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Carr gets promotion to associate head coach at Merrimack

Merrimack has elevated Curtis Carr from assistant coach to associate head coach, the school announced Thursday.

Carr is set to replace Glenn Stewart in the role. Stewart has been linked to a move to New Hampshire in various reports.

Carr has been an assistant at Merrimack for the last three years, most notably overseeing the penalty kill.

“Curtis has had a huge impact on our program in a short time,” Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said in a news release. “His influence has broadened and he has had a hand in every facet of Merrimack hockey.”

Carr previously was with Youngstown of the USHL, finishing a five-year stretch with the club as head coach and general manager.

A former Kent State player in the ACHA, Carr later joined the Golden Flashes’ coaching staff for three seasons.

“I couldn’t be happier to be continuing my coaching career at Merrimack would like to thank Mark Dennehy for the promotion to associate head coach,” Carr said in a release. “I would also like to extend my thanks to [athletic director] Jeremy Gibson for supporting the move. My family and I are excited and I look forward to continuing to work to elevate Merrimack Hockey to new heights.”

North Dakota goalie Zane Gothberg changes name to Zane McIntyre

North Dakota junior goaltender Zane Gothberg announced Thursday that he has legally changed his surname to his mother’s maiden name of McIntyre.

“My grandmother and my mother have been very influential in my life,” said McIntyre in a news release. “With the passing of my grandmother and my mother getting re-married, as well as my sister getting married, I’ve made the personal choice to carry on the family name in their honor.”

McIntyre, a sixth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2010, went 20-10-3 last season and was a finalist for the NCHC goaltender of the year award after leading the NCHC with a 1.99 GAA and ranking second with a .926 save percentage.

NCHC announces creation of Rudolph award for officials’ achievement

The NCHC announced Tuesday the creation of the Mark Rudolph Officiating Achievement Award, which will recognize one official each season starting with the 2014-15 season.

The award will honor a member of the NCHC officiating staff (referee, linesman or supervisor) who, through his actions, commitment, dedication, leadership and professionalism, “has achieved a distinguished accomplishment that has significantly enhanced the NCHC and its officiating program both on and off the ice,” according to a league-issued press release.

“It is an honor for the conference office to use Mark’s name in recognizing someone annually from our officiating staff,” said NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton in a statement. “It is certainly fitting for someone who has impacted several levels of hockey, including the NCAA for many years. Our conference office takes a tremendous amount of pride in our officiating program and this award is a reflection of our commitment to recognize one of the best on an annual basis.”

Rudolph is a long-time official and distinguished administrator who resides in Colorado Springs, Colo., and pioneered the development of USA Hockey’s national officiating program. He also worked NCAA Division I games for more than 10 seasons.

On his way to St. Cloud State, defenseman Ilvonen eyes Finnish World Juniors spot

I0000kv.J8ic7hI0 On his way to St. Cloud State, defenseman Ilvonen eyes Finnish World Juniors spot

St. Cloud State incoming freshman Mika Ilvonen hopes to be part of Finland’s gold medal defense at the World Junior Championship (photo: Dan Hickling).

You spy tiny Mika Ilvonen stationed on defense and the question naturally comes.

What’s he doing back there?

Shouldn’t he be zipping around up front, darting between blue line behemoths while creating scoring chances?

It turns out that Ilvonen, 19, and all of 5-foot-8 and 157 pounds, can do all that and give opposing forwards fits at the same time.

That’s what has put Ilvonen squarely in the mix to help Finland defend its gold medal when the World Junior Championship gets underway in Toronto and Montreal the day after Christmas.

The Finns held their evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., at the Olympic Center’s USA rink in consort with the Swedes and the U.S., giving Ilvonen, who will head to St. Cloud State in the fall, a chance to test out his game on the narrower NHL-sized ice, the same dimensions (200×85) used for this year’s WJC.

“You have to make decisions pretty fast,” Ilvonen said in English that is inflected but impeccable. “You have to know what you’re doing before you get the puck. When you get to the corner, you have to know what you’re going to do if you get the puck. That’s going to help me learn to play on smaller rinks.”

While Ilvonen’s own physical dimensions may be limited, his ability to get the most out of his stature is not.

