2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Midweek reading: North Dakota coach; Miami’s hopes; Omaha-Pens pipeline; Robert Morris contract

    Tue, July 22, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    UNDMay obitThe first North Dakota coach to win a national championship (1958)  passed away over the weekend. My condolences to his family and friends.

    Brian Coleman’s return from injury and a defense-first mentality sparked Miami’s postseason run the league title game and (almost) the NCAAs. The RedHawks are hopeful they can carry that momentum over into next season.

    Nebraska-Omaha and the Penguins organization have a number of connections.

    Former Air Force assistant Derek Schooley received a long-term contract extension at Robert Morris.

  • Colorado College alum Kawano is program’s first director of hockey operations

    Fri, July 11, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Kawano actionIt is another homecoming for the Colorado College staff with former goalie Chris Kawano named as the program’s first director of hockey operations and video coordinator.

    New coach Mike Haviland said Kawano’s experience as a student and player at CC along with his relationship with the private school’s faculty and fellow alumni all played a role in making him the best hire. He was one of three finalists, all former CC players.

    “All three finalists fit that bill,” Haviland said after the school announced the hire on Friday. “But the more people I talked to around campus about him the more obvious it became that he was such a well-regarded young man in his time here. He is a great choice. He has a tremendous attention to detail.”

    During his junior season, Kawano was named to the all-Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s all-academic team and received the program’s annual Dave Peterson team award as most improved player. 

    After graduating in 2007 with a sociology degree, Kawano, now 29, spent two years as a graduate assistant with the Bemidji State women’s hockey team, which was coached by former Tiger Steve Sertich. Kawano worked with the goaltenders and handled video analysis.

    His main duty will be video analysis while he will also serve as a faculty liason and keep track of the players’ academic progress.

    Haviland hope the alum can also help bring former players back to support the program.

    The Aurora, Colo. native played for the Tigers from 2003-07, recording a 2-2 record in eight appearances, including six games as a junior (.902 saves percentage). As a sophomore, he served as a backup on the team that reached the 2005 NCAA Frozen Four national semifinals.

    Kawano wants to relive that experience and improve on it now as part of the coaching staff.

    “CC should be a top-10 team every year and I believe a national championship is not too far away,” Kawano said in a press release.

    Kawano spent the past three years with Planet Hockey, which holds youth camps across the nation. His final camp was at Sertich Ice Center this week.

    “Working at Colorado College is the perfect job for me at this point in my life,” Kawano said. “It really combines the interests that I have as well as the goals I want to achieve. Coach Haviland is a guy you want to work for and learn from.”

    Haviland, who is spending the next three weeks recruiting along with recently hired assistants RJ Enga and Gene Reilly, will begin a search for a volunteer goalie coach once he and his family settle in Colorado Springs this August.

  • Weekend reading: Miami rink, UNO exhibition, Chase Perry

    Fri, July 11, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Miami locker roomMiami completed $2 million in renovations to its ice hockey venue recently.

    Nebraska-Omaha hockey added an exhibition game against the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) to its 2014-15 schedule. The two teams will meet on Monday, Oct. 6 at 7:07 p.m. CT at the CenturyLink Center.

    The game will be the second meeting between the two schools.  The Mavericks won the first game, 6-1, at the beginning of last season.  The Mavericks have begun nearly every season against a Canadian university and are 16-2-0 all-time in those games.

    The NAHL wrote an article about incoming Tigers goalie Chase Perry.

  • Air Force schedule continues to trickle in

    Wed, July 9, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    AFAlogo2012Canisius and Niagara announced their 2014-15  schedules recently, allowing me to further piece together the Air Force schedule.  The Atlantic Hockey Association program will announce its schedule later this month.

    Here are the 27 confirmed Falcon games, not including the exhibition, out of a possible 36 (two extra with the Alaska nonconference exemption) as of July 9.

    (Home games in CAPS):

    Oct. 6, McGILL UNIVERSITY (exhibition)

    Oct. 17, at Alaska-Fairbanks (Brice Gold Rush)

    Oct. 18, vs. Alaska-Anchorage (Brice Gold Rush)

    Oct. 24-25 RIT

    Nov. 1, at North Dakota (Hall of Fame Game)

    Nov. 7-8, ALABAMA-HUNTSVILLE

    Nov. 14-15 at Robert Morris

    Nov. 21 at Denver

    Nov. 22 COLORADO COLLEGE

    Nov. 28-29 at Canisius

    Dec. 5-6 at Bentley

    Jan. 2-3 at Holy Cross

    Jan. 9-10 NIAGARA

    Jan. 16-17, 2014 ARMY

    Jan. 30-31 ROBERT MORRIS

    Feb. 20-21 at Niagara

    Feb. 27-28 CANISIUS

    March 6-8 AHA first round playoffs

    March 13-15 AHA quarterfinals

    March 20-21 AHA Final Four, Rochester, N.Y.

