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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Weekend reading: Owens job search; Duluth exhibitions; NCAA rules

    Fri, June 6, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Scott Owens Photo #3Multiple media outlets are reporting that former Colorado College hockey coach Scott Owens was interviewed recently for the vacant Princeton head coaching position. College Hockey News reports Owens was brought on campus for an in-person meeting.

    Owens has not made any public statements about his early April resignation from his alma mater, where he served for 15 years, since the initial announcement.

    Former CC assistant Joe Bonnett is also reportedly in the running for the job, which opened after three-year coach Bob Prier (25-58-12) resigned in May.

    For the first time since 1964, Minnesota-Duluth will play two exhibition games in Canada. The Bulldogs added three exhibition games with Lakehead University with the first of those coming on Oct. 3 at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth. The two clubs will then meet twice (Jan. 2-3) at the historic Fort Williams Gardens in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Here is the Bulldogs’ 2014-15 schedule.

    UMD hasn’t paid a visit to Canada since Dec. 26, 1964 when they battled the Port Arthur North Stars to a 6-6 tie in Port Arthur, Ontario (now known as Thunder Bay).  The Bulldogs are 11-0-0 lifetime against Lakehead and upended the Thunderwolves 7-0 this past season (Oct. 7) in Duluth.

    USCHO put together an article about how the NCAA rules committee maintained the status quo on OT, face shields and live game video review for discipline.

    And just to make you hunger for October a little more, here is the 2014-15 ECHL schedule, where a number of former Tigers will be playing this coming fall and winter.

  • Weekend reading: CC assistants; cancer fundraiser, Union coach extension, Lampl

    Fri, May 23, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Former Denver associate coach Steve Miller resigned from his coach/GM role with the USHL expansion Madison Capitols after he ““decided to return to Colorado and pursue other interests at this time.”

    His family lives in Denver so he may be interested in commuting to Colorado Springs for work at CC as an assistant.  The Madison Capitols announced Luke Strand was hired to replace him.

    Strand, 41, spent this past season as the general manager for the Sioux City Musketeers where he helped lead the team to a 38-19-3 record, equaling the team record for victories in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present).  He was previously the coach of the Musketeers for two seasons (2009-11) and compiled an overall 58-47-15 record which included a playoff berth in 2011.

    Two college hockey hockey players were diagnosed recently with cancer. Here is a link to a fundraiser for Alaska-Fairbanks player Justin Woods with more details on his fight here. Here is an  article on Providence junior Drew Brown.

    In today’s no-surprise news, Union coach Rick Bennett received a contract extension after winning the NCAA title.

    Former Tiger Cody Lampl is enjoying his part-time minutes in the AHL.

    Three National Collegiate Hockey Conference  players were recognized for their academic performance this past season.

    St. Cloud State senior forward Nic Dowd, Denver sophomore forward Gabe Levin and North Dakota junior defenseman Nick Mattson garnered Capital One Academic All-District honors, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced. The trio was named to the academic all-district men’s at-large team.

     

  • Rud one of six finalists for SCSU women’s job

    Thu, May 22, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Rud2010-11gb31CC assistant Eric Rud is one of six finalists for the open St. Cloud State women’s hockey head coaching position.

    On-campus interviews concluded on Wednesday. An announcement is expected soon.

    Rud was a St. Cloud State men’s assistant (2005-10) and at CC since June 2011. The former Tigers All-American defenseman spent the 2010-11 season leading the Green Bay Gamblers of the junior U.S. Hockey League.

    Other SCSU finalists include current Huskies women’s assistant Jim Fetter, 1980 Miracle on Ice player and former SCSU men’s assistant John Harrington, current Wisconsin women’s assistant Daniel Koch, four-time Olympian Jenny Potter and high school coach Tracy Cassano, a former Minnesota women’s standout.

    The Western Collegiate Hockey Association program has three winning seasons since it started in 1998. Its league has won 14 of 16 NCAA championships since its founding in 1999.

