Fanter Leaves The ECAC
The ECAC has been a whirlwind of activity over the last week and a half, preparing for the first-ever ECAC Faceoff Classic to be held this weekend at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y., and also looking to fill the shoes of an ice hockey Director of Operations.
ECAC ice hockey’s head man, Jeff Fanter, resigned his position on Oct. 4, leaving a vacancy at the top as the league enters the 1999-2000 season.
Fanter stepped down last week to take a position in the athletic communications department at Indiana University, his alma mater. Before Fanter came to the ECAC, he was assistant director of media relations/publications at the Bloomington campus.
Over the course of two years at the helm, one of Fanter’s main accomplishments was guiding the league towards a more technology-friendly attitude, developing a comprehensive website and methods to log statistics and assignments via the Internet.
As for the new big cheese, there haven’t been many names bantered about. According to one source, the hockey operation will be handled by the entire ECAC staff until a suitable replacement will be found.
The ECAC/Crowne Plaza Faceoff Classic
This season a new tournament is on the calendar as the ECAC, the Crowne Plaza and the city of Albany host the inaugural Faceoff Classic at the Pepsi Arena, also the site of the 2000 East Regionals and the 2001 Frozen Four.
Rensselaer will serve as the host team for the tournament, and will therefore become the first ECAC team to see action this season. The others in the tournament are Boston University, Quinnipiac and Niagara.
"The ECAC is pleased to provide an opportunity for these four teams to participate in this exempted contest," said ECAC commissioner Phil Buttafuoco. "The teams and the fans will be able to enjoy the site of upcoming exciting NCAA action at the Pepsi Arena."
The tournament will not be a standard elimination tournament but rather a points contest. A team is awarded two points for a win and one point for a tie, and the team with the most points takes the title. If there are two teams with the same number of points, the tie is broken by the number of periods won over the two games. It should be interesting to see how this pans out.
Assuming a successful debut, whether this tourney will remain in Albany or rotate to other cities remains to be seen. If the tournament were to be held in Albany next year, it could lead to a long line of applicants who would want to play on the ice that will host the Frozen Four later in the season.
Hopefully this year’s edition of an ECAC-sponsored tournament will fare better than last year’s ill-fated ECAC/Hockey East Holiday Hockey Doubleheader.
Union And The Ice Breaker
Out in Denver this weekend, Jeff Sproat and his Union Dutchmen are the ECAC representative in the third annual Ice Breaker Cup, a tournament that in the two years of its existence has not been kind to the league.
Clarkson lost twice in the inaugural tournament and last year St. Lawrence won in the first round but dropped the decision in the championship game to Boston College. This year should prove to be even tougher for Union.
The Dutchmen take on host Denver in the first round, then follow up with either Providence or Notre Dame. All three teams received votes in U.S. College Hockey Online’s preseason poll, with Denver pulling in the tenth position.
"You can’t turn down an opportunity like this," said head coach Kevin Sneddon on facing off against three of the top teams in the nation. "We haven’t been involved in any kind of tournament of this caliber at Union College.
"It certainly will be a great test from a couple of perspectives. It’s a great team-building thing, to see how we fare, and a trip this early will certainly help gel the team.
"We feel we can compete with any team."
Next season’s Ice Breaker is scheduled to be held at Michigan’s Yost Ice Arena, with the ECAC invitee to be determined.
Two More Take To The Ice
Both Colgate and Vermont hit the rinks this weekend to open up their seasons. The Red Raiders host UMass-Amherst on Saturday evening, coming off a year in which the Red Raiders only lost one home game — an overtime decision back in December.
The Cats, meanwhile, will travel to take on New Hampshire with head coach Mike Gilligan sitting 16 wins away from the 400 mark as a head coach, and 15 away from the 300-win plateau as Vermont’s skipper.
Two More Shots from Jayson
Let’s look at it this way: Atlanta has just started their season as an expansion franchise in the NHL, and the Flames are long gone. With apologies to Alabama-Huntsville and our good friend Jon Barkan, the south just isn’t a hockey hotbed yet, so there’s no reason for any hockey fan to root for the Braves in this year’s National League Championship Series.
So, if y’all will stand behind me and root for my beloved Metropolitans, I would appreciate it. So we’re down 2-0 and Rocker looks unstoppable, but weirder things have happened.
Oh yes, let’s not forget that as a Metropolitan fan and devout Yankee hater, I stand by the adage, "An enemy of yours is a friend of mine." That being said…
USCHO covers the ECAC all week long on the ECAC Blog, with weekend recaps on Monday, picks on Friday, and updates during the week.