Michigan senior forward Zach Hyman was honored as one of five finalists (and the lone hockey player) for the 11th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup in an awards ceremony in Atlanta on Monday night. Hyman attended the awards ceremony and was honored with a short video presentation before having the chance to address the crowd along with his fellow finalists. He has been very active in the Ann Arbor community during his four years with the Wolverines and is also the author of two children’s books.
After the worst season in program history, Wisconsin’s athletic board decided against extending head coach Mike Eaves’ contract last Friday.
However, the UW board did vote to maintain Eaves’ five-year contract that runs through June 30, 2019. This is all a normal part of the process at the end of each season for the board to review and evaluate and either extend or keep existing coaches’ contracts.
The school also voted to extend women’s coach Mark Johnson’s five-year contract through June 30, 2020.
Denver announced Friday that assistant coach Joe Clark and volunteer assistant coach Brett Blatchford have both resigned their posts in order to pursue “other opportunities.”
Clark and Blatchford both joined Denver’s coaching staff last summer.
“Joe and Brett both did a great job for us this past season and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said in a statement. “Joe has family obligations that necessitate his resignation and we completely respect his decision to move on while Brett has decided to focus on his real estate career, which we also respect. We thank both of them for their contribution to DU hockey and we will begin the search for their replacements immediately.”
Prior to arriving in Denver, Clark spent 25 years as an NHL scout, minor/European league general manager/head coach and collegiate goaltending coach. He will soon be relocating to Boca Raton, Fla., to be with his wife, Stephanie, and children, Sydnie, Tanner and Ella.
“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Montgomery gave me with Denver and have nothing but the utmost of respect for the DU hockey program and athletics department,” Clark added in a news release. “This was definitely a difficult decision as I truly enjoyed my time with the Pioneers, but my family commitments make continuing on in my current role with the program impossible. My family is the most important thing in my life and I’m excited to be able to spend more time with them in the coming months and years.”
Now a broker associate at Denver’s Porch Light Real Estate Group, Blatchford spent four seasons at Notre Dame from 2006 to 2010.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn will host a college hockey doubleheader on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015.
This inaugural event will feature Army playing Bentley and Notre Dame taking on Connecticut. The doubleheader will showcase different teams each year.
“Hockey East is pleased to join with our friends in Atlantic Hockey and Play By Play Sports to bring this event to hockey fans at Barclays Center,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna in a statement. “It worked out well that our two newest member institutions were able to participate in this inaugural event and the Notre Dame-UConn hockey rivalry has already become one to watch.”
“This is a great opportunity for two of our member institutions, Army and Bentley, to be a part of a major event and to participate in the first college hockey event at Barclays Center,” added Atlantic Hockey commissioner Bob DeGregorio. “Our partners at Atlantic Hockey, Army and Bentley are excited to showcase their exceptional student-athletes at this venue.”
Tickets for the games will go on sale on Friday, May 1 at 10 a.m. EDT and can be purchased online via Ticketmaster by visiting www.barclayscenter.com or www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center beginning Saturday, May 2 at noon (if tickets are still available).
The soft media launch of the NWHL that didn’t so coincidentally coincide with the IIHF Women’s World Championships in late March caused a stir of excitement and interest among fans and players, but it also left them with as many questions as answers.
The league officially launched on April 13 in New York, when founder and CEO Dani Rylan announced that the league championship would be called the Isobel Cup. The trophy is named after Lord Stanley’s daughter, Lady Isobel Stanley, who was one of the first women to play hockey.
The NWHL is planned to be a small league with big ambitions. Currently planned with just four teams regionally located in the Northeast, expansion into other hockey-rich markets is in the long-term goals. First however, the league has to show it can work on a smaller scale.
“(We are) starting small and growing more as the sport grows,” said Rylan.
Before that happens, though, the NWHL has to prove viable on the smaller scale — a feat no other women’s professional league has been able to achieve with any success.
