Vacation TimeYou have probably already guessed this, but we’re taking a little vacation, far from hockey rinks and computers and cell phones. We’ll be back at it sometime next week, and we expect to have some things to catch you up on. Thank you for your forbearance, and enjoy these spectacular days of late August.
Robson Heading West
Scott Robson, an assistant at Quinnipiac (ECAC) for the past seven years, has been hired as the new assistant at Western Michigan University (CCHA), replacing Chris Brooks.
Robson, who was a former captain at Quinnipiac, graduating in ’98, has been a major factor in the Bobcats quick ascendancy since joining the ECAC. You may recall that Quinnipiac reached the ECAC championship game in their second year in the league, has knocked off some tough foes, and has maintained high rankings in the polls, finishing 16th in the nation in 2006-07.
Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold is searching for a new assistant to fill Robson’s spot.
Union College head coach Nate Leaman, who two years ago signed a four-year deal (thus becoming the first hockey coach in the school’s history to sign a multi-year deal), has been extended for two years by the school.
His new contract runs through the 2011-12 season.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Select 15 Wrap-Up
The 2008 Select 15 Player Development Camp is complete. Here’s a look at who played well.
The forward here who most – but not all -- observers liked early as the #1 guy is 6’1”, 190 lb. Colin Jacobs of the Texas Attack, a power forward on the Red team. Jacobs has all the physical tools, but doesn’t always use his head, most evident in his tendency to take pointless penalties. That said, there’s a lot to work with here and it will be interesting in watching what direction his career takes, not just in how he develops on the ice, but where he chooses to play. Seattle (WHL) holds his rights.
We gave Jacobs our #1 in the early going. For the second half of the week – and the tournament as a whole -- we have to give it to 6’2”, 195 lb. Seth Ambroz of New Prague, Minn and New Prague HS. Ambroz, so much bigger and stronger than practically every other kid here, could be a first round NHL draft pick in a few years, simply because he has skill and hockey sense to go with that size/strength combination. Here, he was a pure force, finishing up as the tournament’s leading scorer with an 8-3-11 line. They don’t hand out MVP awards at this affair, but if they did Ambroz would be a no-brainer. Will be playing in the USHL this season with the Omaha Lancers. (Royal)
If we use pure unadulterated skill as our measuring stick, our #1 player here would be 5’5”, 150 lb. Rocco Grimaldi of Little Caesar’s. Grimaldi, a center on the Teal team, played well for the first few days, but not magically. After the off day, he went into overdrive, putting on a show on Thursday. A special talent – and there’s a bit of Nate Gerbe in him.
Those three -- Jacobs, Ambroz, and Grimaldi -- were among the players we highlighted as “A” players at midweek. Every player on our initial “A” list we liked at the end of the week, even if a couple didn’t produce as much offense as we expected they would. So there are not a lot of major changes at the top of our list . However, there was one player we want to elevate to the A list: 6’0”, 180 lb. Jonathon Miller, a center from the Pittsburgh Hornets. He can skate, make plays, and finish. We liked him early – and his stock just kept rising. He’s an excellent prospect.
In addition to Jacobs, Ambroz, Grimaldi, and Miller, other “A” forwards for us were:
-- 5’8”, 145 lb. Cason Hohmann. Quick, slick center from Arlington, Texas and the Texas Attack. Moving to Michigan to play for Compuware. Portland (WHL) holds his rights. (Maroon).
-- 5’10”, 165 lb. Vincent Trocheck of Bingham Farms, Mich. and Little Caesar’s – very dangerous. (Red)
-- 6’1”, 200 lb. Jake Achenbach. Big playmaking center from Venetia, PA and the Pittsburgh Hornets. (Green)
-- 5’10”, 165 lb. Justin Selman. A smooth skating late ’93 from Upper Saddle River, NJ and the NJ Avalanche. He can make plays. Strong hockey sense. (White)
-- 5’10”, 155 lb. Daniel Elser. Excellent skater with strong puck skills. Plays at Shattuck. (Black). From Hopewell Junction, NY, a little south of Poughkeepsie.
