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WCHA administrators see host of benefits in moving postseason to campus sites

The chase for the Broadmoor Trophy will happen at home rinks starting in 2017 (photo: Adelle Whitefoot).

In the case of the WCHA, you really can go home again.

Literally.

Last week, the conference announced that all playoff games next season will be contested on campus sites, with the highest seed playing host in each round.

The playoff championship game will now be known as the “WCHA Championship.” The “Final Five” is no more.

The 2017 WCHA Playoffs will consist of four best-of-three, quarterfinal series hosted by the league’s top four regular season finishers on the first weekend of March. Two best-of-three semifinal series will follow, hosted by the highest remaining seeds on the second weekend of the month.

Then the WCHA Championship will be a single game, hosted by the highest remaining seed, on the third Saturday of March (the same weekend as the “Final Five” of previous seasons). As has been the case since the 2013-14 campaign, the top eight teams from the WCHA regular season will qualify for the postseason.

According to WCHA commissioner Bill Robertson, changing the format will change the fan experience for the better and will save on travel costs, in addition to increasing PairWise Rankings and league revenue.

Robertson said breaking the agreement with the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., where the Final Five was to be held in 2017, was a fluid transaction.

“We give a lot of credit to the owner of the Minnesota Wild, Craig Leipold, chief operating officer Matt Majka and the general manager of the Xcel Energy Center, Jack Larson, for understanding what we wanted to do going forward with our league,” said Robertson. “They were happy to assist in that process. I can’t disclose any financial information, but I would say that we made a healthy break with them and they were supportive of our decision. It just helps them better understand the Wild schedule during the month of March.”

The timing of the move left some questions. Why now? Why not play out the remaining year on the contract with the Xcel Energy Center and look at making the change for the 2018 postseason?

Robertson wouldn’t say exactly that low attendance figures played a role. The 2016 Final Five at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., drew just a shade over 4,000 for the championship game that Ferris State won over Minnesota State.

Van Andel Arena has a seating capacity of nearly 11,000 and is the home of the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Ferris State played Minnesota State in the 2016 WCHA Final Five championship game at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. (photo: Michael Dubicki).

“I think more than anything, we felt that we wanted an atmosphere where the fans would be excited,” Robertson said. “When you’re on campus, you have a better chance for fans to see this up close and personal and we thought for the student-athlete itself, the fan experience there, for them to play in front of larger crowds would be an added plus and bonus. Those are two of the best possible scenarios that you have coming out of this. All of our presidents, athletics directors and head coaches felt this was a great step for the WCHA and is really revolutionary for college hockey at the Division I level.

“We also felt this was a chance for us to make a splash and a name for the WCHA.”

The Big Ten also is preparing to move to home sites for its playoffs in 2018, the Star Tribune reported.

With campus sites being used in the WCHA, it would create a potential for Alaska or Alaska-Anchorage hosting one or more series.

That topic arose during discussions, said Robertson, who did not comment on the financial specifics or time needed to travel to Alaska.

“We did talk to both Alaska schools and all 10 schools [in the WCHA] were involved in this process in talking it through,” Robertson said. “They felt all 10 teams are equal in the WCHA and this gives us the best chance to succeed. If our Alaska schools are hosting, well, that’s a great thing. We’re competitive all the way through our 10 teams.”

Ferris State coach Bob Daniels made mention that the past two Final Fives probably had crowds that supported one team over another.

“Last season at Van Andel, we had pretty solid attendance,” said Daniels. “It was a real championship atmosphere, but the issue in time becomes … it was really like a home-rink advantage to us. (Big Rapids is just an hour north of Grand Rapids.) With us and Michigan Tech moving on, we were able to bring a lot of our fans there. [In 2015] at the Xcel Energy Center when we played Minnesota State, we had a good crowd, but that was driven by Minnesota State. That’s not a given from year to year. I think as you look long range, you can’t count on those things.”

Daniels added that there is a lot to like about the new format and insinuated that the new-look tournament will have both teams in any given series on an even keel.

“The NCAA tournament is bracketed and as a coach that has been on campus and at neutral sites, it’s a different animal,” Daniels said. “In 2002-03, and I’ll use as an example, we had to play Minnesota at Mariucci Arena. Now, that’s an Olympic sheet and was certainly 95 percent Gopher fans. We had a very good hockey team that year and the Gophers won the national title, but I will tell you to this day that our players always felt like they would have loved to play the Gophers on a neutral site. When you talk about the NCAA tournament on a neutral site, I think that’s a better avenue because it is a tournament.

