Here’s an Eye-Opener
New England Div. I prep champions Avon Old Farms head coach John Gardner has hired 16-year NHL veteran defenseman Ulf Samuelsson – yes, “the most hated man in hockey” -- as his new assistant.
Samuelsson will be replacing Dan Murphy, who has moved on to the head job at Taft.
The Avon connection to Samuelsson came via former New England Whalers owner Richard Gordon, who is on the Avon Board of Directors. Gordon mentioned to Gardner that Samuelsson, who played for the Whalers from 1984 to ’91, was moving back to Connecticut, where he was a huge fan favorite, and was looking to get into coaching.
Samuelsson will not be teaching at Avon, just coaching. Gardner said he was looking for a candidate who could work well with the Winged Beavers defensemen and that, via Gordon, Samuelson just dropped into his lap.
A native ofFagersta, Sweden, Samuelsson is now 40 and has been out of hockey since retiring from the Flyers – his fifth NHL team – in early 2001. Since then, he’s been living outside Philadelphia (in Moorestown, NJ), running a used-car business, broadcasting a bit – he helped cover the Salt Lake City Olympics for a Swedish network -- and spending time with his family. Samuelsson has three boys between eight and twelve that he hopes to see at Avon in the future.
Samuelsson, in addition to being a teammate on the Rangers with Avon Old Farms alum Brian Leetch, is familiar with the prep school because the Whalers used Avon’s rink as their training and practice facility.
While with Hartford, Samuelsson was involved in one of the most one-sided trades in recent memory. On March 4, 1991, the Whalers traded Samuelsson, Ron Francis and Grant Jennings to Pittsburgh in exchange for John Cullen, Jeff Parker, and Zarley Zalapski. Three months later, the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup. The following year, the Penguins won another.
It was in the ’91 playoffs that Samuelsson’s hit on Bruins RW Cam Neely forever labeled him as a cheap-shot artist. The effect was profound because it was a knee-on-knee hit that would in time calcify Neely’s thigh and force the Bruins star into a premature retirement at age 31. To say Samuelsson is disliked in Boston is an understatement.
Samuelsson wasn’t overly skilled, but he worked hard, competed like mad, and gave his teams a lot of grit. He played over 1,080 NHL games and stood 18th all-time with 2,453 pims.
“He’s a really good guy,” Gardner said. “He had his on-ice persona and his off-ice persona, which are very different. We’re not bringing in a pro ringer but, simply, a guy moving to the area and desiring to get into coaching.”
When told that some fans might instantly envision Avon games turning into an endless series of face washes, Gardner just chuckled and said, “Ulf is not here to coach goon tactics. That won’t fly.”
“He is a warrior, though,” Gardner added. “I think he can help our kids that’s why I hired him. Our players can benefit from his experience. And he’s in great shape -- very into conditioning and working out. We’re doing what we think is best for our players.”
64 Yanks Selected in NHL Draft
Over the weekend, 64 U.S. players were taken in the USHL draft, the most since 1991, when 68 were taken.
Of those, 18 played last season in the U.S. junior ranks, 17 were in prep/high school, 17 were in U.S. colleges, seven were in major junior, four were in the NTDP, and one was in the BCHL. (Of the 17 U.S. college players drafted, 11 were graduated from the NTDP).
Breck’s 6’3” RW Blake Wheeler, who has another year of high school in front of him, was the highest-drafted Minnesota player ever, and the highest drafted U.S. high school player since Brian Lawton of Mount St. Charles -- and Octagon -- was chosen #1 overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1983. Going into the draft, Wheeler was pegged by NHL scouts as a first-rounder, but it was still a surprise that he was taken so high. A major reason? He’s a well-grounded kid, and likely presented himself well in pre-draft team interviews and testing. Will he return to Breck for his senior year or go to the USHL? That’s still up in the air, and he’ll likely get a lot of pull in both directions, so we’re guessing 50-50. However, if he does return to Breck he will definitely not play football.
Four Americans – and only three Canadians -- were selected in the top 13 picks.
From major junior, 113 kids were selected (44 from the WHL, 42 from the OHL, and 27 from the QMJHL). That figure includes the seven U.S. kids playing north of the border.
Twenty-one players were selected from the Czech Republic; 19 from Sweden; 18 from Russia; 14 from Finland; 10 from Slovakia; four from Belarus, four from Switzerland, and 12 from other countries (including the Japanese National Team goaltender, selected in the 8th round.)
The oldest player selected was 27-year-old Swiss defenseman Mark Streit, a ninth round Montreal selection.
Here are the U.S. players who were drafted:
Round 1 (6 players)
#5 Phx. -- Blake Wheeler, RW, Breck School (Minn.)
#6 NYR -- Alvaro Montoya, G, Michigan (CCHA)
#12 Minn. – A.J. Thelen, LD, Michigan St. (CCHA)
#13 Buff. -- Drew Stafford, RW, North Dakota (WCHA)
#25 Edm. – Robbie Schremp, LC, London (OHL)
#26 Van. – Cory Schneider, G, Phillips Andover Academy
Round 2 (7 players)
#33 Wash. -- Chris Bourque, LW, Cushing Academy
#40 Atl. -- Grant Lewis, D, Dartmouth (ECAC)|
#46 CBJ -- Adam Pineault, RW, Boston College (HE)
#53 Fla. -- David Booth, LW, Michigan State (CCHA)
#57 Edm. -- Geoff Paukovich, LW, U.S. Under-18
#60 NYR -- Brandon Dubinsky, LC, Portland (WHL)
#61 Pitts. -- Alex Goligoski, RD, Grand Rapids HS (Minn.)
Round 3 (7 players)
#69 Car. -- Casey Borer, LD, St. Cloud St. (WCHA)
#74 Ana. -- Kyle Klubertanz, RD, Green Bay (USHL)
#77 Ott. -- Shawn Weller, LW, Capital District (EJHL)
#80 NYR – Billy Ryan, LC, Cushing Academy
#85 Pitts. – Brian Gifford, LC, Moorhead HS (Minn.)
#94 Phi. -- Rob Bellamy, RW, New England Jr. Coyotes (EJHL)
#95 LA – Paul Baier, RD, Deerfield Academy
Round 4 (5 players)
#100 Mtl. – J.T. Wyman, RW, Blake School (Minn.)
#101 Phi. – R.J. Anderson, RD, Centennial HS (Minn.)
#102 TB – Mike Lundin , D, Maine (HE)
#119 PHX -- Kevin Porter, LC/LW, U.S. Under-18
#127 NYR – Ryan Callahan, RW, Guelph (OHL)
Round 5 (8 players)
#140 Chi. -- Jake Dowell, LC, Wisconsin (WCHA)
#141 Ott. -- Jim McKenzie, RW, Sioux Falls (USHL)
#144 Phi. -- Chris Zarb, D, Tri-City (USHL)
#149 Phi. -- Gino Pisellini, RW, Plymouth (OHL)
#153 SJ – Steven Zalewski, LC, Northwood
#159 Van. -- Mike Brown, RW, Michigan (CCHA)
#162 Det. -- Tyler Haskins, RC, St. Mike’s (OHL)
#163 TB -- Dusty Collins, C/LW, Northern Michigan (CCHA)
Round 6 (9 players)
#164 Pitts. -- Moises Gutierrez, RW, Kamloops (WHL)
#167 CBJ -- Rob Page, D, Blake School (Minn.)