Who needs brawn when brains — and breathtaking speed — will do?

“Skating is my No. 1 asset,” Ilvonen said. “Moving the puck smartly. I don’t try to throw the guys around, but I try to use positioning.

“I kind of like the small rink because the decisions come like that,” he said with a snap of his fingers. “You have to be inside the game all the time.”

I0000MdDDNXyAuV0 On his way to St. Cloud State, defenseman Ilvonen eyes Finnish World Juniors spot

Mika Ilvonen had 14 goals and 45 points last season for the Espoo Blues U20 team (photo: Dan Hickling).

Ilvonen has seen his stock rise at each level of his five-year climb through the Espoo Blues system, his hometown club.

He piled up 14 goals and 45 points for the Blues U20 team, for which he wore the “C.” That made him a cinch to net a WJC invite.

“I played a good season and was the captain of the team that won the championship,” he said. “I scored a lot of points as a defenseman. The coaches know me, and I played a good season last year.

“Step by step. That’s been my thing. I think I have a couple steps to make that team.”

Ilvonen and the rest of the Finns, including fellow defenseman Erik Autio (a Penn State incoming freshman), will have a tough act to follow.

After all, how do you top a gold medal-clinching goal like the one Rasmus Ristolainen scored in overtime against archrival Sweden, in Tre Kronor territory, no less?

“It’s a dream,” Ilvonen said. “When he scored the goal, my first thought was, why can’t I be Ristolainen? To be at that place, at that time of game. It was a great thing.”

Who is to say he won’t find himself in that spot, too?

Meanwhile, Ilvonen will get to ready himself at St. Cloud, where he will meet up again with fellow Blues alums Kalle Kossila and Rasmus Reijola.

Which begs a few more questions:

Why give college hockey a try? And why St. Cloud?

For one thing, Ilvonen, who went undrafted by the NHL, hopes to follow the path blazed by the likes of Torey Krug and Chad Ruhwedel.

Both of them are undersized defensemen who slipped through the cracks but made themselves NHL-worthy free agents in college.

“I thought I could take this route and that could be a good option for me,” Ilvonen said. “Plus, you get the education. That’s a smart option for me. Good hockey and good education.”

And good vibes, too.

That’s what Ilvonen got from the school after making a visit last fall.

“They were very warm to me,” he said. “They wanted me there. That was the No. 1 thing. That’s why I chose St. Cloud. They are close, but they are not yet at the top. They need one little click, and I’m ready to help them take that.”

Clarkson women’s assistant, former Wayne State goalie Kelly named to USA Hockey women’s scouting post

Clarkson women’s assistant coach Matt Kelly has been named head scout for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Kelly will primarily be responsible for helping identify and develop players in USA Hockey’s active player pool for the women’s program. He will also help implement a long-term strategy to ensure continued advancement of the U.S. Women’s National Team program.

“We’re excited to add Matt to our staff and look forward to his contributions to the women’s program,” USA Hockey director of women’s hockey Reagan Carey said in a news release. “He has a strong knowledge of women’s ice hockey and his background and enthusiasm will be vital as we continue to strengthen the overall identification process of elite talent from across the nation and enhance our scouting procedures.”

Kelly joined the Clarkson staff after spending the 2007-08 campaign on the women’s coaching staff at Quinnipiac and started his coaching career the season prior as the volunteer assistant at Wayne State, where he was also a goaltender from 2002 to 2006.

Travis named strength coach at Mercyhurst

The Mercyhurst men’s team has named Tyler Travis strength and conditioning coach. Travis, an Erie, Pa., native, received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Penn State-Behrend and his Master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology, with a concentration in cardiac rehabilitation, from Minnesota State.

Citing a career change, New Hampshire assistant Tortorella leaves the Wildcats’ bench

New Hampshire announced Wednesday that associate head coach Jim Tortorella will leave his position to pursue a career opportunity outside of hockey.

Tortorella will serve as chief operating officer at the Foundation House in Portland, Maine. The Foundation House homes provide support for residents in their recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.

