Dear Coach Parker, Coach Bavis, Coach Quinn and staff:
First off, congrats on winning the national title. It was around the time you annihilated Michigan back in the fall that I turned to some colleagues in the press box and said the only team that I felt could beat BU was probably Notre Dame. We all saw ND fall early and your team grabbed the reigns of this tournament and played three of the most competitive, tense, and dramatic games I have ever seen in college hockey.
I think it’s great you kept the National Championship Trophy in the capital city of American hockey and to annex it from college hockey’s other active 800-win coach, Jerry York, is somewhat fitting. To do it against great teams like Ohio State, UNH, Vermont and Miami, four teams that play totally different styles, is a tribute to your players.
While I fear you’ll lose some great players to early defection to the pro ranks, you have built a core that will contend for Hockey East supremacy for years to come.
Dear Rico, Bergy, and Brent:
I cannot imagine how you feel today. Anyone who has coached or played at this level has felt the sting of a crushing defeat, but this one will stay with you forever. It could, however, be the launching pad for a championship next season.
You three and your staff should be congratulated on a tremendous run to the title game. I really felt that despite Denver coming in banged up, ‘Gwoz’ was going to win that game against you, but you obliterated the Pioneers, then took care of a dangerous Duluth team.
Our friend Scott Laughlin asked me on XM radio three weeks ago if I thought Miami needed to get to a Frozen Four to take the next step and I said “Absolutely.” After three years of season-ending defeats to Boston College in the Regionals, I felt you needed to take that next step or risk being one of those really good programs that kept falling short of the national stage.
I didn’t think it would be this year you proved me wrong. Great job, and see you in September.
Dear Kevin Roeder:
You are the ultimate warrior of a hockey player. You played a game against Bowling Green with a broken nose you got on the first shift. You come from a family that boasts three generations of Chicago firefighters and you carry their fearlessness in every shift you play.
The fact that you were giving up your body to block a shot in OT and it happened to deflect off you and in was just a crime. However, those who never got a chance to see you play before learned what a tremendous competitor you are and why your class was the most successful in Miami history.
There were scouts from every NHL team at the Frozen Four. I’m guessing a few had to have taken notice of the player you are, what you bring to a team’s defense, and how hard you compete. Good luck with your hockey future and with your career as one of Chicago’s bravest after that. Tell Gordon, Mike, and Ryan we’ll see them this summer.
Dear Matt Gilroy:
Congrats, you have done Long Island hockey proud. A National Championship, a Hobey Baker Award, and a second consecutive year a Long Island native raised both the Beanpot and National Championship trophy in the same season, as Mike Brennan did last year for Boston College.
I remember when your brother Timmy died and how his jersey hung from the rafters of what was then the Long Island Skating Academy for many years. That vision reminded all of us who worked there how fleeting life can be and drove all of us to greater heights. I remember you as a young kid on that ice surface skating hard and having fun and none of us could have thought that one day you’d achieve what you have.
What you became as a player through your work ethic and dedication is a story that should be told to every player who doesn’t think he has a chance to compete at the Division I level in any sport.
I also remember a chat we had at Yost arena a couple of years ago when I asked you why you didn’t turn pro after your sophomore year. You said, “I can’t play at that level, at least not yet.” Have a great pro career; now you are ready.
Dear Pat Cannone:
Of all the players I feel for, you are on top of my list.
Your ability to be a Division I player was always linked to your ability to be in top shape. No one ever doubted your skills. In a couple of years, you have become an elite Division I player in an elite Division I program, and by the time you are a senior, it will be you who will be in the race for the Hobey Baker Award, and hopefully, yet another Long Island native hoisting a national Championship Trophy.
Dear Rick Comley:
In looking at the past three national championships, it was won by the top three active coaches in career wins. You, Jerry and Jack continue to accumulate wins and continue to run programs that develop players for the professional level. The Spartans had a tough season last year. Here’s hoping for a big rebound starting in September.
Dear incoming freshmen goalies and first time starting goalies next season:
Let the last two seasons be a lesson to you; don’t let anyone tell you that winning a national title, or at the very least being a freshman starting goalie, is impossible in the NCAA.
Drew Palmisano at Michigan State will take over for Jeff Lerg. Jordan Pearce, who had a remarkable career after taking over for David Brown, departs and hands it over to Tom Oâ€™ Brien or whomever Jeff Jackson has hidden in the fold. Mark Cheverie had a great season in Denver in his first full season. Kieran Millan won a national title, Bryan Hogan took over for Billy Sauer and excelled at Michigan, Connor Knapp and Cody Reichard at Miami developed into quality goalies, Matt Dalton took over for Matt Climie and was brilliant in Bemidji, as was fellow Frozen Four star Rob Madore of Vermont. Let’s not forget Dustin Carlson at Ohio State, who in his first full season gave the Buckeyes reason to believe they have a goalie who could push them far into the national tourney.
All over college hockey there will be changing of the guards in goal, and we’ll know by next April if a new miracle man has emerged from the ranks of the first year puck stoppers.
Dear CBS College Sports:
Thank you for another great year in college hockey. Folks like Ross Molloy, Andy Kosco, Matt Litke, Scott Brandwein (a proud BU alum), Lisa Seltzer, Shawn Jensen, Mike Pittman, Dick Mullen and especially my play-by-play partner of four years Matt McConnell, work harder than anyone in college hockey to make sure that the games look good, sound good, and promote the great sport and teams we broadcast. Kristin Bredes, Beth Milley and everyone at the NY headquarters of CBS College sports also deserve a special thanks for all that you do for us on the road.
I’m looking forward to my seventh year with you all.
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER EVERYONE AND ENJOY THE NHL PLAYOFFS.