Minnesota-Duluth has named former Bulldogs’ goaltender Brant Nicklin its new volunteer assistant coach. Nicklin, who replaces Bill Watson, has served as the UMD women’s goaltending coach the past four seasons and as an assistant coach at St. Scholastica since 1995-96.
Robert Morris and Mercyhurst each collected 21 points to end up tied at the top of the preseason CHA coaches’ poll released Thursday.
The Colonials earned three first-place votes, while Lakers garnered one first-place vote.
Team (First-place votes)
|1. (tie) Robert Morris (3)||21|
|1. (tie) Mercyhurst (1)||21|
|3. RIT (2)||20|
|5. Penn State||8|
Rochester Institute of Technology announced on Wednesday that former NCAA goaltending standout Lisa Marshall will join the RIT women’s hockey staff as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season.
Marshall began her collegiate career at Wayne State before transferring to Elmira for her sophomore season. At Elmira, Marshall went 32-8-1 with a 1.22 GAA with a .947 save percentage and 23 shutouts in three seasons, helping lead the Soaring Eagles to the 2013 Division III national championship.
“We are excited to bring Lisa to RIT,” said RIT head coach Scott McDonald in a statement. “She was a very good collegiate goaltender, who will work closely with our goaltenders, and also assist in all aspects of the program. Lisa was able to play her collegiate career under three coaches and be part of a national championship team, which made her a strong candidate. She brings youth and a contagious energy to our staff and players and will be a strong assistant coach.”
“This is an opportunity I am really excited for, working with great coaches in Scott [McDonald] and [assistant coach] Matt (Woodard),” added Marshall. “It is great to be able to stay in the game in a new role.”
Marshall received her bachelor’s degree in English literature with an associate’s degree in business administration from Elmira in 2014. She was a two-year member of Elmira’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and also served as a student worker in the athletics and sports medicine offices.
Western Connecticut State University has added a Division III men’s hockey program that will play a full schedule as an affiliate member of the MASCAC during the 2015-16 season.
“The MASCAC is excited to welcome Western Connecticut State University as a men’s ice hockey affiliate,” said MASCAC commissioner Angela Baumann said in a statement. “MASCAC hockey has proven to be a quality league with outstanding competition and exciting games. We are looking forward to welcoming the Colonial’s student-athletes in 2015-2016.”
The Colonials will play their home games at the Danbury Arena, approximately one half mile from the school’s Midtown campus. The arena currently houses the Danbury Whalers of the Federal Hockey League and was home of the WCSU men’s club team, which had been a member of the ACHA since 1994.
“This is an exciting move for Colonial athletics,” added WCSU athletic director Ed Farrington. “Western ice hockey has enjoyed many years of success as a club sport and we intend on building a competitive and respected program as we move into the intercollegiate ranks. We are thrilled to continue a good relationship with the MASCAC that began with affiliations in men’s and women’s tennis and football.”
Harvard has been selected as the top team in the ECAC women’s coaches’ poll released Monday.
With nine first-place votes, this marks the first time since 2008 the Crimson has earned the top spot in the poll.
Team (First-place votes)
|1. Harvard (9)||119|
|2. Cornell (1)||108|
|3. Clarkson (2)||101|
|5. St. Lawrence||80|
In addition, the league also announced its preseason all-conference team.
Western Michigan announced on Monday the hiring of Dave Shyiak as the Broncos’ new associate head coach.
Shyiak spent the 2013-14 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization where he was an amateur scout. Prior to that, he spent eight seasons as head coach at Alaska-Anchorage and was also an assistant and associate head coach at his alma mater, Northern Michigan, where as a player, he helped win the 1991 national championship.
“We are excited to have Dave Shyiak join our coaching staff,” said WMU head coach Andy Murray in a statement. “As with Ben Barr, I have had a long relationship with Dave. He is a quality person that brings a competitive, pit bull mentality. His coaching experience in college hockey and his NHL scouting experience with the Toronto Maple Leafs will only enhance our ability to recruit and develop players for pro hockey. He has an expertise in the defensive side of the game that will complement Ben’s offensive emphasis.”
