Perhaps the most inspiring story in these early days of the college hockey season can be found at the University of Vermont, where forward Chris Atkinson and defenseman Tim Geverd have played their first college games.
Atkinson missed all of last season – his freshman year – after getting his jugular sliced open by a teammate’s skate while he was playing for the U.S. Under-18 Team in a game at RIT on Feb. 26, 2006. Atkinson’s life was saved by the fast work of NTDP trainer David Cotner and the Rochester area EMTs and ambulance squad, who got him to the hospital in six minutes.
The recovery was long, and required extensive surgery to regenerate nerves in the shoulder area.
“All last year,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon, “he didn’t miss a practice. He would just skate around with one arm. In time we saw him raising his arm, and then stickhandling, and then taking shots. But it’s a lot of work and time, building back all those muscles in his shoulder. I know he will get there because of his work ethic and attitude.”
Sneddon said he met with Atkinson yesterday, to remind him not to get frustrated if his skill level isn’t back to 100% of where he wants it to be. “He’s done an incredible job to even be in the lineup,” Sneddon said. “It takes time to regain skills, and when he does he’ll be a very good player. He does all the little things well.”
Geverd is a junior whose first two college seasons were totally wiped out by injuries. But adversity is nothing new for him. In a childhood household accident, he seriously hurt an eye. By the time he was in the second grade, after he’d gone through 17 separate surgeries, complications in the form of glaucoma and painful ulcers set in, leading to the eye being removed and replaced with a glass eye, which he has played his entire career with. In July 2003, shortly after the Select 16 Festival, Geverd, in the hospital with endocarditis, suffered a stroke and was about 45 minutes from death due to septic shock. Tests revealed he had a damaged heart valve. His career looked over, but he battled back, returning to the game a year later, first with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL), where he played with his older brother, and then, in the fall of ’05, at the University of Vermont.
Just before his freshman year in Burlington, Geverd suffered a fractured right ankle in which a ligament had snapped and retracted, a serious injury that wiped out his whole season and required delicate surgery. Again, Geverd was told he’d probably reached the end of the line.
But last fall, after taking a redshirt year, Geverd was back on the ice, and things were finally looking up again. However, in a preseason practice a teammate lost an edge and crashed into Geverd along the boards, breaking the burly, hard-hitting defenseman’s ankle. Season #2 down the drain.
“Tim hasn’t practiced in two years,” said Sneddon. “Right now, the thing for him is to get back to game tempo, to making fast decisions.”
“Both players have done remarkable jobs,” said Sneddon. “I’d like to hear guys in the locker room complain of an injury after what (Chris and Tim) have gone through. I am really proud and pleased to see them put on a Catamount jersey.”
After the team’s exhibition game vs. Acadia University on Oct. 6, Sneddon gave both players the game puck as a tribute to what they’ve gone through to finally play their first college game.
“They will do well in life regardless of hockey,’ said Sneddon.
For more on Atkinson, see USHR News 3/3/06; For more on Geverd, see USHR News 8/20/03
Getting ReadyIf you click over to the prep pages, you will notice that the individual team pages are now open, and schools are beginning to post their schedules.
So far, the schedules for Cushing, Holderness, Middlesex, Northfield-Mt. Hermon, Shady Side Academy, South Kent, and Vermont Academy are up. We expect more will be added daily. Plus, every few days, we’ll post a list of schedules that have been added. That way you won’t have to go looking for schedules that aren’t yet there. (Please note that while we post tournament schedules, it’s the coaches who are uploading the regular season schedules. They have other duties besides hockey, so cut ‘em some slack.)
Also, we’re looking for an intern or two – of any age. An important area in which help is needed, at least over the next four months, is the prep pages. Specifically, we need help putting together weekly composite schedules, doing maintenance, helping with the short game reports we do on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and doing research. Honestly, though, if you feel you have something you can offer USHR, and you have a few spare hours, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org All applicants must have a PC; not a Mac. In addition, anybody who is technically oriented, and knows web design and some simple programming would be of interest to us. So let us know what your strengths and interests are, and tell us a few things about yourself. We’re also looking for reporters to cover various parts of the country so if you’re well connected in your area and can write, we’d like to hear from you.
Some former USHR interns have gone on to work in journalism. Others have gone on to work at college sports information departments and in media relations and marketing for pro sports teams. Some are doing things that have nothing whatsoever to do with sports. All are pretty cool people.
Stat of the WeekOn Saturday night in St. Louis, the U.S. Under-17 Team lost to the St. Louis Bandits, 3-1. In the first period, there were a combined two shots on goal. Yes, that's right, in 20 minutes of play each team managed just one shot on goal. Not surprisingly, both resulted in goals.
The listed attendance was 469, and we have no idea how many up and left after the first period.