Rylan is firm in her belief that the intense preparation and research she and her group did before ever thinking about a launch will be the difference.
“It’s a different strategy, and we’ve done a lot of research into other viable women’s leagues and we put a bunch of minds together and came up with something that we think is going to work, and if you look at all the positive feedback we’ve received from just a soft media launch, then I think that’s to say that there’s only positive down the road,” she said. “This is something that fans want, players want, and it’s time to do it.”
The soft launch of the league was part playing off the interest in the women’s worlds, part timed to coincide with the fact that many of the NWHL’s prospective players are looking to make a decision about their future. Collegiate women just finished their season, and women playing internationally have finished their schedule.
Rylan wanted to get the NWHL out there because, “It’s best for the players to have all their options on board.”
One crucial detail of the player-focused plan for the league is to draft college juniors. Seniors and players that have already graduated are considered free agents. The idea is that juniors would have a full year to plan for a relocation to a new city. They can look for housing and jobs and work to establish themselves long before their season even begins.
There was not a firm answer as to how the free agent market will work, though the free agents will have until August 25 to negotiate. The first games of the new NWHL will be played on October 17, 2015. In this first season, there will not be open tryouts, and Rylan said she didn’t see them happening in the foreseeable future.
Potential players are currently being contacted by the league.
“To keep the caliber as high as possible, we want every team to be filled with the best women,” said Rylan.
Rylan and her as-yet undisclosed board of directors and advisers have created a business plan that she said sets this league apart from others. While they’ve focused on many small details to help foster success, ultimately the beginning and end of their planning is based on the NWHL being a player-centered league.
Paying the players and making their participation in the league viable in the scheme of their larger-than-life-plan is fundamental to the goals of the league.
One of the speed bumps that’s hindered the growth of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) has been the inability of players to get visas. The league has four Canadian teams and one team in the U.S. – in Boston. The Boston team is loaded with U.S. talent, mostly because it’s incredibly difficult for a U.S. citizen to get a visa to play in Canada. Conversely, because they are not paid, the Canadian players have difficulty getting visas to the U.S.
Those problems should become much more surmountable when the players are receiving paychecks and can apply for work visas.
Despite having won two of the last three CWHL Championships, the Boston Blades struggle with attendance and costs. Their players are required to sell tickets and earn money to help the team stay afloat.
Knowing the struggles the Blades have had to gain a small foothold in hockey-crazy Boston, the NWHL had to be leery of jumping into an already flooded market where competition for the citizens’ entertainment dollar is fierce.
However, it was a necessary and obvious choice for a franchise when Rylan took into account that it’s where many of the prospective players want to live and work. They are established in the area; they live, work, and train there.
Putting women’s professional hockey in New York State with two of the four founding franchises is also a new approach. It’s a hockey-rich state, with eight NCAA Division I programs and nine Division III programs. The only non-WCHA team to win an NCAA D-I National Championship, the Clarkson Golden Knights, is from Potsdam. TV viewership statistics from Sochi showed that Western New York had the highest ratings in the U.S. for the women’s gold medal game.
The early excitement over the NWHL and the prospect of getting paid means Rylan has received inquiries from players across the country hoping to be able to play. With just four teams with 18 roster spots apiece, competition to be a part of the inaugural season is fierce.
“We’re definitely starting at the top, so we’re contacting players on the U.S. and Canadian Olympic teams and working down from there,” said Rylan.
For their part, the top U.S. and Canadian players have shown interest tinged with skepticism. While they want to see a successful women’s hockey league that pays its players, there’s still a lot unknown about the NWHL. These players have been let down on this front before, and seem to be approaching the situation with both hope and a rational logic.
Caroline Ouellette is a four-time Olympic gold medalist who’s yet to see any league be fully successful in her lifetime.
She told the Globe and Mail, “They’re promising to pay the players. That’s what we’re striving for. It’s getting harder and harder every year to still have to pay to play. The players are open to hearing about the new league and seeing how it’s going to work, but often I feel there are rumors about a new league coming on board and it never really happens. Maybe I’m pessimistic.”