#172 Ana. -- Matt Auffrey, RW, U.S. Under-18
#174 LA -- Scott Parse, RC/W, Nebraska-Omaha (CCHA)
#176 Buff. -- Patrick Kaleta, RW, Peterborough (OHL)
#183 Dal. -- Trevor Ludwig, LD, Texas (NAHL)
#184 Col. -- Derek Peltier, LD, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
#187 Tor. -- Robbie Earl, LW, Wisconsin (WCHA)
#193 Nash. -- Kevin Schaeffer, RD, Boston University (HE)
Round 7 (6 players)
#194 Pitts. -- Chris Peluso, LD, Brainerd HS (Minn.)
#199 Phx. -- Chad Kolarik, RC, U.S. Under-18
#205 LA -- John Curry, RW, Sioux City (USHL)
#213 Cgy. -- Jimmy Spratt, G, Sioux City (USHL)
#215 Col. -- Ian Keserich, G, Cleveland (NAHL)
#224 Bos. -- Matt Hunwick, LD, Michigan (CCHA)
Round 8 (8 players)
#231 CBJ -- Brian McGuirk, LW, Gov. Dummer Academy
#233 CBJ -- Matt Greer, RW, White Bear Lake HS (Minn.)
#234 SJ -- Derek McIntyre, G, Soo Kewadin (NAHL)
#249 Col. -- J.D. Corbin, LW, Denver (WCHA)
#250 NJ -- Nathan Perkovich, RW, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
#251 Ott. -- Matt McIlvane, RC, Chicago (USHL)
#256 Chi. -- Matt Ford, RW, Sioux Falls (USHL)
#261 Phx. -- William Engasser, LW, BlakeSchool (Minn.)
Round 9 (8 players)
#263 Wash. -- Travis Morin, C, Minnesota State (WCHA)
#267 Fla. -- Spencer Dillon, RD, Salmon Arm (BCHL)
#281 Col. -- Stephen McClellan, LD, Catholic Memorial HS
#283 Fla. -- Luke Beaverson, LD, Green Bay (USHL)
#285 Tor. -- Pierce Norton, RW, Thayer Academy
#288 SJ -- Brian Mahoney-Wilson, G, Catholic Memorial HS
#289 SJ -- Christian Jensen, RD, New Jersey Jr. Titans (Indep. Jr.)
#291 Phi. -- John Carter, RC, Brewster N.Y. Bulldogs (Indep. Jr.)
Vokes to Brown
6’1”, 190 lb. forward Matt Vokes of Auburn, Mass. and the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL) has committed to Brown for the fall of ’05.
Vokes, a rookie in the USHL this past season after playing the previous season at St. John’s-Shrewsbury HS, adjusted to the league quickly and was one of the leading scorers on the RoughRiders with a 17-21-38 line and a +10 in 55 games played.
Vokes, a 9/3/85 birthdate, is the younger brother of Jeremy Vokes, who played at Auburn HS, Vermont Academy, the USHL, and Miami-Ohio, from where he dropped out of college about four years ago.
-- Cedar Rapids head coach/GM Mark Carlson has hired former St. Cloud State assistant Scott Meyer as a new assistant with the RoughRiders, replacing Eric Rud, who was recently hired as an interim assistant coach (filling in for Norm Bazin) at Colorado College.
-- The dates for the 15th annual Buc Bowl will be Thurs-Sun. Sept. 16-19. The first game will be that Thursday afternoon at 1 pm – River City vs. Waterloo. There will be five games each day except for Sunday, when there will be two.
All 11 USHL teams will be competing.
Top D Commits to Denver
6’1’, 175 lb. Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) LD Chris Butler has committed to the NCAA champion Denver Pioneers for the fall of ’05.
Butler, a 10/27/86 birthdate, was highly sought after by the Pioneers. A St. Louis native, he has size, can skate, and played in the top four D in his rookie season with the Musketeers. Butler competes hard, is a smart defensemen, and will get a lot more powerplay time this season.
In 55 games, he had a 3-6-9 line and a +4.
Butler’s final five schools were North Dakota, Ohio State, Minnesota-Duluth, CC, and Denver.
BC recruit Anthony Aiello who, until a few days ago, was going back and forth between taking his senior year in the USHHL or returning to Thayer, has decided on Thayer. The defenseman will enter BC in the fall of ’05.
Donato People’s Choice
To a man, all the Div. I college hockey coaches here in Rochester, NY for the Select 16 Festival – including a couple of Harvard alums – feel that the Harvard job will go to Ted Donato.
The final six candidates are reported to be: Sean McCann, Steve Dagdigian, Gene Reilly, Nate Leaman, Ron Rolston, and Donato.
Rolston is also, along with Plymouth Whalers (OHL) associate head coach Alex Roberts, a finalist to replace David Quinn at the NTDP. Look for both the NTDP and Harvard job to be filled quickly. River City Lancers coach/GM Mike Hastings has reportedly withdrawn his name from consideration for the NTDP position.
Select Rosters Updated
With players arriving in Rochester, NY today for the Select 16 Festival (games begin tomorrow afternoon), here are the latest rosters – and not just for the 16s, but for all age groups, arranged by district.While we have all Select 16 rosters, we’re missing one Select 17 (Dakota), as well as about half the 15s and 14s, which in some cases haven’t been named yet.
If you can help fill in the blanks, please e-mail us at: information (at) ushr.com
We like to have players’ hometowns and/or last team played for. We also like to have the names of the district coaches and team leaders who will be at the Select Festivals. These rosters will be archived on the site forever, and we want to make sure we don’t leave anyone off.
Grand Forks Shocker
North Dakota Fighting Sioux head coach Dean Blais will be leaving college hockey to accept the associate head coaching position with the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL).
Columbus has been mum on the topic, but it’s likely that tomorrow (Friday), the club will make current interim head coach Gerard Gallant, 40, the team’s new head coach. Gallant, a former Red Wings defenseman, was an assistant coach with the Blue Jackets for two plus years until former coach/GM Doug MacLean resigned, booting himself upstairs on January 1. At that time, Gallant was named the Blue Jackets’ interim head coach.
It’s likely that Blais will also be named to his position tomorrow.
With Blais coming on board as an associate head coach, it will be of more than passing interest to see how those two have their duties apportioned. Blais, 53, naturally has more experience, having signed on as an assistant with the University of Minnesota, his alma matter, back in 1977, when Gallant was merely 14.
Blais will be replacing Newell Brown, who moved into the Columbus front office along with MacLean. Brown, you may recall, was a forward at Michigan State in the early ‘80s After two years as a head coach at Michigan Tech he left for pro hockey in 1992.
Blais, after serving as an assistant with the Gophers, coached Minot (ND) High School for a couple of years before returning to the college ranks as a North Dakota assistant in the fall of 1980. After three years there, he returned to Minnesota high school hockey and coached the Roseau Rams to a state title. He then took a year to serve as an assistant for the 1992 Olympic Team (Albertville, France). The following season, Blais took the position of hockey coach/AD at International Falls High School, his alma mater.
This past season, Blais accepted the head coaching position of the 2005 U.S. World Junior team, which will hold its August evaluation camp in Grand Forks, and then host the tournament in late December/early January. We expect Blais will be handing that job off to someone else very shortly.
