyball game from nine months ago or that week-eight episode of Inside Cornhusker Football so many times before the tapes combust from friction, or something like that.)

So, if you’re starved for college hockey, you might want to set your TiVo, or PVR, or doodle on your calendar, or chisel something into a stone slab if need be. However, the next two weeks shouldn’t be too difficult to remember – all upcoming games (that I know of) will be on FCS Atlantic.

Friday, June 8th
Minnesota @ Minnesota-Duluth (11/4/06)– FCS-A
St. Cloud State @ Minnesota (11/10/06) – FCS-A
Minnesota @ St. Cloud State (11/11/06)– FCS-A

Friday, June 15th
Minn. St.-Mank. @ Minnesota (12/1/06) – FCS-A
Denver @ Minnesota (1/20/07) – FCS-A
Minn. St.-Mank. @ Denver (12/8/06) – FCS-A

Check your local listings for start times, but if I remember correctly the games aren’t that late in the day. I might be wrong, though.

And remember – it’s television. Things are always subject to change without notice or reason. Actually, that’s just a good lesson for life in general. :-)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Resurrection of a Mascot.

I’ve had a horror film idea for quite some time now. Now, work with me here… the plot of the film would feature a male and female couple that decide to take a vacation up to a rustic ski resort-like cabin somewhere high in the mountains. In the middle of the night, the male and female characters decide to take a dip in an old, wooden hot tub that sits adjacent to the cabin. After some time, both characters begin to get, shall we say… intimate. After things start getting hot n’ heavy, POW! The woman gets an old, rusty axe driven through her neck. The male character, horrified, sits in a tub filled with his ladyfriend’s blood and her disconnected head partially submerged in the pool of crimson.

The male main character looks up from the carnage, and is further horrified at what he sees staring at him.

It was a zombified, mildewed, Expos-era Youppi!, in dirty old baseball regalia, holding the axe covered in the woman’s blood.

Naturally, this film would be called “Attack of the Zombie Sports Mascots.”

The duration of the film would feature the male character trying to avert the likes of, among other defunct mascots, a brain-hungry Mr. Red, a bloodthirsty San Francisco Giants’ Crazy Crab, and a chainsaw-wielding Ole Miss’ Colonel Reb.

But somewhere in that un-dead and unruly mob of oversized animal/non-animal creatures with comedicly large stomachs and multicolored fur would be the old Denver University standby, the perpetually-smiling, seemingly jovial Boone (pictured above).

Granted, perhaps that imagery above was a tiny-bit on the gory side, but why am I bringing this up now? It looks as though we are very close to seeing Boone resurrected from the dead in some capacity. Now, I doubt Boone will return as a zombie (except for, perhaps, Halloween time), but the Boone movement at the Denver University camp looks to be in full swing and hard-charging.

The Walt Disney-designed, coon-skinned-cap-adorned Boone, introduced in 1968, was a popular fixture at DU, but was eliminated in 1999 for somewhat mysterious reasons. According to this DU Clarion article (subscription possibly required), potential theories ranged from his “obvious lack of sophistication to his portrayal of the Western stereotype of a guy.”

Boone was replaced by a “gender-neutral” hawk-like creature named Ruckus, and was met with immediate opposition by the Denver University community.

“… you can't spell Ruckus without “u suck.”’, notes “Let’s Go DU” blog.

“Ruckus: Razor-sharp beak. Boone: Never-say-die spirit to fulfill Manifest Destiny; funny hat. Advantage – Boone. I like the hat.”

Assuming for a second that the Pioneers, Cowboys, Mavericks, Sooners, the US Government, or whomever else contributed to the decline of the Native American population, one thing everyone can agree on; Walt Disney’s caricature did nothing to harm anyone...”, notes This whole mess was created by a past administration, near as I can tell, most of whom never attended the University of Denver. The fact that Boone was eradicated and none of our Alumni protested at the time is an embarrassment and the blame lies solely on our alumni, myself included. We didn't fight to protect our mascot.”

Outside of the college hockey blogosphere, it looks as though the fight for the return of Boone has a significant amount of student-generated momentum behind it.

A group of students have created a Facebook page promoting the mascot (who has over 400 friends as of June 1), and a general campus fervor has been generated by students to get Boone back.

And perhaps the Boone-zeal will trickle upward.

