• Tuesday reading: Miami adds size; NHL-college numbers; Andy Gambucci

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

    Gambucci in actionMiami is remedying its problem with a lack of size in the defensemen corps judging from its incoming freshmen for 2014-15.

    A record 305 college hockey alumni played in the NHL this past regular season. Thirty-one with ties to the programs in the NCHC are now competing in the NHL playoffs.

    Tigers great Andy Gambucci, pictured, was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night. Here is a feature I did on Gambucci when the honor was announced.

  • More weekend reading: Jaden Schwartz; No cuts for Air Force hockey; ECHL playoffs

    Fri, April 18, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Schwartz celebrationFormer Tiger Jaden Schwartz scored the tying goal in regulation in a 3OT thriller against Chicago.

    Air Force announced its athletic department cuts, which did not affect revenue sports, including hockey.

    The ECHL playoffs are underway with former Tiger William Rapuzzi ( No. 4 seed Idaho) hosting the No. 5 Colorado Eagles (Arthur Bidwill). No. 6 Bakersfield (Joe Marciano) plays at No. 3 Utah. Here is a league preview.

    Here are the incoming freshmen for Minnesota State in Mankato. Here is a look at how North Dakota has fared in the national rankings this past decade.

    Not surprisingly, Union’s Rick Bennett was the USCHO Coach of the Year.

  • Weekend reading: Tom Serratore; LaLeggia; coach salaries; AFA, North Dakota schedules

    Thu, April 17, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The first piece of steel for the new Nebraska-Omaha arena for hockey, hoops and volleyball was pout in place Thursday morning.

    The first piece of steel for the new Nebraska-Omaha arena for hockey, hoops and volleyball was put in place Thursday morning.

    Colorado Springs native Tom Serratore  picked up his first pro goal, fight and penalty in a 5-4 win at Syracuse on Wednesday for the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.

    All but Rocco Grimaldi have announced they will be back for North Dakota next season. Denver defenseman Joey LaLeggia is returning for his senior year.

    The final NCHC players of the month of the season were named with North Dakota goalie Zane Gothberg and Nebraska-Omaha’s Jake Guentzel honored.

    Under the terms of the three-year contract extension reached between Nebraska-Omaha and coach Dean Blais, he will make a total of just less than $1.3 million over the next four seasons, putting him among the five highest-compensated coaches in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

    According to the Omaha World Herald, Blais’ base salary for 2014-15 is the same as it was for this past season, $250,000. It climbs to $260,000 the following season, followed by raises to $265,000 in 2016-17 and $270,000 in 2017-18. A $250,000 longevity bonus from his original contract (originally due as a lump sum next summer) will be paid out concurrently, at $62,500 annually — so Blais will be paid $312,500 in 2014-15 and will top out at $332,500 in the final year of the contract.

    This should give CC fans a good idea of what the new Tigers coach may be paid if he is a candidate with head coaching experience.

    The Air Force Falcons travel to play Western Collegiate Hockey Association members Alaska-Anchorage and host Alaska-Fairbanks in the Brice Gold Rush tournament Oct. 17-18.  North Dakota will host Air Force Nov.  1 in the annual college hockey Hall of Fame Game at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The single contest will serve as a homecoming for Air Force’s Chad Demers, who is from nearby Grafton, N.D.

    The complete Air Force schedule will be announced later this summer.  Here is the North Dakota schedule.

  • NCHC schedule release; CC slate nearly full

    Thu, April 17, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    cc celebration gold

    Colorado College will play on the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Opening Night for the second season in a row.

    The Tigers begin conference play hosting national semifinalist North Dakota on Oct. 17-18. The Friday game comes after the 2014-15 league opener between Nebraska-Omaha at Western Michigan earlier that night.

    Last season, the first two league games – which included Minnesota –Duluth at CC in Game 2 — were part of a national TV doubleheader on CBS Sports Network. The NCHC’s broadcast schedule will be announced later.

    The NCHC released its league composite schedule on Thursday, also confirming that Colorado College and NCAA Tournament participant Denver will play their four-game home-and-home series the weekends of Nov. 14-15 and Feb. 20-21, 2015 to determine ownership of the Gold Pan Trophy. CC downed Denver in the series (2-1-1) last season to take back the rivalry hardware.