  • Former CC players drew new coach to program

    Fri, May 9, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    havilandHavilandaction2New Tigers hockey coach Mike Haviland liked what he saw while coaching former Colorado College players in the pros.

    It convinced him the private school could be a good fit. Fans, alumni and players hope the Stanley Cup-winning assistant coach’s hopes are proven right after the hire was announced on Friday.

    Haviland coached former Tigers defenseman Gabe Guentzel in Norfolk during the 2012-13 season and worked with Capitals blue-liner Jack Hillen during a rehab stint with Washington’s American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey, Pa. this past season.

    Former CC center Mark Cullen was one of his assistant captains in Norfolk during the 2005-6 season.

    “Meeting those three showed me the kind of players and men CC produces,” Haviland said. “When the job came open, I reached out quickly. CC is one of the top Division I programs in the country and I thought it would be a great fit.”

    Haviland, whose 15 years in the pro coaching ranks include serving an assistant with the 2010 NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks, is the 14th coach in the 75-year-old program’s history on Friday.

    Hershey Bears HockeyThe 46-year-old replaced former longtime coach Scott Owens, who resigned after 15 seasons at his alma mater following a 7-24-6 campaign. Haviland beat out current CC assistants Joe Bonnett and Eric Rud, among others, for the job, which came open in early April.

    The new coach signed a multi-year deal with CC late Thursday and declined to disclose financial details, as per college policy, when interviewed Friday morning.

    “They certainly took care of me and my family,” he said. He and his fiancée Kristin have a blended family with six children.

    The likely pay range is $200,000 to $275,000 a year, judging from the top five reported salaries in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

    Haviland has coaching experience at the Division III level. As an assistant with small, liberal arts-oriented Elmira (N.Y.) College, he helped his alma mater to a 51-12-2 record and two ECAC Division III championships from 1996-1998. He recorded 51 points (27 goals) in 23 games during his final season with the Soaring Eagles.

    He said that experience taught him how to keep the student part of student-athlete at the forefront.

    “I want to help develop them on and off the ice,” he said.

    It was one reason school president Jill Tiefenthaler signed off on the hire.

    “We are very fortunate to find a candidate who is both a teacher and mentor, as well as someone who will take our program in exciting new directions,” she said. “Mike is dedicated to his players and excited about being part of our community. He will be a transformational motivator and leader for our student athletes.”

    Administrators also hope for considerable success on the ice.

    “We have aspirations of winning national championships, and I am confident we have found the right coach to turn our vision into reality,” athletic director Ken Ralph said.

    “My intention is to win a national championship and I believe we will,” Haviland said.

    havilandThis past season, Haviland led the Hershey Bears to ninth place in the Eastern Conference, just two points shy of the playoffs despite a 39-27-5-5 record in his first year at the helm. A Manhattan native who grew up in Middletown, N.J., Haviland served as assistant in charge of forwards in Norfolk the previous season (37-34-4-1).

    Before then, he was a Blackhawks assistant in charge of special teams from 2008-12. The Original Six franchise went 187-101-40 over those four years and hoisted the 2010 Stanley Cup. In 2012, following his dismissal from Chicago, he was a finalist for the vacant Capitals job that went to the now-fired Adam Oates.

    “Mike has won championships at multiple levels and has always produced winning programs,” Ralph said.

    Haviland spent four seasons coaching (172-81-325) the ECHL’s Trenton Titans (2004-05) and Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (2001-04) and won two league titles (2003, 2005).

    He moved up to AHL Norfolk (93-51-10-6) for two seasons (2005-7). The then-Blackhawks affiliate broke single-season wins and points records, which earned him the 2007 Coach of the Year award.

    He moved on to Rockford (Ill.) when the Blackhawks affiliated with that team. The IceHogs went 44-26-4-6 and advanced through two playoff rounds that season before he joined Chicago as an assistant.

