Prough Goes Ivy
Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) RW Jeff Prough has committed to Brown University.
Prough, who's a 5'10", 160 lbs. 17-year-old RW, is a qucik player with good hands -- and he can score, too. A 4/20/86 birthdate, Prough played for the HoneyBaked Midget Majors up through last season.. He's from Dearborn Hights, Mich. In 2002, he played on the US Under-17 Select Team that won the gold medal in the Czech Republic. This past August, he was on the US Under-18 Select Team that won the gold in Piestany, Slovakia.
In nine games with the Stampede, Prough, who's nickname is "Zippy," has a 3-2-5 line.
Zippy made his final decision from between Brown and Yale.
Man of the Minute
Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL) LD David Leaderer has committed to U-Mass Amherst.
Leaderer, who's 5'11, 185 lbs., and a 7/31/86 birthdate, is a fierce competitor and a leader type. He's captain material. He has a good shot and is very eager to use it. He's good 1-on-1, and good at breaking the puck out.
A Rochester, NY native, Leaderer played there two years ago with the Perinton Blades Midgets before moving east to the Junior Bruins Midgets last season. up to the last season, for the Perinton Blades midgets.
A Bunch of Commitments
Justin Bostrom, a 5'9", 170 lb. RC/W has committed to the University of Minnesota. Bostrom, who's only a junior at Mounds View HS, will join the Gophers in the fall of '05.
Bostrom was the fourth-leading scorer in the state last winter, posting a 37-32-69 line for Mounds View, where he played with his brother, Kent Bostrom, who had 58 points on the season. Despite the Bostrom brothers, Mounds View went 13-11-2 on the season.
A 3/20/86 birthdate, Bostrom is noted for his hard work, competitiveness and drive. He makes plays, finishes hits, and works both sides of the puck. He has speed and sees the ice well. He makes guys around him better. And he projects as a top two line guy with the Gophers.
Bostrom was on the US Under-18 Select team that traveled to Piestany, Slovakia in August. He assisted on the winning goal as the US beat Russia 3-2 win in the gold medal game.
Minn-Duluth and St. Cloud were also onto Bostrom, but were reportedly just waiting to see what Minnesota was going to do.
Bostrom is expected to play the 2004-05 season -- his full senior year -- with Sioux City (USHL).
-- U.S. Under-17 LD Brandon Gentile has committed to Michigan State University. Gentile, a junior in high school in Ann Arbor, will be joining the Spartans in the fall of '05.
Gentile, 5'11" and 180 lbs., played for the Little Caesar's midgets before joining the NTDP. A 4/23/87 birthdate, he's a native of Clarkston, Mich. In 18 games with the NTDP, Gentile has no goals and four assists. He also has 50 pims, which puts him second on the team behind Jack Johnson's 57.
-- 6'1", 190 lb Noble & Greenough LW Chris Poli has committed to Brown.
An 8/1/85 birthdate, Poli skates well, has a good shot, plays hard, and does a lot of little things well. He's a native of Medfield, Mass. and played on the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that went overseas in August 2002.
Poli also quarterbacks the Nobles football team.
-- Blair Yaworksi, a 6'2", 190 lb. C/LW with the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) has committed to Yale.
A 9/20/85 birthdate, Yaworski is a Calgary native who played for the Calgary Canucks (AJHL) last season and put up a 15-5-20 line.
A strong physical presence, Yaworski plays a solid two-way game, and uses his size well. Right now, he's snakebitten, as he only has one point, an assist, in the Musketeers first nine games.
St. Cloud State, RPI, and Providence were also in the picture for Yaworksi
--6'1", 200 lbs. RD Jake Wilkens, the captain of the Vernon Vipers (BCHL) has committed to Michigan Tech. A 3/6/84 birthdate, Wilkens will play next season at Tech.
Wilkens is a physical d-man who moves the puck well. In 17 games with Vernon this season, he has a 2-8-10 line with 35 pims.
Wilkens is from Eagle River, Alaska.
Mantha Takes Saginaw Post
Moe Mantha, who resigned from the NTDP on Tuesday, was hired yesterday as interim head coach of the Saginaw Spirit (OHL). What "interim" means in this context is a little unclear. However, he's able to hire and fire his own assistants, a power not normally granted an interim coach.
Mantha will be behind the bench when Saginaw travels north to take on the Soo Greyhounds Friday night.
Notes: A possible contributing factor to Mantha's leaving Ann Arbor when he did may have stemmed from events surrounding the Under-18 Team's 9-2 loss to Maine on October 17th. Reportedly, Mantha came down hard on the kids after the game, a parent complained to the Colorado Springs office, and USA Hockey interceded themselves into the coach's business. You may recall that two years ago, USA Hockey executive director Doug Palazzari caved in to parental pressure and forced then-head coach Mike Eaves, after he'd dismissed forward Jim McKenzie from the team, to reinstate him, thus allowing McKenzie's father to manipulate the situation to make it appear his son left the team on his own volition, which was, of course, the farthest thing from the truth.
There are four players on the NTDP that Saginaw, in its two-year history, has drafted. They are F Kevin Porter ('86); D Brandon Burns ('86) D Justin DeSantis ('86); F Phil Kessel ('87). Another Saginaw draftee is Todd McIlrath ('86), who was with the NTDP until a month ago when Mantha dismissed him.
Mantha Leaves NTDP, Likely for OHL
Moe Mantha resigned from his position as U.S. National Team Development Progam head coach today, telling his players at an afternoon meeting that he was stepping down for "personal reasons."
1984 Olympic Team head coach Lou Vairo, who has been harshly critical of the NTDP over the years, will, in an absurd twist, be taking over the program on an interim basis. Vairo currently serves as USA Hockey's Director of Special Projects, and there's no doubt that the NTDP is suddenly a "special project," though probably not in the mode Vairo envisioned. Don't look for him to be there long. As for Mantha, his resigning caps a tumultuous year in which the NTDP's second-year coach criticized the '87s who signed with the program but failed to honor their commitments, leaving instead for the OHL and lucrative contracts. Now Mantha is doing the same thing, and you can be sure that critics of the program will have a field day with that.
If the timing of Mantha's stepping down appears calculated, you may be right. Last Tuesday, Saginaw Spirit (OHL) coach Dennis Desrosiers was fired and all current indications are that Mantha, 42, will be hired to replace him.
Mantha, reached by the U.S. Hockey Report tonight, reiterated that he was leaving for personal reasons, but also said, "I am going down to meet with the people (in Saginaw) tomorrow and see how everything is."
"I think something will work out," added Mantha.
Over the past week, Saginaw, which holds the second-worst record in the OHL and is winless in its last eight, has been coached on an interim basis by Darrin Madeley, whose main job is that of goalie coach for the NTDP. Other candidates for the job reportedly included Plymouth Whalers well-respected assistant coach Alex Roberts, a former defenseman at the University of Michigan who worked as an assistant at the NTDP under Jeff Jackson and Bob Mancini; and Steve Spott, an assistant on the Memorial Cup-winning Kitchener Rangers. Plymouth allowed Saginaw to talk with the 35-year-old Roberts, who met last Wednesday with the Spirit's owner Dick Garber and president/GM Costa Papista. However, Kitchener refused to allow Spott to talk to Saginaw.
Last spring, Mantha, 42, looked into several OHL head coaching positions that were open, among them Mississauga, Sudbury, and Windsor.
A problem that bedeviled the NTDP was simply that Mantha was not on the same page as his staff, which felt that his coaching method was more appropriate to the pro game than a development program. Mantha, before coming to Ann Arbor, had played 656 games in the NHL and was head coach of the Columbus Chill (ECHL), the Baltimore Bandits (AHL), and the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (AHL).
This year he was 6-6-0-1 when he walked away. Most of the wins have come against NAHL teams while five of the losses have come against Div. I powers. UNH, Denver, CC, Maine, and Cornell have bombed the Under-18's by a combined score of 34-7. These games are totally unnecessary, and we suspect that more confidence is lost in these games than lessons learned. Playing weaker Div. I schools and some of the stronger Div. III programs might be a better fit.
"Telling the staff (I was leaving) was easy," Mantha said, "but telling the players was hard."
Right now, said Mantha, "the whole thing is over and done with. Over the past couple of weeks I have spent a lot of time thinking and it was a very tough decision to make."
"I'm going to go quietly into the sunset," he added.
Word leaking out of USA Hockey headquarters in Colorado Springs over the past six months has indicated that Mantha would be let go after his current contract ended up, which would have been in the spring.
Mantha's leaving now, according to one observer, is a "blessing in disguise." But regardless of whether or not that is true, the NTDP's appearance, to large segments of the hockey community, is that of a program in turmoil. It's too bad because there are some truly excellent coaches still on board in Ann Arbor. The Under-17 kids hope David Quinn will move up with them next year, and others on the staff are deserving of larger roles, too. However, because of the current turmoil, the program is now certain to face increased scrutiny, with parents less confident about sending their prized children into such a situation, and everybody else wagging their fingers. Many informed people from all walks of the hockey world believe the National Program has outlived its usefulness, and Mantha's in-season departure is fuel for the fire. Parents want stability for their kids, and right now the players on the Under-18 Team aren't feeling too secure in their world. That's the problem of the day for USA Hockey executive director Doug Palazzari, whose tendency is to approach problems by ignoring them, and then hope they go away on their own. We think, with the number of NTDP detractors growing, that there is a strong possibility that current events point to what could be the death knell of the program. We say "could" because, on the issue of the continuation of the NTDP in its current form, people are largely polarized. There are not many fence sitters. It's up to USA Hockey to do something intelligent, like merge the varying views held on player development and come up with a compromise plan in which both sides feel slightly unhappy, but neither side feels totally unhappy. To do that, they may have to bring in someone from outside USA Hockey, an extremely insular organization that tends to hire almost entirely from within. The poobahs in Colorado Springs need to look outside their inner circle for help, but, if past is prologue, that won't happen anytime soon.
