The Final Five
Merrimack College has reportedly narrowed its search for a head coach to five candidates, all of whom will be brought in for a second round of interviews:
They are, in alphabetical order:
Bruce Crowder -- At 48, the senior member of the group. A Hockey East head coach for the past 13 seasons – four at UMass-Lowell and nine at Northeastern. Played college hockey at UNH and pro with the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Mark Dennehy -- Associate head coach at UMass. Was also on Toot Cahoon’s staff at Princeton for several years. Was head coach at Fairfield University for a season. Played his college hockey at BC.
Greg Drechsel -- Associate head coach at Clarkson for the past two seasons. Prior to that, spent seven years as a scout for the LA Kings. Between 1989-96 was an assistant at Clarkson, Miami, and Denver. Was a high-scoring forward at Colgate in the eighties.
Chris Kiene -- Former Merrimack defenseman played in the AHL, was an assistant at UConn, and currently heads up the Connecticut Whalers youth program. Also coached the Mid-Fairfield Blues Midget Under-16 team that won the Tier I national championship in Bensenville, Ill. in April.
Paul Pearl -- Former defenseman at Holy Cross has been the head coach at his alma mater for the past nine seasons.
In the absence of an athletic director (former head coach Chris Serino was also the AD), the search is being headed up by Merrimack athletic department consultant Joe Iarrobino.
As expected, University of Alaska-Anchorage head coach John Hill resigned his position there in order to return to the University of Minnesota as an assistant on the staff of Don Lucia. Hill, 44, who coached the Seawolves, his alma mater, for four years, has a long-time working relationship with Lucia, having been his assistant for four years at Colorado College (’95-99) and two with the Gophers (’99-01). The door for Hill to return to the U opened when Bob Motzko resigned to return to St. Cloud State, his alma mater, where he is expected to become the next head coach. When that happens, don’t be surprised to see Tony Gasparini, most recently at Union College but now back in Sioux Falls, SD working in private business and scouting for the LA Kings, to get hired as an assistant there. Union is still seeking a replacement for Gasparini.
Back to the Future
Dave Ogrean, who was USA Hockey executive director from 1993-99, will return to Colorado Springs to take over his old position.
A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow at 11 am. Ogrean will resume his duties on August 1.
Since he left in 1999, the position was held by Doug Palazzari, who was recently let go.
For the past three years Ogrean has been the executive director of USA Football. Before that he was president/CEO of the Colorado Springs Corporation. And before that he spent two years as deputy executive director of marketing for the US Olympic Committee.
We don’t know who the official finalists for the position were other names we heard bandied about included Mark Johnson, Tom Anastos,Mike Bertsch, Larry Pleu, Neil Sheehy, and Jim Johannson.
Notes from Around
Providence College head coach Tim Army has Colgate associate head coach Stan Moore as his #1 choice to add to his staff, and has offered him. Moore, who worked with Army at PC 15 or so years ago, is trying to make it happen. There are a few logistical hurdles, such as the fact that Moore’s wife currently works at Colgate, but both sides want to get it done, so the smart money says it will happen… UMass needs to hire an assistant to take Mark Dennehy’s place. It’s early, but the name were hearing is Red Gendron… Look for Mark Dennehy to hire former Princeton defenseman Darren Yopyk as his #2 guy at Merrimack… There’s a good chance that Bobby Motzko could be the head coach at St. Cloud State sooner rather than later – particularly if Craig Dahl can get the school to boost his pay at his new position into the range he would be receiving if he stayed on as head coach for the two years remaining on his contract. So Motzko could take over immediately, a year from now, or two years from now. The smart money says one year from now… Colorado College assistant coach Norm Bazin, who worked as a volunteer last season while recuperating from injuries received in a November 2003 auto accident, is, according to Tigers head coach Scott Owens, “itching to get back to work” in his old full-time capacity on July 1… Eric Rud appears to the be the front runner for the assistant’s position at Northern Michigan, vacated by Dave Shyiak… The four candidates for the Union College assistant’s slot vacated by Tony Gasparini are reported to be: John Lilly (NTDP); Chadd Cassidy (National Sports Academy); Gary Heenan (Utica College); and Matt Lindsay (Hobart)... Cornell head coach Mike Shafer broke his wrist playing summer hockey.
Two for the Big Green
Taft defenseman Eric Baier, who’ll be a junior this coming season, has verbally committed to Dartmouth for the fall of ‘07. Baier, an ’88 from N. Kingston, RI and the younger brother of Brown defenseman Paul Baier, is a smooth powerful skater with the ability to break the puck out of his own end with speed. He’s aggressive, competitive, and strong in his own end.
Coming to Dartmouth in the fall of ’06 is Calgary Canucks LC Robbie Smith a 6’2”, 180 lb. native of Brooks, Alberta. An ’87, Smith has a lot of upside, with size, excellent hands, and playmaking skills. He’s a little wiry right now, and needs to add strength, as does Baier.
-- Boston University got a significant commitment in 6’3”, 190 lb. LW Zach Cohen of the Tri-City Storm. Cohen, a USHL rookie this past season, is big and has good hands. A power forward, he can bull through guys with the puck, but also can make a play. He had a 7-8-15 line in 46 games for Tri-City, but look for those numbers to shoot up this season as he plays a larger role. Cohen played for the Chicago Mission before heading west. He arrives at BU in ’06.
-- St. Cloud, with new assistant Bob Motzko, got an ’06 commitment over the weekend from Moorhead HS 5’10”, 170 lb. RD Jon Ammerman. An ’87, Ammerman will be playing in the USHL this season – also for Tri-City. He’s very offensive-minded, moves the puck smartly, and has an accurate shot.
Dennehy Gets the Nod
UMass associate head coach Mark Dennehy has been named the new head coach at Merrimack College.
Look for an official announcement from the school shortly.
Dennehy, 37, started his coaching career as a volunteer on Joe Mallen’s staff at UMass in the mid-nineties, and moved on to Princeton from 1996-99 as an assistant under Toot Cahoon.
At Princeton, Dennehy first made his mark, as the Tigers had winning records all three years he was there. In 1998, Princeton reached the NCAA quarterfinals, but was edged by Michigan.
