2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Tuesday reading: Strong start for NCHC; league honors; Miami-UND; WMU, Denver

    Tue, October 15, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The Oklahoman

    The Oklahoman

    Here is the USCHO blog on the NCHC, which went 8-3-3 in its nonconference opening weekend. Here are five things to watch in the league.

    The Scott Owens Radio Show is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Tony’s Bar on Tejon Street in downtown Colorado Springs.

    The league announced its first players of the week honors (CC not eligible because of exhibition game): Miami sophomore forward Riley Barber for Offensive Player of the Week, St. Cloud State senior defenseman Kevin Gravel for Defenseman of the Week, Miami freshman defenseman Trevor Hamilton for Rookie of the Week and Denver senior Sam Brittain for Goaltender of the Week.

    There are two WCHA games tonight: Ferris State at Mercyhurst, 7:05 pm ET; Ohio State at Bowling Green, 7:07 pm ET.

    The buildup to the showdown between host and No. 1 Miami against No. 6 North Dakota.  ESPN personality John Buccigross and NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton are planning to be in Oxford, Ohio.

    Western Michigan and No. 12 Denver are headed to to the Brice Gold Rush tournament in Fairbanks, Alaska, this weekend.

    Former Tiger Richard Bachman was profiled by the Oklahoma City paper.

    Wisconsin is feeling good after sweeping Northern Michigan.

  • Steady progress continues at NCHC league office

    Tue, August 27, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Fenton MUGThe National Collegiate Hockey Conference league office continues to settle in under new commissioner Josh Fenton, who attended an informal press conference announcing the Colorado College-KRDO radio broadcast contract Monday afternoon.

    The league continues to look for a media/public relations director, adjusting the job requirements after the changes in leadership after former USOC head Jim Scherr left to help run the 2015 European Games.

    The original job description emphasized marketing and revenue generation, areas Fenton said he feels the commissioner should take the lead. He emphasized a team-approach to those duties along with the usual press releases, including weekly league honors, etc.

    “We’re looking at developing a job description that is complementary of skill sets of people already in the office and then finding the gaps that need to be filled,” Fenton said. “We’re doing our due diligence.”

    Expect a hire in the next few weeks with the inaugural season starting this October.

    Fenton also continues to meet with Twin Cities business and civic leaders to help the postseason championship tournament at the Target Center  in March 2014 be as successful as possible. He reported that ticket package sales are going well and that single-game tickets will be available at a later date.

    The NCHC continues to work to line up corporate sponsors but he stressed that ticket sales will provide the bulk of the revenue to pay for the tournament and support the league office.

    In addition to the shootouts decision, the league also developed its 2014 fiscal budget and set up the referees clinic for Sept. 12-15 in Colorado Springs.

  • Weekend reading: NCHC web site; Penn State, Union, W. Michigan freshman classes

    Thu, August 1, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    bigger NCHC logoThe new National Collegiate Hockey Conference web site debuted Thursday morning. After a quick once-over, it looks pretty solid. It includes tournament postseason ticket information as well.

    USCHO took a look at Penn State’s first full incoming class of freshmen. Not surprisingly, there is plenty of talent entering the fold for former Tiger Guy Gadowsky.

    RIT coach Wayne Wilson signed a four-year contract extension that will take him through the 2016-17 season.

    Union forward Josh Jooris (88 points, 117 games) gave up his senior season with the Dutchmen for an NHL contract with the Calgary Flames. Here are the eight Dutchmen freshmen hoping to absorb that loss.

    Western Michigan is working to replace NHL draft pick Michael McCarron.

  • CC picks up most-ever four national TV regular season games

    Wed, July 17, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    CBS Sports Network LogoThe most Colorado College hockey regular-season games in recent memory will be broadcast nationally next season.

    Four games will be shown on CBS Sports Network, which is available throughout North America.

    “I cannot remember having more than three national games in a regular season,” longtime CC sports information director Dave Moross said.

    The total does not include the NCAA Tournament which is shown nationally by ESPN networks.

    The National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced the rest of the league’s national TV schedule Wednesday morning after releasing the opening doubleheader slate last spring. The Oct. 18 league openers on Oct. 18 are: North Dakota at Miami followed by Minnesota-Duluth at CC.

    Colorado College picked up a home game against St. Cloud State on March 7, 2014 and road games at North Dakota Jan. 10 and Denver on Feb. 21.  All four are on Friday night.

    Times are to be announced. The two home games are part of doubleheaders making an 8:07 p.m. start likely.

    The most regular-season games for the Tigers on a national network recently were two each during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, all on CBS-SN.

    Now, CC will look to add regional broadcasts to promote the program and reach alumni and fans. Potential partners include Altitude, ROOT Sports and local stations The CW, KKTV, KOAA, KRDO, who have all broadcast games in the past five years and expressed continued interest, associate athletic director Scott Lowenberg said.

    Any Altitude openings will be determined after the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche schedules are announced.

    “We’re trying to put it all together,” Lowenberg said.  “Altitude is definitely interested but they have so many dates with the Avs and Nuggets. It is difficult. Tuesday’s game against Air Force (Nov. 19) is a possibility. We have been talking to ROOT for a while now about the other three Denver games.”

    The other North Dakota games are Fox College Sports possibilities while the two Wisconsin road games Dec. 13-14 are a candidate for the Big Ten Network or Fox Sports Wisconsin, Lowenberg said.  

    Eleven regular-season games were broadcast by regional networks, including Fox Sports North or by local TV stations last season.  There were 12 shown in 2010-11 and 2008-09.