Jr. Blues, Tornado Stand Out at Blaine NAHL Tournament
The NAHL, which held its tournament in Blaine, Minn. the weekend of Oct. 16-19, has a drastically different look this year. While the number of teams has grown from 11 to 21 as a result of the merger with the AWHL, it also has become a much older league, with very few 86's, and 87's even on the rosters, let alone in the lineup and playing a regular shift. There appear to be a couple of reasons for this. First, the AWHL has traditionally been the oldest of the three US junior leagues, usually filling their rosters with former Minnesota high school players looking to play a year or two of juniors after high school. and this year is no different. Secondly, with Compuware folding this year, the league is missing almost all of the young, skilled players from Michigan that it had attracted in the past. Likewise, with the Chicago Freeze going under, and the Pittsburgh Forge moving to Toledo and experiencing a change in coaching/management staffs, the league has lost at least two of its stronger programs, which hurts when it comes to recruiting talented younger players. That's not to suggest that there isn't a fair amount of talent in the new NAHL this year, only that the number of high-end players is down compared to years past. There was, however, a handful of players who stood out above the rest, and a larger group of "in-between" guys (83's, 84's, and 85's) who showed enough to suggest that they could be solid contributors to some lesser Div. I programs.
Overall, the level of play seemed to still be, on the whole, a cut above the Eastern Junior Hockey League, although at the high end the leagues are pretty similar. Last year, Apple Core, the EJHL champs, really struggled in the NAHL tournament, but if they had attended this year they would have been right up there among the top teams. The main difference between the two leagues, we discovered, was in the competitiveness of the games. For most of these teams, especially the ones moving over from the AWHL, this is a business and winning is paramount -- and that was reflected in the games. What they sometimes lacked in skill level, they almost always made up for in competitiveness. Of course, it probably didn't hurt that the games counted in the league standings.
Another indicator of the quality of the "new" NAHL is the fact that, after 15 games, the U.S. Under-17 team -- all '87s and '88s -- has a 10-4-1 record. Playing in the old league, that record would likely have been flipped, as the Under-17s, in the old NAHL, generally won about one-third of their games. We haven't written about them here, because, of course, their situation is entirely different than the other NAHL member teams. Plus, they get plenty of -- probably too much -- ink as it is.
In terms of quality of college prospects and overall skill level, the North Division, made up mostly of teams that survived last spring's NAHL meltdown, appeared to be the stronger of the other two divisions. The Springfield Jr. Blues had far and away the most talented group of forwards in the tournament, led by the all-Div. I line of Merrimack-bound '83s Hank Carisio and Derek Pallardy, and last season's rookie of the year, Dan Riedel, an '85 birthdate headed to Ferris State. Carisio and Riedel are the class of the league up front, and Pallardy, the strong-skating defensive conscience of the line, isn't far behind. Carisio, a Connecticut native, is a true power forward: big, strong, and with soft hands. He's also probably the most intimidating player in the league (he'd just as soon get in a fight as score a goal -- in one game he came off the bench after the puck dropped to square off with someone. He's a good bet to lead the league in goals and pims (he had 278 of the last year), but if he can just keep his temper in line he has the potential to be a very good get for Merrimack. Riedel is the league's best skilled forward. A smooth skater, he's a very heads-up player and sees the ice extremely well. Right now, he's simply a one-dimensional offensive player, and desperately needs to work on the defensive side of his game. Nonetheless, he won our vote as the top college prospect at the tournament.
Springfield also had a couple of other strong prospects up front. Alex Semenov, an '84 from Russia who split last season between Green Bay and the Jr. Blues, has the skill level that his name suggests. Semenov instantly grabs your attention because he's an effortless and gifted skater with a Federov-like wide base. You notice him right away. Semenov quarterbacks the Blues power play, both playing the top of the umbrella, but also often simply taking the puck coast to coast and setting it up off the break out. He doesn't always create as much offensively as his skill level would suggest he should, and he missed a couple chances to finish off scoring plays, but still his skill level is very high end. Also impressive was Pat Lee, an '84 from Illinois who is in his second year with the Blues. At 5'9" and 170 lbs. he's not big but is a strong skater with very good speed who plays an up-tempo game and showed some soft hands around the net. Both Semenov and Lee should be Div. I guys. Springfield should score a ton of goals this year, but also boasts pretty solid goaltending in '85 Wes Russell and '84 Ian Harper. Of the two, we liked Russell a bit more. A younger player that impressed was forward Kristopher Harris, a 12/5/86 birthdate from Perkin, Ill. who played Jr.B in Peoria last year. While not particularly highly skilled, Harris is a tough competitor who showed above-average wheels, and a strong work ethic that made him an effective forechecker - he also showed a good deal of patience, and poise with the puck. He would be one for USHL scouts to keep an eye on.
After Springfield, the team that impressed the most was the Southern Division's Texas Tornado. While not as talented as last year, they still have a handful of solid college prospects, and should run away with their division. Texas featured our picks for the two best defenseman in the tournament in 83' Brad Flaishans (his brother, Justin, played for Denver a few years back), and 85' Trevor Ludwig. At 6'1", 200 lbs., Ludwig, the son of former NHLer Craig Ludwig, is a strong physical presence. But -- unlike a lot of physical defenseman at this age -- he doesn't go running around looking for the big hit, but rather will take it when it comes to him, meaning he's rarely out of position, but still plays an effective physical style. His skating and confidence have really improved over the last year and, while he doesn't create a lot offensively, he makes a solid first pass and rarely makes a bad decision. Flaishans, an Arizona native in his second year with the Tornado, is a little bit awkward looking but has good speed that used effectively to break the puck out and lead the rush up ice. Smart and patient with the puck, Flaishans is an excellent passer and does exactly what you want from an offensive defenseman: look to make a strong first pass out of the zone or, if it's not there, smartly skate the puck out of the zone. He also has an excellent shot from the point, hard and couple of inches off the ice, which he almost always puts on net (and never has blocked). All of this makes Flaishans very effective on the powerplay, and a good bet to lead the league's defensemen in scoring this year. He's not perfect, though, as he needs to become a little more physical. Also, at 6'0", 180 lbs., he will need to bulk up or he'll have difficulty with some of the larger Div. I forwards. Still, as puck-handling defenseman go, he was the class of the tournament. Reportedly, he's visited UNH (unofficial) and Denver, but is also an excellent student who could wind up going Ivy. Up front, captain Anthony Pellarin, an 83' from North Merrick, NY, looked to be a strong Div. I candidate. He, too, is a very strong student and Harvard, Yale and Brown are reported to be showing strong interest. Pellarin has good size (6'1", 200 lbs.), and is a solid skater. He also has a wicked wrist shot that he'll take from anywhere, and he doesn't mind the physical game (not surprising -- you can't captain the Tornado without at the very least getting your nose dirty). When Pellarin is at his best he's using his speed and size to drive to the net with the puck. However, there were times this weekend where he took stupid penalties, and followed up by mouthing off to the ref. Nonetheless, he showed enough to be anointed one of the better Div. I prospects here. Another player who attracted some attention was 5'9" '83 forward Luke Flicek, from Apple Valley, Minn. A quick, darting player, Flicek centered Texas' second line and scored a couple of big goals for the Tornado. Flicek is not a high-end Div. I guy by any means, but can play at that level.
The only player on the Youngstown Phantoms that really stood out as a Div. I prospect was Carson Strang an '83 who played at Air Force last year. A strong skater, he's a heart-and-soul type guy who plays an intense two-way game. His work ethic and competitiveness made him a constant threat, especially short handed. He was easily one of the most noticeable players in the tournament, and really opened some eyes.
Ian Keserich, the 86' goalie from the Cleveland Barons, had a rather average tournament. He didn't really let in any soft goals while this observer was watching, but didn't really come up with any big saves either. Keserich is the most highly-recruited '86 goalie available, so naturally we expect a little bit more
At any rate, the above-listed are the players most impressive in terms of Div. I potential. 1 players. They will be listed again below, but we're also adding in, by birth year, a list of "in-between" players who are on the Div. I/Div. III border and who, as well, might be of interest, for next season, to a USHL team. The '85s are especially worth looking at.
Hank Carisio, F, Springfield Jr. Blues, 6'1/205. See above.
Derek Pallardy, F, Springfield Jr. Blues, 5'10/175. See above
Brad Flaishans, D, Texas, 6'0/185. See above
Anthony Pellarin, F, Texas, 6'1 200. See above
Luke Flicek, F, Texas 5'10/175. See above
Carson Strang, F, Youngstown, 5'11/185. See above
Mark Agnew, F, Fargo, 5'9/170. Scored 39 pts for Tri-City last year. Small but skilled puck handler, and a strong skater. Team captain.
Brent Cooper, W, Texas, 6'0/200. Needs to work on his skating, but has soft hands, good vision and a touch around the net. Played for Helena. Was league's leading scorer going into the tournament.