“When you talk about playoffs and given the geography of our league, I think you are much better suited to have those on campus. That’s my take on comparing [the NCAA tournament to the WCHA tournament].”

And at the end of the day, the players on the ice could see the biggest benefit.

“One of the things the ADs were talking about here was decreasing travel and increasing rest for teams,” said Northern Michigan athletic director Forrest Karr, who also serves as the chair of the WCHA league management council. “If you think about our old format, on the last regular season weekend of the year, we had five teams traveling and then we went into the playoffs and had the best-of-three with four teams traveling. Then we had four teams travel to the neutral site for the final tournament, so over the course of the last three weekends of the year, we had 13 teams traveling. With the new format, you’ll have seven teams traveling. And then if you look at the maximum games that teams would play over those three weekends, it was seven in the old format and under this new format, it’s the same.

“It reduces travel and increases rest as you get toward the NCAA tournament, and that’s probably the most important thing for the last one or two weekends. That was a really big consideration among the athletic directors.”

Robert Morris adds forward in Massachusetts-Lowell transfer Louria

Former UMass Lowell forward Michael Louria will sit out the 2016-17 season after transferring to Robert Morris (photo: Melissa Wade).

Robert Morris has added former Massachusetts-Lowell forward Michael Louria to the team’s roster.

Louria will not play until the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

With UMass Lowell the last two seasons, Louria skated in 51 games and registered 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points.

During his freshman season, Louria led UMass Lowell with four game-winning goals.

Louria played against Robert Morris this past season in the Three Rivers Classic championship game, recording an assist.

Atlantic Hockey hands DeGregorio three-year contract extension to remain commissioner through 2018-19 season

DeGregorioHeadshot

DeGREGORIO

Robert DeGregorio has signed a three-year contract extension to remain as commissioner of Atlantic Hockey through the 2018-19 season.

“We are pleased to secure Commissioner DeGregorio’s leadership of the Atlantic Hockey Conference for the next three years” said Atlantic Hockey executive committee chair Lou Spiotti, Jr., in a statement. “His contributions to our growth and development and to that of college hockey have been immeasurable. We look forward to more productive years under his guidance.”

DeGregorio has been at the head of Atlantic Hockey since its inception prior to the 2003-04 season.

The league has experienced unprecedented success over the last six years, starting with RIT reaching the conference’s first Frozen Four in 2010. Then in 2013, two Atlantic Hockey members (Canisius and Niagara) reached the NCAA tournament.

DeGregorio has helped Atlantic Hockey teams participate in special events at Fenway Park and Barclays Center in recent years, continuing his efforts to garner exposure for the league.

In addition, the Atlantic Hockey tournament is trending towards becoming the premier college hockey event in Western New York, something that DeGregorio envisioned when he moved it to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. in 2007. The last two Atlantic Hockey tournaments have seen record attendance levels, and with the partnership with Atlantic Hockey Sports Properties, the number of corporate partners has grown exponentially.

Canton promotes assistant coach, former Clarkson blueliner Boak to head coaching position

According to the Watertown Daily Times, Canton has named Alex Boak its new head coach.

Boak served as an assistant under Trevor Gilligan at Canton last season. Gilligan left the program after the 2015-16 season ended.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity that Canton is giving me so early in my coaching career,” Boak said to the paper. “Being a younger guy (last season), I did a good job being a player’s coach. I tried to relate to the guys and understand what they are going through, whether it is trouble at school, or at home, or playing time. Being an assistant coach, you are dealing with that aspect of the game. I tried to kind of get guys through difficult situations throughout the year. It was pretty different for me, coming from being a peer point-of-view, to being in a mentor position.”

In 2015-16, Canton finished 6-17-4 playing its first year as an NCAA Division III independent.

“Last year, we opened a lot of people’s eyes playing a full SUNYAC schedule and playing really well,” Boak noted in the article. “Canton’s on the upswing. There will be some things where I may go through some adversity this year, for sure, but I’ve been through adversity throughout my playing career. I think players respect me quite a bit just based on my playing career. They know that I know what I’m talking about.

“Nothing will be given to us. We have to earn everything. I hope I never have to teach effort. If I have to teach effort than there is going to be something wrong. There’s no excuse for being outworked. We might not be able to out-talent a team, but we should be able to outwork a team.”

Before going separate ways, Michigan trio enjoys Team USA assignment together

Tyler Motte started the World Championship with his former Michigan linemates, Kyle Connor and JT Compher (photo: Michael Dubicki).