As noted here in the May 31st blog round-up, Denver University’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment has very recently released a poll regarding which of the two mascots their undergraduate students prefer. After the polls close today, June 1st, the poll results will be presented to administrative officials.

“We need everyone to realize that this is their athletic program. This program belongs to the students – not to me, not to the coaches, not the TV stations. Without the students we are not here,” notes Denver’s athletic director Peg Bradley-Doppes in a DU Clarion article.

Judging from the number of people that are “pro-Boone,” if Bradley-Doppes sticks to her guns, I would think that the students are going to get their wish. It is, after all, their athletic program.”

Maybe, just maybe, some sports mascots, at least the good ones, never actually die. Or become the un-dead.

(Photo courtesy of: du.edu)

Friday, June 01, 2007

New Coach in at Alabama-Huntsville.

Slightly old news here (April 30th), but newsworthy nonetheless. (Thought it would be a good idea to add more to the coaching changes label, as we will probably have a new coaching announcement within the next few weeks. Just a run you up to speed post.)

The Alabama-Huntsville athletic department has announced their new head hockey coach in Danton Cole (pictured to the left shaking hands with UAH AD Jim Harris) who was a one-year assistant at Bowling Green State, the College Hockey News reports.

Cole is replacing Doug Ross, who is retiring after a 25-year coaching career. Ross, who announced his retirement mid-season, lead the Chargers to the CHA tournament championship (despite a 10-19 season record) and an NCAA Tournament bid. Ross’ Chargers then lost to Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in double overtime.

Bowling Green State finished last in the CCHA last season (12th, 5-22-1, 11pts), but the Falcons did show flashes of brilliance in their last five regular season games, beating Michigan at home and Michigan State in East Lansing. They did, however, go two-and-out in the CCHA playoffs against Nebraska-Omaha, but played two hard-fought games which included an overtime loss.

In addition to Cole’s one year at Bowling Green, Cole was the head coach for the UHL’s Motor City Mechanics and the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Cole, a Pontiac, Michigan native, also played for the 1986 national champion Michigan State Spartans and was a three-time All-CCHA Acedemic Team member. In addition, Cole was a recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor at MSU. After his collegiate career, Cole had an 11-year professional career, which included a Stanley Cup championship with New Jersey in 1995.

(Photo courtesy of: http://bgsufalcons.cstv.com)

'Breaking' Away From Exempt Status: New NCAA Legislation Affects Exempt Tournaments.

Elliot Olshansky at CSTV.com reports that the NCAA has allegedly done away with one of the more-attractive qualities and distinct advantages of certain tournaments. That attractive quality? Exempt status, which allows for teams participating in certain tournaments to play in tournament games without having to count those games toward the NCAA maximum of 34 games per season.

According to Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna, “The NCAA passed legislation that would do away with exempted events. It’s not just hockey legislation. It’s somewhat convoluted.... all that’s really pertinent for the hockey part of it is that this NCAA process that took place completely outside of hockey resulted in the elimination of exemptions.”

Tournaments this new legislation will affect include the Hockey Commissioners Association’s Ice Breaker Tournament, the Lefty McFadden Invitational, and UNO’s Maverick Stampede, among with others in varying sports.

Catamounts Closer to New Multipurpose Arena.

“Mounted” high on the recent success of the basketball and hockey teams, and riding the coattails of a 57 game home hockey sellout streak, the Vermont Catamounts are apparently closer to a new 6,500 seat facility that will house the hockey and basketball programs, the College Hockey News reports.

Recently, the University completed a series of “feasibility tests,” along with the drawing of preliminary blueprints and diagrams for the new facility.

AD Bob Corran told the Burlington Free Press that, “… the same lockers are in (Gutterson Fieldhouse) as were there the day the place opened. Our fitness center is overcrowded, all the recreation space is overcrowded, (and) our intramural leagues are oversubscribed. There is a demand for more space.”

The new facility will be the primary hockey home for the Catamounts upon its completion, taking the place of the 4,035 seat, nearly 45-year-old Gutterson Fieldhouse (pictured above). Both Gutterson Fieldhouse and Patrick Gymnasium, the basketball facility, will remain standing after the new facility is completed.

The new facility is projected to cost $50 to $60 million dollars.

(Photo courtesy of: http://www.uvm.edu/athletics)

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