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Olczyk Jr. makes move from Utica bench to Niagara staff

Former Utica assistant coach Eddie Olczyk Jr. has been named an assistant coach at Niagara.

Olczyk replaces Pat Oliveto, who left for a job with the HarborCenter in August.

“I am extremely pleased to announce that Eddie Olczyk has agreed to join our staff and program at Niagara,” Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder said in a statement. “It was an easy decision once we were able to meet during the interview process. He comes from a great hockey family and enjoyed a good playing career in juniors and at UMass. His experience most recently at Utica College as an assistant coach made him the perfect candidate and fit for us. He is going to be a huge asset and resource for our student-athletes.”

Olczyk is the son of former NHL player and coach and current “NHL on NBC” analyst Eddie Olczyk.

At Utica, Olczyk assisted with all facets of the program, including daily practice plans, team strategy and player development. He served as the team’s head scout and recruiting coordinator, oversaw defensemen and the power play that was ranked in the top 10 in the nation. He also dissected game film, created strength and conditioning workouts and organized team community service activities.

“I am extremely honored for the opportunity to join the Niagara University staff,” added Olczyk. “David Burkholder and [assistant coach] Tim Madsen are two excellent coaches who I am eager to learn from and work alongside. I look forward to building upon the great tradition here at Niagara, helping our student-athletes become better players and people, and bringing championships back to the city of Lewiston. Thank you Coach [Gary] Heenan and Utica College for allowing me to begin my coaching career.”

Prior to Utica, Olczyk played for the Bloomington Thunder of the Southern Professional Hockey League during the 2013-14 season where he played in 54 games. Olczyk was a four-year letter winner at UMass from 2009 to 2013. He saw action in 85 games, earned Hockey East All-Academic Team recognition in 2010 and was named to the 2013 Ledyard National Bank Classic All-Tournament Team.

Boston University announces coaching promotions for O’Connell, Young

Boston University announced Wednesday that Albie O’Connell will be the program’s associate head coach and director of hockey operations Scott Young will now serve as an assistant coach.

“It’s great to have two guys working here who love BU the way they do,” BU head coach David Quinn said in a news release. “This university has been a big part of their lives and I know they will make a very positive impact on our student-athletes in all aspects of life.”

Both O’Connell and Young were BU standouts as well.

O’Connell captained the 1998-99 Terriers team and Young went on to a 17-year NHL career, winning Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and Colorado.

Van Rentergem promoted to assistant coach at Robert Morris

Robert Morris has promoted Kody Van Rentergem from hockey operations coordinator to assistant coach for the Colonials’ men’s team.

Van Rentergem will take over for former associate head coach Matt Nicholson, who left earlier this summer to coach the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League.

In his three previous years at RMU, Van Rentergem focused on video analysis, team logistics and mentoring goalies. In his new role, he will continue to work with Colonials goaltenders, but also contribute to recruiting efforts and assist head coach Derek Schooley on power play optimization.

“Kody has been a valuable member of the staff for the last three successful seasons and he will seamlessly step into this assistant role,” Schooley said in a news release. “His credentials and teaching skills are excellent. He knows our conference, university, program and players like the back of his hand. He has done a very good job and will continue to do so in his new role.”

A former goaltender at Fredonia, Van Rentergem also coached at his alma mater.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity,” added Van Rentergem. “Derek, Mark [Workman] and I have worked together for three years and I look forward to continuing to build on our recent success. It’s a very exciting time for the program and I’m grateful to be a part of it.

“My fiancée, Megan, and I have called Pittsburgh home for a couple years now. The fact that we get to stay home while getting this opportunity is fantastic.”

Denver adds former Colorado College goalie Howe to coaching staff

Joe Howe tended the crease for Colorado College and is now joining the Denver coaching staff (photo: Candace Horgan).

Denver announced Tuesday that former Colorado College goaltender Joe Howe has been hired as the Pioneers’ volunteer assistant coach for the 2015-16 season.

Howe will primarily work with DU’s goaltenders, but will be involved in all aspects of the program from an on-ice perspective.

“We’re very pleased to be bringing Joe on board as a volunteer coach,” said DU head coach Jim Montgomery in a statement. “He’s a bright young man with some good experience at the junior, collegiate and professional levels and we’re looking forward to having him play an important role in our program this coming season.”