  • Seven Tigers competing at NHL development camps

    Mon, July 7, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Harstad goalSeven current and former Tigers are taking part in NHL developmental camps this week:

    Alums Alexander Krushelknyski (Edmonton) and Rylan Schwartz (San Jose) are taking part as are incoming senior defensemen Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych, both with Winnipeg.

    Hunter Fejes is at the Arizona Coyotes’ facility while incoming freshman defenseman Teemu Kivihalme is in Nashville.

    Former defenseman Gustav Olofsson is camping with the Wild. Krushelnyski is the only free agent among the seven. The other are under  contract as young pros (Olofsson, Schwartz) or are draft picks.

  • 13 Falcons make AHA all-academic team

    Mon, July 7, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    mckenzie-gazetteThe Atlantic Hockey Association announced its 2013-14 all-academic team and a school record 13 Air Force players were recognized, including four-time honoree Adam McKenzie, pictured.

    The first-time honorees were: Max Birkinbine (Fr.; F; White Bear Lake, Minn.); Ryan Dau (Fr.; F; Hudson, Wisc.); Chad Demers (Jr.; F; Grafton, N.D.); Mike McDonald (Jr.; D; Mahtomedi, Minn.); George Michalke (Jr.; F; Parma, Ohio); Chris Truehl (Fr.; G; Stoughton, Wisc.); Dan Weissenhofer (Jr.; D; Naperville, Ill.).

    Two-time honorees were: Chris Dylewski, (So.; G; Colorado Springs, Colo.); Jason Fabian (Sr.; F; Roseau, Minn.); Tony Thomas (Sr.; F; South Lyon, Mich.);

    Three-time honorees: Ben Persian (Jr.; F; Orono, Minn.); Jason Torf (Sr.; G; Hermosa Beach, Calif.).

    Four-time honoree: Adam McKenzie (Sr.; D;  Petaluma, Calif.).

  • Weekend reading: AFA schedule, Hlinka commits, WMU hire, NHL draft picks

    Thu, July 3, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Burnett actionHoly Cross and RIT announced its schedule as did exhibition foe McGill University of Montreal, allowing me to piece together the Air Force hockey schedule some more.

    The program will announce its schedule later this month.

    Here are the confirmed Falcon games as of July 2 (Home games in CAPS):

    Oct. 6, McGILL UNIVERSITY (exhibition)

    Oct. 17, at Alaska-Fairbanks (Brice Gold Rush)

    Oct. 18, vs. Alaska-Anchorage (Brice Gold Rush)

    Oct. 24-25 RIT

    Nov. 1, at North Dakota (Hall of Fame Game)

    Nov. 7-8, ALABAMA-HUNTSVILLE

    Nov. 14-15 at Robert Morris

    Nov. 21 at Denver

    Nov. 22 COLORADO COLLEGE

    Dec. 5-6 at Bentley

    Jan. 2-3 at Holy Cross

    Jan. 16-17, 2014 ARMY

    Jan. 30-31 ROBERT MORRIS

    Thirteen of the 22 players selected for the u18 Ivan Hlinka tournament are college commits. Three remain uncommitted.

    Denver commit commit Troy Terry of Highlands Ranch is one of the players headed to the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    Western Michigan filled its associate head coach vacancy with a Providence assistant. That leaves one opening after former Denver assistant Steve Miller was hired last week.

    Here is a list of all the college and college commits selected in the recent NHL Draft.

  • Tigers add assistant with 25 years pro, college and junior coach experience

    Wed, July 2, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Courtesy Springfield (Mass.) Republican