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — JT Compher, Kyle Connor and Tyler Motte had so much success together in the United States this past college season for Michigan they thought they’d give their CCM Line a try in Russia.

Compher, Connor and Motte all gladly accepted invitations to play for USA Hockey at the World Championship in Russia and for the past few weeks have been enjoying one final ride together as teammates while representing their country.

“It’s nice to have someone here that you spend the entire year with and are familiar with, especially coming to this kind of tournament,” Compher said after a recent USA practice in St. Petersburg. “It’s been nice to be able to hang out with them.”

Motte said: “It’s been great to have these guys here. We’ve been through a lot together this year, playing on the same line and getting this opportunity together. It’s a great experience for all of us. I’m glad I got to share it with those couple guys.”

The trio shared the puck throughout this past season at Michigan, and it’s how they became the country’s most proficient line. Connor led the country with 71 points. Compher was second with 63 points and Motte was fourth with 56 points.

Each member of the line understood his role, and they clicked together.

“I think we just had good chemistry,” Compher said. “We all worked hard. When we had opportunities, we were able to bury opportunities. But overall, just a fun year playing together with those two guys.”

JT Compher had 118 points in 107 career games for Michigan (photo: Michael Dubicki).

Compher, Connor and Motte continued to play together on a line early in the World Championship but were separated shortly into it. Connor also recently suffered an injury and missed three games in tournament pool play. He also missed the Americans’ 2-1 shootout victory over the Czech Republic on Thursday.

The U.S. plays Canada in the semifinals on Saturday. The third-place and gold-medal games are Sunday.

Compher had one goal and one assist in the first eight games. Motte had two assists, and Connor had two assists in four games.

While it’s a nice story that the three college teammates are getting an opportunity to play together one final time, USA Hockey assistant director of hockey operations Jim Johannson said the decision to invite the trio went well beyond that.

“I think there’s good reason for all of them to be here,” Johannson said. “I think unfortunately Kyle got dinged up a little bit, so we’ve got to be careful with him. I thought they were so dominant this year and they can play big-ice hockey. They can all skate. They’ve all got good energy. It just made sense to bring all three guys.”

Kyle Connor led the country with 71 points in 2015-16 (photo: Michael Dubicki).

After the tournament, the three players will be going their separate ways. Motte signed with the Chicago Blackhawks after the college season, Compher with the Colorado Avalanche and Connor with the Winnipeg Jets. Coincidentally, all three of their teams plays in the NHL’s Central Division, and they could be seeing a lot of each other in future years.

But before that, the three players are taking the time to enjoy themselves on and off the ice in Russia.

“Just the people they are away from the rink, I just think that’s what makes a trip like this even easier,” Motte said. “They’re great guys. They like to have fun. They like to enjoy the experience here overseas. Obviously on the ice, they’re awesome. They’re making plays. They work hard. They’re smart and knowledgeable with the game. They make it easy to play with. But away from the ice, I think what makes especially a trip like this even easier is to have those guys and be able to do things with them.”

Cornell, New Hampshire will play Madison Square Garden Thanksgiving weekend 2016

Cornell and New Hampshire are set to play at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in a game being branded “The Frozen Apple.”

The nonconference game will mark the sixth consecutive season and the eighth time in the last 10 years that Cornell has played on the storied ice in Manhattan.

Tickets for The Frozen Apple will go on sale at noon EDT on Monday, May 23 directly through Cornell’s athletic ticket site or through Ticketmaster.

This will be Cornell’s third appearance in The Frozen Apple, following victories against Michigan in 2012 and Penn State in 2014. The Big Red has also competed in five Red Hot Hockey matchups with Boston University in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

“We are really excited to play UNH at The Frozen Apple,” said Cornell coach Mike Schafer in a statement. “They are always a competitive team with great fans and one of the best coaches in the country in Dick Umile. We look forward to the Wildcats’ fans and UNH alumni joining the Lynah Faithful at such a historic venue.”

“We are very excited to bring our program to Madison Square Garden and play a team with great tradition like Cornell,” added Umile. “We have a big alumni base in New York and are very happy to give them a chance to come and watch the Wildcats play.”

 

Serratore, Air Force agree to contract extension through 2020-21 season

Frank Serratore is Air Force’s winningest coach, recording more than 300 wins over 19 seasons behind the Falcons’ bench (photo: Jim Rosvold).

Air Force coach Frank Serratore has agreed to a new five-year contract through the 2020-21 season.