    As a player, Haviland was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 1990 NHL draft. His experience includes AHL Binghamton (1989-90) and the ECHL (1990-91) with Richmond and Winston-Salem.

     

  • CC announces schedule; lower season ticket prices

    Tue, May 6, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    SlavinThe upcoming Colorado College schedule is out and it will be cheaper for some to see the 18 home games next season.

    The price reduction for season tickets was made since CC had a difficult time scheduling home games because of previous agreements and other schools’ availability.

    “We were light on home games and we wanted to be fair to our fans,” CC athletic director Ken Ralph said.

    The National Collegiate Hockey Conference member lowered its season ticket prices from 10 to 18 percent depending on the seat’s location if purchased before June 27, CC associate athletic director Scott Lowenberg said. Season ticket renewal forms will be mailed out May 19-23.

    The light schedule prompted CC to book the USA U-18 national team for Dec. 27-28 with the second contest counting as one of the allowed 34 regular-season games under NCAA rules. None of the three home exhibitions this season count in the team’s record or in the Pairwise rankings.

    A scheduling conflict with The Broadmoor World Arena affected the Gold Pan rivalry series. Instead of playing a home-and-home series against Denver in November, the foes will play a single game on Nov. 14 at Denver with three games in 14 days (Feb. 7, 20 and 21). The CC hosts DU for its only game that weekend on Feb. 7 and again on Feb. 20.

    Skalbeck celebrationThe Trans-Siberian Orchestra is scheduled for CC’s home venue that November weekend. Both schools had Feb. 6-7 open and preferred a single game, Ralph said.

    CC travels to Air Force on Nov. 22 to determine ownership of the annual Pikes Peak Trophy after hosting Big Ten Wisconsin the night before.

    The USA U-18 exhibitions are followed by the second of two tough road trips to the East Coast. CC plays two games at Providence Jan. 3-4 and a single game on Tuesday, Jan. 6 at new Hockey East member UConn. The first trip is Oct. 24-25 against Boston College on Friday and New Hampshire on Saturday.

    The Tigers open play with an exhibition against Canada’s McGill University on Sunday, Oct. 5 followed by the season and home opener against Alabama Huntsville Oct. 10-11.  CC opens NCHC play at home against North Dakota Oct. 17-18.

    Individual ticket prices remain the same except for rows A-D in the upper bowl. Those went up to $18 from $16.50. Season tickets for the lower bowl center and sides between the goal lines are sold out as are the upper bowl rows A-D seats.

    The upcoming season features games against six NCAA Tournament teams. The Tigers will face foes from five of the six leagues, including four games against Hockey East schools.

    CC 2014-15 schedule

    Subject to change, all times MT

    Home games bolded

    Oct. 5, McGill University (exhibition), 6:07 p.m.

    Oct. 10-11, Alabama-Huntsville (Homecoming), 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    Oct. 17-18, North Dakota, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    Oct. 24, at Boston College, 5 p.m.

    Oct. 25, at New Hampshire, 5 p.m.

    Oct. 31-Nov. 1, OPEN

    November

    Nov. 7-8, at Miami, both 5:07 p.m.

    Nov. 14, at Denver, 7:37 p.m.

    Nov. 21, Wisconsin, 7:37 p.m.

    Nov. 22, at Air Force, 7:05 p.m.

    Nov. 28-29, OPEN

    December

    Dec. 5-6, at Minnesota-Duluth, both 6:07 p.m.

    Dec. 12-13, at Western Michigan, both 5:07 p.m.

    WINTER BREAK

    Dec. 27, USA U-18 (exhibition), 7:07 p.m.

    Dec. 28, USA U-18 (exhibition), 6:07 p.m.

    January

    Jan. 3-4, at Providence, 5 p.m.

    Jan. 6, at UConn, 5:05 p.m.

    Jan. 16-17, Nebraska-Omaha, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    Jan. 23-24, at North Dakota, 6:37, 6:07 p.m.