    The four CBS games involving the Tigers are part of an 18-game schedule which includes 15 regular-season contests and the postseason tournament semifinals and championship game in Minneapolis’ Target Center March 21-22. All but two of the regular-season games are league match-ups.

    North Dakota has six regular-season games on the schedule followed by Miami with five.  CC, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan have four each while Denver and Minnesota-Duluth have two. Nebraska-Omaha has one.


    2013-14 NCHC broadcast schedule

    All times TBA

    Oct. 18  North Dakota at Miami, Minnesota-Duluth at CC

    Nov. 15 Wisconsin at Miami, Michigan at Nebraska-Omaha

    Dec. 6    North Dakota at Western Michigan

    Dec. 13 Western Michigan at Minnesota-Duluth

    Jan. 10, 2014       CC at North Dakota

    Jan. 17  Western Michigan at St. Cloud State

    Jan. 24  North Dakota at Denver

    Feb. 7    Western Michigan at Miami

    Feb. 14 Miami at North Dakota

    Feb. 21 SCSU at Miami, CC at Denver     

    Feb. 28 North Dakota at St. Cloud State

    March 7                SCSU at CC

    March 21             NCHC semifinals No. 1 and 2

    March 22             NCHC championship

  • Monday reading: Western Michigan, Nebraska-Omaha, NCHC commissioner, Gwoz’s Miami memories, Bemidji State

    Mon, July 15, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Fenton MUGHere are more details on the release of Western Michigan defenseman Garrett Haar.

    Nebraska-Omaha goalie Dayne Belfour, son of Hall of Famer Ed Belfour, has left the Mavericks.

    New NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton officially takes over his new job on Monday. Here is an interview with him by the St. Cloud Times.

    The Huskies beat writer is happy to see a hockey guy take over the position.

    Former Denver coach George Gwozdecky was back in Oxford for a Miami alumni weekend celebration recognizing his first NCAA Tournament team.

    Former Bemidji State players are excited about the state of the program.

  • July 15 launch slated for new NCHC website, TV schedule

    Tue, July 2, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The National Collegiate Hockey Conference will launch its new website on July 15 with the first major article being the release of the full CBS Sports Network broadcast schedule. The current web site is a placeholder for use this past season.

    It is also new commissioner Josh Fenton’s official start date.

  • NCHC hires Josh Fenton as commissioner

    Mon, July 1, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Fenton MUGAn important behind-the scenes leader for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is now the face of the league.

    Longtime Miami administrator Josh Fenton, pictured, was announced as the new commissioner Monday morning, replacing inaugural leader Jim Scherr.

    “He has been heavily involved with the work of creating the conference since the very beginning,” North Dakota athletics director and league chairman Brian Faison said. “That background means the NCHC won’t miss a beat in getting ready for our first season of competition.”

    Fenton begins work on July 15, 95 days before the new league begins play, but said he started forging relationships with key stakeholders already, including making a phone call to Bill Hybl of the El Pomar Foundation Monday morning.

    He will work out of Oxford, Ohio, where Miami is located, for the short term until moving into the league offices in Colorado Springs. He will make $125,000 a year compared to the $150,000 for Scherr, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

    “I feel we are stepping into a situation where we will be very successful,” he said. “My wife, Lindsay, and our two sons (Ryan, 3; Luke, 1) are excited to immerse ourselves into the collegiate communities this great conference represents, including our new home in Colorado Springs.”

    Fenton replaces Scherr, the former CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, who left after 18 months to become chief operating officer of the inaugural 2015 European Games.

    The NCHC member schools are: Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan.

    CC athletic director Ken Ralph was pleased by the hire.

    “He’s got excellent administrative skills, excellent organizational skills, a strong, analytical mind and he is fully committed to this league,” Ralph said.

    Fenton, a finalist for the initial hiring, helped the new league land the TV contract with CBS Sports Network and secure the Target Center in Minneapolis for the 2014 postseason championship.

    “There would be no NCHC without Josh Fenton,” Boston College athletic director Brad Bates said. “He is a rising superstar in college athletics.”

    Fenton praised the work of director of hockey operations Joe Novak and office manager Verna Toller. His involvement so far should help him step into the role, he said.

    “Hopefully that sets us off on the right foot as we head into the inaugural season,” Fenton said. “The work Joe and Verna have already done puts us in a good position.”

    bigger NCHC logoUnlike his predecessor, Fenton has a hockey background. The former high school hockey player joined Miami in 2002 as a volunteer assistant hockey coach while completing his master’s degree in sports studies before moving up to associate athletic director for business and finance at Miami two years ago.

    As associate AD, he managed a $21 million annual budget and oversaw men’s ice hockey, football, field hockey and men’s golf, which he played at Iowa State, where he graduated from in 2001. He served as the school’s representative with the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, assisted in bringing the 2014 regional to Cincinnati and secured Miami’s participation in the recent outdoor Hockey City Classic in Chicago. The Litchfield, Minn. native serves on the NCAA rules committee.

    “Josh has been a big part of Miami hockey for the last 12 years,” Miami coach Rico Blasi said. “He is very dedicated and hard-working, and leads with detailed integrity and passion. He will be a huge asset to our conference.”

    The formation of the league was announced in July 2011 following the start of Penn State’s Division 1 program, which prompted the other Big Ten schools to form a six-team conference that starts play this October. The subsequent conference realignments resulted in the demise of the CCHA, the move of Notre Dame in 2013 and UConn (2014) to Hockey East, and a new-look, 10-member Western Collegiate Hockey Association which recently added independent Alabama-Huntsville.