Serratore just completed his 19th season at Air Force and has compiled a 329-310-71 overall record. He is the winningest coach in the history of Air Force hockey, having led Air Force to five Atlantic Hockey championships and five NCAA tournament appearances in the last 10 years.

This past season, he was named the Atlantic Hockey coach of the year as he led the Falcons to a 20-12-5 overall record.

“Frank has done an incredible job building the Air Force hockey program,” Air Force director of athletics Jim Knowlton said in a statement. “I’m excited about the future of our program with Frank and his staff’s leadership. They have set a high standard of excellence here at the Academy.”

“I am grateful to the Academy for allowing me to continue leading their hockey program,” Serratore added. “I am very proud of all we have accomplished during my tenure. I am blessed to have been part of a great past and I am looking forward to an even greater future.”

Niagara associate coach Madsen going home, will coach NAHL’s Wilderness

Niagara associate head coach Tim Madsen has been named the head coach of the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League.

Madsen, originally from Elk River, Minn., has spent the past seven years on the Niagara coaching staff, beginning as an assistant coach in 2010 and rising to associate head coach in 2013.

“I have greatly enjoyed the past seven years coaching at Niagara University,” Madsen said in a statement. “The opportunity to be a head coach is something that I am very excited for professionally. I would like to thank Father Maher, Simon Gray, Steve Butler, and especially Dave Burkholder for the chance to work at my alma mater. Dave is, and always will be, a mentor and true friend. I cannot wait to watch the Purple Eagles contend for the Atlantic Hockey title next season.”

Madsen served as the recruiting coordinator for Niagara in each of his seven seasons behind the bench. He was promoted to associate head coach following the 2012-13 season, during which the Purple Eagles amassed a record of 23-10-5, winning the Atlantic Hockey regular-season title and becoming the first Atlantic Hockey program to earn an at-large NCAA tournament bid.

“I am so happy for Tim and his new position,” Burkholder added. “He was a tremendous player and coach for us at Niagara. He gave everything that he had to this program. I am sure he will find success as the head coach of the Wilderness.”

Prior to Niagara, Madsen spent one season as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator of the St. Louis Bandits in the NAHL. Serving as an assistant to head coach for former NHL player Jeff Brown, Madsen helped the Bandits to a 42-9-7 record, winning the South Division championship and a regular-season title en route to a Tier II national championship.

Madsen played 74 games over three seasons for the Purple Eagles from 2004 to 2007. He was named an assistant captain for the 2006-07 season before suffering a career-ending injury seven games into his junior campaign. Madsen went on to graduate from Niagara in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in business management and a minor in leadership.

Longtime Massachusetts-Dartmouth coach Rolli retiring, effective July 1

After 32 seasons, John Rolli is stepping away from the Masachusetts-Dartmouth bench (photo: UMass Dartmouth Athletics).

John Rolli, one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history, announced his retirement as the Massachusetts-Dartmouth head coach on Wednesday.

Rolli’s retirement is effective July 1, 2016.

“On behalf of our staff, I would like to thank John for his tremendous efforts and the contributions to UMass Dartmouth Athletics throughout his storied career,” UMass Dartmouth director of athletics Amanda Van Voorhis said in a statement. “John worked to create a highly competitive, first-class Division III ice hockey program over the last three decades. There are thirty-two years of alumni that benefited from his commitment to providing a quality experience on and off the ice. A winning tradition and teaching young men life lessons through sport were just the start. His teams excelled in the classroom year after year and were actively engaged in the community. He poured his heart and soul into the task at hand while advocating tirelessly for the program. John was a great supporter of his coaching peers and our teams, demonstrating a sincere interest in all.”

“I have had the privilege to work with eight supportive athletics directors, tremendous athletics staff, and fabulous players during my tenure at Southeastern Massachusetts University and UMass Dartmouth,” Rolli added. “It was always a pleasure to work with the student-athletes at UMass Dartmouth and my students as an educator for 34 years in the New Bedford school system. I’ve been fortune to work with several great coaches in my career, most notably my mentor, Bruce MacPherson. None of my coaching success could have been possible without the support of my wife, Nancy, and my daughter, Elizabeth, my two best friends in the world.”

In 32 seasons behind the Corsairs’ bench, Rolli went 577-224-43, boasting the seventh highest winning percentage (.709) among all NCAA hockey coaches. His 577 victories are the fourth most in NCAA Division III history and 14th on the all-time collegiate coaching list.

Rolli’s tenure as head coach at UMass Dartmouth produced 31 postseason appearances, 27 winning seasons, nine ECAC titles, the 2013 MASCAC championship and four NCAA Division III tournament berths. The Corsairs won at least 20 games in a single season 14 times, including a school-record 25 on three separate occasions (1996, 2006, 2007).