-- 5’11”, 165 lb. Riley Bourbonnais. From Rochester, NY and the Rochester Alliance. A scorer.
-- 6’3”, 195 lb. Tyler Biggs. From Loveland, Ohio and the Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones. Son of Don Biggs, longtime minor pro player. More than just a big kid. Will be playing for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens this coming season. (Gold)
-- 5’9”, 150 lb. Travis Boyd of Minnetonka, Minn and Hopkins HS. Smart player. Sees the ice very well. Didn’t put up a lot of points here, but by the time he’s a senior in high school, we think he could be one of the top scorers in the state of Minnesota. (Red)
-- 5’6”, 125 lb. Anthony Greco. A small late ’93 from Faribault, Minn and Shattuck-St. Mary’s. More skill. Like Boyd, didn’t put up a lot of points, but will in the winter. (Teal)
Here are 20 more forwards that we liked, for different reasons, and in different ways. Call it a “B” list if you will, but a few of these players could easily slide up into the “A” group: 6’1” Stefan Noesen, Compuware (White), 5’9” Connor Anthoine, Portland Jr. Pirates (White), 5’8” Corbin McGuire, Mid-Fairfield Stars (Royal), 5’9” Reid Boucher, Lansing Capitals (Gold), 5’7” Alex Gacek, Governor’s Academy (Navy), 5’11” A.J. Jarosz, Chicago Mission (Teal), 5’7” Frank Mihalic, Philly Jr. Flyers (Purple), 5’7” E.J. Faust, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Grey), 5’9 Cody Bisbing, Phoenix Firebirds (Gold), 5’11” Jeff Stenglein, Rochester Alliance (Grey), 6’0” Kurt Krotz, LI Royals (Maroon), 6’3” Zachary Larraza, PF Chang’s (Navy), 5’6” Alex Broadhurst, Chicago Fury (Grey), 5’11” Nicholas Horne, Little Caesar’s (Black), 5’10” Jared Linnell, Fairbanks Arctic Lions (Teal), 5’10” Cole Bardreau, Rochester Alliance (Orange), 5’9” Cory Czarnik, Little Caesar’s (Maroon), 5’11” Jordan Watt, Anaheim Jr. Ducks (Royal), 5’11” Nick Horne, Little Caesar’s (Black), and 6’1” Trevor Morbeck, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals (Maroon).
On defense, our #1 at mid-week was 6’0”, 170 lb. Notre Dame recruit Robbie Russo of Westmont, Ill. and the Chicago Mission. We cited his poise, his skating, and his puck skills, and said he’s as close to a sure thing as could be found among the d-men here. Nothing happened over the final days to change that estimation. Russo, who played for the Navy team, was our MVP among the d-men here. (Navy).
We’re still happy with our list of “A” defensemen from midweek, though we would like to add two more. They are:
--5’11”, 160 lb. Max Everson of Edina, Minn. and Edina HS. Nice skater. Agile with good feet. Good stick. Smart. (Black)
-- 6’1”, 185 lb. Andrew Ryan of Brighton, Mich. and Victory Honda. Has size, and a booming shot. (Purple).
Here are the seven guys -- in addition to Russo -- that we are carrying over from our midweek “A” list.