A three-time WCHA All-Academic Team honoree and a member of the conference’s All-Rookie Team in 2009-10, Howe appeared in 119 games with the Tigers from 2009 to 2013, amassing a record of 54-50-10 in addition to a 2.97 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

Last season, Howe was a member of five ECHL teams (Fort Wayne, Utah, Reading, Rapid City, Orlando) and two AHL teams (Manchester, San Antonio). before retiring as a player earlier this summer.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of a great program that I’ve always had a lot of respect for,” added Howe. “Hockey is my passion and I look forward to being able to continue the pursuit of that passion through coaching. I feel very fortunate to be able to step into a position such as this with the Pioneers where I’ll be able to learn from a truly elite coaching staff.

“I can’t wait for the season to get started.”

‘Health issues’ lead to Massachusetts-Boston women’s coach Harris stepping down

Colleen Harris recently stepped down from her post as Massachusetts-Boston women’s head coach.

Harris fell on the ice after a game at Norwich late last season and reportedly, has not recovered fully to come back and coach.

“Unfortunately, Coach Harris is no longer at UMass Boston due to health issues,” said a UMB spokesman in an email to USCHO.com. “The fall at Norwich was the reason why she could not return to the team. We are currently in the process of hiring an interim head coach. The announcement of the successful candidate will be made within the next couple of weeks.”

Last season, Massachusetts-Boston finished 10-13-4 in Harris’ fifth season behind the bench. The Beacons went 52-64-16 overall over Harris’ tenure.

Harris, who did not respond to an email inquiry from USCHO.com staff for this story, graduated in 2008 from Boston College.

10 years after his death, remembering Derek Hines, a ‘West Point kind of kid’

1st Lt. Derek Hines was 25 when he was killed in action in Afghanistan (photo: Army West Point Athletics).

For most college hockey coaches, a bad day is when something doesn’t go right at practice. A line doesn’t skate properly. Passing isn’t crisp. Shots are off target. Frustration, maybe by a player or maybe by a coach, bubbles to the top.

For Army West Point’s Brian Riley, a bad day as a coach is what happened 10 years ago.

1st Lt. Derek Hines, a 2003 West Point graduate, was conducting security operations in Baylough, Afghanistan, on Sept. 1, 2005, when his unit came under small-arms fire. Wounded by insurgents, Hines continued to fight but was killed in action.

“I had just exchanged emails with [Derek] on Aug. 27,” Riley said. “Three days later, I was in the locker room taking care of some things, and I felt my phone go off. I ignored it but it kept going off, so I took it out and saw it was a teammate of his. So I answered the phone, and his teammate asked me if I heard about Derek. So I said, ‘Well, yeah, I was just emailing with him a couple of days ago.’ Then I was told that Derek was killed. I remember sitting down and just feeling like the whole weight of the building had collapsed on me.”

A native of Newburyport, Mass., Hines played four years for the Black Knights, scoring 12 goals in 110 games after graduating from St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Mass.

“When I went and saw him, the first thing I noticed was that he wasn’t very big,” Riley said. “But the next thing I noticed is that he moved pretty good. And after watching him, I saw that he played much bigger than his size, he had a big heart, and he was a great teammate.

“I remember leaving and thinking that, hockey aside, this was a West Point kind of kid.”

Derek Hines scored 12 goals in 110 games for Army from 1999 to 2003 (photo: Army West Point Athletics).

Following Hines’ death, his family established the 1st Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund. By providing financial assistance for Massachusetts-based soldiers and their families, it benefits those who incurred serious or life-altering injuries during active-duty service.

It’s the ultimate tribute to the way he lived and ensures his memory continues positively impacting his home community.

Since 2007, the American Hockey Coaches Association has presented the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award to honor the “consummate team player and team builder.”

“When guys come to West Point,” Riley said, “they actually don’t know much about military life unless they had a family member who served or attended [the academy]. They’re excited to play Division I hockey, and they’re excited to receive one of the best educations.

“But hockey is the ultimate team sport, and the Army is the ultimate team. You know you have others guys’ backs, and you know they have yours. That bond forms almost immediately, and these young men form friendships for life. They always have each other’s back no matter what the situation.