He was named one of 12 finalists for the Edward Jeremiah Award/NCAA Division III Coach of the Year Award five times, including earning runner-up honors in 2006. Rolli was selected as the New England Hockey Writers’ Coach of the Year six times, ECAC Coach of the Year four times and the MASCAC Coach of the Year in 2011.

The 1973 graduate of Salem State retired from the New Bedford school system in 2008 after teaching for 34 years.

American International graduate assistant Towns promoted to full-time assistant

American International has announced the elevation of Mike Towns from graduate assistant to full-time assistant coach.

Towns’ return, along with the retaining of Stephen Wiedler, will round out new head coach Eric Lang’s staff for the 2016-17 season.

Towns has served as an assistant while obtaining his MBA over the last two seasons.

“We are pleased to announce the promotion of Mike Towns to full-time assistant coach,” said Lang in a statement. “In my short time here at AIC, I have been extremely impressed with Mike’s level of professionalism, organization, and ability to recruit quality student-athletes. Mike has a great eye for talent and will flourish in our recruiting coordinator position.”

Before his time at AIC, Towns played at Adrian, where he was a two-year captain and helped lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA Division III national championship game during his senior season in 2011.

After college, Towns spent three seasons in the ECHL, SPHL and CHL.

Since arriving at AIC, Towns has been a key factor in much of the recruiting efforts for the program.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the past two years coaching at AIC, and I am thrilled and honored to stay on board,” added Towns. “That’s not always the case when there are changes in staff, and I can’t thank Eric and the entire AIC administration enough for allowing me to be a part of this program moving forward.”

WCHA announces entire playoffs, starting with ’16-17 season, will be at campus sites

Starting with the 2016-17 season, the WCHA men’s playoffs — from the quarterfinals through the championship game — will be hosted by the highest remaining seeds at on-campus venues.

Starting in 2017 and continuing for at least the next three seasons, the “WCHA Playoffs” will consist of four best-of-three, quarterfinal round series hosted by the league’s top four regular-season finishers on the first weekend of March, followed by two best-of-three semifinal round series hosted by the highest remaining seeds on the second weekend of the month.

The “WCHA Championship” will be a single game, hosted by the highest remaining seed, on the third Saturday of March (the same weekend as the “Final Five” of previous seasons).

As has been the case since the 2013-14 campaign, the top eight teams from the WCHA regular season will qualify for the postseason.

“There is no greater thrill for hockey fans than watching their favorite team play for a championship on home ice,” said WCHA president and men’s commissioner Bill Robertson in a statement. “Much of what makes the WCHA so special are our passionate fan bases and fantastic in-arena atmospheres, which will only be heightened in a playoff series or in a single game with a championship and NCAA Tournament berth on the line.

“The opportunity to compete for the Broadmoor Trophy in a unique, frenzied atmosphere promises to be a fantastic experience for our student-athletes, our institutions and our fans. We look forward to watching a new WCHA tradition grow and flourish.”

The WCHA schedule will remain at 28 league games for the 2016-17 campaign, with the regular season concluding the weekend of Feb. 24-25. The full 2016-17 composite schedule will be released at 1 p.m. CST on May 19.

National champion North Dakota to be honored prior to Twins-Blue Jays MLB game May 22 at Target Field

North Dakota, which won its eighth NCAA Division I championship in April, will be honored during an on-field ceremony prior to the Minnesota Twins game on Sunday, May 22, at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The pregame ceremony will begin at approximately 12:45 p.m. CST and will feature a video celebrating the Fighting Hawks’ national championship run. The Twins host the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:10 p.m.

Each player will be introduced on the stadium video board and UND head coach Brad Berry will throw the ceremonial first pitch.

Twins president Dave St. Peter is a Bismarck, N.D., native and a 1989 graduate of UND.

“We are extremely grateful and honored to have received this invitation from Dave St. Peter, a loyal and proud UND alum,” said Berry in a news release. “This will provide a terrific opportunity for our many alumni and fans in the Twin Cities area to come celebrate with us one more time. Our players and staff are looking forward to a great day at Target Field.”

Trine taps Hofman as women’s coach, Todd men’s coach for programs that start with ’17-18 season

Trine has named Tom Hofman and Alex Todd as head coaches for its NCAA Division III hockey teams that will launch in the fall of 2017.