In 1999, Dennehy was rewarded with a head coaching job when Fairfield University (MAAC) came calling. Dennehy took the job, but the school was woefully unprepared for the Div. I hockey world, having no scholarships to offer -- and little else. The Stags struggled through a year Merrimack fans could relate to.
When Cahoon got the UMass job in 2000, he summoned Dennehy to join him. After two rebuilding years, the Minutemen had back-to-back winning seasons from 2002-04 before slipping this past season.
At both Princeton and UMass, Dennehy and Cahoon showed that a program can come out of down years and experience winning campaigns. No doubt, this was a key to Merrimack’s choosing him. Dennehy knows what he’s up against – and knows it can be surmounted.
Dennehy, a Boston native, played his college hockey under Len Ceglarski at Boston College during the Guerin-Heinze-Emma-McInnis era and won three Hockey East championships.
Married and the father of a young daughter, Dennehy has been active in the Mass Satellite coaching program. He’s approachable, energetic, and passionate and opinionated on the subject of hockey, particularly player development. Finally, after three rather agonizing months, the Merrimack program has a new lease on life.
Former Icemen on the Diamond
Former Westminster School and Trinity College forward Jeff Natale was picked by the Boston Red Sox in the 32nd round of this month’s major league baseball draft. A second baseman, Natale signed last weekend and has been assigned to the Greenville Bombers, the Red Sox’ affiliate in the Class A South Atlantic League.
Former Arlington High forward Marco Albano, a shortstop for Boston College the past four seasons, signed earlier this week with the Los Angeles Angels, who drafted him in the 33rd round.
Those are the only two former hockey players we know of who were drafted this year.
Here’s a progress report on the former hockey players drafted by major league baseball teams last season:
Mark Rogers, who starred in three sports at Mt. Ararat (Maine) HS and represented New England in at least one USA Hockey Select Festival, picked up a tidy $2.2 million dollars when the Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the first round (#5 overall) of the 2004 draft . Rogers, a 6’2” righty is 0-5 with a 4.50 ERA for the West Virginia Power of the Class A South Atlantic League. Rogers is attempting to make the transition from being a raw, hard-thrower to a pitcher.
Former Bishop Hendricken 6’3” defenseman Jay Rainville, also a right-handed pitcher, was also selected in the first round, thought lower, and signed for $875,000. Today, he’s with the Beloit Snappers of the Class A Midwest League. In 12 starts, he’s 5-2 with a 3.80 ERA. In 66 innings, he has 58 K’s and 21 walks.
Former Exeter defenseman Andy Gale, also a big righty – 6’6”, 230 lbs. – was drafted late, mainly because he made it clear he was opting for college. The son of former big league pitcher Rich Gale was 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 appearances at the University of North Carolina this spring.
Jamie Hoffman, a 6’2” RW and Colorado College recruit out of New Ulm (Minn.) HS and the Des Moines Buccaneers was drafted by an NHL team (Carolina Hurricanes, 8th round, 2003) but bypassed in the major league baseball draft. Two years ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed him as a free agent before he enrolled at CC. Today, he’s hitting a team-leading .300 with one HR and 21 RBI for the Columbus Catfish of the Class A South Atlantic League.
That’s this morning’s baseball report. It’s a slow Saturday in the hockey world as the NHL draft, originally scheduled for today, has long since been cancelled. We suspect the NHL GMs will be enjoying the day in their swimming pools – those in the northeast can expect temperatures in the high nineties.
USHRSummer 2005 Green Books
The U.S. Hockey Report is proud to announce the Summer 2005 Green Books.
This year, instead of doing one large book, and mailing it out in August, we’ll be doing three separate books – one for the Select 15 Festival, one for the Select 16 Festival, and one for the Select 17 Festival.
The cost per book is $35, with a special rate of $90 for those who wish to purchase all three. Postage and handling on each book will be $2.50. The books will be completed within a week of the close of each festival and mailed promptly by first class mail.
The Green Books, a valuable tool for keeping tabs on the player pool covering the ‘88-’90 birth years, will consist of over 300 player rankings and capsule scouting reports from this summer’s Select 15, 16, and 17 Festivals.
For each festival, we will rank the top one hundred or more players, broken down by position – forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders. Also, you’ll find comments on individual players as well as the nuts and bolts, i.e height, weight, last year’s team, this year’s team, tournament stats, an overview of each individual tournament, an anecdote or two, and more.
To order, please click on the ad in the left-hand column of this page, and thank you for your support.
The dates of the festivals are as follows:
Select 16 Festival (’89 birthdates) – June 25-July 1 -- Rochester, NY
Select 17 Festival (’88 birthdates) – July 9-15 – St. Cloud, Minn.
Select 15 Festival (’90 birthdates) – July 30-Aug. 5 -- St. Cloud, Minn.
Note: The 14 Camp takes place July 16-22 in Rochester, NY. We do not do a book for that age group.
Merrimack Down to Three?
We wouldn’t bet the farm on this, but the word we’re hearing is that Merrimack has narrowed its list of candidates to three and, furthermore, that the leading candidate is Chris Kiene, the only Merrimack alum on the list of five.
The other two final candidates are reported to be Clarkson associate head coach Greg Dreschel and UMass associate head coach Mark Dennehy.
All five candidates – the above-mentioned trio plus Bruce Crowder and Paul Pearl -- have interviewed and a new coach could be named by the end of next week.
Esposito to Sign with Remparts
Shattuck-St. Mary's forward Angelo Esposito will be signing with the Quebec Remparts this afternoon.
Angelo; his father, Johnny; his agents Phil Lecavalier and Kent Hughes; Patrick Roy and the Remparts ownership group had dinner last night in a Quebec City restaurant where the final details where hammered out.
Esposito has notified Boston University, the school that was tops on his list, of his intention.
The Esposito Deal
“Angelo always wanted to go to college,” Phil Lecavalier, Esposito’s agent, told us this afternoon. “It was why he left home for two years to go to Shattuck-St. Mary’s. And it was why he fast tracked in order to get to college early.”
“In his mind he always wanted to go to college until the Remparts drafted him and explained how he could go to college and play for them, too. They showed how it could work. And it was finalized last night.”
According to Lecavalier, the deal Esposito signed for was for “a full college scholarship to any college he wants to go to whenever he wants and whether or not he plays pro at any level.”