“This was too good of an opportunity to turn down, the opportunity to work with Coach Murray and his staff and the chance to grow as a coach with a program that has continued to improve on the ice and in the classroom,” added Shyiak. “This staff and the administration has really elevated the program and it is exciting to help continue that work.”
Shyiak left UAA with 80 career wins, including 16 during the 2010-11 season in which the Seawolves made it to the quarterfinals of the WCHA tournament.
The two big screens at the front of the conference room show the center-ice TV angle of a 100-foot stretch pass that ends with a jarring, illegal hit in the neutral zone.
Steve Piotrowski asks those assembled to make the call by pressing a button on their handheld polling devices: ‘A’ for major penalty, ‘B’ for a major and game misconduct or ‘C’ for a major and game disqualification.
No one chooses the last, most severe option — a DQ carries with it an automatic one-game suspension.
Sixteen votes are cast to assess only a five-minute major penalty; the 22 others choose to eject the offending player from the game with a game misconduct. By no stretch of the imagination is there a consensus, which tells you that reasonable people can disagree on the same subject.
It also tells you that on-ice officials can disagree on what the call should be on a play, a clear indication of the human factor involved in the role.
These are Big Ten referees and linesmen assembled in the room for their preseason clinic, a day-long primer on rule changes and a refresher on procedures.
And it’s more than one play on which they do not all hold the same opinion.
Piotrowski, the Big Ten coordinator of ice hockey officials, puts another clip on the screens and asks a question on the severity of the penalty that should be assessed. Again, the split is 22-16. Another play gets a 20-18 divide and yet another goes 21-17.
The takeaway: Different officials will see the same play differently.
“Now enter into the dynamic having to make a split-second decision with one look at real-time speed,” Piotrowski says. “Based upon where you’re positioned and where you see that and without looking at it again, you could come out of that with, ‘Boy, I thought that guy was hit in the head but in reality it was shoulder to shoulder.’ Or, ‘I thought that was a disqualification but in reality it should have been only a game misconduct.’”
The purpose of the clinic, Piotrowski says, is to get the officials confident in their rules knowledge and ready to take the ice in October under some significant changes in the way the game is officiated.
There are subtle changes to faceoff locations and procedures that officials must have down cold before opening night. There are the yearly points of emphasis to keep in mind.
2014-15 points of emphasis
The NCAA men’s and women’s ice hockey rules committee each year issues a set of items for extra attention in the coming season. Here are the three for 2014-15:
Diving and Embellishment: Coaches, conference commissioners, coordinators of officials and on-ice officials must work collaboratively to rid the game of both diving to draw a penalty and embellishing actions to deceive game officials. The committee encourages conferences to develop ways to curb this type of behavior and if appropriate use supplemental discipline. Game officials continue to be encouraged to communicate as a crew and share information when diving or embellishment is in question.
Delaying Tactics: The committee encourages stringent use of the delay of game rules in place, especially during situations where a team may not change its players by rule (e.g., icing). In the rules survey, coaches and administrators overwhelmingly supported a crackdown on these actions. Players on the ice when play is stopped for any violation which does not permit a change of players, (e.g., icing) are required to go immediately to the faceoff location. Any player skating to the bench or otherwise delaying will receive a warning for the first offense and a bench minor penalty on the second and subsequent offense.
Goalkeeper Interference: Clarifying incidental contact between attacking players and the goalkeeper is a key initiative of the committee in this cycle. The goalkeeper must be allowed to play the position, but attacking players also must be given rights to legally obtained space. Through video and directives, the committee will provide more clarity on this issue. Essentially, the crease is the goalkeeper’s area and any contact that prevents the goalkeeper from playing the position must not be allowed. Incidental contact outside of the goal crease is allowed and attacking players have rights to the space outside the goal crease. Finally, deliberate contact with the goalkeeper (regardless of where it occurs) that prevents playing the position should result in a disallowed goal, penalty or both.
There are new protocols for video replay usage for the four-person crew to consider. And there are refreshers needed on elements like the four criteria needed for a penalty shot to be awarded.
They cover it all on one September Saturday at the sparkling Big Ten headquarters outside of Chicago.