Starting his collegiate coaching career at UNH as an assistant coach for the 1993-94 season, Tortorella then spent 17 years at Colby before returning to UNH in 2011-12.

“Jim has been a tremendous asset to the program during his time here,” said New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile in a statement. “He has decided to make a career change and I wish nothing but the best for him and his family.”

“My time at UNH has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best athletes in the country and with some of the best people,” added Tortorella. “From administrators to the coaching and support staffs, working here has always been special to me. To be able to come back for three years and have some impact on the direction of the program has meant a lot to me and it will be missed.”

Maine women add former St. Cloud State goalie Newell as new assistant coach

Maine has named Kendall Newell to the coaching staff as the Black Bears’ new assistant coach.

Newell spent the past four seasons as head coach of the Banff Hockey Academy female prep team in Banff, Alberta.

During her time with Banff, Newell compiled a 109-76-8 coaching record, winning back-to-back regular-season championships in the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League and a Central Alberta Hockey League championship. Prior to her time at Banff, Newell spent a season (2009-2010) as an assistant coach with the SAIT Trojans of the Alberta College Athletic Conference and one season with the St. Cloud Icebreakers (2007-2008) varsity and JV teams in Minnesota High School Hockey League.

Newell also spent four seasons with St. Cloud State from 2004 to 2008 and as a goalie, posted a 24-26-9 record with a 2.69 GAA and a .908 save percentage with five shutouts.

The Phoenix product also spent one season with the Calgary Oval X-Treme of the Western Women’s Hockey League, where she led the league with nine wins, a 1.60 GAA and three shutouts.

Western Michigan loses second associate head coach as Ferschweiler moves to AHL’s Griffins

The American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins announced on Monday the addition of Pat Ferschweiler as an assistant coach.

Ferschweiler recently concluded his fourth season behind the bench at Western Michigan. He served as an assistant coach with the Broncos from 2010 to 2013 before being promoted to associate head coach for the 2013-14 season.

In his inaugural campaign with Western Michigan in 2010-11, Ferschweiler served under current Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill.

“I am excited to add Pat to our staff,” said Blashill in a statement. “Having worked together at WMU, I know firsthand that Pat is an outstanding hockey coach. He excels in developing players and he has a great hockey mind and a great ability to communicate his thoughts. Most importantly, Pat relates to his players and builds relationships that extend beyond his time coaching them. He’ll be a great asset to the Griffins and Red Wings organizations.”

The 44-year-old Ferschweiler is a 1993 graduate of Western Michigan, where he spent three seasons (1990-93) with the Broncos and accumulated 95 points (30 goals, 65 assists) in 116 games.

“We take a great deal of pride at Western Michigan when one of our players or coaches has an opportunity to move on to the professional level,” said WMU head coach Andy Murray in a news release. “We are excited about Pat’s opportunity with Grand Rapids and the Red Wings organization. He’s helped me a great deal in terms of my transition from professional hockey to the college game and has made a tremendous impact on all of our players. He and his wife, Stacy, are quality people and I value their friendship.”

Ferschweiler is the second associate head coach to leave during the offseason after Rob Facca accepted a scouting position with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Former Babson player Griffin reportedly drowns in Nantucket harbor

Nantucket police have confirmed to Boston.com that former Babson forward Corey Griffin, 27, died early Saturday morning after apparently drowning in the harbor.

A witness stated Griffin had dove into the harbor from the “Juice Guys” establishment, then floated to the surface before going under again and not resurfacing. Authorities are investigating.

Police told the Cape Cod Times that Nantucket lifeguard Colin Perry was called to the scene and recovered Griffin from the bottom of the harbor. He was pronounced dead at 3 a.m. at Cottage Hospital.

Griffin was on the hockey team while enrolled at Boston College in 2006-07, but never saw game action.

“[Corey] cared about everybody else,” said his father, Robert Griffin, in the Boston.com report. “He will be missed.”

First-round pick Milano decides to pass on Boston College, will sign pro deal

I0000NUUMZxPgyVk First round pick Milano decides to pass on Boston College, will sign pro deal

Sonny Milano has decided to sign a pro contract instead of attending Boston College (photo: Margaret Hickling).