“There is no money involved. Angelo’s family doesn’t need money. It was about the right situation for Angelo,” Lecavalier said, adding, “A lot of rumors are flying around, but they’re not true.”
Lecavalier, a former Clarkson defenseman and the older brother of Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier, pointed out that other pluses were proximity, Quebec City being only two and a quarter hours from Montreal, plus the fact that “it’s a great city to play in.” Lecavalier also believes that the Remparts will be “very competitive” for the next two seasons.
“All the pieces just fit together,” said Lecavalier.
Mosey to Under-18’s
Shattuck-St. Mary’s forward Tony Mosey has been added to the NTDP’s Under-18 Team for next season. Mosey, who’s 5’10”, 175, is a slippery player who can handle the puck well in traffic, and make plays. Mosey had, in 53 games, a 28-35-63 line as a junior last season, which placed him seventh on the Shattuck juggernaut (he did miss 15 games). Mosey is from Prior Lake, Minn. and is good friends with Peter Mueller, so perhaps his arrival in Ann Arbor might encourage Mueller to stick around for another year. Mueller has not told the national program that he is returning, but he hasn’t told them he isn’t returning either. He’s definitely not going to Sioux City. It’s either the NTDP or the Everett Silvertips (WHL). Mueller could well be a top 2-3 draft pick next summer.
-- Despite heavy pressure from the Memorial Cup winning London Knights (OHL), it looks like forward Sam Gagner, an ’89 who played for the Toronto Marlies Midget Minor team this past season, will be playing for the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) in the upcoming season. He’s enrolled in school in Sioux City for the fall. His father, former NHLer Dave Gagner, has moved to the Twin Cities and has enrolled his two daughters at Breck, so education matters in the family. The University of Wisconsin is going after Gagner hard and the smart money says he stays in the Midwest. But both BU and BC are in the picture, too.
-- Michigan recruit Billy Sauer, an ’88 who rotated in goal for the Chicago Steel (USHL) this past season while accelerating his studies, may return to the USHL -- if Alvaro Montoya doesn’t sign a pro contract and returns to Michigan, that is.
The Lake State Mess
Frank Anzalone is filing a lawsuit for something. What it is we don’t know, as no one is talking, though it’s fair to say it deals with at least some aspect of the way he was fired. The pro-Anzalone camp, primarily glory-day guys like Jim Dowd, Doug Weight, and Bruce Hoffort, is lining up in defense of the coach who brought them a national title in 1988. The anti-Anzalone camp, which is large, is worried that school president Betty Youngblood and athletic director Bill Crawford have botched things up so much that the cash-strapped school might be forced to take the coach back. And college hockey fans are just shaking their head over the embarrassment of the whole thing.
It’s highly possible that the Lakers might never recover from what’s going on now, that the damage is so severe that the team will never again have a winning season… assuming the hockey program doesn’t get deep-sixed.
Was Anzalone’s firing for something that embarrassed the school? Something greater than his dubious off-the-cuff comments – e.g. “I’m not a good coach. I’m a great coach.”?Possibly, but probably not, because in a small town like Sault Ste. Marie there are few secrets, and the alums would be likely to know, and temper their protests accordingly.
If the justification is the program’s won-lost record and/or his personality, then the alums, the lifeblood of college programs, particularly at a small school like Lake State, may have a legitimate gripe.
Many of these former players feel that when Crawford – the Lakers former radio color man -- hired Anzalone for his second go-around, he knew exactly what he was getting into, as birds don’t change their feathers, and Anzalone certainly wasn’t going to change his. Hence, alums argue, Anzalone has upheld his part of the bargain. He’s simply went on “being Frank.” In other words, a guy many in college hockey find to be a cocky, New York street-wise, abrasive guy. However, he has alums in his corner, at least in part because, when he took over for stint #2 four years ago, he reached out to the former Laker players in a very direct way, seeking their assistance, and making them an integral part of the program.
In short, the alums feel that the team was doing as well as it was capable of on the ice despite a serious lack of skilled players, and the school should have waited out Anzalone’s contract and at that time evaluated the situation.
Instead, they canned Anzalone, made a total hash of the process, put a gag order in place, and lost the support of a boatload of alums. And a program that was desperately trying to keep its head above water in a college hockey landscape that’s changed dramatically in the last decade has been kicked back into the dirt, and become a laughing stock in the process. If the lawsuit goes forward, things could get ugly.
With its miniscule financial resources, could the school be trying to back out of paying Anzalone the remainder of his contract or a buyout? Is Anzalone simply trying to get the money he feels is coming to him, or does he seriously wish to hold onto this job? Despite his national championship ring, Anzalone would likely have a hard time getting a coaching job as good. It’s quite possible he’ll have to go back to coaching high school hockey in New Jersey.
One thing’s for sure: new head coach Jim Roque has his work cut out for him.
Junior Camp Invitees Named
USA Hockey has named 43 players to this summer’s National Junior Camp, which will once again take place in Lake Placid.
Camp opens on Fri. August 5, with the first games scheduled for Tues. Aug. 9 (see schedule below).
The 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship is scheduled for Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Vancouver, BC.
Nine players are returnees from the U.S. National Junior Team that finished fourth in Grand Forks. They are denoted with an asterisk below. In addition, 13 players were named from the gold-medal winning U.S. Under-18 team.