“I remember seeing the amount of people who came out to his funeral,” Riley continued, “and seeing all of those people that a young man who was 25 years old touched. I knew he was a difference-maker in life.”

It’s that brotherhood and those values that withstand the test of time. Seven years after Hines’ death, Riley was thrust into a similar situation when the phone rang again with the same line of bad news.

Maj. Thomas Kennedy, a 2000 graduate of the Army hockey program and former player representative liaison to the academy superintendent, was killed in action in 2012, the victim of a suicide bomb attack.

“Most of Atlantic Hockey knew Tom because he was our officer representative,” Riley said, “and he was supposed to join us later that year when we played at Air Force after a short deployment. But I remember one day on vacation looking at my phone and seeing missed calls from a number of different people, and I knew right away something was wrong. When I reached one of the guys who called me, I remember feeling that same kind of feeling, just sitting down and feeling so terrible.”

Like with Hines before him, the Academy has sought to remember both of its fallen brothers.

“West Point is such a family, and whenever there’s something like this, it’s amazing to watch people come together,” Riley said. “There’s a lot of people in the community who didn’t necessarily know [Derek or Tom], but it’s still one of our own. I know personally I enjoy talking about the men they were so make sure their legacy lives on and make sure we know about these men.”

That bond brings together the select fraternity of athletes at the military institution. While competing in sports, they’re also preparing for a purpose much larger than any game or practice.

Their day-to-day interactions and principles make their college experience unique, with alumni impacting them in ways other student-athletes could never imagine.

“As a kid, I used to wonder why my dad [former Army head coach Jack Riley] stayed at West Point,” Riley said. “He was a successful coach and had won the 1960 gold medal, so I used to wonder why he didn’t go up to a place like Boston for a larger college job. But now that I sit in his chair, I know why he stayed.

“The opportunity to coach these young men makes this the best and most rewarding job I could have. And in some small way, I feel like we are preparing these boys to be leaders at West Point. That’s such an amazing experience and something I’m very fortunate to be a part of.”

White leaves Brown staff, is reported to be replaced by Yale’s Guerriero

Associate head coach Mark White is leaving Brown to become an amateur scout for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.

A Brown spokesperson confirmed the move, which was initially reported on Twitter by the Providence Journal’s Mark Divver.

Assistant coach Jason Guerriero, meanwhile, will move from Yale to Brown, the New Haven Register reported.

White joined the Brown staff in 2009 after four years at Bentley and was elevated to the Bears’ associate head coach in 2011.

A former New Hampshire defenseman, White played three professional seasons before starting a coaching career.

Guerriero is the second assistant to leave Yale’s staff this offseason; associate head coach Dan Muse became head coach of the USHL’s Chicago Steel in May and was replaced by former volunteer coach Josh Siembida.

A former Northeastern forward, Guerriero was at Yale for two seasons after two seasons as an assistant at Holy Cross.

The Register reported that Guerriero has been looking for coaching opportunities closer to Boston, where his wife and young daughter live.

Medical school prompts Hanson to hang up the skates at Colorado College

Jared Hanson will give up his senior year at Colorado College to focus on medical school (photo: Candace Horgan).

Colorado College senior Jared Hanson is retiring from hockey to focus on medical school, according to a report in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Hanson made the announcement over the weekend that he will no longer play after an injury-shortened junior season that saw him dress in just nine games.

“Unfortunately, my time as a competitive hockey player is over as a result of concussions,” Hanson said in the article. “All too often in athletics, people do not know when to step aside in the game that they love until it is too late. I, however, do not want to be another of those cases. Physically, I feel outstanding and I feel I could step on the ice right now with my teammates and compete at a high level. But at this point in my life, it is not in my best interest … [Playing] hockey has been part of my life since I was two years old.

“It is not an easy decision to make, but is the correct decision for my future. I just always wanted to have the ability to help people and be able to change people’s lives through medicine.”

While finishing his degree in biochemistry, Hanson will serve as a student assistant coach with the Tigers.

“Obviously, we will miss him on the ice,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said in the report. “Anytime you can get a player like Jared on your team, you’re better off. We are pleased he will stay with the program. Jared has a lot to offer to this team. If we recruit a few more Jared Hansons in over the next few years, we will be in good shape.”