Two-time silver medalist from the U.S., goalie Jessie Vetter, told the Globe and Mail, “It’s very inviting what we’ve heard about it, but I think everybody just needs to get more research on it and learn more about the league.”
In a few year’s time, the league may prove to be a place for collegiate talent that hadn’t previously planned on being able to play after graduation, but at the moment it’s a hand-selected batch of players that will be filling out the 72 roster spots.
One thing the league has done is allow the players to rank, from 1-4, the team they’d like to play for. Players with family or already secured jobs in a certain city will be given preference. Rylan admitted that interest in Boston was the highest, but she pointed out that with each team carrying just a $270,000 salary cap, there could be financial incentive for a top player to be willing to head to one of the other teams.
The team salary cap, and how those funds will get allocated, has been a hot discussion topic since the league was announced. Distributed evenly, it would amount to $15,000 a player, but each player and the individual team general managers will be negotiating contracts.
Though a few of the biggest names in women’s hockey have agents, most of the women joining the league will not. Rylan said there is already an NWHL Players’ Association, and that this union will be in place to help the players make the right decisions and to keep things fair and equitable during the contract process.
One major struggle for the CWHL has been marketing its product and appealing to a wide audience in order to fill the arenas.
A focal point of the NWHL is to play just one game per team per weekend. The players will be able to accommodate that in a work schedule, fans will know to watch for a game, and marketing efforts and hype can be condensed. Each game will be marketed as a single event, and many will have theme nights to attract wider audiences.
“I think we’re just really conveying the passion that we have for the sport. This is professional hockey. These are the best women at what they do. That is definitely number one in the marketing plan.
Connecticut announced on Thursday that Mike Souza has been promoted to associate head coach.
Souza joined UConn prior to the 2013-14 season as an assistant as part of Mike Cavanaugh’s first coaching staff.
“Mike’s extensive playing experience and coaching skills continue to enhance our program,” said Cavanaugh in a statement. “He was an integral part of our success competing in our first year in Hockey East and will continue to be a key part of the growth of this program.”
“The University of Connecticut is a special place and I consider myself lucky to be a member of its community and to work with our student athletes,” added Souza. “The university and its administration have been so supportive of our ultimate goal of winning a championship. I hope to continue to be able to help facilitate making that goal a reality.”
Since his arrival in Storrs, Souza has assisted with all aspects of the program with his primary focus on the ice in coordinating the UConn power play while off the ice, directing the team’s recruiting efforts.
Prior to coming to joining the Huskies, Souza was an assistant coach at Brown. A graduate of New Hampshire, Souza was a four-year member of the Wildcats’ hockey program from 1996 to 2000, captaining the team his senior year.
Colgate announced Monday the addition of Juliano Pagliero as a new assistant coach.
Pagliero replaces Jason Lefevre, who left his position this past January.
Pagliero will work primarily with the Raiders goaltenders and defensemen and will also oversee the program’s recruiting efforts while assisting in the day-to-day operations of the team.
“We are excited to welcome Juliano Pagliero and his wife, Kristin, to the Colgate hockey program,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said in a statement. “Juliano was chosen from a strong applicant pool and comes highly recommended. He has an excellent reputation as a tireless recruiter and has a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed both on the ice and in the classroom. As a former Division I goalie, he has a wealth of knowledge of that position, which will serve him and our hockey program well moving forward.”
“I am very excited and honored to be joining the Colgate men’s hockey staff,” added Pagliero. “I look forward to working with such a respected coach like Coach Vaughan, as well as [assistant coach Mike] Harder and the players as we try to build on the success that the program has enjoyed in recent years. I can’t wait to join the staff and start building towards the future.”
Pagliero comes to Colgate after two seasons as an assistant coach at Holy Cross and from 2011-13, was an assistant coach at Utica. He played from 2006 to 2010 at Niagara and was named the CHA Player of the Year his senior season with the Purple Eagles.