    Courtesy Springfield (Mass.) Republican

    Colorado College’s Mike Haviland delved into his past to hire an assistant with 25 years of coaching experience.
    Gene Reilly, who graduated from Elmira (N.Y.) College a year before Haviland played there, is the final assistant to join the program under the new hockey coach.
    Reilly has won 14 professional, college and junior titles as either an assistant or head coach. He has eight years of college assistant experience including the 1999 NCAA championship with Maine.
    “He has won at all levels,” Haviland said. “Gene is a guy with an attention to detail and passion that is second to none.”
    Reilly worked the past two seasons as a professional scout for the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes but left for the chance to work with Haviland.
    “The most important thing for me is to be with quality people and Mike is a quality person with a winning track record,” Reilly said in a press release. “I really enjoyed my time in Carolina and the wonderful people who I worked with in the pro scouting staff.”
    He spent 2008-12 as an assistant coach/director of player development with Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg, where he was involved in four titles.
    His college experience includes serving as an assistant with Maine (1998-2001), Harvard (2003-4) and Northeastern (2004-8).
    While at Maine, the Springfield, Mass. native, 52, took over as interim coach at the start of the 1999-2000 season when the late Shawn Walsh was battling cancer.
    Reilly left to be an assistant with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins for the 2000-01 season and Binghamton the next.
    “There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes with practices, scouting, and watching tapes; Gene stepped in and did a tremendous job,” then-Griffins coach Bruce Cassidy said after being named the 2002 AHL coach of the year.
    He returned to the college ranks at Harvard for one season and spent the next four rebuilding the Northeastern program.
    His experience prepares him well for CC, Haviland said.
    “He has developed guys and understands how academics work at CC,” he said. “He understands the college game’s ins and outs very well.”
    Reilly coached from 1988-98 in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, winning three championships. He played two seasons in Sweden, including one as player-coach.
    Some of the future professionals who played for him include Bill Guerin, Scott Lachance, Ron Hainsey, and Chris Clark.
    “I think he is a great fit for the college and the staff,” Haviland said.
    The new director of hockey operations position is filled with a July 15 announcement identifying the recent former CC player scheduled. All three finalists for that job are former Tigers, Haviland said.
    Former CC standout RJ Enga, 42, was hired as an assistant two weeks ago. Haviland, 46, was hired in May after longtime coach Scott Owens resigned on April 6 following a 7-24-6 season.

  • AFA hockey bringing in 12 freshmen

    Mon, June 30, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    AFAlogo2012Below is an edited version of the AFA press release. I will have an article with more on the kids with state and local connections later today.

    Here it is:

    The Air Force hockey program will add 12 freshmen this fall. The class of 2018, which began basic cadet training on June 26, includes six forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders.

    No. 23, Dylan Abood, D, 5-8, 155, Fr., Centennial, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (NAHL)

    Played in 176 games over three seasons in the NAHL … Spent the first two seasons with the Wenatchee Wild … In 2011-12, played 60 games, had 20 points (3-17-20) and was a +19 … In 2012-13, had 10 points (2-8-10) in 58 games and was a +14 … Spent the 2013-14 season with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees and played in 58 games … Had 16 points (0-16-16) and led all defensemen with a +23 … His 16 points were second on the team among the blueliners and his 16 assists were fifth on the team among all players … Selected to the NAHL All-South Division Team.

    No. 27, Erik Baskin, F, 6-3, 210, Fr., Minnetonka, Minn., Aberdeen Wings (NAHL)

    Played 113 games over two seasons with Aberdeen … In 2012-13, had 25 points (15-10-25) … In 2013-14,  had 37 points on 21 goals and 16 assists … His 21 goals were tied for second on the team while his 37 points were seventh … Tied for the team lead with five game-winners and tied for second on the team with nine power-play goals.

    No. 4, Phil Boje, D, 5-11, 190, Fr., Shoreview, Minn., Brookings Blizzard (NAHL)

    Played 96 games over two seasons with Dubuque. … In 2012-13, played in 42 games and had four points … In 2013-14, had 12 points (9-3-12) in 56 games).

    No. 31 Connor Girard, G, 6-2, 200, Fr., Edina, Minn., Brookings

    Played in 92 games over three seasons in both the NAHL and the USHL … In 2011-12, played 16 games for the Springfield Jr. Blues and had a 3.38 GAA with a .900 saves percentage and a 4-11-0 record … Also played 11 games for USHL Dubuque (5-1-1, 2.78 goals, .901 saves) … In 2012-13, played 21 games with the Saints (14-3-2, 2.11 goals, .910 saves) … Played 12 games with USHL Sioux City (4-7-1, 3.09 goals, .898 saves in 2012-13. … In 2013-14, played four games with Sioux City (2-2, 2.26 goals, .917 saves) and played final 28 games with Brookings (10-16-1, 3.12 goals, .909 saves).

    No. 10, Jordan Himley, F, 5-7, 160, Fr., Mundelein, Ill., Janesville Jets (NAHL)

    Spent three seasons with Janesville and played in 120 games … Played in four games and had two assists in 2011-12 … In 2012-13, played in 57 games and had 26 points (15-11-26) … In 2013-14, led the team with 25 goals and 49 points in 59 games … Tied for second on the team with 24 assists … Led the team with three short-handed goals and eight game-winners … Had one assist in three playoff games.