Ohio State hires Strobel as associate head coach

Mark Strobel, who has served as an assistant coach for three college programs, has joined the Ohio State staff as associate head coach, the school announced Friday.

Strobel was a volunteer assistant at Colorado College in 1998-99 before stops in the USHL and two-year stints at Minnesota-Duluth and Omaha.

“I am humbled and thankful for the opportunity Ohio State has given me to join the staff,” Strobel said in a news release. “Coaching is in my DNA and I look forward to working with and finding great people, players and students to help us win championships. I know this is a great program and I can’t wait to get started. Ohio State has all the resources to be successful.”

Buckeyes coach Steve Rohlik and Strobel are both Wisconsin alumni who worked together at Minnesota-Duluth in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.

“I’ve known Mark for a long time and we are excited to add him to our staff,” Rohlik said. “He is a great teacher and motivator who has a real passion for the game and a strong work ethic. Mark is very well known in the hockey community and will help us continue to push our program to the next level.”

Strobel replaces Brett Larson, who left Ohio State for Minnesota-Duluth.

Strobel played defense at Wisconsin from 1991 to 1995 before a two-year pro career in the New Jersey Devils’ farm system.

Former Maine forward Ronan joins Mercyhurst staff as assistant coach

Mercyhurst has hired former Maine player John Ronan as an assistant coach.

Ronan was an assistant coach with the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms in 2014-15 after a year volunteering with Union.

He replaces Robert Ferraris, who left the school earlier this month for the head coaching job at Trinity-Pawling prep school in New York.

“I was completely overwhelmed to the number of responses we received for our open coaching position,” Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said in a news release. “We are really excited to have John join our coaching staff. He is going to fit right in and add a great deal of knowledge and expertise to our program. We welcome John, his wife Robin, and his daughter Cameron to the Mercyhurst University family.”

Ronan played forward at Maine from 2001 to 2005, appearing in four NCAA tournaments and two national championship games. He was the team captain his senior year before starting an eight-season professional career.

Ex-Canton assistant, Mercyhurst captain Cicero named new assistant women’s coach at Rensselaer

Rensselaer has announced the hiring of Christie Cicero as an assistant women’s coach, joining Derek Alfama on the staff of head coach John Burke.

“We are excited to have Christie join the RPI family,” said Burke in a news release. “She will bring tremendous amount of passion and energy to our program, which are attributes that will benefit our current and future players.”

Cicero comes to Rensselaer from Canton, where she spent the past year working with all aspects of the women’s program, including developing practice plans, breaking down video for sessions with players, organizing travel plans and meals and practice schedules.

She has experience in the strength and conditioning field as well, supervising the SUNY Canton Fitness Center, while also working as an exercise science specialist prior to joining the Kangaroos. Cicero was an assistant performance coach at Lewis Fitness and Performance in Erie, Penn., from September 2013 through June 2014 after serving as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Rockets from 2010 to 2013.

A four-year member of the Mercyhurst women’s team, Cicero was a former captain and registered 100 points (44 goals, 56 assists) in 131 games, leading the Lakers to two Frozen Four appearances and two CHA tournament titles.

St. Anselm exploring opportunities at Division III level

St. Anselm College president Steven DiSalvo announced Tuesday that the school has applied to enter “the exploratory phase of NCAA Division III membership for all athletic programs.”

The school’s hockey programs currently compete at the Division II level. The move to D-III would allow the programs to have an NCAA postseason.

“We evaluated our academic, geographic, and athletic profile, along with our overall vision and strategic goals, and it became very clear that we were a better fit with the majority of Division III schools,” DiSalvo said in a statement. “If we are accepted, it will be an exciting opportunity for us to grow as an institution- recommitting to our mission and values, while promoting academic and athletic excellence.”

“Our athletes are expected to excel academically, as well as athletically, while exhibiting the highest level of sportsmanship, leadership, integrity and honor,” added interim director of athletics Phil Rowe.

The college was recently ranked 13th in the nation for community service, and experiential learning is an integral part of the college experience. Membership in Division III would provide increased access to these types of opportunities, otherwise unavailable to student-athletes with demanding year-round athletic schedules. Additionally, less travel time to competing institutions would mean less time out of class for student-athletes.