Blais posted a 262-115-33 record at North Dakota. This past season they were 30-8-3, finishing first in the WCHA, but losing to Denver 1-0 in the NCAA West Regional Final March 27th in Colorado Springs.
North Dakota’s assistants are Dave Hakstol and Brad Berry, both of whom are North Dakota alums, with Hakstol graduating in ’96 and Berry in ’86. Each has served four years on Blais’s staff.Look for Hakstol, who also had success as a head coach with the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL), to be named interim head coach, and for Berry to be named interim associate head coach.
By the way, former Fighting Sioux head coach Gino Gasparini had a chance in the ‘80s to coach pro with the Chicago Black Hawks but didn’t take it, a decision he today regrets. Gasparini told Blais this, mentioning how important it was not to have any regrets when looking back on your life’s work. Blais has done everything in coaching except pro. Now, he’ll have that, too.
Out on the Coaching Front
Look for RPI assistant coach Andrew Will to leave the Engineers’ staff shortly, becoming the second assistant to leave head coach Dan Fridgen’s staff this offseason.
Ivan Moore, a ’92 RPI grad, left the Engineers’ program last month to take a job in the business world.
Will, 30, who is still at his post in Troy, was an outstanding defenseman for Union from 1993-97. After two years in the coast league, Will returned to Union as an assistant for four years, then moved over to RPI last fall when head coach Kevin Sneddon left for UVM.
Will will be leaving RPI for the opportunity to teach and coach hockey at his alma mater, Upper Canada College. A prestigious day/boarding school in Toronto, UCC’s hockey program recently completed one of their best seasons in years. Despite losing C Jean-Francois Boucher to Yale, a number of UCC’s top guns, like LW Colin Greening and RW Brayden Irwin, will be returning.
Two names we’ve heard as possible replacements for Moore and Will are former Maine defenseman Chris Imes and former Colgate goalie Shep Harder.
-- Former Colorado College defenseman Eric Rud, who has spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, has been hired as a one-year interim assistant at his alma mater while Norm Bazin continues his recovery from his auto accident last November.
--Remember we wrote, early last month, about former Holy Cross associate head hockey coach Terrence Butt leaving the college ranks to return to his alma mater, BB&N?
Well, it’s official now, and many observers feel Butt will return the BB&N program to competitiveness. Don’t be surprised to see former NHL enforcer Ken Baumgartner help out in some capacity. Baumgartner, a 38-year-old Flin Flon, Manitoba native, finished his playing career with the Boston Bruins, his fifth NHL club, in 1999, then spent a year as an assistant coach with the Bruins. Baumgartner, who managed to pick up a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra while playing in the NHL, graduated from the Harvard Business School last spring. Baumgartner has a daughter in the lower school at BB&N. One of Baumgartner’s claims to fame as an NHLer was a 94-game pointless streak in the early ‘90s. The other one was his 2,242 penalty minutes, a 3.22 minutes per game average. In case you’re wondering, that’s almost a minute per game more than new Avon Old Farms assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson picked up in his NHL career.
UConn assistant Kyle Wallack will take Butt’s place at Holy Cross.
-- Our spies in Cambridge, perhaps taking a break from the BB&N beat, report that former Harvard, U.S. Olympian, and NHL forward Ted Donato has been over at his alma mater (no, not Catholic Memorial) for one, and possibly more, visits.
Sneddon Offically Nixes Harvard Interview
University of Vermont head hockey coach Kevin Sneddon officially declined to interview for the vacant Harvard head coaching position, according to a UVM press release today.
“I made a commitment to UVM and plan to be here for a long time,” Sneddon said. “I quickly fell in love with the community, the alums, the staff, and, most importantly, UVM’s quest for continued academic and athletic excellence.”
Sneddon, as soon as former Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni signed on at Green Bay, notified players he’s recruiting for the future that he was going to be staying at UVM.
The three guys we mentioned last week as candidates to replace David Quinn at the NTDP – River City’s Mike Hastings, BC assistant Ron Rolston, and Plymouth Whalers assistant Alex Roberts – are interviewing in Ann Arbor this week. Look for a decision sometime next week.
Last Top Recruit Visiting Hub
U.S. Under-18 Team leading scorer Bryan Lerg, who committed to Michigan last fall for ’05 but never signed a letter of intent, uncommitted to the Wolverines, and will be going to school this fall.
He’s narrowed his choices to four schools: Boston University, which he will visit tomorrow (Thurs. 6/24); Boston College, which he will visit on Friday; Miami and Michigan State.
He will make his decision by July 1 – a week from now.
Playing for Michigan this fall was Lerg’s initial goal, and if Michigan had a full scholarship for him this fall instead of ’05, then that’s where he’d be. However, no Wolverine forward left for pro hockey and the team, which led NCAA Div. I schools with 151 goals last season, has lost only one forward to graduation. That means 13 of Michigan’s 14 forwards will be returning. (The only departing player is Joe Kautz, who only played a handful of games, and has graduated). On top of the 13 returnees, Michigan is bringing in Lerg’s Under-18 Team teammates Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter. That nudges the number up to 15.
Lerg, drafted by River City in last August’s USHL underage draft, had a full scholarship awaiting him at Michigan in ‘05, but he’s rarin’ to play now. A left wing, Lerg led the Under-18 team in scoring with a 27-32-59 line in 57 games played. He and Phil Kessel were the only two players in the program who averaged more than a point per game.Lerg, who’s 5’9”, maybe 5’10”, is quick, fast, dynamic, and can score. He’s coming off an excellent season, taking some big strides forward, and topped things off with a strong performance in the World Under-18 championship in Belarus in April. Basically, Lerg, by a wide margin, is the best remaining player available for this coming fall. It’s definitely a rare situation.
Where will he go? Miami had a great year, but lost their three leading scorers – Derek Edwardson, Mike Kompon, and Greg Hogeboom – to graduation. Plus Lerg is close friends with Under-18 teammate and Miami recruit Nate Davis. BC has lost both Ben Eaves and Tony Voce. BU didn’t lose any impact forwards, mainly because they didn’t have any impact forwards to lose. (Their leading scorer was defenseman Ryan Whitney.) BU associate coach David Quinn has watched Lerg for the past two years in the NTDP – and has pushed hard for him.
Lerg, by the way, grew up wanting to play for the Wolverines. Not only is he a Michigander, from Livonia, but his father, Dan Lerg, played at Michigan in the late ‘70s. In his final year of high school, Lerg Sr. was all set to go to Wisconsin, but Badgers coach Bob Johnson had a change of mind and took someone else instead. So Lerg went to Michigan, where he became a high-scoring forward who was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 10th round of the the 1978 NHL Draft. Lerg has coached in the Detroit Honeybaked organization in recent years.
Updated Select Rosters
Here are the rosters we’ve gathered up for this summer’s USA Hockey Select Festivals. Most are here, though we’re missing two districts in their entirety – Mid-Am and New England – and some select 14 and 15 teams, which haven’t all been named yet. We also like to have players’ hometowns and/or last team played for as well as the names of the coaches and team leaders. These rosters will be archived on the site forever – so we want to make sure we don’t leave anyone off.
If you can help, please e-mail information (at) ushr.com
Handicapping the Harvard Job
Much of the speculation on the next Harvard coach is zeroing in on the belief that there is a very strong likelihood that he be a Harvard alum.