    Jan. 30-31, St. Cloud State, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    February

    Feb. 7, Denver, 7:07 p.m.

    Feb. 13-14, Miami, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    Feb. 20, Denver, 7:37 p.m.

    Feb. 21, at Denver, 7:07 p.m.

    Feb. 27-28, Western Michigan, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    March

    March 6-7, at Nebraska-Omaha, 6:37, 6:07 p.m.

    March 13-15, NCHC quarterfinals TBA

    March 20-21, NCHC Frozen Faceoff (Target Center, Minneapolis) TBA

     

  • Weekend reading: NCHC meetings, NCAA regional sites; AFA, UND schedule

    Fri, May 2, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    COURTESY USA Today/Eric Hartline

    COURTESY USA Today/Eric Hartline

    The NCHC did not change its playoff format and made enough money to set up a savings account.

    The North Dakota beat writer points out that eliminating the neutral site provision for the NCAA Tournament would be smart.  In perhaps a related development, Minnesota may trim its Olympic sheet down to NHL-sized, adding a few hundred high-priced seats and making Mariucci Arena a possible NCAA regional option.

    North Dakota released its 2014-15 UND schedule, which confirms Air Force will play them in Grand Forks on Nov. 1 in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game.  Other confirmed Air Force games include the Falcons at Denver on Nov. 21 and Brice Gold Rush tournament games against host Alaska-Fairbanks Oct. 17 and Alaska-Anchorage Oct. 18.  AFA typically announces its schedule during the summer.

  • Friday reading: Blais contract extension; Walsky injury; Frozen Four; Hobey Baker

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

    UNO coach Dean Blais has plenty of reasons to smile today.

    UNO coach Dean Blais has plenty of reasons to smile today.

    Nebraska-Omaha athletics director Trev Alberts announced that hockey coach Dean Blais signed a contract extension through the 2017-18 season.

    “Dean has done an exceptional job leading our team through a period of great transition during the last four years,” Alberts said.  “In that time, he led the team into two new leagues, the WCHA and the NCHC, and his experience and knowledge of the leagues and the Division I hockey landscape was critical to our success.   Next year, he will guide us through additional transition as we move into the new arena. This extension will allow us to ensure the continuity of our coaching staff and the recent positive momentum we’ve had recruiting quality student-athletes to our program.”

    “When I came to Omaha, Trev and I had a goal of building an on-campus arena, and I’m excited that this extension will allow me to see UNO athletics reach that goal,” Blais said.  “We’ve got a very good core of returning players and what is perceived to be a great recruiting class coming in.  As a coach, you want to work with great players with strong community support behind your team, and we have that here.”

    Blais is 91-86-18 in five years as the Mavericks’ coach, including two 20-win seasons and an NCAA tournament berth in 2011, the second in school history.   The 1973 graduate of Minnesota has posted a 15-year career record of 353-201-51 including   10 years at North Dakota.  He is a two-time Spencer Penrose Memorial Award winner as the Division I coach of the year and a four-time winner of the WCHA’s Coach of the Year Award.  He led North Dakota to national championships in 1997 and 2000.

    Locally, this may affect the CC coach search somewhat with Blais putting off retirement for a couple more years. This makes the Tigers’ job all the more attractive since Omaha would have been  favorite for some next offseason when Blais’ old deal ended.

    Swiss head coach Sean Simpson will have to do without HC Lugano’s Eric Walsky, a former CC standout, at the IIHF world championships in Minsk May 9-25.  The forward is suffering from an upper-leg injury and is out for the next five to six weeks.

    Here are game articles on the Minnesota-North Dakota instant classic (I don’t say this lightly) form last night’s national semifinal. Here is the Pioneer Press’ take and the Grand Forks Herald’s postmortem. College Hockey News focused on the heartache for UND. It was the fifth Frozen Four trip in a row that UND has lost in the  semifinals.

    The Hobey Baker winner will be announced tonight.