There will be two postseason all-star games this year in the college hockey world: one featuring the top U.S. born NCAA players against the top talent from the Canadian equivalent,the CIAU; the other featuring the best of the best from Hockey East and the ECAC, as well as players drawn from the best in NCAA Divisions II and III from schools on the east coast.
Players participating in either contest will be seniors who have used up their collegiate eligibility, to avoid regulations prohibiting them from exceeding a maximum number of games.
The World University Hockey Championship will be held on April 4, 1997, at 7:30 p.m. EST at the Joe Louis Arena, in Detroit, Michigan. Team USA will face off with Team Canada in a game televised by Prime Sports Network in the United States and by TSN in Canada.
At a press conference held November 26, Michigan State’s Ron Mason was named head coach of Team USA, while Tom Watt was named the leader of the Canadian coaching staff. These two hold the record in their respective countries for most collegiate wins. Mason sports a 31-year record of 752-330-54 entering the 1996-97 season, while Watt holds a 410-106-35 record.
Joining Mason will be Jerry York of Boston College, who just collected his 500th win, Don Lucia of Colorado College, and Joe Marsh from St. Lawrence University. Watt’s staff consists of Dalhousie coach Darell Young and assistant coaches Marlin Muylaert of the University of Guelph and Tim Bothwell of the University of Calgary.
Team USA will be missing some of the marquee players in the likes of Brendan Morrison of Michigan and the French Connection of Martin St. Louis and Eric Perrin of Vermont, due to their Canadian heritage. Only U.S. born players are eligible for the team, while only Canadian players will be asked to play for Team Canada.
Some players from the east will be asked to participate in both games, like All-American goaltender Tim Thomas of Vermont, who is from Michigan. A preliminary list of players from the four major conferences is available. This list is almost certain to change.
Organizers of the event, which include CCHA commissioner Bill Beagan and ECAC commissioner Joe Bertagna, among others, expect that next year will feature a two game home-and-home series, and by the year 2000 other teams will join to make this a true World Collegiate Championship.
The second annual Eastern Senior All-Star Game will be held Sunday afternoon April 6, 1997, at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vermont.
This is a continuation of the event that began last year at New Hampshire’s new facility, the Whittemore Center. New Hampshire is expected to host next year’s event, which is expected to become an annual tradition on the east coast, alternating between Hockey East and ECAC sites.
This year, organization of the event has switched hands. “We are pleased that the American Hockey Coaches Association has relinquished the rights to this game and it is now a joint venture of ECAC Hockey and Hockey East,” said ECAC commissioner Joe Bertagna.
It is expected that Vermont’s three All-Americans, Eric Perrin, Martin St. Louis, and goalie Tim Thomas, will be involved in the game, and give a lucky audience one last chance to watch them play together.
Coaching staff, game format, and any experimental rules will be released in the upcoming weeks.