Harvard’s only two coaches of the post-Cleary era, Ronn Tomassoni and Mark Mazzoleni, were both Cleary hires. Both were also non-alums. And both were driven from their jobs -- to varying degrees -- by a devil’s brew of irate parents, unhappy players, and angry alums.
In Tomassoni’s case there was an outright player revolt, with a group of team members going to the university president and asking for change. In Mazzoleni’s case it was a combination of parents but also the opportunity presented to him by the Green Bay Gamblers to return home.
Ticked-off alums. Unhappy parents. Unhappy kids. It’s an unholy trinity and a universal phenomenon. So, too, is the coaching hire that in time reveals itself to be a less-than-perfect fit, personality-wise. That’s also a universal phenomenon., but either most colleges are more proactive in dealing with it, or Harvard is simply run differently. Right now, though, some top coaches lacking a Harvard degree or Ivy league background -- and coming from outside the northeast -- might decide to pass on applying for the Harvard job.
What Harvard needs now is a cross between Mahatma Gandhi and Teddy Roosevelt, and they need him fast. The heat is on Harvard AD Bob Scalise to make a pick that will send waves of happiness washing over the Harvard community.
Who could that person be?
First off, as we alluded to above, the desire of the alums at Harvard to see a Harvard man get the job is their prerogative. However, there are very few Harvard grads in coaching, and the ones who are have good positions and may not want to leave.
OK, then, who are the most qualified Harvard grads?
We’ve come up with:
Tim Taylor. He’s a former Harvard star and assistant coach who has spent decades behind the Yale bench. He’s coached a U.S. Olympic Team. He’s the dean ofU.S. college coaches and it would be nice to see him close out his career in the same spot where he starred as a player in the early ‘60s. In 1999, when Mazzoleni was hired, the Harvard alumni committee, which included, among others, former Harvard captain Lane MacDonald and former AD Jack Reardon, recommended Taylor as the #1 guy. Taylor had been passed over previously in 1990, when Tomassoni got the job. If asked, would he come now and finish out his coaching career at his alma mater? His presence in Bright would certainly bring back an aura to the Harvard program. On the other hand, he has a good thing going at Yale now, with some nice recruits – Boucher, Page, Engasser, etc. -- coming in.
Kevin Sneddon.A member of the Harvard 1989 NCAA championship team, but one with nine years of coaching experience, including the last six as a Div. I head coach. Right now, he’s in a good position in Burlington. It’s a hockey town. A new arena is on the way. UVM will join Hockey East in the fall of ’05. Sneddon is popular. But Vermont is not his alma mater. Sneddon was interviewed for the Harvard job back in ’99, when Mazzoleni got it. If he wants the job, he’ll be a very strong candidate this time around, possibly the early front runner.
Steve Dagdigian. The current St. Sebastian’s coach played at Harvard in the early ‘70s, spent four years as a Div. I assistant at Clarkson, and has coached prep ever since, first at Choate, and then, for the last ten years, at St. Sebastian’s. One of his former players, Noah Welch, Harvard’s captain elect, is a St. Seb’s guy. So was Ryan Lannon, though just briefly. Nick Coskren, an ’05 recruit for the Crimson, plays at St. Seb’s now. February’s Beanpot featured a total of seven St. Sebastian’s players. From 2001-03, Dagdigian’s teams made three straight appearances in the New England prep title game, winning it all in ’01 and ’02. He’s highly regarded by his peers, and players improve under his tutelage. However, being a prep coach makes Dagdigian the longest of long shots. Also, like Taylor and Sneddon, he’s in a good position right where he is. However, if hiring a Harvard guy is a must, Dagdigian, who trails only Taylor in years coaching, should be considered.
Harvard’s other current assistant, Sean McCann, is also an alum, and captain of the ’93-94 team that reached the NCAA championship game. McCann, now 32, was also an All-American and a Hobey Baker award finalist. Since retiring from a seven-year career in minor pro, he’s put in two years in as an assistant coach. That’s not much, but he’lllikely receive consideration.
There’s also a wild card name we keep hearing – Ted Donato. A member of Harvard’s 1989 NCAA title-winning team and a 13-year NHL veteran, Donato is communicative, he’s outgoing, he’s Boston to the bone, and he has a lot of other positive attributes. However, he’s never been a coach.Our feeling is that taking someone who hasn’t put in time as a Div. I assistant and making him a head coach is not only unwise, but an insult to all the qualified Div. I assistants out there – and also to the head coaches whopaid their dues as assistants. Coaching at the NCAA level is a big job, and really requires an apprenticeship. For purposes of reference, the last coach to go from the NHL to a Div. I head coaching job was Michigan Tech’s Tim Watters, an alum of the school who compiled a gruesome 39-116-9 (.265) record before being canned one month into his fifth season. A year before Watters went to Tech, Notre Dame alum Dave Poulin, who played with Donato on the Bruins, went from being an NHL player to the head coach at his alma mater -- and Notre Dame struggled for a number of years.
This typist thinks that hiring Donato, or Ted Drury, whose name has also surfaced, is highly unlikely. Like Donato, Drury has never coached. Someday, they could be excellent Div. I coaches, but, with all due respect, they should pay their dues like everyone else. Right now, Donato’s brother, Dan Donato, a BU grad and the successful head coach at the Salisbury School, is a more qualified candidate than either.
That’s pretty much it for alums. Now, what about the rest of the field, those not anointed with a Harvard degree?
BC assistant coach Ron Rolston, who was on Mazzoleni’s staff from 1999-2003 is getting a ton of mentions and, in some people’s minds, is the frontrunner. Rolston was popular with the players while at Harvard, is easily approachable, and has a great track record as an assistant at Lake Superior State, Clarkson, Harvard, and BC.However, he’sunder very serious consideration for the head coaching position in the National Team Development Program, so if Harvard wants him they might have to act very fast, as the NTDP wants someone in place by July 1. .
Former UMass assistant Bill Gilligan should get serious consideration. A Beverly, Mass. native and the younger brother of former UVM coach Mike Gilligan, Bill went to Taft and then Brown, where he was an All-American forward. After graduation, he played minor pro in the U.S. and then went overseas where he played for years in Switzerland and Austria before coaching pro, world juniors, and national teams in those countries. In the late ‘90s, Gilligan missed the U.S., came back and has been a key to the revival of the UMass program. Gilligan stepped down last month at UMass in order to spend more time with his young children while looking for a head coaching position. An unorthodox approach perhaps, but he’s earned the right. Gilligan has a breadth of experience few can match.
Colgate assistant coach Stan Moore is another strong candidate. As an interim head coach at Colgate this season, Moore, whose Red Raiders were picked eighth in the preseason coaches poll, finished as the regular-season champions, with Moore subsequently being named ECAC coach of the year. Moore was also named ECAC coach of the year in 1996-97, when, in his first year as a Div. I head coach, he led Union College to an 18-13-3 record. Colgate head coach Don Vaughan is returning as head coach this year, and Moore is his top assistant. Moore has excellent teaching skills, and the ability to talk at length on a variety of subjects and somehow make them connect to hockey.
Newly-appointed Boston University associate head coach David Quinn might have been a strong candidate if the Harvard scenario had unfolded a month or two ago. Now, though, it's only been a few days since BU sent out their official press release announcing his hiring. After all the work Parker did to get him on board, and the promise implicit in the “associate head coach” title he received, we have a very hard time seeing him leaving his alma mater. Still, his name was bandied around a bit this week. It’s pretty hard to turn down an opportunity to at least interview for a head coaching position – if BU even grants permission, that is.