Harvard junior forward Jimmy Vesey has been selected as the Hockey Commissioners’ Association National Division I Player of the Month for March/April 2015 and Boston University forward Jack Eichel has picked up the HCA National Division I Rookie of the Month award for the same time period.
Vesey, a Hobey Baker Award finalist, led the Crimson to the ECAC Hockey tournament championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament. He led the nation with 10 goals over an eight-game span during March/April while sparking one of the nation’s top ten offenses. His 14 points led all ECAC Hockey players and were good enough for second in the nation. Vesey tied for second in the NCAA averaging 1.25 goals per contest and chipped in with four assists to guide the Crimson to a 6-2-0 mark over the final stretch.
He also led the country in goals with 32 over the course of 2014-15 and closed out the year with 58 points, good for third. In addition, Vesey was named the Walter Brown Award recipient, Player of the Year in the ECAC Hockey, both First Team All-Conference and All-American selections, as well as the Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Hockey tournament where he scored nine goals to set a new playoff record.
Eichel tied for second in the nation with eight goals and eight assists for an NCAA-leading 16 points in eight games since the beginning of March and subsequently won the 2015 Hobey Baker Award.
Eichel helped the Terriers reach the NCAA national championship game in Boston on April 11, but lost to Providence. His 2.00 points per game since March 1 led the country during that time frame, as did his plus-15 rating and 40 shots on goal. Within Hockey East, Eichel led nearly every offensive category, including goals (8), assists (8), points (8), goals per game (1.00), points per game (2.00), game-winning goals (1), plus-minus (plus-15), shots on goal (40), and faceoffs won (107). Eichel’s 71 points this year (26 goals, 45 assists) is the highest total for an NCAA rookie since Paul Kariya registered 100 for Maine in 1992-93.
He scored the game-winning goal in BU’s postseason opener against Merrimack on March 13 in a game that saw him register two goals and an assist. He factored in on two other postseason game-winning goals, including the overtime winner against Yale in the Northeast Regional semifinal. In the Frozen Four, Eichel picked up four points (two goals, two assists) in two games.
In March, Eichel was the leading scorer in the Hockey East Tournament, notching four goals and six assists for 11 points and finishing a plus-10 in four games played. For his efforts in helping BU capture the eighth Hockey East tournament title in school history, Eichel was named to the All-Tournament Team and Tournament MVP after becoming just the third player to be named Hockey East Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season. Last week, he was tabbed New England MVP. Eichel was also unanimously named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and the Hockey East First Team All-Star squad. He was also named the recipient of the Tim Taylor Award, given to the nation’s top rookie.
Eichel lead the NCAA in nearly every offensive category in 2014-15, pacing the nation in assists (45), points (71), assists per game (1.12), points per game (1.77), power-play points (23), and plus-minus (plus-51) in 40 games played.
Atlantic Hockey director of media relations David Rourke has resigned, effective June 30. He is exploring job opportunities outside college athletics, according to a news release.
Hobey Baker Award winner and USCHO player of the year Jack Eichel of Boston University has been added to the United States roster for the World Championship next month in the Czech Republic.
The forward is the fifth player that played college hockey in 2014-15 to be named to the roster, joining forwards Dylan Larkin (Michigan) and Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), defenseman Mike Reilly (Minnesota) and goaltender Alex Lyon (Yale).
Eichel captained the United States team at the 2015 World Junior Championship, one of his four previous appearances for the U.S. in an IIHF event.
Nine pro players named to the roster so far played college hockey:
• Forward Marc Arcobello, Yale
• Defenseman Justin Faulk, Minnesota-Duluth
• Defenseman Jake Gardiner, Wisconsin
• Forward Matt Hendricks, St. Cloud State
• Defenseman Torey Krug, Michigan State
• Forward Steve Moses, New Hampshire
• Defenseman Zach Redmond, Ferris State
• Forward Dan Sexton, Bowling Green
• Forward Ben Smith, Boston College
Quinnipiac has named Cassandra Turner its interim head coach after the resignation last week of Rick Seeley.