“This decision by our leadership holds true to our mission and vision,” concluded Rowe. “We embrace our role as educators to continue to provide our student-athletes the best experience possible moving forward.”

Longtime successful junior coach Hauge hired as new assistant at Clarkson

Clarkson announced Tuesday the hiring of Josh Hauge as an assistant coach for the Golden Knights.

Hauge replaces Andy Jones behind the Clarkson bench after Jones took a similar job with Massachusetts-Lowell on Aug. 20.

The 36-year-old Hauge comes from the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League where he was an assistant coach and director of scouting in 2014-15. He joined the Force after serving as the head coach and general manager of the USHL’s Tri-City Storm for parts of the previous three seasons.

“It is an extremely exciting opportunity for myself and my family to come to a great program and work alongside [head coach] Casey [Jones] and [assistant coach] Phil [Roy],” said Hauge in a statement. “My time in the USHL and the NAHL did a great job in preparing me as a coach and getting me ready to take the step into Division I college hockey. Fargo was an unbelievable time for our family and I am thankful for all the support we received. I learned a lot from Coach [John] Marks, Coach [Cary] Eades and Coach [Byron] Pool in the short time that I was there. My wife Allison and I are excited to be part of the Clarkson family and are ready to get started.”

With Tri-City from 2011 to 2014, Hauge guided 100 percent of his players to NCAA Division I or pro hockey, according to a Clarkson press release.

Hauge also served as the head coach for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the North American Hockey League from 2008 to 2011. In three seasons, he compiled a regular-season record of 111-49-15 and was 20-9-0 in the postseason, which included a 10-1-0 mark in the 2011 playoffs as the Ice Dogs won the Robertson Cup.

A native of Rosemount, Minn., Hauge has coached teams to a national championship, two national championship runner-ups, three league championships, two league championship runner-ups, two regular-season titles, four divisional championships, was named coach of the year once and has a career winning percentage of .633 (250-138-32).

Former Clarkson assistant Jones added as assistant to Massachusetts-Lowell staff

Massachusetts-Lowell announced Thursday the hiring of Andy Jones as an assistant coach.

Jones comes from Clarkson, where he was an assistant coach since 2011.

“We are excited to be able to attract Andy and his wife Tracy to UMass Lowell,” said Lowell coach Norm Bazin in a statement. “He showed great enthusiasm pursuing the open position and I was impressed with his hockey knowledge and attention to detail. He brings almost ten years of coaching experience between his experiences from the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) and Clarkson University. He has been instrumental in developing former UMass Lowell alumni Josh Holmstrom, Zack Kamrass and Chad Ruhwedel when they played for him in the USHL.”

Before his time with Clarkson, Jones spent five seasons (2006-2011) as an assistant coach for the Stampede.

“I am honored to be joining the UMass Lowell River Hawk family,” added Jones. “The recent on-ice success speaks to the program’s commitment to excellence and development. It is clear to me that UMass Lowell is a great place for players to learn, grow and succeed. I would certainly like to thank head coach Norm Bazin and assistant coach Cam Ellsworth for their support during this process. My wife Tracy and I are excited to return to the Massachusetts area and get started.”

In 2009, the 2000 Amherst grad was an assistant on the United States World Junior Challenge gold medalist staff. He also spent 2000 to 2005 in various coaching positions at his alma mater.

Veteran coach, New Hampshire alum Norton takes over behind Tufts bench

Pat Norton, who has nearly 20 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and prep school levels, has been hired as head coach at Tufts.

Norton replaces Brian Murphy, who will not return after 17 seasons behind the Jumbos bench.

“We are very excited that Pat will be joining the Jumbo family and leading our men’s ice hockey program,” said director of athletics John Morris in a statement. “Throughout our search process, Pat distinguished himself as someone who is truly committed to the ideals that characterize Tufts athletics. He is passionate, in equal measure, about achieving excellence, winning championships, and using athletics participation as a vehicle to provide our student-athletes with a transformational educational experience that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”

A 1996 graduate of New Hampshire, where he was a member of the hockey team, Norton began his coaching career as an assistant at Norwich from 1996 to 2000.

