SUNYAC All Rookie Team and Defensive Awards

This is the seventh year I’ve been helping out with these awards. I’ll repeat what I always do — I only coordinate this effort. I do not select these awards, nor does USCHO. It is the coaches who choose, in the same way they select the other SUNYAC year-end awards. I just count the votes, since the SUNYAC did not want to handle more than what it already does.

The purpose is to bring some publicity to players who are not recognized by the traditional end-of-season awards. They may not be sanctioned by the conference, but I believe they hold the same credibility as the other officially-sanctioned SUNYAC awards.

Now, having said all that, this year’s awards are going to cause a whole lot of … umm … conversations. You will notice a certain player missing from the list below. All I will say is I double- and triple-checked the tallies and repeat my above refrain — I do not select these awards, nor does USCHO…

Here are the 2011-12 SUNYAC All-Rookie Team and defensive awards:

F: Trevor Cope (Potsdam)
F: Alex Jensen (Plattsburgh)
F: Nick Zappia (Cortland)
D: Mike Monfredo (Fredonia)
D: Erick Ware (Potsdam)
G: Dylan Ellis (Potsdam)

Best Defensive Defenseman: Brandon Beadow (Plattsburgh)

Best Defensive Forward: Jared Docking (Plattsburgh)

No surprise both of the special defensive awards went to Cardinals, based on the importance Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery placed on defense and discipline this year. This was Docking’s second consecutive year named to this honor, and he won it handily.

For Beadow, it was an extremely close vote. As close as you can possibly get, so I should give an honorable mention to Oswego’s Taylor Farris.

Pat Damore retires
For the first time since the SUNYAC had a commissioner, there will be a new one next school year.

Dr. Pat Damore, who held the position since 1979, announced his retirement on Leap Day.

“It has been a great honor to serve the SUNYAC Conference membership during my time as commissioner,” Damore said on the SUNYAC website. “After spending over three-decades with the conference, it will be hard to move on, but the league-wide leadership is as strong as it has ever been.

“I would like to thank the presidents of our institutions and all of the athletic administrators on our campuses for this wonderful opportunity that I was provided.”

An Oswego native and Brockport graduate, the long time Naval reservist, who served in the Korean War, started his career at Fredonia as an assistant professor in 1956. There, he started and coached the school’s first soccer team, originated the national collegiate soccer rating system in 1968, coached basketball and tennis, and was the athletic director.

Along the way, Damore received the NCAA Division III Commissioner’s Association Meritorious Service Award, SUNYAC Distinguished Service Award, Bill Jeffries Award for contribution to national collegiate soccer, and the ECAC James Lynah award for distinguished achievement.

“There is never a perfect time to make such an important decision,” Damore said. “And after serving 50 years as an athletic administrator, I will have more time to spend with my family and pursue other interests.”

Personally, I always found Damore to be very gracious, helpful, and open-minded. More importantly, he was a person eager to listen to suggestions to improve the conference, even implementing some of my suggestions for hockey.

I will certainly miss dealing with him in my role as USCHO SUNYAC Correspondent, and more so in my personal interactions with him. However, if anyone deserves a wonderful retirement, it’s Pat Damore.

I look forward to thanking him and sending my best wishes in person this Saturday in Oswego.

Interesting statistic
Here’s a stat that I found quite interesting. Did you know the team that leads the nation in short-handed goals after the regular season was Cortland? The Red Dragons (along with Milwaukee School of Engineering, which has since scored two more in the playoffs) had nine short-handed goals.

However, Cortland gave up a lot of power-play goals, as they ranked 63rd out of 77 Division II and III schools in penalty killing at 75.8 percent.

Thank You
I still have a finals preview to do tomorrow, but this is the last column of the 2011-12 season.

A big thanks to the coaches, who as always have been very gracious and patient with me, even with the occasional gibes. It makes the job enjoyable. Thanks to the school’s sports information directors, and SUNYAC’s Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations, Janelle Feuz, who make my job easier.

Thanks to Brockport for continuously making the best pretzel in SUNYAC, but a mention is deserved to Buffalo State, which regained some of its prior excellence.  Also, a shout out to Oswego for a chocolate chunk cookie to die for.

Now, my wife simply asks, “When’s the season over?” A few more weeks, honey, a few more weeks. Thanks for being so understanding.

A special thanks to all you readers, coaches, parents, and players who read my writings. This certainly was an interesting season. I hope I was able to make it a bit more enjoyable.


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