Seeley was under investigation by the school for what was termed “potentially abusive behavior.”
Turner has been on the Bobcats’ staff for the last seven seasons, serving as associate head coach for the last four.
Quinnipiac made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 2015.
Turner, a two-time captain in a four-year career at Brown, also was the head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team in 2014-15.
Miami forward Riley Barber has signed with the Washington Capitals, giving up his final season of collegiate eligibility.
Barber, a sixth-round pick of the Capitals in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, scored 20 goals as a junior. For his 116-game collegiate career, the Pittsburgh native had 54 goals and 123 points.
He was the CCHA freshman of the year in 2013, when he had 15 goals and 39 points for the RedHawks.
The three-year, entry-level contract he agreed to with the Capitals on Friday makes him the fourth Miami player to sign a pro contract this offseason. He joined seniors Austin Czarnik (Boston, NHL), Alex Wideman (Binghamton, AHL) and Cody Murphy (Reading, ECHL).
When the first 17 players were named this week to the United States team for the 2015 IIHF World Championship that starts in May, four players were named that skated in the NCAA ranks during the 2014-15 season.
Forwards Dylan Larkin (Michigan) and Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), defenseman Mike Reilly (Minnesota) and goaltender Alex Lyon (Yale) will all suit up for the Americans when the tournament starts next month in the Czech Republic.
One of Team USA’s assistant coaches is St. Lawrence head coach Greg Carvel.
The United States begins tournament play May 1 against Finland.
A year ago, Nate Leaman watched as a program he helped build won its first national championship, three years after he left.
It did not take him long to match Union’s 2014 triumph with his new team.
Leaman guided Providence to the 2015 national championship, continuing a program resurgence under the fourth-year head coach.
In a crowded field of deserving candidates, Leaman’s NCAA tournament success helped him earn USCHO’s coach of the year award.
Leaman’s Friars had only the nation’s sixth-best record (26-13-2). They had just one player in the national top 50 for points.
In the end, however, they were the last team standing after getting the last at-large spot in the NCAA tournament.
Leaman, 42, did not take a conventional road to major college hockey coaching, but his recent success has put him among the best young coaches in the country.
He won the Spencer Penrose Award as the top Division I men’s coach at Union in 2011, when he led the Dutchmen to their first Division I NCAA tournament appearance.
Leaman left Schenectady, N.Y., after that season to join Providence, and after two seasons of building, he has taken the Friars to the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.
This season, Providence lost consecutive games only once, and although the Friars were bounced from the Hockey East playoffs in the quarterfinals, they rebounded in the national tournament.
USCHO’s postseason awards were selected by USCHO staff members during the Frozen Four.
Here are recent USCHO selections for coach of the year:
• 2015: Nate Leaman, Providence
• 2014: Rick Bennett, Union
• 2013: Norm Bazin, UMass-Lowell
• 2012: Norm Bazin, UMass-Lowell
• 2011: Jeff Blashill, Western Michigan
• 2010: Jerry York, Boston College
Former Lake Superior State goaltender and assistant coach Don Muio died on April 12 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was 65.
Muio resided in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., with his wife, Barb.
He is survived by Barb, three daughters and five grandchildren.
Muio was the director of human resources for Cross Country Automotive Services prior to retirement. Muio had a variety of coaching stints, including as an assistant at LSSU in the early 1980s and served as a volunteer goaltenders coach for seven seasons from 2004 to 2011.
“Don Muio was a good man, a great husband, proud father, loyal friend and a fierce competitor,” noted former LSSU director of athletics and current LSSU broadcaster Bill Crawford in a statement. “He was a quality goaltender on the great Laker teams of the early championship years. He was such a positive influence on the Laker goalies. He was a very successful business man who used his LSSU degree to his family’s advantage. He was proud of his Laker heritage, a Hall of Fame team player, and he will be missed. Don fought his battle with cancer as he did opponents on the ice — with every ounce of effort and strength.”