Jason Blain, F, Soo 5'10/195. Short but solidly built, he played for Bozeman last year. Sees the ice well. Part of a very strong first line for the Soo with Bittle and Paskaris
Mike Ruberto, F, Cleveland, 6'0/190. Put up over 80 points the last couple of seasons in the OPJHL. Has soft hands and excellent offensive instincts, but lanky upright skating and total lack of defensive awareness have likely hampered him from playing at a higher level.
Tom Kolar, F, Youngstown, 5'11/180. Played for Sioux Falls last year. Excellent skater, and very crafty with the puck (although he did try a carry it a little bit too much). Switches hands to take face-offs. One of the flashier players in the tournament.
John Stockler, F, Billings, 5'11/170. A shifty, crafty forward. Billings' best offensive player. Reportedly talking with Army and Air Force.
Josh Print, F, Billings, 5'11/160. Small and quick. Headed to Air Force.
Zak McClellan, F, Bozeman, 6'0/176. Played the point on the powerplay. A strong skater who competes hard. Scored 9 pts in the 4 games.
Jake Bluhm, F, Fairbanks, 6'0/190 . Good skater who was dominant in almost every game we saw. One of the league's better players.
Joel Gasper, F, Billings, 6'2/200. Skates well, works hard, crashes the net. Should notch 60 points or so this season. Air Force is interested.
Alex Semenov, F, Springfield Jr. Blues, 6'0/180. See above.
Pat Lee, F, Springfield Jr. Blues, 5'10/170. See above.
Joe Federoff, C, Toledo, 6'3/200. Played for the Forge last year. Tall, lanky center with soft hands; solid down low in offensive zone.
Starvos Paskaris, F, Soo, 6'1/180. A strong power forward with decent skill level. Was solid all tournament.
Logan Bittle, F, Soo, 6'1/200. Another power forward for the Soo who logged a lot of ice time. Not as skilled as Paskaris but effective none the less.
Dan Peace, C, Toledo, 6'1/185. Toledo's captain has excellent hockey sense, and good vision, but could use a quicker first step. Played for Compuware last year.
Mike Salens, W, Texas, 6'0/185. Second line wing showed a nice scoring touch around the net, and a quick release.
Rob Rassey, F, Youngstown, 5'10/175. Smooth slick playmaker with soft hands. Good skater. Played the point on the powerplay. A little bit soft on the physical side of things.
Clay Rehm, D, Bismarck, 5'11/175. Does a little bit of everything. A solid skater. Bismarck's best defenseman
Filip Macejka, F, Bismarck, 6'1/180. Lanky Slovakian with solid hands and offensive instincts. An upright skater but he more than gets by.
Josh Peterson, D, Springfield Spirit, 6'0/190. Team captain is a solid defensive defenseman who moved the puck well this weekend. Competes very hard.
Aaron Gill, F, Fairbanks, 5'10/165. Rochester, Minn. native is a strong skater who competes and handles the puck well.
Nate Ryan, F, Wichita Falls, 5'11/165. A slick offensive player from Eastview (Minn.) HS. Very tricky with the puck, but needs some work away from it.
Dan Riedel, F, Springfield Jr. Blues, 5'11/185. See above.
Trevor Ludwig, D, Texas, 6'1/200. See above.
Ed Neville, G, Springfield Spirit, 5'9/165. Not very big but was outstanding all weekend. Was backup goalie for Texas last year. Struggled on occasion finding pucks in a crowd, but if he could see it he was nearly unbeatable.
Jacob Hipp, W, Bismarck 5'9/175. Impressive player. A strong skater who played a solid two way game. Not necessarily an offensive force, but creates opportunities with his skating. Next to Trevor Ludwig and Riedel, the best prospect among 85's.
Jason Kearney, G, Toledo, 5'10/200. Toledo was terrible but Kearney played every game in the tournament, and stole a couple of victories. Faced a ton of shots but never gives up on the play.
Vince Goulet, C, Texas, 6'0/185. The son of former NHL great Michel Goulet. Much improved this year. Nothing flashy but plays well all over the ice, and on a couple of occasions showed a nice touch around the net. Needs to improve his skating to make the next step.
Tyler Ludwig, F, Texas, 6'1/195. Big winger brings the same jam that his brother does but without as much skill. However, his skating, and poise with the puck are greatly improved since last year. Will need a little more time.
Austin Miller, D, Texas, 5'10/175. Small but skilled defense man from Dallas only looked OK here. Played better in the summer at Boston's Chowder Cup.
Andrew Eggert, D, Cleveland 5'9/170. Played for Detroit Central Catholic last year and is still making the transition to junior hockey. Very skilled, and an excellent skater -- smooth and fast. Made some nice plays with the puck. Lack of size holds him back.
Nick Biondo, D, Cleveland, 5'9/185. Team captain is another undersized smooth-skating defenseman with offensive skill (plays forward on their powerplay). D-1 skill, but d-3 size for a defenseman.
Brian Bicek, F, Cleveland, 5'8/160. Late 85' bithdate who played for the Chicago Chill last year. Small but very quick; centered their first line. A real spark plug who impressed all weekend long. Centered Cleveland's first line.
Charlie Fetzer, D, Youngstown, 6'1/190. Played for Green Bay last year. One of the better d-man in the tournament. Solid physically, above average skater, a lot of confidence with the puck.
Ross Enmark, F, Lone Star, 5'11/160. Played for Honeybaked last year. A strong skater, with good speed.
Andrew Goberstein, F, Lone Star, 5'11/185. Played for Team Illinois last year. Skates well and played a solid all-around game. Played on a nice line with Enmark.
Adam Smith, F, Springfield Spirit, 5'7/170. Small but quick, and an effective puck handler. Made a lot of nice things happen this weekend, and put up a number of points.
Ben Osborne, W, Texas, 6'5/220. Madison, Wisc. native has size, skates well, and showed decent skill with puck. He's big and mean, and USHL teams like him.
Matt Schepke, W, Texarcana, 5'11/188. Plays a rugged, agressive game. Has decent all-around skills. Former HoneyBaked Midget AAA player.
Sean Sutphen, F, Toledo, 6'1/175. Had some decent scoring chances. Skating and hands both OK.
Ian Keserich, G, Cleveland, 6'3/180. See above.
Kristopher Harris, F, Springfield Jr. Blues, 5'11/170. See above.
John Goebel, F, Cleveland, 5-11/170. Much bigger younger brother of Michigan State freshman Tom Goebel, but he doesn't have the same skill level, skating, and puck skills of his older brother. Despite that, he played a solid two-way game here. Solid up side.
Kyle Richardson, D, Youngstown, 6'0/180. Played for the Detroit Hockey club last year. Does everything pretty well but nothing outstanding. Skates well. Was playing with a separated shoulder. Good USHL potential for next year.
P.J. Lamoureux, D, Bismarck, 6'1/210. Very good size, and a pretty good skater. Not much finesse with the puck, but didn't make any really bad decisions either. Played a ton on Bismark's top pair. An excellent USHL prospect for next year.
A Speedster for Lake Winnipesaukee
Salisbury School junior LW Gerry Pollastrone has committed to the University of New Hampshire.
A 5'10", 180 lb. native of Revere, Mass., Pollastrone will join the Wildcats in the fall of 2005.
Polastrone has always played an uptempo skating game, relying heavily on his speed to make things happen. Over the past year, his first at Salisbury after playing for the Eaglebrook School, he's shown that he can make plays at high speed against strong competition. He's also shown that he can shift gears, throwing a little change-up into the equation, all while looking around to either make a pass or get open. His game is well-suited to the big sheet at the Whittemore Center.
Last year at Salisbury, Pollastrone posted a 12-18-30 line as Salisbury reached the prep quarterfinals before being victimized by a bad call in OT and falling 3-2 to Deerfield, the eventual champs.
This past summer, Pollastrone stood out at the Select 17 Festival and was named to the US Under-18 Select Team, which won the Gold at the Under-18 Junior Wolrld Cup in Piestany, Slovakia, knocking off Russia, 3-2, in the finale. Pollastrone had one goal and three assists in the tournament, tying him for third in team scoring.
Pollastrone made his final college choice from between BC, BU, UMass-Amherst, and UNH.
Pedrie Steps Down
Larry Pedrie has stepped down from his current position as commissioner of the NAHL, and has handed the reins over to Mike Santos, a Lowell, Mass. native and BC grad ('86) who now lives in Tampa, Florida.
Santos has worked in the NHL's front office, as well as the front offices of the New Haven Nighthawks (AHL), New York Islanders, and Florida Panthers. He has plenty of experience in the marketing, finance, and promotion end of the hockey business, which is an area in which the league is looking specifically for help.
Pedrie will stay on with the NAHL, but strictly with hockey operations, which is his strong suit. Pedrie, a former player at Ferris State, went on to spend nine years as an assistant coach at Ferris State, Michigan, and the University of Illinois-Chicago. In 1990, Pedrie was named head coach of Illinois-Chicago, then a Div. I school in the CCHA. He held that position until 1996, when the school's administration dropped hockey and dumped all their resources into basketball.
Pedrie also founded and continues to run the Chicago Chill midget AAA program.
Like Father, Like Son
5'10", 165 lb. Shattuck-St. Mary's LD Taylor Chorney has committed to North Dakota, where his father, former NHL defenseman Marc Chorney, won an NCAA championship (1980) and was named a first-team All-American (1980-81).