Harvard assistant Gene Reilly is another excellent candidate. He’s 42, and has coached at several different levels. He coached some powerful New England Jr. Coyotes (EJHL) teams back when they were the Pics and then Whalers. After the Whalers went 131-15-8 over a three-year span from ’95-98, Reilly was summoned to Maine as an assistant, where he worked for three years on Shawn Walsh’s staff. Reilly was also an interim head coach for the Black Bears. From Orono, Reilly went into pro hockey, coaching in the Ottawa Senators organization before coming to Harvard last summer. He’s an astute hockey man.
Often in these cases, there are coaches that seem entrenched but just might he ready for a change. St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh is getting some mention as a possibility. He’s been at St. Lawrence twenty years, but returning to his roots -- he’s a Lynn, Mass. native -- could be appealing. Marsh, whose children are grown, was a candidate for the Harvard job in 1999.He could be a good hire, but he seems like a long shot,
Colby head coach Jim Tortorella could be a possibility. He seems comfortable at Colby, much the way Bill Beaney seems comfortable at Middlebury, thus it’s hard to predict his interest level. It’s worth looking into, though. Tortorella has a good hockey mind, which is why Jeff Jackson twice hired him as an assistant for the U.S. World Junior team. Tortorella may be a sleeper pick, but the Tampa Bay Lightning certainly stuck gold with his brother, and maybe Harvard could be just as lucky. By the way, Colby is an excellent training ground for youngcoaches -- there’s a slew of Div. I assistants whose first job was working for Tortorella.
As for Beaney, he was in the running for the Harvard job in 1999, but withdrew his name. Earlier this spring he was a candidate for the Princeton job. Would he apply for the Harvard job again? It appears he’s perfectly happy staying in Middlebury, and why shouldn’t he be? It’s a great town in a great state, and he’s become very accustomed to winning.
Some people see Roger Grillo as one Ivy League head coach who, if offered the Harvard job, might be willing to make the move. Dartmouth assistant Dave Peters has quietly gone about his work for years and deserves consideration.
There are actually a lot of good coaches out west, but indicators are that Harvard is going for an alum, or, failing that, someone eastern – most likely someone from the ECAC. Both Tomassoni and Mazzoleni, it should be noted, are from the Upper Midwest.
We don’t mind going out on a limb, even if we know it’s going to get sawn off, so here’s a question. Given that Harvard is the biggest success story in women’s college hockey in the East, why not give consideration to Katey Stone? There are plenty of men coaching women’s hockey. When does that get flipped? When will a woman be hired to run a men’s team? It’s already begun to happen -- e.g,. former Northeastern star Shelley Looney is an assistant at the NTDP, working with Quinn on the Under-17s. As for a woman becoming a head coach of a men's team, I believe it will be years until that happens, but also believe that it’s inevitable. But it will take some guts and an open mind to pull it off. If a woman is hired for a men's college program, it's highly unlikely she will start as a head coach -- an assistant is more likely.
Anyway, Stone, after building up the Crimson over her first four years, has reaped huge successes over the last six years, posting a 156-34-7 record, winning a National Championship, and finishing as runners-up in the last two women’s NCAA tournaments. The Harvard women’s team is talented, executes extremely well, and it looks like all the players are having fun. They are the embodiment of Cleary’s swift skating and pinpoint-passing teams of days gone by.
Coaching is in Stone's blood. Her father was the AD and football and baseball coach at Taft. Her brother Mike is the baseball coach at UMass. Another brother is an AD at the Blair Academy in New Jersey, and she has a sister working for the ECAC.
Harvard likes to be first in things, so why not at least consider Stone to coach the men? That's assuming she’s even interested -- she does have a good thing going, after all. Could Harvard alum Ben Smith leave the US National Women’s Program to come back to Harvard and coach the women’s team? This is all just food for thought, nothing more, nothing less.
If we had to make a bet, we’d go with Sneddon, but we wouldn’t bet the farm, given what happened at Princeton. Everybody thought they had that one sussed out, but Guy Gadowsky, who flew right under the radar, got the job.Not one Div. I coach or assistant we’ve spoken to knew of Gadowsky’s interest, and few thought that Princeton AD Gary Walters would be thinking outside that traditional east coast box. But he did, and brought in Gadowsky from Alaska-Fairbanks.
Kilpatrick to CC
5’11”, 180 lb. center Jimmy Kilpatrick of the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) has committed to Colorado College for this fall.
Kilpatrick, one of the top high school players in Minnesota when he played for Holy Angels (he’s an ’03 grad), played the full season with the Gamblers this year, finishing as the club’s second-highest scorer with a 21-23-44 line in 59 games.
Kilpatrick, a 1/27/85 birthdate from New Prague, Minn., is a prolific goal scorer with good hand skills and vision. He’s not a burner but has good-enough speed. He’s better offensively than defensively.
Kilpatrick also got offers from Minnesota and Nebraska-Omaha.
Two More for UMass
6’0”, 200 lb. LD Topher Bevis, who played last season for the U.S. Under-18 Team, and the season before that for Lawrence Academy, will join the UMass Minutemen for the ’05-06 season.
Bevis, who will play for the Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL) this season, is a defensive defenseman who in 54 games with the Under-18 team last season had a 2-9-11 line. Bevis, a 4/26/86 birthdate from Harvard, Mass., aged out with the National Program, yet has another year left in high school.
Also committing to UMass is Pingree School center Dan Gordon. Pingree’s captain has graduated, but hasn’t yet decided whether to go to UMass this fall or play a year of juniors and then go in the fall of ‘05.
Gordon was Pingree’s leading scorer, finishing a couple of points ahead of his left wing, BU recruit Chris Higgins. Gordon led Pingree in assists by a wide margin and that’s his skill – seeing the ice, getting the puck to his linemates (or creating a scoring opportunity for himself), and working along the wall and in the corners. Gordon has excellent puck control and hands, and is a good skater. He’s 5’10” plus, though not physically strong. That’s an area he’ll be working on.
Speaking of UMass. the U.S. College Hockey Advance Camp got underway this afternoon at the Mullins Center in Amherst and will continue through the weekend. Games are at 2, 4, 6, and 8 pm through Saturday. On Sunday, the semis will be at 8 and 10 am, and the final will be at 2 pm. The title game is Sunday afternoon at 2 pm.
UMass fans in the area may want to stop in and check out Suffolk PAL forwards – and future Minutemen -- Vladimir Nikoforov, James Marcou, and Nick Grasso. Other high skill Long Island players at the camp are ’88 forward Tony Romano, and ’87 forward Kyle Solomon. The tournament’s web site is www.uscha.net
Finalists for NTDP Post?
The position of head coach for the Under-18 Team appears to have come down to three candidates: River City Lancers (USHL) head coach/GM Mike Hastings; Boston College assistant coach Ron Rolston; and Plymouth Whalers (OHL) associate head
coach/assistant GM Alex Roberts.
All will interview in Ann Arbor next week. Hopefully, the NTDP will have someone in place shortly afterward.
--- Hastings, a Crookston, Minn. native who played in the USHL and at St. Cloud State, has been head coach/GM of the River City Lancers for the last ten years, with a league-record.725 winning percentage in that time. He’s won two Clark Cup titles and a Jr. A national championship.