Sonny Milano, a first-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in June, has told Boston College he will sign a pro contract instead of joining the Eagles this fall.

The school confirmed the news in a pair of tweets Saturday:

 

 

In a statement released through his agent to the Columbus Dispatch, Milano said he will play for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers this season.

Milano, a 6-foot, 183-pound forward from Massapequa, N.Y., was selected 16th overall by Columbus in June’s NHL Entry Draft.

He played the last two seasons with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

Milano’s statement to the Dispatch read:

Since being drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the NHL Draft in Philadelphia on June 27, I have been asked many times about whether I would continue with my plans to attend Boston College, or play junior hockey instead. In an effort to avoid controversy and further questions on the subject, I responded that I was looking forward to attending BC in the Fall. While I have had every intention of playing for Coach (Jerry) York and joining the best college hockey program in the country, since the end of my hockey season at the USNDTP I have been questioning whether going to school was the best situation for me.

Perhaps I should have acknowledged my growing indecision when asked about my plans, but it was difficult to explain to those who were asking when I did not even know myself what I wanted to do. After a great deal of thought and discussion with my family, I have spoken with Coach York and informed him that I will be playing for the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers this season.

I think that BC is the best choice for those players who wish to go to school and play hockey. Every player’s path to achieving his goal of playing in the NHL is different, and the best route for some is not necessarily the best route for others. For me, the opportunity to play in the OHL is the right decision.

If I have disappointed anyone, particularly the great people I have met at BC, it was certainly not my intention to do so, and for that I am sorry. I hope that BC and those involved with its hockey program understand my decision.

Lysyj named new assistant coach at Fredonia

Michael Lysyj has been named assistant coach at Fredonia, replacing Bill Silengo, who left to become an assistant coach at Manhattanville.

Lysyj scored 39 goals and had 38 assists in four seasons with Cortland, graduating in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, with a concentration in coaching, and a minor in communications.

Following college, he played professionally with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL and with the Peoria Rivermen and Mississippi Surge of the Southern Professional Hockey League. He also has worked and trained with Extreme Power Skating, Prestige Hockey Training and the New Jersey Raiders.

Bethel hires Klaren, Fisher, Stumpf as new assistant coaches

Bethel announced recently three new assistants for the Royals’ men’s team.

Nick Klaren, Tim Fisher and Thomas Stumpf will join Bethel for the 2014-15 season.

Klaren, who will focus primarily on the Royals’ defenseman, played one year in the United States Hockey League, two in the North American Hockey League and then after playing at Wisconsin-Stout, serving as team captain his senior year, spent time in the Central Hockey League, ECHL and Southern Professional Hockey League.

Fisher has been a goaltenders coach since 2009, both at the high school level and in a training venue with Premier Goaltender Development, and is a former collegiate player with St. Thomas.

Stumpf, who will be both the forwards coach and the recruiting coordinator, was most recently a five-year assistant with the St. Olaf women’s team.

With camp done and some chemistry found, World Junior hopefuls set for return to college

Motte Eichel With camp done and some chemistry found, World Junior hopefuls set for return to college

Michigan’s Tyler Motte (left) and Boston University’s Jack Eichel (right) could be part of a top line with Boston College’s Alex Tuch (photo: Dan Hickling).

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Evaluation camp has ended for the 35 hopefuls trying to make USA Hockey’s World Junior Championship squad.

Now it’s off to college, or junior, for each of the talented U20′s who would love nothing better than to help Team USA regain its golden touch.

Meanwhile, head coach Mark Osiecki and his assistants are left to sort through the myriad of impressions made during the nine-day camp, a precursor to the annual post-Christmas tournament to be staged in Toronto and Montreal.

At first blush, Osiecki said that the camp, which also included exhibition tilts against Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, produced a whole lot of good karma.

And that, to him, was far more important than any highlight-reel moments (and there were plenty of those, too).

“The whole key was just trying to find some chemistry,” said Osiecki, the former Ohio State head coach who this year steps into the pro coaching ranks as an assistant with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. “I think we found it. With the forward lines. I don’t want to say it was a pleasant surprise, but it’s a nice thing to come out of here with. That puts you ahead of the curve. That’s one of the benefits of the Ann Arbor (National Team Development) Program. A lot of these kids have played together.”