Todd, selected head coach for the men’s team, comes to Trine from Nebraska-Omaha, where he served as an assistant coach. He also previously served as head coach at Castleton and as an assistant coach at Utica. He was named Coach of the Year at Castleton in 2007 and was ECAC East Coach of the Year in 2011.

Alex_Todd_men's_hockey_coach_

TODD

“I am incredibly honored to be the first men’s hockey coach at Trine University,” Todd said in a news release. “Since the moment I arrived in Angola (Ind.), I have been impressed with not only the campus and infrastructure, but the amazing people that truly make up Trine University. The work that Dr. Brooks and the staff, especially (assistant VP for athletics) Matt Land, have put into creating the environment at Trine — an environment that is primed and ready for hockey — clearly shows their dedication to the success of the hockey program at Trine University.

“I believe that my variety of experiences in hockey as a player and a coach will be an excellent fit for Trine. I am eager to begin recruiting and introducing Trine and all it has to offer to hockey players all over North America. I am confident that through the collaborative efforts of the administration, the athletic department and myself, it is only a matter of time until Trine University is synonymous with hockey.”

“Alex brings coaching experience at all different levels of college hockey as well as experience as a professional player,” added Land. “The knowledge and skill that he has will be invaluable as the Thunder look forward to hitting the ice next year, and as we look ahead to building a competitive collegiate hockey program.”

Hofman will serve as the coach of the women’s team and most recently served as the inaugural head coach of the women’s ACHA Division I team at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Previously, he had served as an assistant men’s coach at Davenport and an assistant women’s coach at Grand Valley State, where his duties included serving as lead recruiter.

“I am honored and excited to be a part of the Trine Athletics family, to embrace the mission and rich 132-year history of the university, as well as the greater Angola community,” said Hofman in a statement. “I am thankful to Dr. Brooks, Mr. Land and the entire search committee for the incredible opportunity to develop and lead the Trine University women’s hockey program. Their excitement, commitment, vision for academics and facilities were evident during this entire process. I am confident that my past experience in building a program at a private university will bode well in developing a competitive first-year team here. I will forever be indebted to those at my former university for all that they have done for me, including the leadership and mentoring provided over the past four years in Grand Rapids. They allowed me to realize my dream of coaching college hockey. I would also like to thank all of the players and staff, past and present, who believed in the program’s vision for the future. I am confident the program will continue moving in a positive direction with much success.

Tom_Hofman_women's_hockey_coach

HOFMAN

“I am blessed to have my family’s support in this transition, particularly my daughter Ashley, a former player herself and now doctor. Their belief in my career goals has been, and will be, critical to my success in past, present and future roles.”

“Tom comes to us with experience in getting a quality women’s hockey program off the ground, and we look forward to him doing the same and more here at Trine,” said Land. “He has shown skill as both a coach and a recruiter, and we believe those skills will enable him to propel Trine to prominence in the college women’s hockey realm.”

“As we look forward to launching these new programs, we are thrilled with the caliber of coaches we have to get them off the ground,” said Trine president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D in a news release. “Building quality programs starts with strong leadership, and we believe we have found capable leaders in both our new hockey coaches.”

Construction will begin this summer on the $7.2 million, 1,000-seat Thunder Ice Arena, which will house both programs. The arena, which now will be located on U.S. 20, will include an NCAA-compliant ice rink, men’s and women’s lockers, concessions, a pro shop with wearables, sticks and skates for sale, a VIP lounge, banquet hall and two press boxes.

Colgate assistant Sciba takes Union women’s head coaching gig

Colgate women’s assistant coach Josh Sciba has been named the new women’s head coach at Union.

Sciba had been at Colgate since 2012 and inherits a Union team that went 0-28-6 during the 2015-16 season.

In his playing days, Sciba skated for Notre Dame from 2003 to 2007 after two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program.

“Josh Sciba’s experience as a student-athlete at Notre Dame and a coach at Colgate provide an excellent blend of academic, athletic and coaching attributes that will benefit us from our next head women’s ice hockey coach,” said Union director of athletics Jim McLaughlin in a statement. “He impressed the committee with his interest and due diligence in what he will do for our program. We have excellent student-athletes in our women’s ice hockey program and we believe Josh is a perfect fit and the right person to build Union Women’s ice hockey into prominence in ECAC Hockey and nationally.”

Sciba becomes the fourth head coach in the history of Union women’s hockey. He replaces Claudia Asano Barcomb, who was not retained after last year.