2005 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp Roster
Jeff Frazee 6-0/184 5/13/87 L Burnsville, Minn./ Minnesota (NCAA)
Ian Keserich 6-2/200 1/6/86 L Cleveland, Ohio/ Ohio State (NCAA)
Jonathan Quick 6-0/180 1/21/86 L Hamden, Conn./ UMass-Amherst (NCAA)
*Cory Schneider 6-2/203 3/18/86 L Marblehead, Mass./ Boston College (NCAA)
Mike Brennan 6-0/190 1/24/86 R Smithtown, N.Y./ Boston College (NCAA)
Taylor Chorney 5-11/182 4/27/87 L Hastings, Minn./ North Dakota (NCAA)
Brandon Gentile 6-0/200 4/23/87 L Clarkston, Mich./Michigan State (NCAA)
*Nate Hagemo 5-11/192 10/2/86 R Edina, Minn./ Minnesota (NCAA)
Erik Johnson 6-3/215 3/21/88 R Bloomington, Minn./ NTDP
Jack Johnson 6-1/201 1/13/87 L Faribault, Minn./ Michigan (NCAA)
Zach Jones 5-11/191 1/14/87 L Lisle, Ill./ North Dakota (NCAA)
Matt Lashoff 6-2/202 9/29/86 L Albany, N.Y./ Kitchener (OHL)
Kyle Lawson 5-10/200 1/11/87 R New Hudson, Mich./ Tri-City (USHL)
*Brian Lee 6-2/202 3/26/87 R Moorhead, Minn./ North Dakota (NCAA)
Mark Mitera 6-2/175 10/22/87 L Livonia, Mich./ Michigan (NCAA)
Matt Niskanen 6-0/194 12/6/86 R Mt. Iron, Minn./ Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)
Michael Sauer 6-2/198 8/7/87 R Sartell, Minn./ Portland (WHL)
A.J. Thelen 6-3/206 3/11/86 L Savage, Minn./ Prince Albert (WHL)
Keith Yandle 6-2/203 9/9/86 L Milton, Mass./ Maine (NCAA)
Justin Abdelkader 6-1/195 2/25/87 L Muskegon, Mich./ Michigan St. (NCAA)
*Chris Bourque 5-8/173 1/29/86 L Topsfield, Mass./ Moncton (QMJHL)
Nathan Davis 6-1/193 5/23/86 R Milton, Mass./ Miami (Ohio) (NCAA)
Brandon Dubinsky 6-1/196 4/29/86 L Anchorage, Alaska/ Portland (WHL)
Nick Foligno 5-11/184 10/31/87 L Hummelstown, Pa./ Sudbury (OHL)
Jim Fraser 5-11/175 1/16/87 R Port Huron, Mich./ Harvard (NCAA)
Tom Fritsche 5-11/183 12/30/86 L Parma, Ohio/ Ohio State (NCAA)
Nate Gerbe 5-5/160 7/24/87 L Oxford, Mich./ Boston College (NCAA)
*Phil Kessel 5-10/160 10/2/87 R Madison, Wis./ Minnesota (NCAA)
Chad Kolarik 5-10/170 1/26/86 R Abington, Pa./ Michigan (NCAA)
Jordan LaVallee 6-3/203 5/11/86 L Corvallis, Ore./ Quebec (QMJHL)
Bryan Lerg 5-10/186 1/20/86 L Livonia, Mich./ Michigan State (NCAA)
Domenic Maiani 5-9/165 5/23/86 R Shelby Twp., Mich./ Ohio State (NCAA)
Peter Mueller 6-1/190 4/14/88 R Bloomington, Minn./ NTDP
T.J. Oshie 5-10/170 12/23/86 R Warroad, Minn./ N. Dakota (NCAA)
Geoff Paukovich 6-4/208 4/24/86 L Englewood, Colo./ Denver (NCAA)
*Adam Pineault 6-2/198 5/23/86 R Holyoke, Mass./ Moncton (QMJHL)
*Kevin Porter 5-11/184 3/12/86 L Detroit, Mich./ Michigan (NCAA)
Bobby Ryan 6-1/213 5/17/87 R Cherry Hill, N.J./ Owen Sound (OHL)
*Robbie Schremp 6-0/189 7/1/86 L Fulton, N.Y./ London (OHL)
Jack Skille 6-1/198 5/19/87 R Madison, Wis./ Wisconsin (NCAA)
*Shawn Weller 6-2/187 7/8/86 L Glens Falls, N.Y./ Clarkson (NCAA)
Blake Wheeler 6-4/205 8/31/86 R Robbinsdale, Minn./ Minnesota (NCAA)
Steve Zalewski 6-0/185 8/20/86 L New Hartford, N.Y./ Clarkson (NCAA)
Sr. Dir., Hockey Operations: Jim Johannson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Head Coach: Walt Kyle, Marquette, Mich.
Assistant Coach: John Hynes, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Player Personnel: Lew Mongelluzzo, Lansdale, Pa.
Jack Barzee, Burnsville, Minn.
* * * 2005 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp Game Schedule * * *
Tues., Aug. 9 -- USA Blue vs. Finland 4:00 p.m. (NHL Rink)
USA White vs. Sweden 7:00 p.m. (NHL Rink)
Wed., Aug. 10 -- USA White vs. Finland 4:00 p.m. (NHL Rink)
USA Blue vs. Sweden 7:00 p.m. (NHL Rink)
Fri., Aug. 12 --USA Blue vs. Finland 4:00 p.m. (1980 Rink)
USA White vs. Sweden 7:00 p.m. (1980 Rink)
Sat., Aug. 13 -- USA Blue vs. Sweden 1:00 p.m. (1980 Rink)
USA White vs. Finland 4:00 p.m. (1980 Rink)
Model Camp Rosters
Follow the link below for the rosters to the 2005 Model Camp, which is now underway. Games are held daily through Sunday at Mariucci Arena and Ridder Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
Army Returning Home
Providence College will name Tim Army as its new head coach tomorrow (Friday).
An on-campus press conference will be held at 11:00 am.
BC-BU Battle Won By…
…Boston College, as the Eagles came out on top in the battle for Thayer Academy’s star center Brian Gibbons. A 5’6”, 160 lb. native of Braintree, Gibbons is scheduled to arrive at the Heights in the fall of ’07 – unless he accelerates. Gibbons, for our money the top forward prospect in prep hockey this past season as a sophomore, is very crafty, with a great stick and the peripheral vision to go with it. In short, he fits the mold of the small forwards the Eagles have had success with in the Jerry York era. In 30 games for Thayer, Gibbons posted a 26-31-57 line. He’s a 2/26/88 birthdate.
-- Denver has a commitment from Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) right-shot forward Patrick Mullen, who’ll be a Pioneer right away. Mullen, the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Mullen, was a rookie in the USHL this past season, and put up a 14-23-37 line while playing all 60 games. Mullen, who’s 5’10”, 162 lbs and a 5/6/86 birthdate, had a bunch of other schools interested in him for the fall of ’06 – BC and UNH, to name a couple – but when Denver made the offer for this fall, he jumped on it. Before going to the USHL, Mullen played on Joe Gaul’s Pittsburgh Hornets Midget AAA team.