The younger Chorney, born in Thunder Bay, Ont., played at Hastings (Minn.) HS last season. A 4/27/87 birthdate and a junior at Shattuck, Chorney was one of the most coveted defensemen in the country, with a batch of powerhouse schools after him. Bloodlines run strong, though, and Chorney will arrive in Grand Forks in the fall of 2005.
Chorney is an smooth-skating defenseman who is excellent with the puck, making tape-to-tape passes almost at will.
Chorney, who has a 3-10-13 line to currently lead Shattuck d-men in scoring, was invited to joint the NTDP after his play at the Select 16 Fesival in Rochester, NY over this past summer, but declined. Chorney, off this play in Rochester, was selected for the U.S. Under-17 Select Team, which won the gold at the Five Nations Tournament in Prievidza, Slovakia in late August.
Del Forte to Union
Boston Junior Bruins RW Torren DelForte has committed to Union College.
DelForte, who is 5'10", 165 lbs. and a 7/13/86 birthdate, is a senior in high school and will arrive at Union next fall. A native of Shortsville, NY, southeast of Rochester, DelForte played for the Perinton Blades midgets two years ago. Last year, DelForte moved to Boston and played for the Junior Bruins Midget squad. This year, he's with the junior team.
DelForte is young, flashy player with a lot of potential. He's been on the USA Hockey select teams from New York state the past few summers. .
DelForte brings the number of Junior Bruins players ticketed to Union to two, as forward Scott Brady also committed recently. New Union assistant Billy Riga previously coached both players in the Junior B's organization.
See You at the Beanpot
Thayer Academy LD Anthony Aiello has committed to Boston College, and Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) LW Ryan Ginand has committed to Northeastern.
Both Aiello and Ginand are juniors in high school, thus are scheduled to arrive at college in the fall of '05.
Aiello is 6'1", 175 lbs., a 5/19/86 birthdate, and a native of Braintree, Mass. In the fall he plays midgets with the Cape Cod Whalers.
A smooth player who's solid in all areas of his game, Aiello has size, can play physically, is smooth, chips in offensively, and is a good leader. .
UNH and BC were his final choices.
Ginand is 5'8", 160 lbs., a 4/1/86 birthdate, and a native of Milford, Mass. He's small, skilled, quick, fast, agile, plays with jam, and is always around the net -- he's fun to watch.
Last year, he started out with the Junior Bruins short-season team, intending to play in the winter at St. John's-Shrewsbury HS. Instead, he stayed and was moved up to the Junior Bruins EJHL team.
Other schools Ginand visited included UMass, UNH, Merrimack, Dartmouth, and Brown.
A Big Dutchman
6'3", 210 lb. defenseman Michael Beynon of the Nepean Raiders (Central Ontario Junior Hockey League) has made a verbal commitment to Union College.
The big d-man posted a 11-26-37 line in 54 games, so look for him to be an offensive contributor to the Dutchmen. Beynon also has a serious mean streak, picking up 153 pims last season for the league championship-winning Raiders. .
Beynon could be a sleeper. He's definitely a late bloomer, having still been playing Jr. B as a17-year-old. A 6/9/83 birthdate, Beynon will arrive at Union as a 21-year-old freshman.
Did you know that University of Wisconsin and National Junior Team head coach Mike Eaves, ESPN broadcaster and erstwhile Chicago Blackhawks goalie Darren Pang, and Detroit Red Wings forward Steve Yzerman are all former Nepean Raiders. Just thought we'd throw that in.
Power Forward for Pioneers
6'3", 210 lb. Tom May, a rookie RW on the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL), verbally committed to Denver yesterday.
May, who had a 15-17-32 line for Eagan (Minn.) HS last season, is a classic power forward type who drives to the net consistently, skates well for his size, can make plays, and has a hard shot. He's a 4/24/85 birthdate.
May had a strong showing at last month's Buc Bowl, and the Denver staff moved quickly.
With the Bucs this year, he has a 2-2-4 line in seven games played.
USHL's Leading Goal Scorer Commits to Falcons
6'1", 190 lbs. RW Alex Foster of the Danville Wings (USHL) has committed to Bowling Green.
The Canton, Mich, native has lit the lamp in six straight games and is currently the leading goal scorer in the USHL. In eight games thus far, Foster has an 8-4-12 line, which puts him in a tie for second in the league's overall scoring race. Four of the top five scorers in the league -- Derek Patrosso, Foster, Bryan Marshall, Tomas Klempa -- are from the Wings. Even goaltender Justin Tobe has a goal. It came a couple of weeks ago when the Wings were leading Tri-City, 5-4 in the final minute. Tri-Ciy pulled their goalie to go for the equalizer and put a shot on Tobe, who, on this knees, smothered the rebound. When the former Michigan State goalie popped back up, he dropped the puck on the ice in front of him, and then fired it the length of the ice, right into the net -- dead center. The Wings are 6-1-1 and sitting at the top of the league in their inaugural season. Of course, there's a long way to go.
Now, back to the subject at hand.
Foster is the son of former NHL'er Dwight Foster, a major junior star for Kitchener who was drafted by Boston in the first round of the 1977 draft, and went on to play ten years in the NHL with Boston, the Colorado Rockies, New Jersey, and Detroit. A power forward with a hard shot, Foster is also a strong penalty killer, and plays both ends of the ice. An 8/26/84 birthdate, he's a left shot playing the off wing. Foster had offers from Ferris State, Miami, and Providence. Other schools talking to him included Maine, Vermont, and Michigan.
This is Foster's third year in the USHL. He was with the Sioux Falls Stampede originally.
Longtime Prep Coach Larry Piatelli Dead at 51
Longtime prep hockey coach Larry Piatelli, 51, died of a massive heart attack while playing in a men's rec league game in Albany, NY last night.
Students and faculty at the Berkshire School, where Piatelli had just been named headmaster on July 1st, were told of Piatelli's death at a school meeting this morning. All classes and sports are cancelled for the day.
In an eerie coincidence, Piatelli's death comes exactly two weeks after RPI women's coach Bill Cahill died of a heart attack after taking himself out of a rec league game, also in Albany, NY.
Piatelli's father also died of a heart attack.
Prior to taking over at Berkshire, Piatelli, who stopped coaching in the mid-nineties after over twenty years at it, had spent seven years as head of school at Albany Academy.
Piatelli's coaching career began in the early '70s at the Fenn School in Concord, Mass. From there, he went on to coach at the Kent School from 1976-84. In the early eighties, Kent lost just two Housatonic League games in three years and went to the 1984 prep finals, losing 4-3 to Deerfield Academy in overtime.
From there. Piatelli moved on to a 12-year stint at Governor Dummer, where his team won the Div. II championship in 1988. While Piatelli was there, the school moved to Div. I status.
Piatelli is survived by his wife of 27 years, Jane, and three sons, Stephen, Christopher, and Gregory.
A native of Brookline, Mass., Piatelli graduated from Brookline High School, went to Kent for a year, and then on to Harvard, from where he was graduated in 1975. Some of his Crimson teammates still in hockey include NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow, St. Sebastian's School head coach Steve Dagdigian, and Portland Pirates CEO Brian Petrovek. In Piatelli's senior year, the Crimson bowed to Minnesota in the NCAA semis, the second straight year they'd gotten that far.
When Piatelli was at Kent, his star player was David Quinn, who was selected by the Minnesota North Stars in the first round of the NHL draft a couple of weeks after graduation and went on to star at Boston University. Piatelli first saw Quinn play when the latter was 14 and playing for a Rhode Island bantam team against the Kent JV.
"He was like a father to me during the three years I was at Kent," Quinn, now head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Team, said early this afternoon. "Away from hockey, he made a huge impression on my life."
"As a coach he was intense and very intelligent. He incorporated life values into hockey, and was a great influence. A lot of the things I try to incorporate into my coaching style have to do with the way Larry Piatelli coached me."
5'8", 175 lb. LC Alex Meintel of the Taft School has committed to Harvard University.
Meintel, a senior, had an 18-23-41 line last year for Mike Maher's squad, which was edged 3-1 by St. Sebastian's in the prep semifinals. He had been considering Yale as well as Harvard, and made his final decision a little over a week ago.
Meintel is a quick skater with great hands and is a heady, smart player. Despite his size, he's aggressive, and has a strong offensive and defensive awareness. A Yarmouth, Maine native, Meintel played for North Yarmouth Academy before coming to Taft in 2001.
A 4/13/85 birthdate, Meintel is the third Harvard recruit for next fall, joining former Deerfield defenseman Chris Kelley, who's now with the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL), and Paul Dufault, a center with the Walpole Stars (EJHL).
Meintel will join defenseman Peter Hafner, a former Taft teammate, at Harvard. Tim Pettit, another former Taft player, will graduate next spring. -- C.S.
U.S. Kids in Major Junior Ranks
Here are the U.S.-born kids playing major junior hockey right now. There are a total of 87 (13 in the QMJHL, 49 in the OHL, and 25 in the WHL). The teams rostering the most Americans are: Saginaw (OHL) with nine; Quebec (QMJHL) and Plymouth (OHL) with eight apiece; and Kitchener (OHL), with five. Next in line are Windsor, Erie, and London of the OHL, and Portland of the WHL -- all have four Yanks apiece.