Norton moved on to assistant coaching positions at the Division I level with Vermont from 2000 to 2003 and with Northeastern for the 2003-2004 season.

For the past 11 seasons, Norton has been the head coach of the hockey program at the Tilton School in New Hampshire. Members of the New England Prep Schools Interscholastic Hockey Association, Tilton competes at the highest level of prep school hockey. During Norton’s tenure, the Rams were Lakes Region champions in 2010 and 2011 as well as New England Small School semifinalists in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

“Every once in a while, a special opportunity becomes available and to me becoming the head hockey coach at Tufts is that kind of opportunity,” Norton added in a news release. “I believe my experience and hockey network will allow me to build a first-rate hockey program that reflects Tufts University’s values.

“I’m very excited to get started.”

Former D-III coach of the year Dawes tapped to lead inaugural Stevenson men’s team in 2016-17

Stevenson announced Tuesday that former Neumann coach and Norwich standout Dominick Dawes has been named as the first head men’s coach at Stevenson when the team begins NCAA play with the 2016-17 season.

“We are excited to have our first men’s ice hockey coach with the experience, knowledge and talent that Dominick Dawes brings to the university,” said Stevenson director of athletics Brett Adams in a statement. “His knowledge of the ECAC West, his national championship experience as both a player and a head coach, and his connection with the student-athletes puts our men’s ice hockey program in great hands for the future.”

Dawes spent seven seasons as the head coach at Neumann, compiling a 107-62-25 record, making him the winningest coach in the program’s history.

“My family and I are very excited to be a part of Stevenson University,” added Dawes. “I want to thank director of athletics Brett Adams and president Dr. Kevin Manning for giving us the opportunity to start the men’s hockey program. Stevenson has proven to be a leader in Division III athletics and we are looking forward to building a program that will excel on and off the ice.”

During his time with the Knights, Dawes led Neumann to the postseason in all seven seasons while claiming the 2009 NCAA Division III national title in his first year as coach and winning AHCA national coach of the year honors.

Dawes became just the second head coach to win a national championship as both a player and a coach after winning as a player with Norwich in 2003.

The Knights also won two ECAC West Conference Championships during his tenure and finished over the .500 mark in six out of the seven seasons.

Prior to Neumann, Dawes served as an assistant coach at Hamilton for two seasons.

A 2004 graduate of Norwich, Dawes was a forward and defenseman for the Cadets and played in three Frozen Fours. Following college, Dawes played two seasons of professional hockey for the Macon Trax and Florida Seals, making it to the Southern Professional Hockey League finals in both seasons.

Bowdoin brings back alum Lozzi as new assistant coach with women’s squad

Bowdoin has announced the hiring of 2012 graduate Dominique Lozzi as assistant coach for the women’s hockey team.

Lozzi will return to Brunswick after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at Trinity, where she helped lead the Bantams to a NESCAC championship and NCAA tournament appearance in 2015.

A decorated member of the women’s team at Bowdoin from 2008 to 2012, Lozzi earned NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors in her freshman season and served as team captain her senior campaign. She played in 101 games as a Polar Bear, totaling 37 goals and 48 assists for 85 points.

McLaughlin, Metcalf added to NCAA Division I men’s hockey committee

Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin and New Hampshire deputy athletic director Steve Metcalf are joining the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee.

McLaughlin will serve the final two years of the four-year term that former Rensselaer athletic director Jim Knowlton vacated when he left for the same position at Air Force earlier this year.

Each of the six conferences gets one seat on the committee.

Metcalf, a former member of the Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Committee, replaces Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon, whose term expired.

The other members of the committee are North Dakota athletic director Brian Faison, Minnesota senior associate athletic director Tom McGinnis and coaches Brian Riley of Army and Mel Pearson of Michigan Tech.

Valleau bolts Bowling Green after first season for deal with Chicago

A published report in Monday’s Toledo Blade says Bowling Green defenseman Nolan Valleau has signed a contract with “an NHL team” and will not return to school for his last three years of eligibility.

The paper noted Valleau took part in summer development camps with the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets and that it’s believed the Blackhawks signed the free agent.