“The Lakers have lost one of their own and it saddens us all.”
“My only focus is to help the goalie prepare and improve his game,” Muio said during an interview in 2009. “The single focus is much easier to deal with. There aren’t all of the challenges you face as a head coach. I particularly enjoy the interaction with the individual goaltenders. Lake Superior State is so fortunate to have a bunch of great gentlemen come in. Their character lends to the learning process.”
While playing at LSSU from 1969 to 1973, Muio posted a career GAA of 3.94, along with 2,161 career saves and a career save percentage of .873. He was a member of the Lakers’ 1972 NAIA national
championship team that was inducted into the LSSU Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Funeral details are available on Soo Today.
Union junior forward Theo Di Pauli von Treuheim has been named a 2015 Barry Goldwater Scholar – one of 12 recipients from Illinois honored with the scholarship. The purpose of the award is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields. Di Pauli von Treuheim is a bioengineering major who holds a 3.96 overall GPA.
The Calgary Flames announced the signing of Providence junior goaltender Jon Gillies on Wednesday.
Gillies, who recently was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Frozen Four and a CCM All-America East Second Team nod, tallied a career-high 49 saves against Boston University in the national championship game to lead the Friars to the program’s first national title with a 4-3 win over the Terriers on April 11.
“We are excited and proud that Jon has earned this opportunity,” PC coach Nate Leaman said in a statement. “He’s had a great three years as a Friar, culminating in Saturday night’s NCAA Championship game. We know he will represent Providence College well and we look forward to seeing Jon back on campus in the future as he continues to work toward his Providence College degree.”
“It has been an indescribable honor to wear the Friar jersey and represent Providence College for the past three years,” Gillies added. “I am forever a Friar and that makes me one of the luckiest people in the world.”
Gillies went 24-13-2 during the 2014-15 season and posted the second-best GAA in program history (2.01). He finished the season with the nation’s seventh-best save percentage (.930), while his GAA ranked 12th in the country. Gillies made 1,029 saves on the season, which ranks sixth all-time at Providence. In 38 starts this year, he allowed two or fewer goals on 29 occasions.
In Hockey East, Gillies was selected to the Hockey East First Team. He also earned that honor in 2012-13 to become just the fifth goaltender in Hockey East history to earn multiple First-Team honors.
During the 2014-15 regular-season conference schedule, Gillies posted the sixth-best GAA (1.74) and the fifth-best save percentage (.939) in league history. He posted four shutouts this season, including a 43-save effort in Providence’s 1-0 win against Boston College on Nov. 29.
Gillies is Providence’s all-time leader in shutouts (13) and career GAA (2.08). He owns three of the top-four lowest single-season GAAs in Friar history (2.08, 2.16 and 1.95).
This season, Gillies moved into second place in career wins at Providence (60-34-13). He ranks second at Providence in career saves (3,000) and fourth in goaltender appearances (108).
In the NCAA tournament this year, Gillies made 52 saves in the East Regional and stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced against Denver in the regional final to earn All-East Regional Team honors. Gillies then helped Providence clinch a spot in the Frozen Four championship after a 25-save performance during the Friars’ 4-1 win over Omaha in the national semifinal April 9.
There were high expectations on Jack Eichel entering his freshman season at Boston University, and he met them.
Eichel, the national scoring champion and Hobey Baker Award winner, is USCHO’s player of the year and rookie of the year for the 2014-15 season.
As one of the most watched rookies in college hockey in recent years, Eichel just went about his business of putting up points and helping the Terriers to an 18-win improvement over the 2013-14 season.
The North Chelmsford, Mass., led the country in assists (45), points (71) and plus/minus (plus-51), and he was tied for third with 26 goals.
Boston University was 18-0 when he scored a goal, and he was held without a point only seven times in 40 appearances.