-- 5’9”, 168 lb. Alex Privitera of Old Tappan, NJ and the NJ Avalanche. Good wheels, good puck skills. Breaks it out well, and is excellent on the power play. (Teal)
-- 5’11”, 145 lb. Connor Murphy of Dublin, OH and the Ohio Blue Jackets. Nothing flashy, but very sure handed and precise. Similar in style to his father, longtime NHLer Gord Murphy. (Red)
--6’3”, 185 lb. Alex Lepkowski of West Seneca, NY and St. Francis HS and the West Seneca Wings. (Orange)
-- 5’10”, 173 lb. Barrett Kaib of Upper St. Clair, PA and the Pittsburgh Hornets. Hits hard. Will be playing at Culver in the upcoming season. (Orange)
-- 5’6”, 140 lb. Matthew Van Voorhis from Edina, Minn and the Edina Bantams. Excellent skater and puck handler. Great mobility. (Green)
-- 6’2”, 175 lb. Michael Paliotta of Westport, Conn. and the Choate School. Smooth skater with a big reach. Paliotta has the tools but didn’t impact the game as much as we expected he would. (Gold)
-- 5’9”, 150 lb. Torrey Willsey of Wheaton, Ill. and the Chicago Mission. Based solely on his play here, probably not quite with some of the above, but he’s very young – an 11/93 birthdate – so there’s a lot of room to grow. Showed a lot of poise. (Red)
In addition to the ten “A” list defensemen listed above, we have a solid “B” list of players that we feel are worth following closely. They are:
5’8” Austin Rudnick, Champlin Park HS (Maroon), 5’11” Jacob MacDonald, Compuware (Navy), 5’11” Brett Maus, LA Selects (Red), 6’2” Kevin Zugec, Pittsburgh Hornets (Grey), and 5’11” Garrett Haar, Anaheim Jr. Ducks (White), 5’11” James Cotroneo, Hill-Murray (Grey), 6’1” Colin Suellentrop, Compuware (Royal), 6’0” Jordan Schmaltz, Chicago Mission (White), 5’11 Ryan Melvin, NJ Avalanche (Gold), 5’10” Julian Ciocco, Philly Jr. Flyers (Green), and 5’11” Ronald Fishman, Long Island Royals (Red).
Getting a line on the defensemen seemed more difficult than usual this year. There were a lot of average-to-slightly-above-average sized defensemen who all did everything pretty well, but no one thing exceptionally well. Kind of a cookie-cutter bunch, to be honest. It will be interesting to see who is able to build successfully on that foundation they already have.
Of the six goaltenders we highlighted at mid-week, four kept up a high level of play.
-- 6’2”, 180 lb. Matthew Mahalak of Culver Academy. For our money, he was the #1 goaltending prospect here. He’s big, moves well laterally, and doesn’t allow shooters much in the way of space. (Grey)
The next three, in no particular order:
-- 6’1”, 180 lb. Peter Traber of Houston, TX and Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
-- 6’2”, 183 lb. Matt McNeely of Burnsville, Minn and St. Thomas Academy.
-- 5’10”, 215 lb. Brett Noland of Lake Quivira, Kansas – that’s a KC suburb -- and the St. Louis Blues. He could be really good if he were a little lighter around the waist.
Our B group consisted of the following:
-- 5’10”, 185 lb. Matt Morris of Ridgewood, NJ and the NJ Avalanche (Gold).
-- 5’9”, 165 lb. Ryan Hubbard of West Roxbury, Mass. and the Boston Patriots (Gold)
-- 5’8”, 155 lb. Anthony Terenzio of New Canaan, Conn. and Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Royal)
-- 5’8”, 150 lb. Gordon Donnelly of Medway, Mass. and the St. Sebastian’s School (White)
The following pair are good mechanically, and were in our “A” group at midweek, but faded a bit.
-- 5’11”, 160 lb. Jake Hildebrand of Butler, PA and the Pittsburgh Hornets.
-- 6’0”, 155 lb. Jay Williams of McLean, VA and the Washington Little Capitals.
The other day, when we were writing about geographical areas contributing a high percentage of quality players at this ’93 age group, we failed to mention the Rochester, NY area and specifically, the Rochester Alliance. We did mention the New Jersey area, but not the New Jersey Avalanche specifically. We also mentioned Connecticut, but not the Mid-Fairfield Stars. Each of those organizations had several very good players in St. Cloud.