They cover it because Piotrowski — as he makes clear multiple times during the day — will not tolerate a lack of rule knowledge.
“Your job is to make sure you know the rules like the back of your hand,” he tells the officials. “I can defend you to the end of the world on your judgment. But if you miss a rule, I have no choice but to tell that coach [you] screwed up.”
That comes up after a clearly unsatisfactory percentage of correct answers to a question on an interactive rules test using the polling devices.
In a follow-up interview, Piotrowski says exemplary rule knowledge is a “difference-maker” in how he views officials.
“Here’s a group of guys that their primary role and responsibility is to officiate a hockey game per the current rules that are in place. And if you don’t understand those rules or you misinterpret those, I can’t make excuses for guys,” says Piotrowski, who’s also the secretary-rules editor of the NCAA men’s and women’s ice hockey rules committee. “Because our guys are accountable just like the players are accountable and the coaches are accountable.”
The first part of accountability is showing up.
For this clinic, the independent contractors that are hired by the Big Ten to officiate hockey games pay for their own travel.
It has a social component — officials think of themselves as being all part of the same team, just the one that no one ever cheers for.
But it’s business, and the business at hand is to get themselves ready for the upcoming season.
“You really start to get excited again,” says Scott Bokal, a veteran referee from St. Louis who’s joining the Big Ten corps this season. “I think we all look forward to this. When you start to see the videos and knock the rust off of your brain, so to speak, you start to get excited.”
Being forced to think about close calls and quick decisions a month before the season starts is a good way to start getting in game mode, lineman Steve Waters says.
Officials would do all that kind of preparation on their own if they had to, he says, out of dedication to their craft.
“But everybody getting together and getting a chance to talk about what’s going on, and then building that rapport with each other before the season starts, it really helps bring it all together so that come October we’re ready to go,” says Waters, who also works the lines for Atlantic Hockey games and is based in Pittsburgh.
No one but officials truly knows the thanklessness of officiating, but that shared experience builds a bond.
“When you’re out there working a game, you’ve got 10,000 people that absolutely hate you,” Waters says. “And you guys are all a team out there. You guys are all brothers. I have your back and you have my back.”
Early in the day, the officials talk in depth about how much to have each other’s back.
The subject is diving and embellishment, one of this season’s points of emphasis.
It’s no secret that referees take offense to attempts to deceive them with a dramatic fall. In addressing the group, Piotrowski calls it “a disgrace to the game” that needs to be eliminated through a collective effort of officials, coaches and players.
Piotrowski emphasizes that he’s not directing the officials to call more diving and embellishment penalties, only to feel empowered to call them when they present themselves.
He adds that if a player shows a pattern of exaggeration, he’ll be identified as a repeat offender so officials can take that knowledge into the game.
Referee Brian Hill asks Piotrowski if it should be a more frequent practice to get the crew together in situations when one referee calls a penalty but others see embellishment on the play.
“I think that’s great,” Piotrowski responds. “That has to continue.”
As evidence of the kind of detail those in the officiating business put into their knowledge of the rule book, the group spends about 10 minutes on a rule change that might be considered minor.
Starting this season, when a team is called for a hand pass or playing the puck with a high stick, the faceoff comes back one zone closer to its goal from where the infraction was committed. In the past, the faceoff took place in the offending team’s defensive zone, which some coaches thought was too punitive, Piotrowski says.
Referee Marco Hunt asks how that change will be received by coaches if it ends up benefiting the violator. An example is floated: A penalty killer launches the puck down ice from deep in his zone and a member of the power-play unit deflects it inside the blue line with a high stick, but the puck travels all the way down ice before it’s played by the offending team and the whistle blows.
Instead of the faceoff coming back into the power-play unit’s defensive zone, under the new rule it’ll take place in the neutral zone just outside of its attacking zone.
Piotrowski confirms that may happen and reinforces a thought he shared early in the presentation: There will have to be some adjustments in the way the officials think.
In the end, that’s one of the most essential parts of the day. College hockey changes its rule book only once every two years, but those changes bring new, sometimes unfamiliar ways of doing things.
But a faceoff rule can’t be misapplied and an opportunity for video review can’t be missed because an official doesn’t remember one of this year’s changes.