-- Rolston has been an assistant coach at Boston College for the last two years. Before that he was at Harvard for three years, Clarkson for three years, and Lake Superior State during the five-year stretch in the early ‘80s when they reached the NCAAs five straight years and won two national championships. Wherever he’s gone, teams have won.
Rolston, the brother of Boston Bruins center Brian Rolston, is a Fenton, Michigan native and a 1990 graduate of Michigan Tech.
Roberts, who played D for the University of Michigan and still lives in Ann Arbor, has been with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL) for the last four seasons. Before that, Roberts was with the NTDP – as matter of fact he was right there at the beginning of the program and for four years afterward. He knows how things should work there.
In our opinion, these are all top-notch candidates. It’s almost impossible to go wrong with any one of them.
The River City Lancers, if we may digress just slightly, were recently sold by long-time owner Ted Baer to a Minnesota sports marketing entrepreneur from the Iron Range named Pat Forciea, who right away became the object of an investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office. It’s alleged that Forciea, who also has a stake in the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, received a $2.56 million loan by forging the signatures of two wealthy partners as co-signers. The Lancers will operate this season, but as of last week the Hennepin County Court had placed the Lancers in emergency receivership, giving control to a group experienced in running troubled companies.
Better Late than Never
Last month we wrote that Dennis “Red” Gendron would be the new head coach of the Indiana Ice (USHL). Tomorrow morning, Thurs. June 16, he’ll be officially named to the position.
Gendron, a former University of Maine assistant coach who went on to work in the New Jersey Devils organization for the last ten years, has a strong and varied resume. He coached high school hockey in Vermont, leading Bellows Free Academy to four state championships in the 1980s. At the University of Maine, he was an assistant coach for one of the greatest college hockey teams ever, the 1992-93 Black Bears who, with the likes of Paul Kariya, Jim Montgomery, Cal Ingraham, the Ferraros, Chris Imes, Matt Martin, Mike Dunham, and Garth Snow went 42-1-2 and won an NCAA crown. In the spring of ’95 Gendron won a Stanley Cup ring as an assistant with the New Jersey Devils, an organization he also served as a scout and, as mentioned above, assistant coach and then head coach at Albany. Gendron was also an assistant coach with the 1993 U.S. Junior Team.
Gendron started this past season coaching the Albany River Rats (AHL) but was replaced midway through by Robbie Ftorek. With the NHL lockout looming, a number of pro guys currently out of work are looking to the junior and college ranks for employment next season.
Green Bay Gamblers Press Conference On Tap
The Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) will introduce Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni as their new head coach at a Resch Center press conference tomorrow (Wed.) at 12:30 PM CST.
A Tiger on the Staff
Look for an announcement from Princeton University shortly naming Andre Faust as an assistant on Guy Gadowsky’s staff.
Faust, a 34-year-old Quebec native and a ninth-round selection of the New Jersey Devils in the 1989 entry draft, starred for Princeton from 1988-92. After graduation, Faust bounced around between two AHL teams and the Philadelphia Flyers, for whom he played a total of 47 games. From 1996 on, Faust played pro in Europe.
Faust joins former Hobart, Clarkson, and UAF assistant Jason Lammers on Gadowsky’s staff.
DeSantis to Ohio State
5’11”, 177 lb. RD Jason DeSantis of the U.S. Under-18 Team has committed to Ohio State for this coming fall.
DeSantis, a 3/9/86 birthdate from Oxford, Mich., took official visits to both Wisconsin and Ohio State. He had discussions with Michigan, including a final one after this spring’s Under-18 World Championship.
DeSantis, the second-leading scorer (behind Nate Hagemo) on the Under-18 Team, played 53 games and had a 4-11-15 line. DeSantis sees the ice well, skates well, and will go back, pick up the puck, and get it up ice quickly. He’s not quite as offensive as most teams wish their smaller D to be, and projects more as a second power play guy. He’s unflashy, but reliable, and projects as a very good college hockey player.
The Buckeyes now have eight D for this fall. Newcomers Kyle Hood (Cowichan Valley -- BCHL) and Johann Kroll (Sioux City – USHL). Returnees are Nate Guenin, Sean Collins, Matt Waddell, Tyson Strachan, and Thomas Welch.
U.S. Junior Camp Roster Released
USA Hockey released the roster and schedule for the 2004 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp, which will be held Aug. 9-14 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND.
The roster includes eight returnees from last winter’s gold-medal winning U.S. World Junior Team: forwards Jake Dowell, Danny Fritsche, Patrick O’Sullivan, and Drew Stafford; defensemen Matt Hunwick, Jeff Likens, and Ryan Suter; andgoaltender Alvaro Montoya. O’Sullivan and Suter were also members of the 2003 U.S. Junior Team.
Here is the schedule for Grand Forks (and Thief River Falls, Minn., where a couple of the games will be held). All times are CST:
Mon. Aug 9 --Practice, TBD, Grand Forks, N.D.
Tues. Aug. 10 -- USA Blue vs. Sweden, 4 pm, Grand Forks, ND
USA White vs. Finland, 7 pm, Grand Forks, ND
Wed. Aug. 11 -- USA Blue vs. Finland, 5 pm, Thief River Falls, Minn.
USA White vs. Sweden, 8 pm, Thief River Falls, Minn.
Fri. Aug. 13 --Sweden vs. Finland, 4 pm, Grand Forks, ND
USA Blue vs. USA White, 7 pm, Grand Forks, ND
Sat. Aug. 14 -- USA White vs. Sweden, 1 pm, Grand Forks, ND
USA Blue vs. Finland, 4 p.m., Grand Forks, ND
A New Assistant for Michigan Tech
Michigan Tech head coach Jamie Russell has hired Pat Mikesch as his new assistant.
Mikesch, who will join current assistant Ian Kallay on the Huskies’ staff, was a former Michigan Tech captain (’95-96), a WCHA All-Rookie team member, and a member of the 1993 U.S. World Junior team.
A 5’10” center from Hancock, Mich., just a few miles from Michigan Tech’s campus in Houghton, Mikesch has spent the past eight years playing in AHL, IHL, and the German Elite League. He just retired this spring.
Mikesch, who’s 31, has strong USHL connections as he played for Bob Ferguson in Des Moines, and also played for current USHL coaches Mark Kaufman and P.K. O’Handley in the minors.
Russell, an assistant at Ferris State during Mikesch’s last two years at Tech, says he was always impressed by Mikesch, both for his excellent hockey sense and his mind for the game. Mikesch, Russell added, has a strong work ethic and was very impressive in the interview process.
Mazzoleni Top Candidate for Green Bay Job
Harvard University head coach Mark Mazzoleni is in Green Bay, Wisconsin this weekend, and he’s not there interviewing for the head coaching position of the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL).
He could simply be taking the lay of the land, or looking at real estate, or visiting family and friends. But he doesn’t have to interview (at least in the conventional sense) because Gamblers president Rob Nicholson has already offered the job to Mazzoleni. The five-year Harvard coach will make his decision on whether or not to accept it by early next week.
We were unable to reach Mazzoleni for comment..
If Mazzoleni, 45, decides against taking the job look for Tim Coghlin, the 39-year-old head coach of St. Norbert’s, a Div. III school in DePere, Wisc., just a few miles south of Green Bay, to take it. No one else is, or has been, under consideration. At least ten highly-qualified coaches made inquiries about the position and didn't even get a return call.