In the second period, the game opened right up, as the US outshot St. Louis 25-19. Neither goalie -- Brandon Maxwell or Mike Johnson --allowed a goal in the second period. Actually, Johnson didn't allow one the rest of the way, finishing with 30 saves.
Kyle O'Kane had a pair of goals for St. Louis and former Choate forward Sam Bozoian, who didn't attend many classes while a freshman at Harvard and was asked by the university to take a year off to think things over, had a pair of assists.
Beantown Fall Classic
Some thoughts on the Third Annual Beantown Fall Classic – and sorry for the delay, but the Red Sox are screwing up this typist’s biorhythms. First off, kudos to the Masters for bringing so many of the nation’s top midget programs to New England. The weather outside was unbelievable, the foliage looked good, BC, BU, Northeastern all had home games over the weekend, the Red Sox were winning games #6 and #7, and the Patriots squeaked past the Dolphins. Do we have a negative? Just one. The Exeter Ice House – with the exception of the snack bar – just wasn’t up to the challenge. The ice was bad (not that it wasn’t elsewhere as well), but there’s no excuse for overflowing trash barrels and dirty bathrooms. We’re told that the facility was just sold, and the ink on the contract has yet to dry. When it does, things should be much better.
As for some thoughts on teams and players, this typist went up for a couple of days and concentrated on the Junior and Under-18 divisions, only seeing a few Under-16 games.
The U.S. Under-17 Team got a great game from goaltender Adam Murray, a Denver recruit, in Friday’s 3-1 win over the Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL). The line of Steven Whitney (sitting in for the weekend), A.J. Treais, and Ryan Bourque was certainly the most creative, though. RW Kyle Palmieri is pretty skilled and creative himself. The Notre Dame recruit and his center, Drew Shore, were quite noticeable. The defense struggled in their own end for lengthy stretches, but Murray bailed them out. The Junior Bruins took a ton of shots, but couldn’t capitalize. Stevie Moses had one particularly good opportunity after breaking in alone for a shot on Murray. It would have been a pretty goal… if it had gone in. Those nagging details.
The next day’s Under-17 Team goaltender, Brandon Maxwell, who took in the BC-North Dakota game Friday night, didn’t fare as well, as the NH Jr. Monarchs played a strong game, getting out in front early and staying the course for a 5-1 win. Yuri Bouharevich and Brian Flynn were very good up front and James Mello was strong in goal. The Monarchs defensive corps worked hard in front of Mello. Steven Whitney scored the only goal for the Under-17 team, tapping home a rebound. Whitney might actually have been the top U.S. player – most of his teammates looked flat and uninspired.
Northwood has an excellent prospect in 6’4” LC Julien Cayer, a Clarkson recruit. Cayer, whose brother is already a senior at Clarkson, is an ’89 12th grader from Longueuil, Que. 6’3” 11th grade forward Alex Chiasson, a ’90 from Quebec City, should be a top player for Northwood as well. 6’5” defenseman Nik Pokulok (brother of Sascha) is a ’90 birthdate and should be OK as well once he grows into his body a bit.
On the LA Selects we noticed 5’10” forward Jon Parker, a ’91, and 6’1” forward Max Miner, a ’90. However, we didn’t get much of look at this team – pretty limited viewing.
We watched ’90 Team Illinois goaltender Nick Holmes shut out the Texas Attack 5-0. Holmes wears #14, rather unusual for a goaltender. On the blueline we liked 6’0” Frankie Simonelli, a ’92. Up front 5’8” ’90 birthdate Chris Bournazos was consistently on his game. The star of the game, though, was clearly TI’s in ’91 forward Cody Murphy who has wheels, hands, and just works his bag off. He easily could have (should have?) been playing in the other rink with the U.S. Under-17s. He’ll be a top-flight college player.
While the Attack were standing around a bit more than they should have, they had players who showed us something. Like 6’4” LC Broderick Browne, a ’90 who exhibited agility for his size. Other forwards we liked were LC Edgars Lipsbergs, an ’89 from Latvia, and 6’0” Johnnie Searfoss, a ’90. On the blueline 6’5” Casey Slattery was hard to miss – this is a team as big as the state they call home. Slattery, a right shot ’90 from Wyoming, has heavy feet, but could turn out OK.
The LA Jr. Kings have some serious prospects, including ’93 RC Shane McColgan, who will be a player we might be paying to see play someday. He is very poised for a 14-year old, adroitly manning the point on the power play, and moving the puck quickly and with authority. ’91 LC Tyler Maxwell was excellent, as we expected. 5’8” left shot RW Robert Francis had a really nice game as well, just a nice heady player with the skill to back it up. On the blue line, 6’0” Daniel Broussard, a ’91, showed us something.