-- UNH has a commitment from Omaha Lancers 6’2”, 195 lb. LD Nick Krates, who will arrive in Durham in, most likely, ’06, though ’07 is also possible, depending on how quickly he progresses. Krates, a big, mobile defenseman, was a rookie in the USHL this past season, playing 53 games for the Lancers and posting a 6-3-9 line with a +15. He’s from Orland Park, Ill. and played for the Chicago Mission Midget AAA before going to the Lancers.
Providence Close to Decision
Look for Providence AD Bob Driscoll to name the next Providence College head coach within the next 24-48 hours.
The final three are: Tim Army, Jimmy Hughes, and David Berard.
The Manchester Monarchs (AHL), which won their division in the regular season but got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, fired their entire coaching staff – which included Hughes – on Monday. Hughes anticipated the firings, as he’d already applied for the Merrimack College and Providence College jobs.
Right now, there are a slew of AHL head coaching positions open – Hartford, Bridgeport, Manchester, Portland, Hershey, Toronto. The Toronto team is the relocated (from St. John’s) AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose GM, as you may know, is John Ferguson, Jr., who played his college hockey at PC and numbered Hughes (and current Friars’ assistant Rick Bennett) among his teammates there. New York Islanders head coach Steve Stirling, who coached Army for two years at Providence College, needs an assistant for the NHL team (to replace Jeff Jackson). In addition, the Washington Caps want to keep Army, but does Army want to move to Hershey? And, as far as we know, Bridgeport hasn’t yet hired someone to replace Greg Cronin.
As you can see -- from Providence, and, earlier, Notre Dame and Northeastern -- the NHL lockout is dictating the hiring process at the college level this spring.
Alaska-Anchorage to Name Shyiak
Look for the University of Alaska-Anchorage to name Northern Michigan Associate Head Coach Dave Shyiak as the school’s next head hockey coach.
The announcement could come as early as this afternoon.
Shyiak, 38, who has been an assistant at Northern Michigan for the past ten years, was a finalist for the UAA job in both 1999, when Dean Talafous was hired, and in 2001, when John Hill was hired. So Shyiak is no stranger to Alaska-Anchorage AD Steve Cobb.
Shyiak was also a finalist for the Northern Michigan job that went to Walt Kyle in 2002.
A co-captain on Northern Michigan’s championship team of 1990-91, Shyiak is a Brandon, Manitoba native with strong ties to Western Canada, which is where Alaska-Anchorage has to be successful recruiting in order to be competitive in the WCHA.
Prior to returning to his alma mater to join Rick Comley’s staff in the fall of ’05, Shyiak coached the Merritt Centennials (BCHL) and the Kimberley Dynamiters of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League.
Next Stop for Keith Yandle
Cushing defenseman Keith Yandle, who has struggled academically for a long time, has been denied admittance to the University of New Hampshire for this fall. The admissions department reportedly felt the big defenseman would be unable to handle the coursework. At any rate, there are three scenarios now open to Yandle.
1. Head to another NCAA school. In that scenario, it appears Maine, where his friend Billy Ryan plays, has him locked up, though Northeastern’s new head coach Greg Cronin is making a big push as well.
(Note: It’s a rare school that has scholarship money floating around at this time of year.
Maine is one that does, though, as freshman forward Tim Maxwell is transferring to Bowling Green; junior defenseman Jeff Mushaluk is graduating early and will be going for his master’s starting in the fall; and sophomore defenseman Tom Zabkowicz is academically ineligible.)
2. The Moncton Wildcats have reportedly just acquired – or are about to acquire -- Yandle’s QMJHL rights in a trade with Gatineau. Moncton, which already has Adam Pineault and will soon have Yandle’s Cushing teammate Chris Bourque on their roster, will be hosting next spring’s Memorial Cup. Coach/GM Ted Nolan and deep-pocketed owner Robert K. Irving are likely to make a big push for Yandle.
3. There’s a slight chance Yandle could go to the USHL (Omaha owns his rights) or to the Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) and reapply to UNH for the fall of ’06. That’s what UNH would like, but nobody really sees that happening.
Yandle’s academic problems stem from neglect over a long period of time. Over the past year he’s made an effort to accelerate, but was unable to pull it off and get into UNH, where he had hoped to be able to play with his brother, Brian, on the Wildcats blueline.
The most likely scenario now has Yandle heading for Orono. Presuming he gets there, how long will he stay? With Moncton lurking around, cash in hand, that’s the big question.
The Moncton Wildcats are also making a huge push for 6’6” defenseman Simon Danis-Pèpin of the Gatineau Intrepide, who has interest from a number of NCAA schools as well as an invite to Team Canada’s Under-18s. If Danis-Pèpin can resist the lure of the Irving dollars, look for him to be playing for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) this fall…. St. Paul’s School defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk, a Nova Scotia native, has been traded from the Saint John Sea Dogs, New Brunswick’s expansion team in the Quebec Major Junior League, to the Halifax Mooseheads. Bodnarchuck, who would have been going into his senior year, was reportedly having academic difficulties at St. Paul's... Look for UMass recruit Vladimir Nikiforov to sign with the Barrie Colts (OHL) shortly… Boston Junior Bruins forward Garrett Peters has a modest offer from the Halifax Mooseheads and is considering going major junior. Hopefully, someone will talk him out of it… The top uncommitted player at the Hub Cup, held over the weekend in Bridgewater, Mass., was Thayer forward Brian Gibbons, who put on a show virtually every time he carried the puck into the offensive zone. Some colleges are holding back on him a little due to a lackluster performance out at the NTDP camp in March, but Gibbons’ skills should make him a top college player. Look for him to wind up at BU or BC.
Oh, Never Mind
A week after eliminating – by unanimous vote -- the Mass. High School Super 8 Tournament, the MIAA has flip-flopped and given the tournament a two-year reprieve.
The MIAA’s Finance Board pointed out that eliminating the Super 8 would result in up to $100,000 in lost net income.
You may recall that the MIAA’s Tournament Management Committee had felt that a separate elite tournament for hockey was unfair, and contrary to the mission of the public schools.
Interestingly, both Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson and BC High athletic director Jon Bartlett have supported eliminating the Super 8 and returning to a single-elimination format.
Army up for NHL Position?