McCarthy Leaving Berkshire for NTDPBoston College recruit Chris McCarthy will be foregoing his final two seasons at the Berkshire School in order to join the U.S. Under-18 Team in Ann Arbor for the upcoming season.
McCarthy, who is in Slovakia now with the U.S. Under-18 Select Team, is a 6’1”, 175 lb. right shot playmaking center from Collegeville, PA. A 7/30/91 birthdate, McCarthy would have been a junior at Berkshire this season.
By going to the NTDP and playing with the Under-18s, McCarthy will age out of the program after the upcoming season. His options would then be to either accelerate and come to BC in the fall of ’09, or go play a year in the USHL and come in as scheduled in the fall of ’10. The latter route appears the more likely one.
McCarthy joins UNH recruit John Henrion as ’91 forwards added to the Under-18 Team. St. Louis Bandits ’91 defenseman John Ramage will also be added to the Under-18 Team.
Those three replace three players from last year’s Under-17 Team who have chosen to play elsewhere this season. Zach Golembiewski will be in Indiana (USHL) while Beau Schmitz (Plymouth - OHL) and Bjorn Krupp (Belleville - OHL) will be playing major junior.
Two forwards are able to come in (while only one forward is leaving) because, going back to last year, the NTDP has been carrying one less ’91 forward than they needed to. This was done so as to maintain some roster flexibility, and that flexibility, with McCarthy coming on board, is now being exercised.
A New Day at HamiltonNorm Bazin, a top Div. I assistant for 12 years, has been hired as the new head coach at Hamilton College.
Bazin has been at Colorado College for the last eight seasons, working as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator. Prior to that, he was at UMass-Lowell, his alma mater, working on the staff of Tim Whitehead (Hamilton, ’85).
A native of Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba, a French-speaking farming community 80 miles west of Winnipeg, Bazin, a forward, played for the Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL) prior to matriculating at UMass-Lowell. At Lowell, he helped lead the River Hawks to an NCAA berth in ’93-94, his senior season. He went on to play minor pro hockey briefly before getting into coaching.
During Bazin’s term as an assistant at his alma mater, the River Hawks twice reached the Hockey East Final Four at the Garden. And in the first two seasons after he was hired away by Colorado College, UMass-Lowell, stocked with Bazin's recruits, returned to the Garden (then known as the Fleet Center). The River Hawks have never been back there since.
During Bazin’s years at CC, the school has averaged over 25 wins a year.
In November 2003, while on a recruiting trip to Trail, British Columbia, Bazin, whose wife was back home in Colorado Springs and seven and a half months pregnant with their first child, was critically injured when his car was struck by a drunk driver on a highway north of Spokane, Washington. He recovered, though, but his surgeries and subsequent convalescence seriously curtailed his hockey work for the remainder of the ’03-04 season.
The experience, he says, taught him that "every day is a good day."
Bazin, who is 37 and has two children now, not only has an excellent track record as a recruiter, but is also extremely highly regarded by his peers in the coaching world, both as a person and as a coach.
"I'm told," says Bazin, "that I'm only the fourth head coach in the program's history. I'm honored to be that person."
"I've been a recruiting coordinator for a long time and now I'm ready to be a head coach. I'm really looking forward to this experience."
Bazin says the whole process with Hamilton happened fast. "We made contact about ten days ago and everything snowballed from there."
"There's a really strong tradition at Hamilton," Bazin says. "It's also similar to CC. Both schools are under two thousand students. Both are strong academically and have strict entrance requirements. Both have beautiful little campuses."
"I was impressed by the administration and the community as a whole. I really look forward to getting to know the school."
To the HeightsPhillips Andover junior-to-be Chris Kreider has committed to Boston College for the fall of ’10.