That cohesive strain was a strong one, particularly in the offensive end. Team USA overwhelmed its opponents by a 19-2 count during the final three tune-up tilts.

What emerged as the USA’s top line, center Jack Eichel (Boston University) planted between wingers Alex Tuch (Boston College) and Tyler Motte (Michigan), piled up 12 points in a 9-1 rout of Finland.

Osiecki pointed to that unit as an example of what all that ionic bonding can produce.

“They have a very good awareness of where each other is,” Osiecki said. “They do a great job communicating. On the bench they [were] always talking and sharing different thoughts with their teammates. It’s a good chemistry and hopefully it’s something we can build on.”

Eichel, who had dozens of NHL scouts in attendance drooling over the prospect of nabbing him in next year’s entry draft, came in for special praise from Osiecki.

“He’d be a lot of fun to coach for a long period of time, wouldn’t he?” Osiecki said. “He’s so talented. I think he’s developed some leadership skills. He’s a high-level skater. He’d probably be a top-10 skater in the NHL right now. His skating is effortless.

“He knows where everything is on the ice at any given point. Not only his own players, but the opponent. He has a great knack for knowing where everybody is at [and] a great feel for the game. More important, he’s a great person.”

Not to be overlooked was Michigan center JT Compher, who made his presence felt both on the ice and in the dressing room.

Every team needs a captain, and in Compher, who missed last year’s WJC with a gimpy foot (suffered by blocking a shot, of course), Team USA may have found its.

JT Compher With camp done and some chemistry found, World Junior hopefuls set for return to college

Michigan’s JT Compher missed last season’s World Junior Championship with a foot injury (photo: Dan Hickling).

“It’s a relationship we started to build right away,” Osiecki said. “You’re trying to build something in terms of leadership. Especially when you don’t know the guys all that well. There’s a great group of kids who are leaders, and JT has done a great job of stepping up and communicating with them.”

Although camp may be over, the process continues.

No one left Lake Placid with a WJC guarantee in his pocket.

Final roster decisions won’t be made until December, after each hopeful has settled in for the regular season.

“It’s in their hands now,” said Osiecki. “These guys have to go back to their clubs and find a way to get a little bit better.”

Utica tabs former Massachusetts forward Olczyk as new assistant coach

Utica has named Eddie Olczyk as the new men’s assistant coach.

Olczyk, son of former NHL player and coach Ed Olczyk and brother of Penn State senior captain Tommy Olczyk, will assist Pioneers’ head coach Gary Heenan with all facets of the program, including practice and game preparation, recruiting and office management.

“Eddie has been surrounded by the game of hockey his entire life and he has a bright coaching future ahead of him,” said Heenan in a news release. “His experiences as a player at all levels of hockey will certainly benefit our student-athletes. We are excited to welcome him into the UC family and we can’t wait to get to work.”

Olczyk comes to Utica after having spent last season playing for the Bloomington Thunder of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Prior to turning pro, Olczyk spent four seasons at Massachusetts from 2009 to 2013, recording four goals and six points in 85 games.

His coaching experience includes spending the last six years as a head instructor at the Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey Camps. He also recently spent three months as a production spotter for NBC Sports, where he assisted with game-day production operations during the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Ex-Elmira captain Lamoureux named new assistant coach with Utica women

Tanis Lamoureux has been selected the new assistant coach for the Utica women’s team.

Lamoureux graduated from Elmira in the spring of 2014 after four years playing for the Soaring Eagles. She served as team captain in her final two seasons.

In her senior season of 2013-14, she was named an AHCA Second Team All-American and an ECAC West First Team All-Conference selection. She was also selected as an ECAC West All-Tournament Team member for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons. Lamoureux is now Elmira’s eighth all-time leading scorer with 106 career points on 44 goals and 62 assists.

Lamoureux has worked as a camp counselor and coach at countless hockey camps, including the Vigilante Hockey Camp in Plymouth, Mich., the Power Shot Hockey Academy in Livonia, Mich., and four years as a volunteer within the Elmira Youth Hockey ranks.

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