Is Tim Army to PC a lock? Possibly not, as there are said to be several unnamed NHL teams interested in his services – whenever the NHL gets back to business.At any rate, Providence is conducting interviews, with at least three candidates coming in.
Army – His if he wants it. The peoples’ choice.
David Berard – The associate head coach for the Friars has 13 years coaching experience, starting at Colby in the early nineties before going to Providence, then Lake Superior State, then back to Providence, where he’s been for the last seven years. Was a backup goaltender for the Friars. For the past three years he has overseen the New England District teams at the Select Festivals.
Jim Hughes – Friar alum has been an assistant with the Manchester Monarchs (AHL) the last couple of years. Before that, he was an assistant with the Boston Bruins (NHL). Was an assistant with the Friars from 1992-94 before moving on to RPI for a year. Also coached the Orlando Solar Bears (IHL). Was captain at Providence in ’88-89.
In addition, Colgate associate head coach Stan Moore may be coming in for an interview, something we’re trying to confirm. Moore was an assistant for the Friars for several years in the early nineties.
Anzalone Out at Lake State
Lake Superior State head coach Frank Anzalone has been fired (or resigned, or some variation therof.)
This past season the Lakers finished with a 9-22-7 record, and there were reports of unhappy players, though that’s not unusual on a losing team. The team has never had more than nine wins in a season since Anzalone returned for his second stint as the Lake State coach in 2001 (His previous stint ran from 1982-83 to 1989-90 and included an NCAA championship in 1988. A 51-year-old native of Brooklyn, NY, Anzalone coached two different AHL teams, three different ECHL teams and a New Jersey high school team during his 11 years away from college hockey.)
Assistant Jim Roque, who played for Anzalone in the eighties, will be Anzalone’s replacement. In addition to working as an assistant under Anzalone, Roque also worked on Mark Morris' staff at Clarkson.
Call Him Coach Walsh Now
Providence Bruins (AHL) forward Brendan Walsh has retired from pro hockey and will be joining Greg Cronin’s Northeastern staff as an assistant coach.
Walsh, 30, never reached the NHL, but still had a five-year pro career. After a year or so in the Coast League, he settled into the AHL as an enforcer at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, then San Antonio, and, for the last two seasons, the Baby B’s. A fan favorite in Providence, he had a 1-4-5 scoring line this past season – and a whopping 274 penalty minutes.
In his role as enforcer in the AHL, he was known to carefully study tape of other fighters, and wound up winning more bouts than he lost -- despite giving away quite a bit in reach.
The son of a Dorchester fireman, Walsh went to Catholic Memorial, then played his college hockey at BU and Maine, graduating from the latter in 2000.
Walsh played for BU from 1995-97, until a drinking incident got him booted off the team.
He transferred to Maine, sat out a year, and then played for the Black Bears from 1998-2000.
“I had two schools I really wanted to attend,” Walsh once said. “I ended up going to both of them.”
In every season Walsh played college hockey his teams reached the Frozen Four, and he won it all with Maine in ’99 despite playing with a fractured kneecap. In 1999-00, he was a co-captain at Maine.
What the 5’9”, 190 lb. right wing lacked in skill, he made up for with grit, playing a hard-nosed, physical game. He wound up his college career with a 29-58-87 line and 337 penalty minutes. He wasn’t an easy guy to play against.
Cronin interviewed a slew of candidates for the job, including veterans like Buddy Powers, but all along had an interest in Walsh, who has that heart-on-his-sleeve passion that Cronin has always looked for in players he’s coached.
(For the record, Cronin never coached Walsh at Maine, as he left for the NTDP before Walsh’s arrival in Orono.)
Cronin recently retained assistant Gene Reilly, who was brought to Northeastern a year ago by Bruce Crowder. Look for Cronin to name a volunter assistant shortly.
In another coaching move, Mike Mankowski, who spent the last four seasons as the head coach of the Toledo IceDiggers (NAHL), has been hired as an assistant on new head coach Dave Smith’s staff at Canisius.
Shattuck, U.S. Under-17s, Others Coming East
Defending National Midget Champions Shattuck-St. Mary’s will visit New England for the first time in eight years when they join seven other midget teams at the “Beantown Classic in New Hampshire” the weekend of Nov. 18-20.
Also appearing will be national runners-up LA Selects, which lost to Shattuck, 7-0, in the title game at Bensenville, Ill. on April 3.
Other midget teams taking part in the tournament are: The Chicago Young Americans, Junior Bruins, Dartmouth (Nova Scotia) Subways, Dallas Stars, Detroit Victory Honda, and the Pittsburgh Hornets.
Ineligible for the playoffs, but appearing in a series of spotlight games – italicized below -- will be Northwood, Cushing Academy, Governor Dummer Academy, the Junior Bruins (EJHL), the Junior Monarchs (EJHL), and the U.S. Under-17 Team.
The games on Friday and Sunday will be held at the Rinks at Exeter (not Phillips Exeter Academy), which has two sheets. Saturday’s games will be held at UNH’s Whittemore Center.
Fri. Nov. 18, 2005 (The Rinks at Exeter)
8 am – Pittsburgh vs. Shattuck (American Division)
8 am – Jr. Bruins vs. Dallas (American Division)
10 am – Victory Honda vs. CYA (National Division)
10 am – LA Selects vs. Dartmouth Subways (National Division)
2 pm – Jr. Bruins vs. Pittsburgh (American Division)
2 pm – Dallas vs. Shattuck (American Division)
4 pm – LA Selects vs. CYA (National Division)
4 pm – Victory Honda vs. Dartmouth Subways (National Division)
6 pm – Northwood vs. GDA
Sat. Nov. 19, 2005 (UNH)
8 am – CYA vs. Dartmouth Subways (National Division)
10 am – Victory Honda vs. LA Selects (National Division)
12 pm – Dallas vs. Pittsburgh (American Division)
2 pm – Jr. Bruins vs. Shattuck (American Division)
4 pm – USA Under-17 vs. Jr. Bruins (EJHL)
7 pm – Northwood vs. Cushing
Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 (The Rinks at Exeter)
8 am – 7th Place Game
8 am – 5th Place Game
10 am – 3rd Place Game
10 am – 1st Place Game
12 pm – Northwood vs. Jr. Bruins (EJHL)
12 pm – Cushing vs. opponent to be determined
2:30 pm – US Under-17 vs. Junior Monarchs (EJHL)
In case you’re wondering, UNH will be home vs. UMass-Lowell that Friday night (7 pm) and on the road at UMass-Lowell on Saturday (7 pm).