A 4/30/91 birthdate who arrived at Andover as a repeat sophomore from Masconomet Regional HS in Topsfield, Mass., Kreider adapted extremely quickly to prep hockey. By season’s end, he had a 26-15-41 line in 27 games and had helped Andover to a strong finish and a berth in the prep quarterfinals, where they lost to St. Paul’s.
His 26 goals led the team.
A 6’1”, 190 lb. LW, Kreider is known for his combination of size and skating ability. A power forward, he will thrive in a situation where he’s paired with a top center who’ll get him the puck because he can also really shoot it. At Andover, he manned the point on the power play.
Kreider is eligible for next June’s NHL draft and early indications are that he will go by the end of the third round.
BU and Harvard were reported to be other schools in the picture for Kreider.
A Midweek Look at the Select 15sIt’s an off day at the 2008 USA Hockey Select 15 Camp, which means it’s time for an update.
First off, the level of play has been quite good. In the matter of obvious high-end players, it’s a fairly average birth year, but the bottom seems to continue inching up. This typist has been coming to these things for a long time and it seems that each year there are more good skaters. Once, there were numerous players at these things who were simply in way over their heads, usually from the Southeast and other emerging areas. You just don’t see much of that anymore. Naturally, there is more to playing hockey than being a good skater, and the shortage of clear high-end players doesn’t exactly bode well for future U.S. entries at the world juniors, but… the point stands.
One other thing of note: We’ve seen far more team play here than at the Select 16s. The kids are looking around and working it to the net. We haven’t seen a lot of kids flying down the wing, teeing it up – and missing the net by five feet. And that’s something we did see a lot of at the Select 16s. Perhaps as the players get older they stop playing for each other and start playing for all the scouts and recruiters – and there are far more of them at the 16s.
Strong areas at this age group would have to include Michigan, the strip that runs from Fairfield County down into New Jersey, and the Pittsburgh area. Texas has a couple of really high-end types. Minnesota has a fair number of good players and a couple of high end ones, but appears to fall short of what we’ve seen from the state in recent years.
The player most on hand feel is the #1 ’93 American, Shane McColgan of Manhattan Beach, Calif. and the LA Jr. Kings, is not here due to a reported case of mono. McColgan, drafted in the first round by Kelowna in May’s WHL bantam draft, is almost certain to be going major junior, anyway.
The forward here who most – but not all -- observers like as the #1 guy is 6’1”, 190 lb. Colin Jacobs of the Texas Attack, a power forward on the Red team with size, all the tools, and a good long stride. While he looks like a man out there, he often acts like a boy, as he has a tendency to take pointless penalties. Seattle (WHL) holds his rights.
We’ll give Jacobs our #1, but that could change by the end of the week:
Other forwards who jumped out at us in the early going, in no particular order:
5’9”, 150 lb. Travis Boyd of Minnetonka, Minn and Hopkins HS. Smart player. Sees the ice exceptionally well. Could turn out to be a special one. (Red)
5’10”, 165 lb. Vincent Trocheck of Bingham Farms, Mich. and Little Caesar’s – very dangerous. (Red)
6’2”, 195 lb. Seth Ambroz of New Prague, Minn and New Prague HS. Could be a first round NHL draft pick in a few years. A pure force. (Royal)
5’8”, 145 lb. Cason Hohmann. Quick, slick center from Arlington, Texas and the Texas Attack. Moving to Michigan to play for Compuware. Portland (WHL) holds his rights. (Maroon).
5’5”, 150 lb. Rocco Grimaldi. Super-skilled center from Auburn Hills, Mich and Little Caesar’s. (Teal)
5’6”, 125 lb. Anthony Greco. A small late ’93 from Faribault, Minn and Shattuck-St. Mary’s. More skill. (Teal)
5’10”, 165 lb. Justin Selman. A smooth skating late ’93 from Upper Saddle River, NJ and the NJ Avalanche. He can make plays. Strong hockey sense. (White)
6’3”, 195 lb. Tyler Biggs. From Loveland, Ohio and the Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones. Son of Don Biggs, longtime minor pro player. More than just a big kid. Will be playing for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens this coming season. (Gold)
5’10”, 155 lb. Daniel Elser. Excellent skater with strong puck skills. Plays at Shattuck. (Black). From Hopewell Junction, NY – a little south of Poughkeepsie.
