Lake Forest hockey prepares for the future

The ice arena on the campus of Lake Forest College, in suburban Chicago, has gone through some recent renovations. Improvements have been made to the bleacher area and the locker rooms. There have been changes made behind the home team’s bench as well.

Hired in early May, the 2011-12 season will be the first at Lake Forest for head coach Ryan McKelvie.

“The recent renovations made to our on-campus ice arena makes Lake Forest College, in my opinion, one of the best places to play Division-III hockey in the country”, he said. “It is a school that offers a terrific education, is in a great location, and is fully committed to athletics”.

Prior to coming to Lake Forest, McKelvie served for one season as an assistant coach at the University of Anchorage-Alaska. In 2010-11, Seawolves posted their best Western Collegiate Hockey Association record since joining the league in 1993. He was the team’s recruiting coordinator and academic adviser, and assisted the head coach in nearly every aspect of the program.

McKelvie spent the previous two years as the associate head coach of the expansion Wenatchee Wild in the North American Hockey League. The Wild were 92-33-7 in his two seasons with the team, and finished among the top three teams in the nation in their first two years of existence. His responsibilities spanned all facets of the program, which was directed by Paul Baxter, a 12-year NHL assistant coach and four-year head coach in the AHL/IHL.

McKelvie began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Bemidji State University from 2006-08. The Beavers posted a 22-10-8 record in College Hockey America play during his two years on staff, and claimed a CHA regular season title in 2007-08. He served under head coach Tom Serratore, a three-time CHA Coach of the Year.

His coaching experience also includes two years as the head coach of the ’92 Minnesota Jr. Mavericks AAA team, eight years as a head coach at John Bazzachini’s summer training camp, and four years as a coach at the U.S. National Select 15 and 17 festivals.
McKelvie understands that there will be a growing process at Lake Forest in his first year. It is a young team that consists of 15 freshmen and eight sophomores, with only four juniors and four seniors.

“The biggest challenge I believe we will face this year is establishing a championship-culture on and off the ice,” he said. “Anytime there is a coaching staff change, there are players that thrive under the new staff and some that wish things were still done the old way, and we will need everyone to buy in and be on board with what we are doing now, or we cannot be successful.”

McKelvie has been encouraged so far by the team performance, picking up his first collegiate victory at home against Concordia (Wis.) on November 11.

“I believe we showed that we have the ability to be a very good team; however, at this point we do not understand how hard we need to work to win games”, he said. “Once the players figure this out and start truly believing in their ability, then I think they will be extremely surprised at how successful we are.”

Thomas Bark skates up ice for Lake Forest (Scott Sanford)Freshman Jason McAloon, sophomore Roberto Caparelli, and junior Thomas Bark lead Lake Forest offensively, while senior Marc Stuart and junior Austin Erney have split the goalie duties so far this season.

McKelvie played at Minnesota State Mankato from 2002-06, and was the first three-year captain in program history. He was also a three-time member of the WCHA Student-Athlete All-Academic Team, and was nominated for the league’s Scholar Athlete of the Year award.

“In looking at the future of Forester hockey, it will be extremely important that we get the word out about Lake Forest College and all the fantastic things that have recently happened for the College and our hockey program. It is a school that offers a terrific education, is in a great location, and is fully committed to athletics,” McKelvie added. “If we can make sure the rest of the college hockey world knows about our school, I believe we will be able to attract the top recruits to Lake Forest.”

Lake Forest travels to Adrian this weekend.

Weekly Awards
The MCHA, MIAC and NCHA have announced player of the week awards, for the week ending November 13.

MCHA Player of the Week — Russell Johnson (So.), Concordia (Wis.). Johnson recorded just the second hat trick in school history, against Lake Forest. He had the game-winner, and also added an assist to his night on the ice.

MCHA Defensive Player of the Week — Connor Toomey (Sr.), Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). For his performance in MSOE’s first-ever victory over Adrian College. The win gave Toomey victory No. 47, the most all-time at MSOE.

MCHA Freshman of the Week — Gustav Lindgren, Lawrence. He had one goal and five assists in Lawrence University’s sweep of Northland.

MIAC player of the week — Nick Widing (Fr.), Hamline.  So far this season, Widing has factored in two overtime game-winning goals. His first big goal was in overtime during Hamline’s game against Augsburg in the MIAC showcase earlier this season. Then, he assisted on the game-winning overtime goal against St. Mary’s last Saturday, November 12.

CHA Player of the Week — Brandon Stephenson (Jr.), Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He made 59 saves on 62 shots in the weekend series versus St. Scholastica.