Nicholson, Mazzoleni, and Coghlin are all closely connected. The Gamblers president and Mazzoleni have been friends since they were kids. When Mazzoleni took his first head coaching position, at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he made his name by winning three Div. III titles in a row, Coghlin was his star player. A defenseman from British Columbia, Coghlin was a two-time All-American defenseman.
It’s not an everyday occurrence that a coach would leave the Div. I ranks to coach in the USHL, so people are scratching their heads a bit.
The rumor of Mazz going to Green Bay arose when University of Wisconsin assistant coach John Hynes left the Badgers in November to take over the NTDP’s Under-18 Team in the wake of Moe Mantha's leaving for Saginaw (OHL). Almost immediately, Green Bay GM/head coach Mark Osiecki became the most prominent candidate for the Wisconsin position. A former Badgers star defenseman and captain, Osiecki officially got the Badgers job a few weeks ago.
By simply connecting the dots, it seemed that Mazzoleni would be the most likely candidate for the Green Bay job -- if he wanted it. He and the owner are long-time friends. Mazzoleni grew up in Green Bay, has deep family connections there, and adores the Green Bay Packers. His wife, too, is from Green Bay. They have four children.
While coaches don’t normally step down a level, Mazzoleni had a handful of problems at Harvard -- notably a large number of unhappy players and an even larger number of unhappy parents. And a boatload of unhappy alums, too.
The Mazzoleni situation took on a public dimension following a Dec. 28 incident after the consolation game of a holiday tournament at the Providence Civic Center (known these days as the Dunkin’ Donuts Center) with Maurie Daigneau, a former Big 10 quarterback and the father of Harvard backup goaltender John Daigneau. Apparently, Daigneau felt his son deserved the start in the consolation game. It was also true that the team’s #1 goalie, Dov Grumet-Morris, had struggled the night before.
But Grumet-Morris got both starts. After the game, while the parents were waiting in the hallway for their kids to come out of the locker room, Maurie Daigneau and Mazzoleni had words. While this reporter wasn’t there, eyewitnesses have said they felt that Mazzoleni’s emotions got the better of him and he should have had the presence of mind to steer clear of a very public – and pointless -- conflict.
That moment appears to have been the smoking gun that Mazzoleni’s critics were waiting for.
They jumped on it quickly, and the incident immediately became an issue for Harvard Athletic Director Bob Scalise to investigate. Scalise concluded by giving Mazzoleni, who has three years left on his contract, his full support.
Even so, the investigation is ongoing. Reportedly, parents and/or players went to university president Larry Summers this spring to plead their case against Mazzoleni. Summers then asked Patricia Henry, the #2 person in the Harvard Athletic Department to conduct her own interviews, and report back to him. There may be more to this intrigue than we know, but the move definitely comes across looking like an end run around Scalise, Mazzoleni’s biggest supporter.
Within the context of Harvard’s in-house investigation, the Mazz-to-Green Bay talk gained strength. Nicholson and Osiecki came to Boston in April for the Frozen Four and met with Mazzoleni.
Reportedly, Nicholson made a second visit to Boston, in late May, to talk to Mazzoleni.
And this weekend, Mazz is in Green Bay. A family man, Mazzoleni didn’t care for the hustle and bustle of Boston. During his years at Harvard, he lived in southern New Hampshire. Within the Harvard community, he felt like an outsider, and the more he felt that way, the worse things became. With the situation the way it is now, it definitely appears that taking the Green Bay job could be a big plus for Mazzoleni, the Harvard players and their parents, and the all-powerful Harvard alums, too. Jobs are a bit like marriages. Some work, some don't. This one wasn't working. Our guess? We think Mazzoleni will take the Gamblers job, and we also think he will be well taken care of by Nicholson – that’s what friends are for, right?
2004 Select Rosters Update
We’ve added a couple more districts to the 2004 Select Festival rosters page. As you know, we’re doing things differently this year by putting all rosters into a single file, which makes updating easier.
The information is the latest we have. Due to injury, etc. players may be scratched, and others added. If you are certain there is an error, please e-mail us.
To read the document, your computer will need to have Microsoft Word.
2004 Select Rosters
Rogers a High First-Rounder in MLB Draft
6’2”, 200 lb. RHP Mark Rogers of Orr’s Island, Maine and Mt. Ararat HS was picked #5 overall (by Milwaukee) in the baseball draft, which was held over the past two days. Rogers, who played for the New England District at USA Hockey’s Select Festivals – he was a forward -- is also an excellent soccer player. On the diamond, with his 95 mph fastball, he was virtually unhittable, finishing with an 8-0 record, and a 0.16 ERA. He also had 10 walks and 142 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched.
6’3”, 220 lb. RHP Jay Rainville of Pawtucket, RI and Bishop Hendricken HS was a supplemental first-round pick (#39 overall) of the Minnesota Twins. Rainville didn’t give up an earned run this season (53 innings pitched), and averaged 13.5 K’s a game.
On the rink, Rainville was a Providence Journal all-state defenseman as a sophomore, but didn’t play this past winter, the better to concentrate on baseball.
Seeing 6’6”, 215 lb. Andy Gale of Phillips Exeter Academy and Durham, NH getting picked in the 43rd round was a bit of an eye-opener. Earlier this spring, Gale was expected to go somewhere between the second and fifth rounds. But 43rd? Reportedly, Gale, the son of Rich Gale, the former major league pitcher and recent Red Sox pitching coach,notified clubs that he would be willing to forego his full athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina-- but only for a $1 million signing bonus. That wasn’t going to happen, thus Gale slid to the 43rd round. He’ll again be eligible for the draft after his junior year in college.
Gale is eligible for this month’s NHL draft. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him taken as an 8th-9th round pick. Very few guys selected in those rounds ever make it to the NHL, so why not take a flier on a 6’6”, 215 lb. defenseman? We would. After all, sometimes things don’t work out in one sport, but they do in another. Look at Kirk McCaskill, the former UVM pitcher and hockey player (he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist in 1982). After being graduated from college he spent a year with the Sherbrooke Jets (AHL), but didn’t feel his future was on the ice. So McCaskill retired from hockey and took up baseball. After a year in the minors, he reached the majors – and stayed there for 12 years.
NTDP’s Under-17 Team Taking Shape
As many as four forwards could be selected for the U.S. Under-17 Team based on their performance at the Select 16 Festival, beginning later this month in Rochester, NY. So opportunity knocks. Go get ‘em.
Here are the Under-17 Team committed players so far:
Goaltenders (2): Joe Palmer (Yorkville, NY/Syracuse Jr. B); Brett Bennett (Williamsville, NY/Honeybaked).
Defensemen (7): Erik Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./Holy Angels Academy); Mike Ratchuk (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo Saints); Chris Summers (Ypsilanti; Mich./Victory Honda AAA), Bobby Sanguinetti (Mt. Holly; NJ/Lawrenceville School); Brian Strait (Waltham, Mass./Northfield-Mt. Hermon); Trent Palm (Edina, Minn./Shattuck Under-16); Jamie McBain (Faribault, Minn./Shattuck); and Kevin Montgomery (Rochester, NY/Syracuse Jr. A).