Ligue de Hockey Junior Majeur du Quebec:
Dan Murphy, '86, G, Jacksonville, FL -- Gatineau
Jimmy Sharrow, '85, RD, Framingham, MA -- Halifax
James Pouliot, '87, C, Hookset, NH -- Halifax
Bobby Gates, '84, D, Providence, RI -- Lewiston
Josh Hennessy, '85, LC, Rockland, MA -- Quebec
Evan Shaw, '84, LD, Narragansett, RI -- Quebec
Jordan LaVallee, '86, LW, Corvallis, OR -- Quebec
Justin LaVerdiere, '83, RW, Woonsocket, RI -- Quebec
Andrew Andricopoulos, '87, RD, Groveland, MA -- Quebec
Adam Blanchette, '86, RD, Berlin, CT -- Quebec
Kevin Coughlin, '85, RW, South Boston, MA -- Quebec
Joey Ryan, '87, RD, Malden, MA -- Quebec
Jesse Lane, '83, LD, Needham, MA -- Victoriaville
Ontario Hockey League:
Michael Cox, '86, RW, Fraser, MI -- Windsor
Frank Rediker, '85, LD, Sterling Heights, MI -- Windsor
Cam Janssen, '84, RC, St. Louis, MO -- Windsor
Michael Weber, '87, LD, Pittsburgh, PA -- Windsor
Matt Lashoff, '86, LD, Albany, NY -- Kitchener
Chris Gravelding, '87, RD, Clinton, NY -- Kitchener
Patrick Davis, '86, LW, Detroit, MI -- Kitchener
Devereaux Heshmatpour, '87, RD, Hawaii -- Kitchener
Nick Duff, '85, D, Novi, MI -- Kitchener
Thomas Samaris, '86, G, Brooklyn, NY -- Belleville
Eric Pfligler, '85, G, Palatine, IL -- Saginaw
Joel Maas, '85, LW, Dearborn, MI -- Saginaw
Justin McCutcheon, '83, RW, Ithaca, NY -- Saginaw
Philip Kozak, '85, RD, Toledo, OH -- Saginaw
Taylor Raszka, '86, LW, Petersburg, MI -- Saginaw
Stephen Kovalcik, '84, RC, Armada, MI -- Saginaw
Michael Suggs, '85, LW, Ada, MI -- Saginaw
Jason Price, '85, LC, Detroit, MI -- Saginaw
Mike Brown, '85, G, Baldwinsville, NY -- Saginaw
Tyler Haskins, '86, C, Madison, OH -- St. Micheal's
Matt Puntureri, '85, C, Wampum, PA -- Guelph
Ryan Callahan, '85, RW, Rochester, NY -- Guelph
Michael Okrzesik, '85, LD, Pittsburgh, PA -- Guelph
Patrick O'Sullivan, '85, LC, Sterling Heights, MI -- Mississauga
Adam Abraham, '87, RD, Detroit, MI -- Mississauga
Scott Zimmerman, '87, LW, Detroit, MI -- Mississauga
Mark Langdon, '83, LW, Rochester, NY -- Barrie
Steve Spade, '87, RD, Rochester, NY -- Barrie
Bobby Ryan, '87, RW, Collingswood, NJ -- Owen Sound
Derek Merlini, '85, LD, Clinton Township, MI -- Erie
Sean O'Connor, '87, RC, Trenton, MI -- Erie
Brian Lee, '84, LD, Berrien Springs, MI -- Erie
Chad Loikets, '87, RD, Chicago, IL -- Erie
Dan Collins, '87, RW, Carthage, NY -- Plymouth
Gino Pissellini, '86, RW, Itasca, IL -- Plymouth
Ryan McGinnis, '87, LD, Fenton, MI -- Plymouth
Tim Sestito, '84, LW, Rome, NY -- Plymouth
James Wisniewski, '84, RD, Canton, MI -- Plymouth
Mike Letizia, '85, LD, Chicago, IL -- Plymouth
John Vigilante, '85, LW, Dearborn, MI -- Plymouth
Mike Martinelli, '86, RC, Westchester, PA -- Plymouth
Aaron Dawson, '85, LD,, Peoria, IL -- Peterborough
Patrick Kaleta, '86, RW, Angola, NY -- Peterborough
David Piszenyczny, '85, RD, Sterling Heights, MI -- Sarnia
Drew Larman, '85, C, Canton, MI -- Sarnia
Robbie Schremp, '86, LC, Fulton, NY -- London
Gerald Coleman, '85, G, Evanston, IL -- London
Danny Richmond, '84, LD, Buffalo Grove, IL -- London
Tommy Mannino, '87, RW, Farmington Hills, MI -- London
Western Hockey League:
Bryan Nathe, '83, RD, Elk River, MN -- Everett
Nathan Grochmal, '86, RW, Yorba Linda, CA -- Kamloops
Moises Gutierrez, '86, RW, Anchorage, AK -- Kamloops
Raymond Macias, '86, RD, Long Beach, CA -- Kamloops
Aaron Bader, '85, LW, Faribault, MN -- Kootenay
Cody Blanshan, '84, LD, Eagan, MN -- Medicine Hat
Thomas Maxwell, '85, RW, Spokane, WA -- Medicine Hat
Steve Belanger, '83, G, Anchorage, AK -- Moose Jaw
Joseph Perricone, '87, G, San Juan Capistrano, CA -- Moose Jaw
Brandon Dubinsky, '86, LC, Anchorage, AK -- Portland
C.J. Jackson, '86, RW, Tacoma, WA -- Portland
Aaron Roberge, '85, RC, Post Falls, OR -- Portland
Taylor Sutherlin, '86, LD, Anchorage, AK -- Portland
Dustin Byfuglien, '85, RD, Roseau, MN -- Prince George
Ben Van Lare, '87, LW, Richardson, TX -- Saskatoon
Aaron Bader, '85, LW, Faribault, MN
Zack Fitzgerald, '85, LD, Duluth, MN -- Seattle
Justin Maiser, '83, LW, Nisswa, MN -- Seattle
Nate Thompson, '84, LC, Anchorage, AK -- Seattle
Sean Zimmerman, '87, RD, Spokane, WA -- Spokane
Michael Szczachor, '86, LW, Coppell, TX -- Swift Current
Jason Beeman, '85, RW, Diamond Bar, CA -- Tri-City
Jake Riddle, '83, LW, Minneapolis, MN -- Tri-City
Justin Togiai, D, Kennewick, WA -- Tri-City
Andrew Gorski, G, _____ -- Vancouver
Tim Kraus, '87, RC, Garden Grove, CA -- Vancouver
Sneddon's First Recruit as Cats Coach
The first recruit of the Kevin Sneddon era at the University of Vermont is 5'11", 175 lb. Hotchkiss C/RW Torrey Mitchell.
Mitchell, a senior, played center last season and led Hotchkiss in scoring with an 18-35-53 line in 25 games. His presence -- it was his first year at the school -- helped Hotchkiss return to the playoffs (though they were thumped in the quarterfinals by Taft) after an absence of several years.
A superb playmaker, Mitchell has excellent vision and is extremely good in traffic. He's also a gritty, tough player who competes at both ends of the ice.
A Greenfield Park, Quebec native, Mitchell will also be the first native of that province to join the Cats since current co-captain Oriel McHugh. The province, of course, is just 50 or so miles from Burlington and once sent players such as Laval natives Martin St. Louis and Eric Perrin southward..
Mitchell played for the Charles-LeMoyne River Ains before coming to Hotchkiss. His father is the AD at Selwyn House, a Montreal-area private school.
A 1/30/85 birthdate, Mitchell was also recruited by Clarkson and Boston University.
Ferriero to BC
Governor Dummer Academy RC Benn Ferriero, a 5'10", 165 lb. junior, has committed to Boston College.
Last winter, as a sophomore, Ferriero, a 4/29/87 birthdate from Essex, Mass. (that's on Boston's North Shore), posted a 8-10-18 line. As a freshman, he had a 5-6-11 line for Peter Kravchuk's GDA squad.
Boston College, where he will arrive in the fall of '05, was always at the top of Ferriero's wish list. Providence College, however, got in there and was able to show interest, and BU reportedly did likewise.
Ferriero, off his strong performance at the U.S. Select 16 Festival in July, was invited to play the next two seasons for the NTDP, but declined, choosing to stay at GDA.
Ferriero, once again off his strong performance at the Select 16s, won a spot on the US Under-17 Select Team which went on and competed in -- and won -- the Five Nations Tournament in Slovakia Aug. 20-24. However, Ferriero elected not to go. .
Ferriero is a strong skater who covers all three zones, plays physically, works hard, and has solid offensive skills. At BC, he'll join fellow '05 arrivals Cory Schneider, a goaltender from Andover Academy; and forward Nathan Gerbe of the U.S. Under-17 Team.
Twelve American-born Rookies Open Season in NHL
We counted a dozen American-born rookies who appeared in opening night action for NHL teams.
Of those 12, four have totally bypassed the minors and made the jump from NCAA action to the NHL: Paul Martin, D, Minnesota to New Jersey; David Hale, D, North Dakota to New Jersey; Tom Preissing, D, CC to San Jose; Chris Higgins, C, Yale to Montreal.
Two more made the jump from Div. I with the briefest of stops in the AHL. They are D John-Michael Liles, who played five minor league games after graduating from Michigan State in the spring; and LW Ryan Malone, who played three games in the AHL after finishing up at St. Cloud State last season.