“Their job is to embrace all the information,” Piotrowski says. “Our job is to create an atmosphere of learning. It’s also to provide them the tools and information so they really feel comfortable about embracing it.”
The Plymouth State women’s team has named Dayle Wilkinson as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season.
Wilkinson graduated from St. Lawrence in 2014 after four years as a standout defenseman for the Saints where she served as captain her senior year and was selected to the ECAC All-Academic team in each season.
“Dayle will be an instrumental addition to our program and we are excited to welcome her to the Plymouth State community,” said PSU coach Ashley Kilstein in a statement. “Between Dayle’s clear knowledge of the game, vast experience and passion for teaching the game the way she played it, we are certain she will be an exceptional fit.”
Wilkinson will be attending graduate school at Plymouth State with a concentration in clinical mental health counseling.
Providence coach Nate Leaman will be inducted into the Cortland C-Club Hall of Fame during its 46th annual banquet and ceremonies on Saturday, Sept. 13. Leaman is a 1997 graduate of Cortland, where he served as a captain his junior and senior years. He currently ranks 11th at the school in career assists and 18th in career points.
Minnesota announced today that forward Amanda Kessel will not return to the Gophers’ lineup this season because of lingering concussion symptoms due to injuries sustained as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
“I’ve had an unforgettable experience at the University of Minnesota thus far, so I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to return to the team this year,” Kessel said in a statement. “It’s obviously a difficult decision and one that I’ve taken time to come to terms with. As someone who has played through a lot of injuries, it wasn’t until suffering a concussion that I fully understood the importance of being 100 percent healthy when I’m on the ice. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case right now.
“My number one priority is my health, and I hope that I’ll be able to return to the ice in the future. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone at the university for their support.”
Kessel has worked with doctors and specialists at the Carrick Brain Center in Atlanta to determine her course of action.
“We obviously wish we could have Amanda with us this year, but her health is everyone’s top priority,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost added. “She has come to the difficult conclusion to focus solely on her treatment at this time. We understand and support her decision and hope she fully recovers. She will always have a place in our locker room, and we will continue to support her.”
Kessel missed the 2013-14 season while training with and competing for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, where the U.S. won silver.
In her first three seasons with the Gophers, Kessel amassed 97 goals and 134 assists and ranks fourth all-time at the school with 231 career points. Kessel was named the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner and led Minnesota to its fifth national title and a perfect 41-0-0 season as a junior in 2012-13.
Drew Marrochello, who has been acting as Boston University’s interim director of athletics since July, when former director Michael Lynch stepped down, has had the interim tag removed. Marrochello joined BU in 2005 as associate athletic director for internal affairs and was promoted to deputy director of athletics, a position he has held for the past seven years.
The NCHC has partnered with NeuLion to launch its own digital network, NCHC.tv, beginning with the upcoming 2014-15 season.
In doing so, the NCHC becomes the first single-sport NCAA conference to offer a fully integrated digital network.
NCHC.tv will allow fans to watch nearly all of their team’s games live, both home and away, while also viewing other NCHC action occurring at the same time. In addition to the live games, fans who subscribe to the network will have access to other live events, as they are produced, and will be able to access archived games and condensed games. Live audio of the games is also included with a subscription.
Among the free on-demand video available on the network will be game highlights, midweek and postgame press conferences, conference features, such as the Top 5 Goals of the Week, and unique hockey features from the NCHC members.
“We are extremely excited to provide an innovative and integrated concept to our passionate NCHC fan base,” NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton said in a statement. “The creation of NCHC.tv helps build the brand of the conference and improve the overall fan interaction and experience. This significant step forward is a credit to the vision of our member schools for wanting to create something that distinguishes our conference. We look forward to working alongside NeuLion to build the network and content long into the future.”
Individuals can purchase the conference season package for $89.95, which offers the highest value among all streaming packages at well less than $1 per game. For fans who only want access to their favorite team’s games, including road contests at NCHC schools, season packages are available for $74.95. Monthly and single-event packages will be available at a later date.
Any subscriber who signs up for a conference season package will automatically receive the NCHC tournament games available on the network. A separate postseason package will be available closer to the end of the season.