Shattuck-St. Mary’s last appearance in New England was at the Cushing/Watkins Tournament in the 1997-98 season. Andy Murray was the Shattuck coach then, and forward Ben Eaves was in the 10th grade.
Mass. Eliminates Elite 8
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has voted to eliminate the Div. 1A Hockey Tournament, better known as the “Elite 8” or the “Super 8”.
The vote, by the tournament management committee, was a unanimous 9-0. All hockey teams, starting this season, will now compete in their respective divisions, as is the case with other Mass. high school sports, and all tournaments will be single elimination.
Committee members felt that the tournament went against the MIAA’s philosophy of “not placing emphasis on elite athletes or teams.” Opponents of the tournament cited the fact that hockey was the only sport with a special tournament.
Earlier this month, the MIAA Ice Hockey Committee had urged continuation of the tournament for two more years in order that the current three-loss format could be further evaluated.
Catholic Memorial has won 12 Super 8 titles in the tournament’s 15-year history.
Esposito and the Remparts
Not surprisingly, there is a lot of speculation – and suspicion – in the wake of Quebec part-owner/GM Patrick Roy’s first-round selection of Shattuck-St. Mary’s forward Angelo Esposito in the first round of Saturday’s QMJHL Draft.
Within QMJHL circles it was believed – NCAA option aside -- that Esposito’s first choice was Rimouski (picking 18th), and his second was Gatineau (picking 15th).
Quebec pulled off a complicated three-way trade to move up and gain the 11th overall pick in order to cut those two teams off at the pass.
It was reported that the Rimouski front office types seated at the draft table were visibly upset at the move.
“We made the trade,” Roy told reporters, “because we thought it was the only way we could be sure we would get him. “We were afraid that Gatineau would take him at 15th and we wanted to move ahead of them.”
Would Roy have bothered to make that trade if he didn’t feel he had an excellent chance of signing Esposito?
In talking to other members of the Canadian media, Roy sounded, alternately, confident --or quite a bit less than confident -- that he could sign Esposito.
-- The Halifax Herald reported that Roy said he had contact with Esposito before the draft, and was confident that the 16-year-old would forego his final year at Shattuck and report to the Remparts.
"Esposito and his family haven't made their final decision, but we're positive he's going to come. We would not have taken him if we were not positive," said Roy. "But there's still a long way to go before he comes to Quebec."
-- Roy told TSN, “We're happy to select him, but now we have to sit down with the family to see if we can change their minds. Hopefully, we can start talking to them next week. It was a big risk, but when you have a chance to take the best player, you have to gamble.
"It's important for us to show him why he should take the Quebec route. Our education program is as good as anywhere else and it's probably the best league to develop a player of his calibre.
"I met with them a month and a half ago and we had good talks. Hopefully, it's pursuable. We'll try to make him change his mind."
-- Meanwhile, Le Soliel of Quebec City, spoke to Esposito’s father, John, who said, "I'm sad for Mr. Roy because he lost a first round pick. Angelo's and our position remains the same. He prefers the academic route. He has decided for a while that he will study at university.”
-- Philippe Lecavalier, Esposito’s family adviser, told the Herald that his advisee’s chances of signing with Quebec were “extremely slim” and that he was in the process of trying to decide between Boston University and the University of New Hampshire.
In both the OHL and QMJHL draft, there’s a ton of gamesmanship, and the NCAA is often used as leverage by those able to do so. However, as much as we hope we’re wrong in this case, it’s generally true of these affairs that money talks loudest, and wins out in the end.
So look for Roy and the Remparts to keep the pressure on Esposito, who, due to the readily-available NCAA option, has considerable leverage and would secure a hefty financial package from the Remparts, probably well up in the six figure range.
Look for BU and UNH to also keep the pressure on.
Esposito, a Montreal native, was not at the draft, which was held in Chicoutimi.
Milton Case Put to Rest
Wednesday in Quincy (Mass.) District Court, the five former Milton Academy players accused of statutory rape were, as part of a plea agreement, ordered to undergo counseling, complete 100 hours of community service, and serve at least two years of pre-trial probation.
At the end of two years, in May 2007, Pasko Skarica, 18; Alex Casiano, 17; and Jay Driscoll, 17, will, if they stay out of trouble, have their charges dismissed and their records cleared.
The two 16-year-old players charged as juveniles in the case secured a similar deal in a separate closed-door session. The only difference is their probation will last until their 18th birthdays.
Skarica, Driscoll, and Casiano each read letters of apology – also part of the agreement -- to the family of the 15-year-old girl in the case. The girl, who remains a student at Milton, was not present.
In Massachusetts, it is unlawful to have sex with anyone under age 16. State law lets prosecutors decide whether to press charges.
This case received a ton of attention on Boston television and in the press. For two days this week, the story was front page news in the Boston Globe, appearing above the fold, juxtaposed with stories concerning the identity of Watergate’s “Deep Throat.”
This typist’s personal feeling is that this was not something that should have gone to court. If any good comes out of it all, it’s that both grownups and their kids may now be more open in speaking about an issue that may have been conveniently ignored in the past. For that, however, the Milton kids paid a steep, steep price -- far steeper than anyone could have foreseen, and in public, no less.
Remparts Make Esposito Their First Round Pick
Shattuck St. Mary’s 6’0” LC Angelo Esposito, who has narrowed his college choices to BU and UNH, has been selected by the Quebec Remparts in the first round of today’s QMJHL draft, being held in Chicoutimi, Que.
Quebec didn’t even have a first round pick and had to trade up to get him at #11.
Esposito, an ’89 and the QMJHL Central Scouting Service’s #1 ranked player heading into the draft, has steadfastly maintained that he is NCAA-bound. Either the Remparts, whose co-owner and GM is Patrick Roy (whose son, Jonathan, also a goalie, is eligible for the draft), have a deal with Esposito and his family, or they are taking a flyer, in which case Esposito can expect to be more heavily courted than he already has been.
