2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Air Force announces hockey schedule

    Tue, July 29, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Burnett actionThe Air Force Falcons have won 20 or more games in five of the last seven seasons. It will not be easy to make that six out of eight, judging from the 2014-15 schedule announced by the Atlantic Hockey Association program.

    Much of Air Force’s schedule was known since other schools announced their slates in the preceding weeks. What became known when the Air Forcer schedule was announced on Tuesday was that the Falcons will start their second half of the season at the Catamount Cup Dec. 28-29. They take on host Vermont and then UMass-Amherst the following day.

    The team may stay in the Northeast the next few days since it begins a stretch of nine-straight weekends against league opponents with Jan. 2-3, 2015 games at Holy Cross. The nine-week stretch culminates with the first round of the AHA playoffs March 6-8.

    Air Force begins play with an exhibition game on Monday, Oct. 6 against McGill University (Montreal) and then opens the season against league foe Mercyhurst Oct. 10-11; the first of 28 AHA contests. The Falcons will play 18 home games, including the exhibition.

    Air Force, 21-14-7 last season, will then travel to the Brice Alaska Goal Rush Tournament, Oct. 17-18, to take on host Alaska-Fairbanks and Alaska-Anchorage.

    AFAlogo2012Other nonconference highlights include traveling to North Dakota for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game on Nov. 1. That will be a homecoming for Grafton’s Chad Demers (41 points, 26 assists), a member of Air Force’s top returning line with leading scorer Cole Gunner (44, 29 assists) and Scott Holm (29, 18 assists).

    The annual in-state rivalry games with Denver and Colorado College are Nov. 21-22. The Falcons travel to Denver Friday and host Colorado College on Saturday.

    2014-15 Air Force hockey schedule

    Home games in CAPS

    All times MT

    Oct. 6, McGILL UNIVERSITY (exhibition), 6:05 p.m.

    Oct. 10-11 MERCYHURST, 7:05 p.m.

    Oct. 17, at Alaska-Fairbanks (Brice Gold Rush), 8:07 p.m.

    Oct. 18, vs. Alaska-Anchorage (Brice Gold Rush), 4:07 p.m.

    Oct. 24-25 RIT, 7:05 p.m.

    Nov. 1, at North Dakota (Hall of Fame Game), 8:37 p.m.

    Nov. 7-8, ALABAMA-HUNTSVILLE, 7:05 p.m.

    Nov. 14-15 at Robert Morris, 5:05 p.m.

    Nov. 21 at Denver, 7:35 p.m.

    Nov. 22 COLORADO COLLEGE, 7:05 p.m.

    Nov. 28-29 at Canisius, 12:35 p.m. Friday, 5:35 Saturday

    Dec. 5-6 at Bentley, 5:05 p.m.

    Dec. 28 at Vermont, 5:05 p.m. (Catamount Cup, Burlington)

    Dec. 29 vs. UMass-Amherst, TBA

    Jan. 2-3 at Holy Cross, 5:05 p.m.

    Jan. 9-10 NIAGARA, 7:05 p.m.

    Jan. 16-17, 2014 ARMY, 7:05 p.m.

    Jan. 23-24, at American International, 5:05 p.m.

    Jan. 30-31 ROBERT MORRIS, 7:05 p.m.

    Feb. 6-7 at Sacred Heart, 5:05 p.m.

    Feb. 13-14, AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL, 7:05 p.m.

    Feb. 20-21 at Niagara, 5:05 p.m.

    Feb. 27-28 CANISIUS, 7:05 p.m.

    March 6-8 AHA first round playoffs

    March 13-15 AHA quarterfinals

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

    March 27-29 NCAA regionals (Fargo, Manchester, Providence, South Bend).

  • Midweek reading: Holka leaves, Rud feature, WCHA commissioner

    Tue, July 29, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Rud-web1St. Cloud State’s Joey Holka has left the school for the CHL’s Quad City Mallards.

    Here is a feature on the two new WCHA women’s coaches, including former CC assistant Eric Rud.

    The new WCHA commissioner wants to stabilize the league but also raises the possibility of expansion.

  • 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.

  • Toby Petersen named as new AHL Springfield Falcons assistant coach

    Mon, July 14, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    petersen_white250Former Colorado College hockey player Toby Petersen was hired as an assistant coach by the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons, the top affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    Petersen, 35, retired last month as a player after a 14-year career that culminated with the AHL championship with the Texas Stars, where new Vancouver assistant Doug Lidster worked as an assistant.

    Petersen played 550 games in the AHL with Texas, the Iowa Stars, the Edmonton Road Runners and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, totaling 374 points (226 assists) He competed in two all-star games (2001, 2008) and made the league’s all-rookie team in 2001.

    In addition, Petersen skated in 398 games in the National Hockey League with Dallas, Edmonton and Pittsburgh for 81 points (48 assists).

    The Minneapolis native represented the United States at the 2007 IIHF World Championships, tallying 2-1-3 in seven tournament appearances. He was also a member of Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championships in both 1997 (silver) and 1998.