“First off, I want to thank Jim McLaughlin and the entire Union College staff for giving me this opportunity,” added Sciba. “Being a head coach has always been a goal throughout my entire career and I couldn’t be more excited to be the new leader of this hockey program. This is going to be a fun process that we’re going to take a day at a time. Our staff is going to inject some new life, a new attitude, and create an environment that is full of passion and energy. We’re going to get to work right away.”

Prior to Colgate, Sciba spent one season as the head women’s coach at Niagara after serving as the assistant coach for three years.

Arizona State adds ex-NHL defenseman Exelby to staff as strength and conditioning coach

Arizona State announced Thursday that veteran NHL defenseman Garnet Exelby will be added to the staff as the strength and conditioning coach for the 2016-17 season.

“We could not be more excited to have a world class hockey specific strength coach on our staff,” said Sun Devils coach Greg Powers in a statement. “Garnet has over 400 games played as a defenseman in the NHL, and when you combine his NHL experience with what we already have on our staff, we have officially comprised a staff of coaches that absolutely knows what it takes to send our student-athletes to the next level. Garnet’s passion and commitment to off-ice and on-ice conditioning will not only strengthen our vision for Sun Devil hockey, but it will accelerate it as well.”

Exelby played over 400 games in both the NHL and the American Hockey League, winning a Calder Cup in 2002 with the Chicago Wolves. He was named to the AHL All-Star team in 2003 and dubbed an NHL Young Star in 2004. He was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the eighth round of the 1999 NHL Draft.

Former Connecticut, Wesleyan assistant McKenna named new head coach at Wisconsin-Superior

Wisconsin-Superior announced Wednesday that Rich McKenna is the new head coach of the Yellowjackets men’s team.

“It’s really exciting to be part of the Yellowjacket family,” said McKenna in a statement. “It has a rich hockey tradition and is a great school. I am looking forward to moving my family here and raising them in the community. I’m very thankful for the opportunity.”

McKenna served as head coach of the New Jersey Titans of the NAHL last season, taking the Titans to a 34-22 record. He also spent two seasons as the assistant general manager and assistant head coach for the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks.

On the college side, McKenna spent two seasons as the assistant coach for Connecticut and also spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Wesleyan.

He is a 2007 graduate of Castleton State, where he played two seasons and later served as an assistant coach.

“I would like to thank the search committee, [interim AD] Nick Bursik and chancellor Renée Wachter and the hockey alumni that I have talked with along the process,” added McKenna. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the passion of the alumni. I look forward to contributing to the rich tradition of Yellowjacket hockey.”

Bowdoin tabs assistant Dumont to succeed Meagher as men’s head coach

Bowdoin announced Wednesday the hiring of Jamie Dumont as the ninth head coach of the Polar Bear men’s program.

A native of Lewiston, Maine, Dumont has served as the assistant coach for the team since 2011 and becomes the ninth coach in the 93-year history of the program and just the third head coach since 1959.

“We are thrilled to announce the hiring of Jamie Dumont as our head coach of men’s hockey,” said Bowdoin director of athletics Tim Ryan in a statement. “Jamie has been a critical member of our hockey program during both his tenures as an assistant coach at Bowdoin and his wealth of experience coaching collegiate hockey and professional hockey overseas will be of considerable benefit to our program.”

“I am honored and humbled to follow Terry Meagher and Sid Watson as the head coach of the Bowdoin men’s ice hockey program,” added Dumont. “Since the moment I first stepped foot on campus in 2001, I have known Bowdoin to be a uniquely special place. The college’s commitment to excellence in the classroom, community and athletic fields, combined with its unparalleled tradition in ice hockey, make this position second to none. I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity.”

A 1998 graduate of Oswego, Dumont began his coaching career at Oswego, helping the Lakers win a regular season title and an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. His first stint at Bowdoin was from 2001 to 2005, helping the Polar Bears to 64 wins and assisting in recruiting numerous All-NESCAC and All-American players.

Since Dumont returned to the program in 2011, the Polar Bears have accumulated 83 victories, an impressive .681 winning percentage and two NESCAC titles.

While away from Bowdoin between 2006-2010, Dumont earned coaching experience in Europe, the Atlantic Junior Hockey League and Division I Bowling Green. While overseas as head coach of the Bolzano Hockey Club in the Italian Professional League, Dumont won two national championships along with a bronze medal at the Continental Cup.

In 2008, Dumont served as associate coach with the National Junior Team representing Italy at the World Championships in Denmark.

“It is clear Jamie has a deep personal knowledge of, and appreciation for, the tradition in our program,” noted Ryan. “He will bring his tireless support of our student-athletes in every aspect of their experience to his new role at the college.”