6’1”, 200 lb. Jake Achenbach. Big playmaking center from Venetia, PA and the Pittsburgh Hornets. (Green)
5’11”, 165 lb. Riley Bourbonnais. From Rochester, NY and the Rochester Alliance. In every game he’s scored at least one goal.
Those are our top 12 forwards – at this point of the week. We have a list of about 12 more, many of whom could easily slide up into the above group. And some of those we listed above could certainly slide down. We need to see a little more, just to get a better line, but we’re confident in the above players – they have all shown something –or more than something -- in the early going. Bear in mind that there are always two games going on at the same time, so a player might have a really good game but be totally missed. However, every player will get seen in at least two full games, so the good ones have a couple chances to assert themselves. And that’s usually all the good ones need.
On defense, our #1 would have to be 6’0”, 170 lb. Notre Dame recruit Robbie Russo of the Chicago Mission. He has poise and the requisite puck skills. He’s as close to a sure thing as you’ll find among the d-men here. (Navy)
After Russo, in no particular order:
5’9”, 168 lb. lb. Alex Privitera of Old Tappan, NJ and the NJ Avalanche. Good wheels, good puck skills. (Teal)
5’10”, 173 lb. Barrett Kaib of Upper St. Clair, PA and the Pittsburgh Hornets. Hits hard. Will be playing at Culver in the upcoming season. (Orange)
6’3”, 185 lb. Alex Lepkowski of West Seneca, NY and St. Francis HS and the West Seneca Wings. (Orange)
5’6”, 140 lb. Matthew Van Voorhis from Edina, Minn and the Edina Bantams. Excellent skater and puck handler. Great mobility. (Green)
5’11”, 145 lb. Connor Murphy of Dublin, OH and the Ohio Blue Jackets. Nothing flashy, but very sure handed and precise. Similar in style to his father, longtime NHLer Gord Murphy. (Red)
6’2”, 175 lb. Michael Paliotta of Westport, Conn. and the Choate School. Smooth skater with a big reach. (Gold)
5’9”, 150 lb. Torrey Willsey of Wheaton, Ill. and the Chicago Mission. Very young – an 11/93 DOB – but showed a lot of poise. (Red)
As for goaltenders, there are some very good ones here. There are also some very bad ones, kids that are in over their heads. We’ve seen a few painful appearances. But we’re concentrating on the good here.
Our #1 so far is 6’2”, 180 lb. Matthew Mahalak of Culver Academy. He’s big, moves well laterally, and doesn’t allow shooters much in the way of space. (Grey)
After that, in no particular order, we will go – sans commentary -- with the following:
5’11”, 160 lb. Jake Hildebrand of Butler, PA and the Pittsburgh Hornets.
6’2”, 183 lb. Matt McNeely of Burnsville, Minn and St. Thomas Academy.
6’0”, 155 lb. Jay Williams of McLean, VA and the Washington Little Capitals.
5’10”, 215 lb. Brett Noland of Lake Quivira, Kansas – that’s a KC suburb -- and the St. Louis Blues.
6’1”, 180 lb. Peter Traber of Houston, TX and Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
That’s a lot of goalies. Perhaps we can narrow it down a bit at the end of the week.
More in a few days.
Former Maine forward Bob Corkum will be named the new assistant coach at his alma mater, replacing Guy Perron.
Corkum, 40, has spent the past two seasons as an associate head coach with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL). A Massachusetts high school star at Triton Regional, Corkum graduated from Maine in '89 and went on to play 13 seasons in the pros, appearing in a total of 720 games, with Buffalo, Anaheim, Philadelphia, Phoenix, LA, New Jersey, and Atlanta. He retired after the 2002 season.