    CC will host Miami of Ohio and Western Michigan in February. The Tigers will travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on the RedHawks for the first time there on Nov. 7-8. Previous meetings were at World Arena and at a neutral tournament site.

    CC associate athletic director Scott Lowenberg said he hopes the new league rivalries will take root after World Arena fans see these new opponents more often.

    “We will work hard to educate the fans about those program’s long hockey histories,” he has said.

    The complete Tigers schedule, which will include 10 as of yet unconfirmed nonconference including area rival Air Force and one or two more exhibition game dates, will be released later this month. Other TV broadcasts will be announced later this offseason.

    Like last year, all eight NCHC teams will play five league foes, including their protected rival (CC and Denver, for example), in both home and away series, while facing the other two teams for just one series (one home and one away) for a total of 24 league games.

    In CC’s case, that means the Tigers only travel to Duluth Dec. 5-6 and host defending NCHC regular-season champion St. Cloud State on Jan. 30-31 this upcoming season, which begins Saturday, Oct. 4.

    First-round series winners advance to the Target Center in Minneapolis for the second annual NCHC Frozen Faceoff with the semifinals Friday, March 20 and the third-place game and championship on Saturday, March 21. The Frozen Faceoff champion receives an automatic NCAA berth.

    In this blog post, I also added some of the nonconference and exhibition games I have heard about through other media or during interviews. They remain unconfirmed.

    CC 2014-15 schedule

    Subject to change

    September

    Sept. 30 annual Faceoff Luncheon

    October

    Oct. 5, McGill University (exhibition)

    Oct. 10-11, Alabama-Huntsville (Homecoming)

    Oct. 17-18 North Dakota

    Oct. 23-26, at Boston College, at New Hampshire (block break weekend)

    Oct. 31-Nov. 1 OPEN

    November

    Nov. 7-8, at Miami

    Nov. 14, at Denver

    Nov. 15,  Denver

    Nov. 21, Wisconsin

    Nov. 22, at Air Force

    Nov. 28-29, OPEN

    December

    Dec. 5-6, at Minnesota-Duluth

    Dec. 12-13, at Western Michigan

    WINTER BREAK

    January

    Jan. 3-4, at Providence

    Jan. 6, at UConn

    Jan. 16-17, Nebraska-Omaha

    Jan. 23-24, at North Dakota

    Jan. 30-31, St. Cloud State

    February

    Feb. 6-7, OPEN

    Feb. 13-14, Miami

    Feb. 20, Denver

    Feb. 21, at Denver

    Feb. 27-28, Western Michigan

    March

    March 6-7, at Nebraska-Omaha

    March 13-15, NCHC quarterfinals

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

  • A look at the incoming Tiger freshmen

    Wed, April 16, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Chase Perry

    Chase Perry

    The NCAA signing period began this morning with goalie Chase Perry and forward Mason Bergh expected to sign soon. Here are the six played joining the Tigers this summer and scheduled for the 2014-15 season.

    This box was included with the print article but was not included with the online article about the CC assistants’ continued recruiting efforts this spring while the head coach search continues:

    Incoming Tiger freshmen

    Stats through Monday

    Jordan Berger, 17, Meridian, Idaho, 5-foot-9, 168 pounds  – The Notre Dame Argos center recorded 42 points (27 goals) in 38 Saskatchewan Midget AAA league games.

    Garrett Cecere, 19, West Des Moines, Iowa, 5-8, 168  – He is the top-scoring defenseman (22 points, 20 assists, 24 games) for the U.S. Hockey League’s Sioux Falls Stampede after being traded from the Tri-City Storm (15 points, 14 assists in 30 games).

    Teemu Kivilhalme, 18, Savage, Minn., 6-0, 157  – The Fargo Force defenseman (12 points, nine assists, 47 games) was a fifth-round draft pick of Nashville in 2013 (140th overall).

    Daniel Labosky, 18, Edina, Minn., 5-7, 155  –  The forward is third in points (32, 22 assists) in 59 games for the USHL’s Tri-City Storm.

    Duggie Lagrone, 19, Plano, Texas, 5-9, 170  – The Fairbanks Ice Dogs defenseman has 27 points (17 assists) in 56 North American Hockey League games.