WCHA awards postgraduate scholarships to Alaska-Anchorage’s Sevalrud, North Dakota’s Amsley-Benzie

A pair of WCHA players who have excelled both on and off the ice – Austin Sevalrud of Alaska-Anchorage and Shelby Amsley-Benzie of North Dakota – are the men’s and women’s WCHA postgraduate scholarship recipients for 2016.

Now in its 13th year, the WCHA Postgraduate Scholarship Program awards grants of $7,500 each for postgraduate studies.

“On behalf of the entire Western Collegiate Hockey Association family, we are thrilled to recognize Mr. Austin Sevalrud and Ms. Shelby Amsley-Benzie as this season’s Postgraduate Scholarship recipients,” said WCHA president, men’s commissioner and interim women’s commissioner Bill Robertson in a statement. “Austin and Shelby are both exemplary student-athletes who embody the true mission of the WCHA and its member institutions.

“During their time on campus, Austin and Shelby competed at the highest level of college hockey, maintained a standard of academic excellence and made invaluable contributions within their communities. Both have proven to be selfless individuals who aspire to further their education with the goal of making lasting contributions for the betterment of society [and] we are truly thrilled to be able to assist in these inspiring ambitions. We applaud their commitment, effort and dedication. We thank them for being tremendous ambassadors for the WCHA and we wish them all the best in their future academic and personal endeavors.”

Sevalrud was a four-year regular on the Anchorage blue line, playing in 129 career games. An exemplary leader in all areas, from the classroom to the locker room, he wore the captain’s ‘C’ during his senior year. Academically, Sevalrud was a three-time recipient of the WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award and a three-time WCHA All-Academic Team member while maintaining a cumulative 3.75 GPA and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance.

He set and met a goal to increase the number of volunteer hours by the team, initiating outreach programs centering on Special Olympics programs, while advocating for the Seawolves’ fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s that helped raise funds for childhood cancer research.

One of the nation’s top goaltenders, Amsley-Benzie was a 4.0 student while pursuing a combined degree program along with tireless devotion to giving back in the community.

A two-time, top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, a 2015 All-American and WCHA Goaltending Champion and a First Team All-WCHA performer as a junior season, Amsley-Benzie posted a 67-33-10 career record in 111 collegiate games, along with a .929 save percentage, a 1.69 GAA and 22 shutouts. She is UND’s all-time leader in every major goaltending category, while in WCHA history, she ranks sixth for shutouts, eighth for games played, tied for eighth for wins, 12th for GAA, tied for 14th for save percentage and 16th for saves (2,474).

A two-time Academic All-American, Amsley-Benzie is also a four-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award recipient and was a member of the WCHA All-Academic Team four years running. She has spent nine semesters on the UND Dean’s List and President’s Honor Roll and has been part of the Athletic Department Honor Roll for Student-Athletes during each of her five years. She has also consistently given back to the community by volunteering across a variety of settings, both on campus and in the greater Grand Forks area.

Alaska-Anchorage’s Ege, Maine’s Romeo transfer to Ohio State, will sit out 2016-17 season

In a press release sent out Tuesday afternoon, Ohio State announced seven new players to the team this fall, including two transfers that must sit out the upcoming 2016-17 season.

Freshman defenseman Wyatt Ege spent 2015-16 at Alaska-Anchorage and sophomore goalie Sean Romeo played the past two years at Maine.

Ege will have three years of eligibility remaining when he is eligible for the 2017-18 season, while Romeo will have two years left.

Skating in all 34 games with Alaska-Anchorage in 2015-16, posting 13 points on four goals and nine assists, Ege also earned a spot on the WCHA All-Rookie Team.

Romeo saw action in two games (total of 53 minutes) in 2015-16, recording a 2.27 GAA and a .933 save percentage. As a freshman, he was 7-13-1 and registered a 3.04 GAA with a .902 save percentage.

Oilers sign St. Cloud State sophomore Russell to two-year contract

Patrick Russell parlayed a 20-goal sophomore season with St. Cloud State into a two-year contract with Edmonton (photo: Candace Horgan).

The Edmonton Oilers have signed St. Cloud State sophomore forward Patrick Russell to a two-year, entry-level contract.

Russell appeared in 41 games this season with the Huskies, posting a career-high 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) and a plus-24 rating.

He was named to the 2015 All-NCHC Academic Team and to the 2015 All-NCHC Rookie Team.

Over his two years at SCSU, Russell compiled 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) and 26 penalty minutes in 81 games.

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