During the 2014-15 season, Valleau played in all 39 games for the Falcons and posted two goals and 17 assists for 19 points. He was named to the WCHA’s All-Rookie Team at the end of the season.

The Blackhawks have not announced the signing, but Valleau’s player profile on the BGSU hockey website is no longer active.

UPDATE: The Blackhawks officially announced Valleau signing with the team on Aug. 18.

NCHC announces slew of rule, policy changes, including new overtime and shootout format

The NCHC has implemented several new playing rules and policy changes for the 2015-16 season, including a new overtime and shootout format.

All of the rules and policy changes were passed by the NCHC’s Board of Directors during the offseason.

After being one of just two conferences to use a shootout the last two seasons, the NCHC will be the first college hockey conference to use a 3-on-3 overtime format to decide the extra point in the standings after a conference game ends in a tie.

“I think others around the world of hockey have shown what great excitement 3-on-3 overtime can bring to the game,” NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton said in a news release. “We look forward to bringing this same excitement to NCHC student-athletes and fans during the coming year.”

Any conference game that remains tied after regulation will play the NCAA-mandated 5-on-5 five-minute overtime period and if one team scores, they receive all three points in the conference standings, while the losing team receives none. The game also counts as a win and loss nationally in the PairWise rankings. If no goal is scored, the game is considered a tie with both teams receiving one point in the conference standings and it is also called a tie nationally, also the same as previous seasons.

Beginning in October, if a conference game is still tied after the 5-minute overtime, the two teams will then play a 3-on-3 five-minute overtime period for the extra point in the conference standings, keeping all conference games worth three points. The result of the 3-on-3 overtime will not affect the PairWise rankings as the game is still considered a tie. If a team scores during the 3-on-3 overtime, the winning team will receive the extra point for two points in the standings and the losing team will receive the one point for the tie. The final score of the game will still reflect a tie, however.

If the game is still tied after the five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period, the game will then go to a sudden death shootout for the extra point, rather than the three-man shootout that occurred during the NCHC’s first two seasons. Each team will get one shooter, if one shooter scores and the other doesn’t, that team wins the shootout and extra point in the standings (two points total). If both shooters score or neither scores, the shootout will continue with another round until a winner is determined.

Statistics accumulated during the 3-on-3 overtime period will not count in the conference or national statistics. Only statistics recorded during regulation and 5-on-5 overtime will count for statistical purposes, but the lone exception is a game misconduct or game disqualification penalty issued during the 3-on-3 overtime or shootout, which would be recorded at the five-minute mark of the 5-on-5 overtime.

All other penalties will be enforced during the 3-on-3 overtime, but will not count in conference or national statistics. A penalty called during 3-on-3 overtime will result in a 4-on-3 power play (or 5-on-3 power play if a two-man advantage).

Nonconference games at NCHC member venues will follow the same overtime protocol upon receiving consent from the visiting nonconference opponent.

In addition to the overtime changes, all NCHC member venues will now use NHL-sized nets during all home games, the home team will wear its white or light-colored jerseys and visiting teams will wear colored or dark jerseys during the first half of the season and beginning with conference games only on January 1, 2016, the home team will wear its colored or dark jerseys and the road team will wear its white or light-colored jerseys. This change in jersey colors only applies to regular season conference games and will not apply to non-conference games after January 1 or to any NCHC or NCAA post-season games.

Another policy change for 2015-16 is an increased travel roster size for regular season conference games. NCHC teams are now allowed to travel 23 players on road series, one more than the 22 that was previously allowed for conference road games. There is no travel roster limit for nonconference games.

In addition to changes on the ice, the NCHC also created more opportunities to recognize student-athletes for their work in the classroom. The Board of Directors approved a postgraduate scholarship to be awarded to one graduating NCHC student-athlete each season who plans to continue his studies in graduate school. Each school may nominate up to one student-athlete per year with the winner selected by the schools’ faculty athletics representatives and announced annually at the NCHC awards ceremony.

Lastly, the NCHC approved a player-safety measure as the conference now requires all member institutions to comply with the NCAA Concussion Protocol Review process. All NCHC teams are required to submit their Concussion Safety Protocol Checklist through the NCAA process annually and document to the conference the completion of the review.

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