Corkum's son, Kelen, who spent the last two years with the NTDP in Ann Arbor, will be spending the upcoming season with the Junior Monarchs before matriculating at Maine in the fall of '09.
-- Jason Lefevre, an ’02 graduate of Colgate and a volunteer for the Red Raiders for the past two seasons, has been named an assistant at his alma mater.
Lefevre, a New York state native who played prep school hockey at Hotchkiss, was previously an assistant at Salisbury for several seasons, and at Utica College for one season.
He replaces Andrew Dickson, who was hired as a scout by Columbus earlier in the summer.
-- Former Princeton assistant John Riley has been hired as a scout by the Philadelphia Flyers. Riley, who will also continue scouting for the NTDP, will be covering New England preps, juniors, and colleges for the Flyers.
Riley coached at the Brunswick School before leaving for Princeton.
No word yet on the assistants’ vacancies at Merrimack, Ohio State… and, of course, the Hamilton head job.
Meet the New Boss
Look for Ellis “Skip” Prince to be officially named the new USHL commissioner before the start of the upcoming season.
Prince, best known for a two-season (’02-03) stint as president/CEO of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes, was also, in the ‘90s, an NHL vice-president in the branding/marketing area of the game.
Since his work with the Alouettes, Prince, a 1974 Yale grad who attended law school at Virginia, has been running his own sports and entertainment management consulting firm.
It is expected that Gino Gasparini, who’s been running the show for the last 14 years, will stay on as league president, at least through the transition.
It’s pretty clear from Prince’s bio that he is being brought on to raise the USHL’s profile as high as is possible, aggressively market the league, and ensure that the league is doing all it can to attract the best available players.
8/5/08 A Different Approach This Time
A Different Approach This TimeFor nearly 15 years we’ve produced USHR Green Books in various forms. If you haven’t purchased them, you’ve certainly seen our ads. For the last five years or so, this typist has compiled Green Books from the annual Select 15 Player Development Camps in St. Cloud, Minn. The books consisted of player ranking by position, short scouting reports analyzing players’ strengths and weaknesses, where they have been -- and will be – playing, stats, addresses, etc. Producing them was always a major task, but when it comes to keeping focused on the games and players before you, there’s nothing quite like having the pressure of having to produce -- almost on the spot -- a 50-page book with your name on it! If there was a down side, it was the fact that the cost of the resulting books – which pushed $100 – couldn’t be justified by the average fan. That meant that the vast majority of buyers were in the hockey industry.
This year, for at least one year (we’ll see how this goes), there will be no Green Book from St. Cloud. Instead, there will be a couple of shorter reports here on these pages. Hopefully, we’ll be able to pick up some new subscribers from the move, because the cost of air travel has taken a huge leap. This typist, flying out of already-overpriced Logan Airport, is paying nearly twice what he paid last summer.
So, tomorrow, Wednesday, we’ll do a mid-point report on the 15s and then, after its conclusion, we will do a final report, probably something similar to our coverage from the Select 16s in late June. Like anything, it will take shape in the writing. We hope you will find it helpful, and enjoyable.
A Shifty Forward for the EngineersRPI has a commitment for fall ’09 from Brandon Pirri, a highly-skilled LW/C from the Streetsville Derbys (OPJHL) who could wind up giving Houston Field House crowds some thrills.
Pirri, who is 5’11”, 165 lbs., is a shifty, slippery type who plays with creativity and imagination, has good speed and excellent one-on-one skills.
A runner-up for Rookie of the Year in the Provincial League’s West Division, Pirri finished with a 18-32-50 line in 40 games. His 50 points were twice as many as the second-leading scorer on the Derbys, who finished with their worst-ever season, winning just eight games all season.
Pirri, a Toronto native, is a 4/10/91 birthdate.