Making the jump directly from major junior were D Tim Gleason, who went directly to the LA Kings from Windsor (OHL); C Danny Fritsche, who went directly to Columbus from Sarnia (OHL); and RW Dustin Brown, who went directly to LA from Guelph (OHL).
Also making opening night rosters were Pittsburgh LW Matt Murley, who played one full year in the AHL; Pittsburgh D Brooks Orpik, who played a couple of seasons in the AHL; and Ron Hainsey, who played 21 games with the Habs last season, but still has rookie status.
Of the above-named rookies, the two youngest are Fritsche ('85), who only turned 18 in July; and Brown ('84), who'll be 18 for just a few more weeks.
There were two '83s, LA's Gleason and the Habs' Higgins.
Of the remaining players, none are '82s; three (Martin, Hainsey, Hale) are '81s, two (Liles, Orpik) are '80s; two (Malone, Murley) are '79s; and one (Preissing) are '78s.
In an interesting aside, Orpik kneed Gleason in an opening night tilt between the Penguins and Kings and has been suspended for one game.
Potter to Take Over at Wesleyan
Look for Chris Potter, who recently resigned as an assistant at Brown, to be named the new head coach at Wesleyan early this week.
Potter will take the position held briefly by former RIT, RPI, and Bowling Green head coach Buddy Powers, who was hired in May but resigned a week or two ago for family reasons, and has subsequently returned to his Bowling Green home.
Other finalists for the Wesleyan job were Yale assistant Bruce Wolanin and former Union assistant Andrew Will.
Gionta Clone Commits to Eagles
5'5", 145 lb. U.S. Under-17 Team forward Nathan Gerbe has committed to Boston College, surprising pretty much everyone -- including the Eagles coaching staff.
While every major scholarship program in the country wanted Gerbe, all were concerned that he might take the major junior route, and the Oxford, Michigan native wasn't doing much to indicate otherwise.
Then, pretty much out of the blue, he announced to a surprised NTDP staff that he saw his future at BC, and wished to play there. U.S. Under-17 coach David Quinn put in a call to BC assistant Mike Cavanaugh -- and the rest is history, or will be in a couple of years, when Gerbe arrives at the Heights in the fall of 2005.
Boston College was the only school Gerbe visited. He didn't visit Minnesota, and they really wanted him. He didn't visit the Michigan schools, either.
What grabbed Gerbe about BC was that it was the alma mater of his hero, Brian Gionta, the similarly-sized New Jersey Devil forward and an Eagle from 1997-2001.
Gerbe, who is in the 11th grade now, is uncannily similar to Gionta at the same age. He's quick, skilled, tough, fearless, a great worker, nasty, and he plays big. Of course, whether he can continue to develop his scoring skills enough this season and next to pull off what Gionta did in his freshman year at the Heights --- 62 points in 40 games --- is a little unlikely. Even Gionta never again matched those numbers. Gerbe can score, though and has all the earmarks of a big-time college player.
Gerbe, a C/LW, has a 4-3-7 line with 28 pims in nine games thus far this season with the U.S. Under-17 Team.
Last season, Gerbe, a 7/24/87 birthdate, played for three teams (not something we recommend, by the way). He started the season with the HoneyBaked Midget Majors, playing 39 games and posting a 26-23-49 line and 93 pims. When the River City Lancers (USHL) went through a rash of injuries, Lancers coach/GM Mike Hastings called on Gerbe who, as the youngest player in the league, posted a 3-3-6 line in 25 games with 49 pims and a +3. Gerbe also appeared in 13 games as an underager on the U.S. Under-17 Team, posting a 4-3-7 line with 28 minutes. Wherever he's gone, he's been a fan favorite. He's involved, doesn't back down to anyone, and is a gas to watch.
DU Recruit Comrie Career Ended
17-year-old center Dan Comrie, a Denver recruit playing with the Lincoln Stars (USHL), has retired from hockey and returned home to San Diego after suffering his fifth career concussion during a 3-2 loss at Sioux Falls last Saturday night.
After the second period hit, which was reportedly minor, Comrie felt fine and was able to finish the game. The Lincoln Journal Star reported that the trouble began the next time Comrie stepped on the ice.
Back in Lincon, during a morning skate, Comrie, who is 5'8" and 155 lbs., was hit again, and afterward showed all the recognizable symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, leading Stars trainer Corey Courtney to send Comrie to the team doctor who, in turn, sent him on to a neurologist. The neurologist recommended Comrie retire from hockey.
Comrie will finish high school in San Diego, where he was born and his family lives. Last season, Comrie played for the San Diego Gulls Midget AAA team. Comrie was also a star roller hockey player in the San Diego area. He is the son of Fred Comrie, a transplanted Canadian and a successful San Diego businessman who at one time owned the San Diego Gulls (IHL).
The younger Comrie's history of concussions date back five years, and he was hospitalized with a major concussion last February, the same month he committed to Denver, where he would have followed in the footsteps of his first cousin, Paul Comrie, a center with the Pioneers from 1995-99 who went directly to the NHL, starting the '99-00 season with the Edmonton Oilers before being sent down to Hamilton (AHL) after 15 games. In Hamilton, Paul suffered a serious concussion that led to his retirement 19 months later at the age of 24.
Comrie is also the first cousin of former Michigan star and three-year Edmonton Oiler vet Mike Comrie, who has refused to sign the contract the Oilers offered him before the start of this season, a contract that called for a significant pay cut. While sitting out, Comrie has been getting absolutely roasted in the Edmonton media. Both Paul and Mike Comrie are Edmonton natives and the sons of Bill Comrie, who has amassed a fortune through his ownership of the Brick Warehouse, a nationwide Canadian chain of furniture and appliance stores. The Oilers paid Comrie 3.5 million because of an incentive-laden contract he singed two years ago. This time around, Comrie, who has no leverage, was offered a new contract at 10 percent over his old base contract of $1 million U.S. and has thus far refused to sign.
Olver Set to Go
Northern Michigan is among the numerous Div. I colleges set to go this weekend, and new head coach Walt Kyle will have top freshman recruit Darin Olver in uniform when the Wildcats host Bowling Green.
A center and first-team BCHL all-star last season, Olver suffered severe headaches during NMU captains practices early last month. The headaches led the 18-year-old center and his family to seek the opinions of specialists, which, after the initial diagnosis was complete, led to him traveling to New York City to see a top neurosurgeon, who has now given Olver the green light.
Olver, 6'0", 165 lbs. and a 5/3/85 birthdate, posted a 34-55-89 scoring line in 59 games for the Harvey Smyl-coached Chilliwack Chiefs last season and, in addition to being named a first-team all-star, won the Rookie of the Year award. Olver is a good skater, extremely skilled in traffic, has excellent passing and shoting skills, and a knack for scoring.
Michigan State, Michigan, and Minnesota were other prominent programs who were recruiting Olver at this time last year. Olver, though, only took one visit -- to NMU, which was then in the first year of Kyle's tenure. Kyle is a friend of Olver's father, a Burnaby, BC native who played at the University of Michigan in the late '70s, and now coaches the Idaho Steelheads (WCHL).
Tonight, Olver will be going up against Bowling Green's 6'1", 170 lb. freshman defenseman Jonathan Sigalet, an '86 from Surrey, BC (and the brother of Bowling Green's junior goalie, Jordan). Last season, Sigalet was named the top defenseman in the BCHL, a first-team all-star and rookie of the year.
Schremp Back in the O
US Under-18 Team (briefly) center Robbie Schremp has been traded by the Mississauga IceDogs to the London Knights, joining the team for practice yesterday. The trade came 11 days after Schremp left the IceDogs Sept. 28 to join the US Under-18 Team while awaiting a trade.
In return, the IceDogs received 6'2" D Kyle Quincy and 6'0" LW Chris Main, plus London's second round draft pick in both 2004 and 2006.
London, along with the Plymouth Whalers and Sarnia Sting, was one of the three teams Schremp told the Mississauga IceDogs he would allow himself to be traded to.
Schremp will make his debut for London when the Knights host Owen Sound tomorrow night.
In two games with the Under-18 Team (vs. UNH and the EJHL All-Stars) Schremp was 0-0-0 with eight penalty minutes.
6'2", 185 lb. RD Rob Page, of Eden Prairie, Minn. and the Blake School, has made a verbal commitment to Yale for the fall of '04.
Page, a 7/9/85 birthdate, is not only large but is also a graceful, fluid skater who is as comfortable playing the physical game as he is the finesse game. For college play, he'll need to get stronger.
The other schools on Page's final list were Harvard and Denver.
Including Page, the three top seniors at Blake this season already have Div,. I commitments, all to Ivies. 6'2" RW J.T. Wyman will be headed to Dartmouth; and 6'2, 220 lb. LC Will Engasser will be headed to Yale.
Blake is coached by ex-Yale and NTDP assistant coach John Hamre who, in forward Andrew Schremp and goaltender Justin Kowalkoski, has a couple of other seniors for junior teams and colleges to keep an eye on.
By the way, the etymology of boola boola remains totally unknown. First off, it's not a Hawaiian word, as many believe, because there are no Hawaiian words starting with the letter b. It likely means nothing. The author of "Boola Boola", which would become Yale's fight song, was not Cole Porter, but Allan M. Hirsch, a 1901 Yale grad. Hirsch adapted the song from a popular tune of the late 1890s called "La Hoola Boola."