Forwards: Blake Geoffrion (Brentwood, Tenn./Culver Academy); Rhett Rakhshani (Huntington Beach, CA/California Wave); Billy Sweatt (Elburn, Ill./Team Illinois Midget AAA); Mike Carman (Apple Valley, Minn./Holy Angels Academy); Steve Sperry (South Lake, Texas/Dallas Midget AAA); and Jim O’Brien (Lake Angelus; Minn./Little Caesar’s).
That makes just six forwards who’ve officially committed. There will be at least a couple of more forwards who will commit after the school year ends next week.
Donato Steps Down at Babson
Babson College head hockey coach Paul Donato has retired from his head coaching position, though he will continue his work managing the school’s arena, running the Babson Summer Hockey Camp, hosting the Europa Cup, etc.
Donato cut back on his workload to enable him to spend more time with his family.
So far, Donato has put in 24 years at Babson. From 1980-84 he was a star forward for the Beavers, captaining the team his final two years, and being named one of the ten Hobey Baker Award finalists in 1984. After playing pro in Europe, Donato, an Arlington, Mass. native, returned to Babson in 1988 as head hockey coach (and head baseball coach, too – at least for a few years.)
Most observers feel Northeastern University assistant coach Jamie Rice will be the named to the position, that it’s his if he wants it. Babson assistant coach Jason Smith has also reportedly applied.
Rice, who went from Hotchkiss to Babson, from where he graduated in 1990, was a four-year letter winner in both hockey and baseball.
Since then, Rice has been an assistant at Colby, afterward spending five years at Brown (’92-97). When ex-Brown coach Bob Gaudet moved on to Dartmouth for the ’97-98 season, Rice went along, staying two years and then coming to Northeastern where he has been for the last five years.
In addition, Rice has been very involved with USA Hockey, via the Mass. Satellite Training program. He’s smart, works very hard, and is highly focused.
Gratchev Top U.S. Pick in QMJHL Draft
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League held its draft today, with Thayer forward Max Gratchev being the top U.S.-based player selected. Gratchev, a skillful 5’10” left shot wing, was taken by the Quebec Remparts.
Here are the U.S.-based players who were selected.
2nd Round (Quebec) – Max Gratchev, F, Thayer
6th Round (Lewiston) – Matt Kronk, D, Boston Jr. Bruins Midget AA
7th Round (Chicoutimi) – Ross James, D, Kent’s Hill School
8th Round (Halifax) – Garrett Peters, F, Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL)
9th Round (Bathurst) – Alex Petizia, G, Gilmour Academy
9th Round(Quebec) – Brian Foster, G, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
10th Round (Halifax) – Patrick Cullity, D, Berkshire School
10th Round (Quebec) – Cody Wild D, Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL)
11th Round (Quebec) – Danny Rossman F, Cushing
11th Round (Lewiston) – Tim Geverd, D, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
11th Round (Chicoutimi) -- Ryan Burke, G, Haverhill (Mass.) HS
13th Round (Halifax) – Chris Cahill, F, US Under-17 Team
13th Round (Quebec) – Jason Lawrence, F, US Under-17 Team
13thRound (Rimouski) – Kyle Kucharski, F, Phillips Andover
13th Round (Quebec) – Matt Gordon, F, Belmont Hill
14th Round (Halifax) – Eric Bouchard, F, Portland Jr. Piates
14th Round (Victoriaville) – Ben Ketchum, F, Greenwich (Conn.) HS
14th Round (Quebec) -- Sean Coughlin, D, Cushing Academy
15th Round (Halifax) – Mark Fayne, D, Noble & Greenough
15th Round (Quebec) – Peter Boldt, D, Taft
Of the 20 players listed above, eight were selected by the Patrick Roy-owned Quebec Remparts, who rostered a large number of U.S. kids this past season. Right behind them was the Halifax Mooseheads, with five.
The QMJHL’s U.S. territory consists of New England only.
The first two New England players, Gratchev and Kronk, are ‘88s. The other 17 Americans are ‘87s.
Here’s the full 15-round list (all players):
Princeton Assistant’s Position
Princeton University head hockey coach Guy Gadowsky, who will be hiring former Clarkson and UAF assistant Jason Lammers as one assistant, is in the interviewing process for the #2 assistant.
One thing is certain: whoever it is will be a Princeton alum.
Those we can confirm have been interviewed are Andre Faust (Princeton ’92), Darren Yopyk (Princeton ’00), and Erasmus Saltarelli (Princeton ’98).
We're With You
One of the many things we’ve been working on this spring is getting this publication ready for next season – and many seasons ahead. One of the things we’ve been working on is revamping the whole subscriptions system, making the process easy and secure to do online.
We’ve actually completed that phase of the work. While most people have had no trouble with the new system, some have encountered difficulty, and to them we apologize for any delay for any delay in helping them. Basically, we can only help one subscriber at a time, and we will continue that until everyone is all straightened out. It won’t take long.
We want to thank you for your patience and also ask that if you have any questions specifically relating to your subscription please e-mail Noah Cutler at admin(at)ushr.com. You can also call him at the tech support number, which is (877) 587-1827. If you have any general questions – e.g.hockey and editorial stuff -- please e-mail Chris Warner at cwarner(at)ushr.com. (In case you’re wondering, we write e-mail addresses that way to avoid the spammers who harvest e-mail addresses off web sites.)
We’re continually trying to improve the Hockey Report. One of the things we will be working on next is broadening the scope of USHR, both geographically and editorially. To pull that off, we’ll be searching for crack interns, and knowledgeable contributors. We’ll have more on this next week.
If you have any suggestions please e-mail me at the above address. Outside perspective is extremely valuable. Our readers comprise a close-knit community and we hear from players, parents, coaches, scouts, agents and fans. The greatest pleasure of this job comes in talking with good folks who have a passion for the game and a million stories to tell. I’m proud that so many of these people are subscribers of the Hockey Report.
Chris Warner, editor/publisher
Ozzie New Wisconsin Assistant
University of Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves has one of his two assistants in place for next year, as Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) head coach Mark Osiecki was officially hired by the Badgers today.
Osiecki, 35, was a co-captain of Wisconsin’s 1989-90 NCAA championship team, and went on to play briefly with four NHL teams – mostly Calgary and Ottawa. After retiring from pro hockey he was an assistant at North Dakota and, for the last seven years, the head coach of Green Bay. Osiecki led the Gamblers to a USHL league title in 2000.
The next question concerns whether or not current Badgers associate head coach Troy Ward gets the AD job at Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Ward is one of four finalists for the job, and interviewed there about two weeks ago. Originally, Wisconsin-Eau Claire had said they would be naming their guy by June 1, but that’s not happening. Now, they’re saying next week.
If Ward is given the AD job at UW-Eau Claire, look for University of Nebraska-Omaha 30-year-old assistant Mark Strobel to be the top candidate as his replacement. Strobel, a defenseman at Wisconsin, was a captain as a senior (’94-95), and went on to play pro before getting into coaching. He was an assistant with the St. Paul Vulcans (USHL) for a year, and then spent two seasons as an assistant at Minnesota-Duluth before going on to UNO, where he’s been for the last two seasons.
2004 Select Rosters
The Select Festivals start later this month, which means it’s time to start putting up the rosters.
We’re going to do things a little differently this year. Simply speaking, what we’re going to do is put them all into one file, and update them every time we add a district.
The information is the latest we have. Due to injury, etc. players may be scratched, and others added. If you are certain that there is an error, please e-mail us.
To read the document, your computer will need to have Microsoft Word.