2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • 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.

  • Midweek reading: UNO roster shuffle; LSSU completes staff; UND freshmen

    Tue, June 24, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Jaden picFormer Tiger Jaden Schwartz is a keeper and the Blues are looking to build around him and Vladimir Tarasenko.

    Nebraska-Omaha signed forward Grant Gallo for this fall, replacing freshman defenseman Shane Poulsen, who chose to not attend UNO.

    Gallo, a San Diego native,  played two seasons for the Northern Cyclones of the junior Eastern Hockey League where he was twice an all-league selection and member of the all-star Team.  In 2013-14, the 6-4, 215-pound blue liner led all EHL defensemen and finished second in team scoring with 15 goals and 27 assists for 42 points in 44 games. He was the EHL Defenseman of the Year and recorded122 penalty minutes. Gallo served as team captain, leading the Cyclones to the league championship.

    Lake Superior State coach Damon Whitten completed the staff of his Western Collegiate Hockey Association team by hiring Peter Aubry as an assistant coach. Aubry, who spent the past three seasons as a Mercyhurst assistant is a former goalie who will lead the Laker defence.  The hire follows the recent return of Rich Metro as a Laker assistant.

    For the first time in 11 years, North Dakota has no Canadians in its incoming freshman class.  Here is a look at the RIT incoming freshman class, which makes up for that.

  • Midweek reading: Nebraska-Omaha, sled hockey, Holy Cross, Minnesota State

    Wed, May 21, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    uno arena constructionPlaying catch-up after some vacation …

    Nebraska-Omaha is bringing in 11 freshmen this fall to bolster the roster. The Mavericks announced five new signees, all Canadians, recently.

    The picture above from the UNO Facebook page shows the progress of the new on-campus arena construction.

    The USA Hockey cycling team is trying to raise $10,000 for disabled hockey. Consider donating here:

    Holy Cross can cast a wide net in search of a new head coach. Canisius named two new assistants.

    Minnesota State will get its long-awaited arena improvements in 2015. 

  • Seventh NCHC player leaves early for pros

    Wed, May 7, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    UND Grimaldi actionNorth Dakota redshirt sophomore forward Rocco Grimaldi, 21, signed a three-year deal with the Florida Panthers, giving up his final two years of college eligibility.

    The NCAA Midwest Regional MVP led UND with 17 goals and 22 assists this past season.

    “We are very pleased to have reached a contract agreement with Rocco,” Florida general manager Dale Tallon said in a press release. “He is a hard working forward who possesses speed along with great vision on the ice. We look forward to his continued growth and development within our organization.”

    He is the seventh to leave an NCHC school early, joining Nebraska-Omaha junior forward Josh Archibald (43 points, 29 goals), AHL Penguins, SCSU junior goalie Ryan Faragher (20-9-4, 2.79 gaa, .905 saves), Anaheim; Duluth junior Caleb Herbert (31, 19 points), Capitals; ) UNO junior defenseman Jaycob Megna (10, 10 assists), Ducks; Western Michigan junior defenseman Jordan Oesterle (17, 15 assists), Oilers;  and CC freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson (eight, four goals), Minnesota.

    In all, 26 college players have left early this offseason.

  • 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: 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)

  • 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.

  • Sunday reading: Minnesota; AFA commit; Gaudreau; comings and goings; UND video

    Sun, April 6, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Ian Young home whitesMinnesota played arguably its best game this season in dispatching SCSU 4-0 in last week’s regional final.

    Kyle Mackey (Youngstown Phantoms) has committed to Air Force for 2014-2015.

    St. Cloud State junior goalie Ryan Faragher signed with Anaheim as did 6-foot-6 junior defenseman Jaycob Megna of Nebraska-Omaha.

    BC’s Johnny Gaudreau, a likely unanimous Hobey Baker winner later this week, is the CHN Player of the Year.

    Here is the latest North Dakota “Through These Doors” video recapping UND’s NCAA run.

    Not every college star wants to leave college early. This is good news for the sport.