Shattuck Impressive at Marquette
This season, Shattuck-St. Mary's doesn't have that one super-skilled top-end kid -- think Zach Parise or Sidney Crosby -- they've boasted in recent years, but they do have depth, and several potential future stars, as they showed at the Marquette Electricians Midget AAA Tournament, held Sept. 25-28 on the shores of Lake Superior. More significantly, with four '88s, five '87s, seven '86s, and only two '85s, they are a young team. That, along with their skill, will enable them to grow and improve over the course of the season. That's not to say they're not doing fine so far -- they're 11-1-1 and that includes winning the Electricians Tournament, where they edged HoneyBaked, 3-2, in OT.
In looking at Shattuck, let's start with 5'8" center Ryan Duncan, an '85 from Calgary who, game in and game out, was the most complete offensive player on his team. Duncan was voted the tournament's most valuable offensive player.
But this team is deep. Everyone can play. Notables included:
5'10" center Tyler Eaves, an '86 and younger cousin of BC's Ben and Patrick. Eaves works his tail off, pursues the puck, and, in general, makes things happen.
5'8" center Kevin Deeth, an '87 and a native of Gig Harbor, Wash., has excellent hands and is dangerous around the net.
5'11" defenseman Taylor Chorney, an '87 and an 11th grader from Hastings, Minn., is the son of Marc Chorney, ex-North Dakota and NHL defenseman, The younger Chorney is Shattuck's most-complete prospect on defense, showing great agility and moving the puck adroitly. Chorney is a high-end kid who was invited in July to the NTDP, but declined.
Annother top prospect on D -- and the one with major upside if he continues working on his game -- is just an '88. That's 6'5", 225 defenseman Tyson Dowzak, who moves well for his size, has good stick skills, and shows a willingness to use his head.
Up front, 6'0" Jonathan Toews, an '88 and the top bantam in Manitoba last season, also has star potential and is already averaging a point a game. Toews was the #1 overall pick in the WHL draft last spring, by Tri-Cities.
Yet another future star is '88 forward Kyle Okposo of St. Paul, Minn., who plays more of a power forward role. He, like Dowzak, is still getting comfortable playing at this level, but could be a force before too long.
While those are the big names, Shattuck, as we mentioned, is loaded with Div. I and USHL candidates. If there's a question mark, it's in net. By the way, the presence of Shattuck in Marquette was likely the major reason more college recruiters from all the conferences were at the tournament this year than any other year in memory. Chorney is already an object of pursuit by the top Div. I programs. In the current climate, we wouldn't be surprised to see Dowzak, Okposo, and Toews -- all 10th graders -- getting college offers before long.
In looking at other teams, bear in mind that some teams -- i.e. those with the most prospects -- were watched a little closer than others. So please don't take this as a complete list of kids who played well.
Let's start with tourney runner-up HoneyBaked. Basically, we liked all of their defensemen: However, if we have to pick out a couple (and we do), they would be 6'0, 170 lb. Ryan Turek, an '87 and a Michigan State recruit who has good skating skills, moves the puck, is physical, tough, nasty, and plays with an edge; and 5'11" Kyle Lawson, an '87 with a very good stick and playmaking skills. Lawson has trimmed down a little and, by doing so, has advanced his position as one of the top '87 D out there.
While 5'11" forward Anthony McIntyre, an '87, and 5'9" forward Carter Camper, an '88 who can skate and generate offense, are the big point producers on HoneyBaked right now, 6'2", 190 lb. forward Brad Reck, an '88 from Shelby Township, Mich., has a ton of potential. He's a banging power forward type who's a somewhat ragged skater but is very much growing into his body.
On the host Marquette Electricians, we were intrigued by 6'5", 267 lb. Phil Axtell who, for his size, gets around pretty decently. If he starts catching opponents, they'll be feeling it. With such size, Axtell, an '86 from New Windsor, Maryland, will get a lot of looks.
We also liked forward Mark Olver, of Boise, Idaho, the younger brother of NMU freshman forward Darin Olver. Olver, a 5'8", 140 lb. skill guy whose style of play is similar to his brother's, was born on New Year's Day of '88.
On the Pittsburgh Hornets, 5'10" forward Patrick Mullen, an '86, is extremely skilled, but could add some grit to his game. 5'11" Chris Clackson, an '87, also stood out. He's a big strong kid with decent skills and a willingness to play physically. A player to keep an eye on for the future is 5'10 forward Matt Quigley, who's quick and skilled. He's a late '88 birthdate.
We liked the Alaska All-Stars 5'9", 160 lb. playmaking center Blake Martin. An '86, he skates well and has good hands.
The standouts for Jim Marchi's Team Illinois squad were the two goalies: 5'7" Michael Devoney of Buffalo Grove, Ill. and 6'1" Aaron Rock of Wheaton, Ill. Both are '87s and both were equally good here.
Up front, TI's best was 5'10", 175 lb. Dale Michonski, an '85 from Roselle, Ill. Michonski is a good playmaker, and skates well.
The Los Angeles Hockey Club also boasted a strong goalie in Steven Jakiel, an '86 who backstopped the LA Jr. Kings to the National 16-and-under championship last spring. At 6'4", 190 lbs., Jackiel is not the quickest of goalies but there's a raw ability there. Or we could say he simply fills up the net well.
5'10" forward Daniel Quilico also stood out. An '86, he can fly -- and make plays at top speed.
The Dallas Stars standout was Kyle Lisabeth, a 5'10, 170 lb. '85 defenseman who can skate and move the puck as well as play physically.
We liked 6'2" Detroit Ice Dogs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, an '87 who is big, quick, and moves particularly well for his size.
Pike's Peak has a couple of good forwards in 6'1" David Kirsch, an '86; and 6'0" Trevor Lewis, an '87.
For Compuware, 5'11" forward Joe Cucci, an '86 and the team captain, was solid, and plays with an edge. Also good was 5'8" Michael Guzzo, an '87 who has good skills -- and can buzz.
As for Little Caesar's, we liked the play of 5'10. 160 lb. Derek Roehl, a skilled '88 forward with a good touch.
Mercer Chiefs goaltender Dan Meyers, a big '85 who fills up the net, was excellent, opening some eyes as he helped lead his team to three straight wins. In the fourth game, he held his team in vs. Shattuck, but Shattuck just has too much firepower and eventually outgunned them, 4-0.
In Sunday's semifinals it was HoneyBaked 4-1 over Little Caesar's and Shattuck by the same score over Team Illinois.
In round robin play, each team played four games;
Shattuck, TI, and HoneyBaked each went 4-0-0.
Pittsburgh, Little Caesar's, the Detroit Ice Dogs, Mercer Chiefs, and LA Hockey Club went 3-1-0.
The Alaska All-Stars, Dallas Stars, and Pikes Peak each finished 2-2-0.
CYA and Compuware finished 1-2-1.
The Electricians, Belle Tire, and Chicago Chill each finished 1-3-0.
Cap Center Pride and Soo Kewadin finished 0-3-1.
The Cleveland Barons and Ojibwa Eagles finished 0-4-0.
The Tournament's Most Valuable Offensive Player, as we mentioned above, went to Ryan Duncan of Shattuck-St. Mary's. The tournament's Most Valuable Defensive player went to HoneyBaked's Ryan Turek.
Marquette will be hosting the 2003-04 USA Hockey Midget Tier I Nationals from March 31-April 4, 2004.
MacVoy Picks Wolverines
6'1", 210 lb. U.S. Under-17 Team forward Zach MacVoy has committed to the University of Michigan.
MacVoy, a 3/7/87 birthdate who played for Little Caesar's before coming to the National Program, is a right-shot forward who can play either wing and center. In nine games with the Under-17 Team, MacVoy has a 3-5-8 line, good for a tie for second in overall scoring with Jack Skille (The club's leading scorer is Phil Kessel, with a 10-2-12 line.)
MacVoy has excellent vision, good hand skills, and is an unselfish player who sees guys well and can get them the puck, no matter how much traffic.
The only knock on MacVoy is his skating, which is good enough, though nothing special. However, those who've coached MacVoy report that, little by little, it will get steadily better simply because the 16-year-old has a great work ethic and devotes considerable time and effort into improving himself as a player.
A Livonia, Mich. native, MacVoy narrowed his final choice down to two schools -- Michigan and Michigan State.
Gophers Land Under-17 Team's Frazee
Former Holy Angels goaltender Jeff Frazee, now with the U.S. Under-17 Team in Ann Arbor, has committed to the University of Minnesota and will arrive on the banks of the Mississippi in the fall of '05.
Frazee, who's 6'0", 201 lbs. and has played in net since he was nine years old, is a native of Lakeville, Minn., about 30 miles due south of the Twin Cities. As an eighth grader, he played for the Apple Valley bantams. As a ninth grader, he went to Holy Angels and appeared in six games for the state champions, winning them all and finishing with an 0.33 gaa and a .971 save percentage. Last season, as a 10th grader, he posted a 16-1-1 record, an 0.98 goals against average, and a .947 save percentage. Holy Angels, however, lost their opportunity to repeat when they were knocked out in the semis by eventual champion Anoka.
With the Under-17 Team this season, Frazee has a 3-1-0 record, a 3.10 gaa, and a .902 save percentage.