Russell Stover makes those boxes of sticky caramel-filled chocolates your grandmother may keep around, but the Kansas City-based company also sponsors a hockey team. However, only one player on the team is from Kansas. A lot of the pro scouts filtered in to watch 6’2” RC Scott Winkler, who, despite the name, is from Asker, Norway. Winkler, a ’90, has good speed for his size, a nice long stride and agility. He seemed a little perimeter in the game this typist watched, but it wasn’t exactly a physical game to begin with. Anyway, Winkler wants to play college hockey and Maine, CC, Mankato State, and Northern Michigan are just some of the teams who’ve made a point of checking him out. Russell Stover also has an excellent defenseman in 5’10” Garrett Clarke, a late ’92 from Newfoundland who played last year at Shattuck. Russell Stover, by the way, beat the LA Jr. Kings, 2-1.
Chris Coury’s Belle Tire team featured 5’8” Ohio State recruit Brad Smith, a smart, heads-up player who sees the ice very well. We also liked forward Jordan Miller, a 5’10” ’91 and 6’0” ’90 RD David Chaney.
The Little Bruins 5’6” ’93 forward Alex Gacek, a 9th grader at Gov. Dummer, was excellent, a player prep fans are going to get a kick out of watching – a spiffy player for Governor’s spiffy new rink. The Little Bruins actually skated two ‘93s – 5’10” forward Joey Yeadon was the other, and he didn’t look out of place, either.
Victory Honda, as usual, has some prospects. 6’1” LD Evan Accettura, a ’92, is excellent – a lot of high end. We also liked 6’3” LD James McNulty, a ’91, and 6’0” ’91 power forward Sean Keane. And don’t let us forget 6’4” forward Mitch Koralewski, an ’89.
For the Pittsburgh Hornets, ’92 6’1” forward Brandon Saad, a Michigan recruit, is the real deal. This is a young team, with a bunch of ‘92s. 6’4” defenseman Stephen Johns is one of them, a player that is getting a lot of attention because of his size and his ability to skate and lug the puck. When it comes to the finer points of the game, though, he has a way to go.But the tools are definitely there. Kevin Liss, also a defenseman and also a ’92, looked good. ’91 goalie Matt Skoff is one to keep an eye on. Gritty ’91 center David Rigatti also played well.
As for the Under-16s, we only had time to watch a couple of teams. Team Illinois was one of them and 6’1” late ’92 forward Michael Mersch was excellent, a cut above the rest and a hard worker to boot. The Texas Attack Under-16s had a pair of ’92 forwards that jumped out at us, 6’1” LC Colton Hargrove and 5’9” Jacob Fallon.
Canisius College Men’s Ice Hockey is hosting the Second Annual Junior Hockey Showcase Dec. 27-29 in Buffalo, NY at the Amherst Pepsi Center. They are looking for a few teams to found out the tournament, so if you have a team looking for a few games call Canisius assistant Greg Fargo at 716-888-2973.
Teams already signed up include the Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OPJHL), Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (AJHL), Boston Bulldogs (AJHL), Leamington Flyers (WOHL), Orangeville Crushers (OPJHL), Wheatfield Blades (GHL), St. Mary's Lincolns (WOJHL), Listowel Cyclones (MWJHL), Buffalo Stars (Empire), Syracuse Stars (Empire), and the Thorold Blackhawks (GHL).
Deerfield Academy 5’11”, 190 lb. senior RD Malcolm Lyles has committed to Boston College for fall ‘08.
A 7/20/90 birthdate from Miami Gardens, Florida, Lyles, who is also a good football player, is a terrific skater with great balance. In 25 games last season, he had a 5-3-8 line in 25 games. He’ll be a depth player with the Eagles, and will compete for playing time.
Ivy schools like Princeton, Dartmouth, and Yale were also interested in Lyles, who played well at the Select 17s in July (see USHR News, 7/16/07).
Lyles is the younger brother of former Deerfield forward Milton Lyles, who was also an excellent skater and is now at North Carolina as a lacrosse player.
Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) LC Jack MacLellan has committed to Brown University for the fall of ’08.
MacLellan is currently the fourth leading scorer in the AJHL, trailing only Joe Colborne (Denver), Mike Connolly (Minnesota-Duluth), and Tyler Gron (Northern Michigan). Granted, MacLellan is at least a year older than the guys ahead of him, but no matter, he has a great stick.
In 20 games so far this season, he has a 12-17-29 line. A 6/5/88 birthdate from Calgary, MacLellan was recruited by Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, and a host of the Ivies.
No Place Like Home
6’1”, 173 lb. U.S. Under-17 team forward Drew Shore has committed to Denver for the fall of ’09.
Shore, a 1/29/91 birthdate and a right-shot center, has a 4-5-9 line in seven games for the Under-17 Team so far this season. A smart, competitive type who has good hands, he wins battles for loose pucks and turns them into scoring opportunities. He’s more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, though he’ll score his share of goals.