     No. 52, Jonathan Kopacka, D, 6-1, 185, Fr., Metamora, Mich, Port Huron Fighting Falcons (NAHL)

    Played in 113 games in three seasons with the Port Huron … Played in three games in 2011-12 with one assist and was a +4 … In the 2012-13, had 12 points (2-10-12) and was a +7 … Played in six playoff games and had an assist … In 2013-14, played in 55 games and had 32 points (11-21-32) and was a +8 … Led all defensemen on the team in goals and points … Second on the team with seven power-play goals … Selected to the NAHL All-North Division team … Had three assists in eight playoff games.

    No. 14, Ben Kucera, F, 5-8, 165, Fr., Leawood, Kan., Wichita Falls Wildcats (NAHL)

    Played 108 games in three seasons for the Wichita Falls… Played four games and had two points in 2011-12 … In 2012-13, had 20 points (8-12-20) in 53 games … Had 31 points (12-19-31) in 51 games in 2013-14 … Tied for fifth on the team in points and fourth in assists … Tied for third on the team in power play goals with four … Also had three points in three playoff games in 2013-14.

    No. 13 Tyler Ledford, F, 5-9, 160, Fr., Colorado Springs, Wichita Falls

    Played in 118 games over two seasons in Wichita Falls … In 2012-13, had 35 points (9-26-35) in 58 games … Had 40 points (9-31-40) in 60 games in 2013-14 … Led the team with 31 assists and was second on the team with 40 points … Had two assists in three playoff games in 2013-14.

    No. 2 Kyle Mackey, D, 6-1, 175, Fr., Derby, N.Y., Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

    Played in 99 games over two seasons for Youngstown … In 2012-13, had six assists in 38 games and was a plus-8 … Scored 16 points (15 assists) last season to lead defensemen in points and assists.

    No. 7 Matthew Meier, F, 6-1, 185, Fr., Highlands Ranch, Johnstown Tomahawks (NAHL)

    Played in six games (five points, three assists) in 2012-13 with the Kenai River Brown Bears of NAHL … Recorded 43 points (21 goals) in 56 games last season with Johnstown … Led the team with a plus-16 rating and four game-winning goals … Second on the team in goals and points.

    No. 41 Austin Priebe, G, 6-2, 210, Fr., Wausau, Wisc., Wenatchee Wild (NAHL)

    Played 63 games over three seasons … In 2011-12, played 18 games for Sioux City (4-8-0, 3.72 goals, .872 saves) … In 2012-13, played 25 games for Janesville (6-8-3, 2.93 goals, .913 saves) … Played in 16 games last season with Brookings (4-10-1, 2.99 goals, .909 saves) … Closed out season with Wenatchee (2-2-0, 3.19 goals, .876 saves).

    No. 20 Will Vosejpka, F, 6-0, 175, Fr., Midland, Mich., Wichita Falls

    Played 115 games over two seasons in Wichita Falls with 26 points (18 assists) in 55 games in 2012-13 … Played 60 games last season (38 points, 19 goals) with a plus-6 rating, good for second on the team in goals and assists and third in points.

  • Incoming Tigers goalie pleasantly surprised by Red Wings’ selection

    Sat, June 28, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Chase Perry

    Chase Perry

    Colorado College freshman Chase Perry had other pressing issues on his mind before he became the latest member of the Detroit Red Wings organization.

    He was readying for a cousin’s wedding on Saturday when he received a text from his uncle, Chad Perry.

    “He said ‘Dude you just got drafted by Detroit,’” said Perry, who was selected with the 136th overall pick in the fifth round.

    The news was a relief for Perry, who was pleased to join one of the Original Six franchises.

    “It is an amazing feeling I have right now,” he said. “They hadn’t talked to me at all but I am very pleased to be part of such a storied franchise that develops great players.”

    Perry was the 15th goalie selected, consistent with his pre-draft rankings as the No. 8 North American goalie. The 18-year-old enjoyed a strong 2013-14 regular season (12-2-4, 2.34 goals against, .905 saves percentage) with the Wenatchee Wild of the North American Hockey League. He stepped up in the playoffs (5-5, 1.83 goals, .933 saves)

    The Andover, Minn. native said he will head to the Red Wings development camp next month. The 6-foot-2, 189-pounder will arrive in Colorado Springs in August to start school and begin his CC career, he said.

    Perry’s selection means the Tigers are expected to have six draft picks on the roster, including four defensemen. Incoming rookie blue-liner Teemu Kivihalme was picked in the fifth round by Nashville last June.

    Former CC commit Fredrik Olofsson, the younger brother of former defenseman Gustav Olofsson, was picked by the Blackhawks at No. 98 overall in the fourth round. The forward backed out of his commit last season.

    The highest draft pick in program history is St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz (14th, 2010).