A 5/13/87 birthdate, Frazee is very strong fundamentally, cutting down the angles well. That, combined with the fact that he's very athletic, helps him make it all look quite easy. Frazee also has a high concentration level -- and seldom has bad games. He's carrying a little too much weight for his size right now, but he's still just 16. Mike Komisarek -- to name just one high-profile kid -- was in the same boat when he joined the NTDP and he's turned out OK.
There were no other schools besides Minnesota in there battling for Frazee, not that they would have had much of a chance. The boy wanted to play for the Gophers, coach Don Lucia and his staff wanted him at the U, so the deal was done.
This commitment comes approximately a week after the Gophers landed 15-year-old Peter Mueller, Frazee's teammate on the Under-17 Team. Mueller, however, isn't scheduled to arrive at the U until the fall of '06.
Bill Cahill Dies at 53
Bill Cahill, one of the most popular and well-liked figures in the college hockey ranks, died of a heart attack last night. He was 53.
Cahill, a native of Worcester, Mass. and a 1973 Norwich grad, coached at Assumption College, New Hampton Prep, and Norwich. However, he's best known for his two separate stints at Rensselaer, which came sandwiched around a return to Norwich. At RPI, he spent a total of seven years working as an assistant under Mike Addesa, Buddy Powers, and Dan Fridgen. Three years ago, Cahill was named head coach of the RPI women's program. Last spring, he was named ECAC East coach of the year after his squad went 18-6-0 and reached the league's championship game.
Last night, Cahill was playing at an Albany-area rink for his over-40 rec league hockey team when he felt ill, and took himself out of the game. He waited, though, for his teammates to finish playing, and then went out to eat with them. While having dinner, he keeled over and died. Two of his teammates happened to be Albany-area firefighters. They jumped up and were by his side quickly, but Cahill had no pulse.
Cahill was one of the most friendly, outgoing people in the game. He always seemed to have time for anyone -- and it made no difference to him whether you were the wealthiest and most powerful man in town, or just the guy who swept out the lobby of the some some local rink in the middle of Canada. He found time, and enjoyed the company of people.
Cahill was a lifelong bachelor, but leaves a girlfriend, Susan, who he stood by as she battled back from a stroke she suffered several years ago.
As soon as we learn of funeral plans we will post them here.
Viewing hours will be this Thursday, October 9th, from 4-8 pm at the Athy Funeral Home; 111 Lancaster St.; Worcester, MA.
The funeral will take place at 11 a.m. Fri. Oct. 10th at the Blessed Sacrament Church; Pleasant St., Worcester, MA
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bill's memory may be made to:
Let's Go Red -- Women's Hockey
110 8th St.
Troy, NY 12180
EJHL All-Stars Top US Under-18 Team in OT
Hooksett, NH -- UMass recruit Matt Burto scored the game winner with 1:01 remaining in overtime to lift the Eastern Junior Hockey League All-Stars to a 6-5 win over the U.S. Under-18 Team before a full house here tonight.
Burto finished the night with a goal and two assists, getting help from his linemates -- and Junior Bruins teammates -- LW Ryan Ginand (2g) and C Scott Brady (3a).
For the US, RW Brandon Scero (2g,1a) and C Bryan Lerg (1g,1a) led the way.
In the first period, the Under-18s got on the board first, on a blast by Brandon Burns from the left point at the 5:28 mark. However, the EJHL upped the pressure, scoring three of the next four goals to take a 3-2 led into intermission.
In the second period, the U.S. scored the only goal, tying the game at 3-3. Ironically, this was a period in which the EJHL All-Stars dominated play the most, pinning the Under-18 team in their own end for numerous and lengthy stretches.
The EJHL went ahead 4-3 when UMass recruit P.J. Fenton banged home a nice pass by Maine recruit Bret Tyler. The EJHL added to their lead on a Chris Margott goal at 11:30. With four minutes remaining, the EJHL held the two-goal lead, only to see it disappear on a tip-in by Denver recruit Geoff Paukovich with 3:46 remaining, and a shot from the side of the net by Scero with 1:22 left.
Then, skating four-on-four, the EJHL won it in OT. Final shots on goal were EJHL 42, US 32.
Afterward, EJHL All-Stars head coach Henry Lazar said, "We knew if we played hard and with skills and smarts we can compete with anyone. We let it slip away a bit at the end, but I give our kids credit for coming back in OT. With all the scouts here, this was a great opportunity for them to be seen. It's good for them and it's good for the league, too."
Under-18 coach Moe Mantha said, "We didn't play well as a team, we weren't mentally sharp, and had a lot of defensive breakdowns. The EJHL guys outworked us, outplayed us, and deserved to win the game."
Notes: Center Robbie Schremp, at the eye of a cross-border hurricane that appears far from over, played his second game with the Under-18s since leaving Mississauga (the U.S. also lost 5-0 to UNH on Sat. night), and was not a factor.
In addition to the usual complement of college assistants and NHL scouts, several HE and ECAC Div. I head coaches were on hand -- Paul Pooley, Toot Cahoon, Jerry York, Tim Whitehead, Blaise MacDonald, Bruce Crowder -- and possibly more (we did not take attendance).
A player not selected to the EJHL All-Star team that we think should have been a lock was New England Junior Coyotes forward Rob Bellamy. A couple of others we thought should have been there were forward Shawn Weller of the Capitol District Selects and defenseman Kevin Kielt of the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs. The EJHL's strong suit was its forwards, with three strong lines, each consisting of players familiar with each other: the All-Junior Bruins line mentioned above (Ginand, Brady, Burto); plus the all-Apple Core line of Jon Pelle, C.J. Tozzo, and Ryan Hodkinson, and the mostly-Monarchs line of Josh Coyle, Paul Dufault (Walpole Stars), and Jonathan Rheault.
EJHL All-Stars 6, U.S. Under-18 Team 5 (OT)
US -- Burns (Scero) 5:28
EJHL -- Ginand (Burto, Brady) 7:53
EJHL -- Rheault (Coyle) 10:12
US -- Scero (Auffrey, Fritsche) PPG 13:47
EJHL -- Ginand (Brady, Burto) PPG 16:09
US -- Lerg (Swallow) 14:13
EJHL -- Fenton (Tyler, Tozzo) 5:55
EJHL -- Margott (Schuster, Karwoski) 11:30
US -- Paukovich (Bevis) 16:14
US -- Scero (Lerg) 19:11
EJHL -- Burto (Brady) 3:59
US -- 8 minors
EJHL -- 9 minors
Shots on Goal:
US -- 32
EJHL -- 42
US -- Carlson (32/26)
EJHL -- Hamilton (42/37)
CM's Hanson Suspended
Head coach Bill Hanson of Catholic Memorial, Massachusetts' perennial high school powerhouse, has been suspended for holding preseason practices and will have to sit out the first six games of the upcoming season.
The suspension, which came after an 8-6 vote by the Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association, the governing body of high school athletics in the state, was for holding preseason practices. The practices in question were run by CM assistant Chris Nilan last November 17-26. Nilan, after graduating from CM in the mid-70s, went on to play for Northeastern University, the Montreal Canadiens, NY Rangers, and Boston Bruins.
The Boston Globe is reporting that the suspension only applies to MIAA games. During the term of the suspension, Hanson will be allowed to run practices, and coach any scrimmages or games against non-MIAA schools.
In addition to the suspension to Hanson, the Catholic Memorial hockey program was placed under a one-year probation.
The administration at the West Roxbury, Mass. high school will appeal the decision.
Catholic Memorial has reached the finals of the Massachusetts State High School Super 8 Tournament for six straight years, meeting BC High all six times. The last time a school other than the Knights or BC High won a Mass. title was in 1997, when Arlington Catholic won it all.
Schremp Unlikely to Play Tonight
Robbie Schremp, as of noon, was not expected to play in tonight's US Under-18 Team game at Findlay University due to the fact that the work on the transfer papers is incomplete. The NTDP staff expects him to be in uniform for Saturday's game at UNH.
UPDATE: Schremp scratched for the Findlay game; expected for UNH game.
All in the Family
6'3", 185 lb. RW Nick Johnson of the St. Albert Saints (AJHL), has verbally committed to Dartmouth.
Both of Johnson's parents attended Dartmouth. His father is Kevin Johnson, who played varsity hockey there, graduating in 1977 after leading the team with 42 points in 26 games his senior year. He was a wing, too.
Dartmouth won out for the younger Johnson, but interest from elsewhere included some of the other Ivys, and BU. .
Last season, Johnson was named to the 2003 AJHL All-Rookie Team after posting a 21-30-51 line with 10 pims in 60 games. This year, he has a 3-5-8 line in eight games.
Johnson is a 12/24/85 birthdate. A Calgary native, he played his midget hockey there before moving on up to the Saints last season.
Dartmouth, by the way, has some big kids coming in next year. 6'3" 210 lb. power forward Dave Jones (Coquitlam; 9th round Colorado Avalanche draft pick), 6'2" '86 forward J.T. Wyman (Blake School) and , at 6'3" Johnson.
We mentioned that Johnson's parents both attended Dartmouth. This seems to be a bit of a Dartmouth thing. Both of sophomore Hugh Jessiman's parents are also Dartmouth alums, though the father, Alistair, was a crew guy). Freshman Danny Shribman's uncle, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and columnist formerly at the Boston Globe, attended Dartmouth -- as did his grandfather before that. Senior defenseman Mike Turner's father, Micheal, Sr., a center, captained the '72 Big Green and was the school's scoring leader every season he played.