As of Sept. 10, individuals will no longer be able to sign up for live streaming hockey subscriptions through a member school’s website and hockey subscriptions will no longer be automatically renewed. For fans of Miami, North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha or Western Michigan who already have an existing subscription that allows access to hockey content through a member school, NeuLion will upgrade them to the conference level package on NCHC.tv for the remainder of their existing subscription.
Merrimack announced Wednesday the hiring of former Massachusetts assistant coach Bill Gilligan as the Warriors’ new associate head coach.
“I am thrilled to be working with Bill again,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said in a news release. “He is a tireless worker and an excellent evaluator of talent. He is the perfect compliment to our staff. I am confident Coaches Carr and Carratu, as well as the players, will learn from this great teacher of the game.”
“I am excited about joining the Merrimack hockey program and the opportunity to work with the other members of the coaching staff and the team,” Gilligan added. “I am well aware of the high level of competition in our league, as well as the quality of work needed for our program to be successful. I am looking forward to this challenge.”
Since leaving UMass in 2004, Gilligan has spent time as a head coach internationally in Switzerland and Austria, including one stint as the head coach of the Austrian National Team where he also headed up the entire Austrian hockey operation in addition to his coaching duties. Gilligan also has extensive experience as a talent evaluator, serving as general manager overseas and as a scout for the Los Angeles Kings.
An All-American at Brown, Gilligan is still the school’s all-time leading scorer and assists leader.
He also served as the head coach of the Swiss Junior National Team and led it to a third-place finish in the 1998 World Junior Championship.
As first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, former Wisconsin star and “Miracle On Ice” Olympian Bob Suter died Tuesday, of an apparent heart attack.
Suter was 57.
“We are all stunned,” said Suter’s teammate at Wisconsin and on the Olympics and current Wisconsin women’s coach Mark Johnson in a statement. “Everyone is shocked. It’s a sad day for not only the community of Madison, but the hockey community who knew Bob and all of the players who he touched and who he gave an opportunity to play hockey and climb up the ladder. Whether it’s high school, onto college or onto the professional ranks, he touched a lot of kids and gave them an opportunity. I think he was in a great place with the new USHL team coming in and they were just getting up and starting to practice and getting ready for some exhibition games.
“It is unfortunate that this happened at such a young age and there are a lot of people who are going to miss him.”
Suter played for the Badgers from 1975 to 1979, winning a national title in 1977, and later won gold for the United States at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
“This is a heartbreaking day,” added Wisconsin coach and former teammate Mike Eaves. “Bob was the ultimate teammate. He could skate like the wind and was as hard of a competitor that I ever knew. He has passed much too young.”
A Madison, Wis., native, Suter helped youth players through the Madison Capitols program at the Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton, which is where he was when the heart attack occurred Tuesday.
Ryan Suter, Bob’s son, currently plays for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and like his father and uncle, Gary, also played at Wisconsin.
The WCHA announced Monday the hiring of two new staff member to assist new commissioners Bill Robertson and Aaron Kemp.
Matt Hodson, who has spent time in Major League Baseball and also worked at a Director’s Cup-winning Division I athletic department, the University of Minnesota central communications office and a Minneapolis-based public relations firm, has been named the associate commissioner for public relations and will oversee the league’s external and internal communications, brand marketing and social media.
In addition, Alyssa Bennett has been named associate commissioner for the WCHA. She will manage the conference’s budget and finance, handle vendor contracts, serve as a liaison with member institutions, handle office operations, marketing, social media, help manage the conference championships – the WCHA Final Five (men’s) and WCHA Final Face-Off (women’s) – and assist the commissioners with planning.
Carol LaBelle-Ehrhardt and Doug Spencer, long-time aides to retiring commissioners Bruce McLeod and Sara Martin. Labelle-Ehrhardt, are no longer with the WCHA.
“We are very excited to add Ms. Alyssa Bennett and Mr. Matt Hodson to our WCHA staff and I believe they will be able to make an impact on our overall operations,” said Robertson in a statement. “Both Carol LaBelle and Doug Spencer have served our conference so well for many years and we wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors and appreciate all their assistance during the transitional period.”