    Chase Perry, 18, Andover, Minn., 6-2, 191  – The Wenatchee Wild goalie (15-12-2, 2.24 goals, .905 saves percentage) led his team into the second round of the NAHL playoffs against Fairbanks. His size is complimented by his speed and hands, making him the No. 8-ranked North American goalie for this June’s NHL draft according to NHL Central Scouting.

  • Wednesday reading: Final polls; pre-preseason Top 10; World Arena

    Wed, April 16, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    sakic presserHere is the final top 20 from USCHO.com and the final top 15 from USA Hockey.

    College Hockey News tweeted its early Top 10 for the 2014-15 season: 1. Minnesota; 2. North Dakota, 3. Michigan, 4. BC; 5. Miami; 6. Providence; 7. Union;  8. Minnesota State; 9. Colgate and 10. Maine.

    World Arena was ranked No. 5 out of the 57 college hockey arenas rated by this web site. There was other big news for the facility.

  • Bonnett, Rud survive initial cuts

    Tue, April 15, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Bonnett MUGRud2010-11gb31The list of potential Colorado College coaches is down to 10, including current assistants Joe Bonnett and Eric Rud.  A nine-member advisory committee whittled down an initial list of 60 applicants on Monday.

    The group will spend the next week or so vetting the second round’s 10 down to a more-workable number of two up to eight finalists for more in-depth interviews, athletic director Ken Ralph said on Tuesday.

    “We are really happy with the 10 candidates. Any of them would make an excellent head coach,” said Ralph, who confirmed Bonnett and Rud are among those 10. “They have both done an excellent job over the past nine days keeping the program moving forward.”

    Neither assistant will comment during the hiring process.

  • Saturday reading: Championship preview; Five NCHC players earn All-America honors

    Sat, April 12, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    bigger-NCHC-logo-300x300Here is a preview of tonight’s national championship game between Minnesota and Union.

    Five National Collegiate Hockey Conference players were named by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) as Men’s Division I All-Americans.

    Earning First-Team West All-American was Omaha junior forward Josh Archibald, Denver senior goaltender Sam Brittain and St. Cloud State senior forward Nic Dowd. Garnering Second-Team West All-American was Miami junior forward Austin Czarnik and Denver junior defenseman Joey LaLeggia.

    A total of 14 different schools were represented between the East and West All-American Teams, including four NCHC schools, with Denver the lone NCHC school to have multiple representatives. Six All-Americans each hailed from the Big Ten, the ECAC and Hockey East, with five came from the NCHC and two from the WCHA. Among the West All-American First Team, three played in the NCHC while the other half played in the Big Ten. All five NCHC student-athletes named All-Americans were also tabbed First-Team All-Conference.

  • 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.

  • Gold Pan series dates; tentative CC schedule

    Thu, April 10, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Taft 2Next season’s Gold Pan series between Colorado College and Denver will resume in November 2014 and conclude in February 2015 judging from the DU home schedule cards. 

    CC travels to Denver on Friday, Nov. 14 and hosts their Front Range rivals on Nov. 15. The Tigers host the Pioneers on Friday, Feb. 20 and travel to Magness Arena on Feb. 21 in National Collegiate Hockey Conference play.

    Denver hosts Air Force in a nonleague game on Friday, Nov. 21 and the Big Ten’s Wisconsin the next night. That makes it very likely the Badgers will visit World Arena to play the Tigers on Nov. 21.

    The schedule is subject to change and remains unconfirmed until formal announcements later this month.

    Here is a very INCOMPLETE, TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (in other words, do not book any flights just yet) based on past interviews and other media.

    CC 2014-15 schedule

    Subject to change

    September

    Sept. 30 annual Faceoff Luncheon

    October

    Oct. 3, McGill University (exhibition)

    Oct. 10-11, Alabama-Huntsville (Homecoming)

    Oct. 17-18 North Dakota

    Oct. 24-26, at Boston College, New Hampshire (block break weekend)

    Oct. 31-Nov. 1 BYE WEEK

    November

    Nov. 7-8  at Miami

    Nov. 14 at Denver

    Nov. 15   Denver

    Nov. 21  Wisconsin

    Nov. 22 at Air Force

    December

    Dec. 5-6, at Minnesota-Duluth

    January

    Jan. 3-4, at Providence

    Jan. 6, at UConn

    February

    Feb. 20 Denver

    Feb. 21 at Denver