The rumors among Quebec major junior teams in recent days had Esposito interested in going to Rimouski. However, as they finished the season in first place, the Oceanic had the last pick (#18) in the first round.
As expected, the Saint John (New Brunswick) Sea Dogs, one of two expansion teams joining the QMJHL this fall, made 6’2” RD Alex Grant of Antigonish, Nova Scotia the #1 overall pick.
6’6” RD Simon Danis-Pepin, the object of serious NCAA attention, and a projected first rounder, has not as yet been selected. As we write this, the second round is about to begin.
In Wednesday’s expansion draft, the Saint John Sea Dogs acquired the rights to St. Paul’s School ’88 LD Andrew Bodnarchuk; Quebec Remparts ’85 LW Kevin Coughlin; UNH recruit Keith Yandle; and Salisbury School ‘88 LD Alex Biega (a first-round pick of Rimouski last June). By the way, Biega’s younger brother, Mike, who is also at Salisbury, was projected for the first round today but not selected. If he’d shown interest in the major junior route, he’d have been a first rounder. Nonetheless, it’s quite possible a team will take a flyer on him. A left-shot center, Biega is an ’89 so will have to be taken in the first five rounds – or not at all.
You can follow the draft here:
Pooley Offically Hired at Notre Dame
The Notre Dame Athletic Department has scheduled a press conference for 11 a.m. today (Fri. ) in South Bend to officially announce that former Providence College coach Paul Pooley has been hired as an assistant on Jeff Jackson’s staff.
Berglund Retiring from USA Hockey
Art Berglund, who has been at USA Hockey for over 30 years in a number of capacities, from volunteer to, most recently, senior director of international administration, will be retiring on June 30.
Berglund’s position will not be filled. Instead, his responsibilities will be assumed by Jim Johannson, USA Hockey’s senior director of hockey operations.
Berglund, a native of Ontario who played at Colorado College in the early ‘60s, was a scout with the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Rockies in the ‘70s. He joined USA Hockey’s national office in 1984.
Army on Tap at PC
Reliable sources report that Tim Army has already been approached concerning the Providence job, and that he is set to take it.
Don’t look for any quick announcement, though, as the school hasn’t even yet acknowledged that Paul Pooley is leaving for Notre Dame. And since Pooley is still the Friars' coach, at least on paper, no one is saying anything publicly.
Army, 42, has coached the Washington Capitals’ Portland affiliate in the AHL for the last three years. However, the Caps have dropped Portland as their top farm club (Anaheim is taking it over) and picked up the Hershey Bears, mainly because of it’s closer to D.C. Caps GM George McPhee hasn’t yet named a head coach for the Bears, though Army was a candidate.
Army, highly regarded in AHL circles, was an All-America star forward and Hobey Baker finalist at Providence College in the early ‘80s under Lou Lamoriello and returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach from 1987-93.
From 1993-97, Army was an assistant with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. From 1997-2002 he was an assistant coach with Washington, serving under former Friar defenseman Ron Wilson.
Army’s roots in Rhode Island hockey run deep. His grandfather, George Army, was a former minor league catcher who later spent 35 years as a trainer for Providence Reds (AHL). His father, Tom Army, was the first hockey captain in Providence College’s history, in the early ‘50s, and today is head of off-ice officials for the Providence Bruins (AHL).
Army has two older brothers who played college hockey, Tommy, who played at Wesleyan; and Billy, who played at Boston College.
Unlike many pro coaches, Army, an East Providence native, has kept his hand in the amateur game. He’s worked in the past with USA Hockey, and will be doing so again at this summer's Select 15 Festival.
Motzko to St. Cloud
Gophers assistant Bob Motzko is returning to St. Cloud State, his alma mater, as an associate head coach under Craig Dahl.
Dahl has two years left under his present contract, and the plan is that Motzko, 44, will take over the head job when Dahl’s contract expires. Dahl has talked about moving into another position at the university.
“There are no hidden handshakes,” Motzko said. “I’m not getting any guarantees. There are no side deals with my becoming head coach.”
“I’m going up there to help Craig out and turn things around,” Motzko added.
However, while no one from St. Cloud State can say anything on the record, Motzko is going to St. Cloud to effect a seamless transfer of power when the time comes.
Motzko and Dahl have known each other for twenty years. In 1986-87, the year Herb Brooks was coaching at St. Cloud, then in Div. II, Dahl was his assistant, and Motzko his volunteer assistant. The following season, under Dahl, St. Cloud turned Div. I and, three years later, in 1990-91, joined the WCHA.
In the years since, Motzko was head coach/GM of the North Iowa Huskies (USHL), where he won a Jr. A national championship. In 1991, he went to Miami (Ohio) as an assistant for three years, then to Denver for a year, then back to Miami for three more yearrs. In 1999, as the first head coach/GM of the expansion Sioux Falls Stampede, his team went 37-17-4 and reached the USHL playoffs. After two years with the Stampede, Motzko was hired to come to the U.
Who'll be Motzko’sSuccessor at the U?
We’ve heard three names so far:
Alaska-Anchorage head coach John Hill. An assistant under Lucia for six consecutive years (‘95-99 at Colorado College, and ’99-01 with the Gophers), Hill returned to his native Anchorage to take over the reins at his alma mater in ’01. Hill has been head coach ofthe Seawolves for four years. Earlier this spring, Hill’s name was mentioned in connection with the then-vacant Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) head job.
Omaha Lancers head coach/GM Mike Hastings. It’s been 11 years now since Hastings left the college game to take over the Omaha franchise, which had previously been coached by current Gopher assistant Mike Guentzel. Hastings has enjoyed 11 straight winning seasons at Omaha, won two Clark Cup championships, sent innumerable players on to the college ranks, and, in short, doesn’t have much left to prove at the USHL level. It’s possible he could be interested in a change.
Eric Rud – A four-year defenseman for Lucia at Colorado College, Rud was a team captain in both his junior and senior years. A Minnesota native, Rud played minor pro from his graduation until 2002, at which time he joined Mark Carlson’s staff at Cedar Rapids. Rud gained quick respect in USHL circles and, when CC assistant Norm Bazin was seriously injured in a November 2003 car accident while recruiting, Rud was summoned by his alma mater, where he filled in as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator last season. Bazin is returning to full-time status this coming season.