“We appreciate all the work Carol and Doug have done in making the WCHA such a recognizable and respected name in college hockey,” added Kemp. “We wish them well. We also look forward to Matt and Alyssa helping us build on the WCHA brand which Carol and Doug and the member-institutions have established.”
Bennett and Hodson will start their new jobs in mid-September and work in the league’s new centralized offices in Edina, Minn. Bill Brophy will continue to assist the conference in public relations for the women’s WCHA.
Greg Shepherd will remain as supervisor of officials for both the men’s and women’s leagues.
The WCHA opened its new offices in late August. The new mailing address is:
WCHA, Suite C
Minnesota State University, Mankato at Edina,
7700 France Avenue South, Suite 360,
Edina, MN 55431
The office phone number is 952-818-8869.
Con Elliott, Clarkson’s radio voice from 1955 to 1987, died Thursday in Ogdensburg, N.Y. He was 85. Elliott called nearly 1,000 Clarkson games in a 38-year career.
Wisconsin’s all-time leading scorer and two-time Olympic silver medalist Meghan Duggan is returning to the collegiate ranks as a new assistant coach at Clarkson.
Duggan joins head coach Matt Desrosiers and newly hired assistant coach Britni Smith in guiding the Golden Knights.
“I am very excited to welcome Meghan to our staff here at Clarkson,” said Desrosiers in a statement. “With her wealth of experience as a player and proven leadership abilities, she will certainly be a great mentor to our players. Meghan’s passion and work ethic will be contagious to not only the players on our roster, but also to the young women we are recruiting.
“She is a great ambassador of women’s hockey and will prove to be an excellent role model for young females in our community. I am looking forward to getting Meghan on campus so we can sit down as a staff with Britni and start planning how we will defend our national championship. I personally am excited to learn from Meghan and Britni as they both have a lot to share.”
Duggan skated in both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, serving as USA’s captain at this past year’s Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. A native of Danvers, Mass., Duggan also represented the U.S. at five Women’s World Championships, capturing a gold medal four times (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013) and one silver (2007).
“I’m honored to join the Clarkson University women’s hockey coaching staff and excited to work with such a talented group of players,” added Duggan. “I would like to thank Matt Desrosiers and the athletics department at Clarkson for the opportunity to coach while continuing to train and compete for the U.S. Women’s National Team and in the CWHL. I’m eager to get started and look forward to helping the Golden Knights move forward with another successful season.”
A star forward in college for four seasons (2006-09, 2010-11) at Wisconsin, Duggan helped to lead the Badgers to three national titles (2007, 2009, 2011) and graduated in 2011 as the leading scorer in school history with 238 points on 108 goals and 130 assists in 159 career games.
Duggan was also honored with the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in NCAA D-I women’s hockey.
Michigan has announced former college goaltender L.J. Scarpace as its director of player development, a newly created position. Scarpace has served as the Wolverines’ video coordinator since 2004 and played two seasons at Western Michigan and two at Michigan from 1996 to 2001.
Bowling Green has named former Falcons goaltender Jimmy Spratt as its director of hockey operations. Spratt played at BGSU from 2005 to 2009.
Northeastern announced on Thursday that Jason Smith as been promoted to assistant coach after previously serving as the director of hockey operations for the Huskies.
Smith replaces Patrick Foley, who resigned in August after three seasons at Northeastern.
“We are thrilled to add Jason as an assistant coach on our staff,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said in a news release. “He did a tremendous job as our director of operations last season and has had success as an assistant coach in the past. He has a great relationship with our student-athletes, knows our systems and we believe that he will make a seamless transition into his new role.”
In his new position, Smith will work directly with the Northeastern defensive corps and will also oversee the Huskies’ penalty killing unit and serve as the team’s academic liaison.
As the director of hockey operations, Smith was responsible for the team’s digital video analysis system, including all video breakdown and management of video databases for coach and player use, as well as maintaining statistical databases. He also coordinated the pre-scouting of opponents, scouting reports and video exchange.
Smith spent six years as an assistant coach at Holy Cross from 2007 to 2013, was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2003 to 2007 at Babson and was also an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Salem State from 1999 to 2003.