He became the first freshman since Maine’s Paul Kariya in 1993 to win both the Hockey East player and rookie of the year awards, and joined Kariya as the only first-year player to win the Hobey.
Eichel is expected to be among the top two picks in the NHL Entry Draft in June.
“He’s as competitive as you’ll find,” Terriers coach David Quinn said in an USCHO feature on Eichel in March. “He wants to be the best player possible. He’s a great teammate. He wants to win, and not just for him. For all the notoriety and all the attention he gets, he just wants to be another hockey player. There’s no entitlement. With someone getting all the attention that he gets, it has the potential to be a nightmare. And it has been anything but.”
USCHO’s postseason awards were selected by USCHO staff members during the Frozen Four.
The All-USCHO teams were unveiled on Monday. The coach of the year award will be announced later this week.
Here are the recent recipients of USCHO’s player of the year award:
• 2015: Jack Eichel, Boston University forward
• 2014: Johnny Gaudreau, Boston College forward
• 2013: Eric Hartzell, Quinnipiac goaltender
• 2012: Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth forward
• 2011: Andy Miele, Miami forward
• 2010: Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin forward
PROVIDENCE, R.I — A packed crowd occupied Schneider Arena on Tuesday afternoon, with its full focus turned to the video scoreboard that was replaying the final period of last Saturday’s NCAA championship game.
The crowd burst out cheering as the screens showed Providence goaltender Jon Gillies sprawling out across the net for a game-saving stop in the final minute. The cheer was one-upped a few minutes later as the final seconds ticked off the clock and the celebration of the Friars’ first hockey national championship played.
2015 Frozen Four
Follow all of USCHO's coverage at Frozen Four Central.
As the Friars players were announced, the biggest applause was given to a player that did not lace up his skates throughout the season: Drew Brown, a senior who has been battling a rare and vicious form of bone cancer.
As Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll put it, Brown is “the toughest Friar in the house,” and was the “inspiration” behind the run to the championship.
School president Brian Shanley and Providence mayor Jorge Elorza were among those who spoke during the event.
“On behalf of the city, I am so proud that you are our national champions,” Elorza said.
Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna had a champion to celebrate no matter whether Providence or league foe Boston University won Saturday.
“I was one of the few people in the building Saturday night that was not stressed out,” he said, “because I could not lose.”
In his time at the microphone, Friars coach Nate Leaman praised the team effort that culminated in a 4-3, come-from-behind victory over the Terriers in Boston.
“We had a great team this year,” Leaman said. “The players, our staff, our administration, our alumni, our community, our state — we all came together as a team. That’s the best part of this year’s championship.”
Driscoll gave a lot of the credit to Leaman, who helped transform a program that had been in the depths of Hockey East into a champion in four seasons.
Leaman executed a similar turnaround, albeit over a longer period of time, at Union, which won the 2014 national title.
Leaman “is actually the architect of the last two national championship teams,” Bertagna said.
As Leaman came toward the close of his speech, he gave an immense amount of credit to the Friars faithful, noting their importance in the tough East Regional bracket that Providence escaped not far from home.
“We had 14,000 fans over the two games in Providence, which led all the other regions by about 5,000 fans,” Leaman said.
Leaman made a touching tribute to his co-captain, Ross Mauermann, who is one of the few players to spend his entire four-year career under Leaman’s wing.
“Ross Mauermann came to us four years ago as a walk-on … but he leaves here as a champion and I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Leaman said.
The Friars coach ended his speech with a poke at his captain: “You can always spot him on campus with the red hair,” Leaman said.
With the crowd laughing, Mauermann walked to the stage.
“It’s been an unbelievable ride,” he said. “It’s still kind of setting in for us, but we are national champions.”
Colorado College senior Aaron Harstad has been named a 2015 All-American Athlete Award recipient by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and EAS Sports Nutrition. The All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year Award program recognizes collegiate and high school athletes whose athletic accomplishments, in the opinion of their strength coach, reflect their dedication to strength training and conditioning.