Blake School defenseman Blake Doerring has committed to the University of Vermont for ’10. However, depending on pro defections, he could arrive in Burlington in ’09.
Doerring (pronounced Deering) came east in late June and played in the Road to College Tournament run by Dan Donato and Chuckie Hughes at Milton Academy. He opened some eyes, too. Both BU and BC were very interested, but the Catamounts were the most decisive, nabbing the rangy defenseman for a campus visit – and a commitment.
John Hamre, his coach at Blake, is extremely high on Doerring. “I think he’ll be an outstanding Division I defenseman and a guy pro scouts should be watching,” said Hamre. “There are not a lot of guys with his size, skating ability, and stick skills.”
Doerring, who is also a .328-hitting shortstop at Blake, is 6-2, maybe 6-3, and around 170 now. He should fill out to around 200.
He skates extremely well, with a good stride, and quickness. Hamre, who coached numerous elite players during his time in Ann Arbor with the NTDP and is not one to overpraise, is extremely impressed with Doerring both on and off the ice. One specific he went into was Doerring’s touch with the puck, particularly within breakout/transition situations.
“He can make that short 15-20 foot pass to his centerman, or a diagonal 45-60 foot pass with zip to a wing on the other side of the rink. He just has a nice touch with the puck, and reads situations well.”
A key to Blake reaching the state tournament the past few years, Doerring will be Blake’s co-captain this season (along with Nick Brunette, who is getting a lot of interest from NESCAC schools).
Doerring is a 3/4/91 birthdate.
Here are the latest coaching updates -- some of them, anyway, as things are in a real state of flux this summer.
-- Longtime Ohio State assistant Casey Jones will be returning to his alma mater, taking the position at Cornell that opened when Brent Brekke left for Miami in June. In case you were wondering, Jones arrived at Cornell the year after Big Red head coach Mike Schafer graduated, so they were never teammates. However, Schafer was an assistant coach with the Big Red during Jones’ playing days. Jones, who started his coaching career as a Cornell assistant, has been at Ohio State for 13 years.
So Ohio State now has an opening for an assistant.
-- Guy Perron, University of Maine assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the last two seasons, has left his alma mater to take a pro scouting job with the Colorado Avalanche, meaning Maine has a position to fill as well.
Also, Grant Standbrook, who has been a volunteer assistant at Maine for the last two seasons, has officially retired. Standbrook, a legendary recruiter, was at Maine for 20 years total and was a key to the Black Bears’ NCAA titles, just as he had been a key to the University of Wisconsin’s NCAA titles in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Standbrook, a forward for Minnesota-Duluth in the ‘60s, was also one of the great goalie coaches in the college ranks. It’s pretty hard to sum up Standbrook’s career in a paragraph – a book might be more like it.
-- Damon Whitten has left the University of Alaska-Anchorage, where he was an assistant coach, to become director of hockey operations at Michigan State. Regg Simon, a UAA alum, has been hired to fill his position. Simon, formerly head coach of the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL), was briefly – since May – head coach of the St. Louis Bandits (NAHL)
-- Chris Luongo, an assistant at Wayne State for the last two seasons, has been hired to Danton Cole’s staff at Alabama-Huntsville. Cole and Luongo were teammates on those powerhouse Michigan State teams of the mid-to-late ‘80s.
-- Former Notre Dame forward John Wroblewski has been named an assistant coach for the US Under-17 Team, on John Hynes’ staff. Wroblewski, a grad assistant with the program last season, played for the NTDP from ’97-99, the program’s inaugural seasons. He graduated from Notre Dame in ’03 and went on to play four years in the coast league.
-- Former Quinnipiac captain Joe Dumais has been hired as an assistant at UConn. Dumais, who graduated in 2006, was an assistant coach at Mahoning Valley last season.
-- Dan Muse, former assistant at Williams College, has taken an assistant’s position at Sacred Heart University.