    Selected by Pittsburgh out of Colorado College in the ninth round, 244th overall, at the 1998 NHL Draft, Petersen registered 128 points (69 assists) in 138 NCAA games from 1996-2000. He was named to the WCHA’s All-Rookie Team and helped the Tigers reach the Frozen Four as a freshman in 1997.

  • 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.

  • 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. 14-15 at Robert Morris

    Nov. 21 at Denver


    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.

  • 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. 14-15 at Robert Morris

    Nov. 21 at Denver


    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.

  • Sterling signs with Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg

    Thu, June 26, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Sterling EuropeFormer Tiger wing Brett Sterling signed a one-year contract with Red Bull Salzburg of the Austria-based Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, which includes teams in the Czech Republic, Hungary, northern Italy, and Slovenia.

    Sterling most recently played one season with Sweden’s HV71 (43 games, 11 goals, 9 assists) before being traded to Örebro and then Kvalserien (combined 10 games, five points, two goals) for that league’s playoffs.

    michael_boivin_salzburgHe joins recent Tigers defenseman Michael Boivin, who recorded 21 points (15 assists) in his first professional season with Salzburg. He signed a one-year contract extension on April 16.

    Sterling, a former Hobey Baker finalist, made 30 NHL appearances (Thrashers, Penguins and Blues).

    The Los Angeles native has extensive amateur and professional experience. He won the world junior championships with both the U.S. U-18 and U-20 teams (2002 and 2004) and went on to pick up several personal awards in the American Hockey League (AHL), including 2006-07 Rookie of the Year. He won the AHL championship, the Calder Cup, with the Chicago Wolves the following season.

    He went on to record 459 points in 492 AHL games before heading to Europe last season.   Sterling is excited about the prospect of the Champions Hockey League this summer, which pairs the various league champions, including when the Red Bulls play HV71 in pool play.

    “It is kind of funny that coming to EC Red Bull Salzburg means I get to play against my former team,” he said in a press release. “It’s always fun to play versus friends and ex-teammates. They have a great team and it should make for very exciting hockey games. More importantly I cannot wait to arrive in Salzburg and for the season to start. Last year with HV71 we played versus Vienna and I found out how the EBEL is great hockey with good atmospheres. After talking with several current and past EBEL players, they had nothing but great things to say about all aspects of the league. I look for forward to energetic games and passionate rivalries.”

  • 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.

  • CC hires former Tigers standout as assistant

    Mon, June 16, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    RJENGAMUGFormer Tiger right wing R.J. Enga is back home.

    The school announced on Monday that the former Colorado College standout will serve as an assistant under new hockey coach Mike Haviland.

    This homecoming is a long time in the works for Enga, whose parents live in Monument and his children, Kaelin 11, and Makenna, 9, reside in the Briargate area.

    “I am honored, humbled and excited by this opportunity at my alma mater and the chance to be back in Colorado Springs with my family,” Enga said.

    After serving as a volunteer assistant at CC during the 2008-09 season, Enga knew he needed experience in the junior hockey ranks before he could return to his alma mater. He spent two years as an assistant at Topeka of the North American Hockey League and the past three with the Chicago Steel of the U.S. Hockey League.

     While with the Steel, Enga, 42, coached incoming Tigers Chris Dodero and Mason Bergh and current players Christian Heil, Alex Roos, and Jaccob Slavin.

    “I loved playing for him down in Chicago and I know the rest of the guys did as well,” Bergh said. “He puts in so much effort to make everyone better. He’s very good at passing along his knowledge about the game to players and I can’t wait to play for him again in the future.”

    His knowledge of college hockey’s main recruiting pools impressed Haviland.

    “The players he coached said they really liked playing for him,” Haviland said. “He is very familiar with the talent in both leagues and in B.C. (British Columbia).”

    Haviland said Enga will be out recruiting most often, but he expects himself and the other assistant, who will be named in the next two weeks, to be out scouting often.

    The Air Force brat was born in Germany. He spent his formative years in Colorado Springs after his father, longtime AFA tight ends coach Dick Enga, joined the staff. Enga played area youth hockey until leaving for Indiana’s Culver Military Academy at age 15. He was drafted by the N.Y. Islanders in the 10th round of the 1990 NHL Draft while at Culver before playing for Colorado College (1991-95).

    Enga recorded 142 career points (61 goals), good for a tie for 37th all-time, at the now-National Collegiate Hockey Conference school.

    That success and love of his alma mater makes him a good fit, Haviland said.

    “He is very passionate about Colorado College,” Haviland said. “We need the high-end players to come here and he can really sell the school. He knows the school and the block plan. He will be a very effective recruiter.”

    “It’s a great set-up for a student-athlete,” Enga said, referring to the block plan. “It works and Colorado Springs and the area, well, all that sells itself.”

    Enga played minor league pro hockey for 10 seasons, including four with the WCHL’s Colorado Gold Kings. Afterwards, he worked for the Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association.