Shore is a Denver native, and both of his parents went to law school at the University of Denver. Shore and all three of his brothers have attended the Pioneers hockey camp, so there’s a high degree of familiarity at work here. Brother Nick, who’s a ’92 forward with the Colorado Thunderbirds Under-16, is every bit the prospect his older brother is. Sorry, but we haven’t seen the two youngest brothers.
Before going to the NTDP this fall, Shore played for Honeybaked midget minor. Before that, he was in Vancouver playing with the North Shore Winter Club organization.
Shore took unofficial visits to Harvard, Boston College, and Wisconsin as well. Notre Dame was reported to be in the picture as well.
A Defenseman for the Bears
5’9”, 165 lb. Gunnery senior defenseman Jeff Buvinow has committed to Brown for the fall of ‘09.
Buvinow, who’ll play the ’08-09 season in the USHL, is a strong-skating blueliner who can handle the puck and could someday be running the Bears’ power play. He’s a smart player, does a good job supporting his fellow d-man, and just does a lot of little things right. Last season, his first at Gunnery, he had a 12-8-20 line in 32 games. He also had a strong showing at the Select 17 Festival in July.
A 5/11/90 birthdate, Buvinow is from Sewell, NJ and played for the Philadelphia Little Flyers before going to Gunnery. He's playing this fall with the Junior Flyers.
The other schools in the picture for him were Colgate, RPI, Quinnipiac, Princeton, and Providence College.
Less is More
“(Red Sox manager Terry Francona) was expecting a pregame visit from his father, Tito, a former Indian (1959-64) who has been here for all three games. “It got late the first night, and security wouldn’t let him down the second night,” Francona said. Asked if his father ever questioned his decisions as a manager, Francona shook his head. “Never did when I was a player, either,” he said. “He didn’t tell me how to hit. When I was a kid, he used to grab a lawn chair and go down in right field, stayed out of the way. Not that he didn’t care. I asked a million questions. I think he thought I’d figure it out if I paid attention.”
Less is MoreThe World Series opens tonight and this item, which appeared in the Boston Globe when the Red Sox were in Cleveland last week, struck us as relevant not just to baseball, but to all sports. It’s definitely food for thought.
World Junior A Challenge Roster
Here’s the 21-man roster for the 2007 U.S. Junior Select Team, which will be competing in the World Junior A Challenge from Nov. 5-11 in Trail and Nelson, BC.
All but one of the players is from the USHL. The lone exception is Boston College recruit Jimmy Hayes, who, as an overager in the U.S. NTDP – he’s an 11/89 birthdate – is ineligible for international Under-18 tournaments with his teammates.
The World Junior A Tournament is an Under-20 tournament. Seven of the players chosen are ‘90s, 13 are ‘89s, and one is an ’88.
2007 United States Junior Select Team:
Goaltenders (2): Brady Hjelle (Cedar Rapids, ’90); Josh Robinson (Sioux City, ’89).
Defensemen (7): Ben Blood (Des Moines, ’89); John Carlson (Indiana, ’90); Seth Helgeson (Sioux City, ’90); Tyler Kieffer (Lincoln, ’89); Blake Kessel (Waterloo, ’89); John Lee (Waterloo, ’89); Max Nicastro (Chicago, ’90).
Forwards (12): Barry Almeida (Omaha, ’88); Mike Cichy (Tri-City, ’90); Jack Connolly (Sioux Falls, ’89); Nick Dineen (Sioux Falls, ’89); Jared Festler (Lincoln, ’89); Keegan Flaherty (Green Bay, ’90); Tim Hall (Ohio, ’90); Jimmy Hayes (US NTDP, ’89); Nick Larson (Waterloo, ’89); Drew LeBlanc (Chicago, ’89); Nico Sacchetti (Omaha, ’89); Craig Smith (Waterloo, ’89).
Head Coach: P.K. O’Handley (Waterloo). Assistant Coach: Regg Simon (Des Moines).
This is the first U.S. appearance in the two-year old World Junior A Challenge.
Tues. Nov. 6 – Belarus (Nelson, BC)
Wed. Nov. 7 – Canada East (Nelson, BC)
Thurs. Nov. 8 -- TBD
Sat. Nov. 10 -- TBD
Sun. Nov. 11 -- TBD
BC’s Goalie of the Future
U.S. Under-17 Team goaltender Brandon Maxwell has committed to Boston College and will arrive at the Heights in the fall of ’09.
Maxwell, who was born in Winter Park, Florida, but grew up in Ontario, was on campus Friday night for the two-period 0-0 game vs. North Dakota. When asked why he chose BC, he said, “I thought the atmosphere was great. You can’t compare it to anywhere else. It just opened my eyes.”
Maxwell played last season for the Cambridge (Ontario) Hawks Midget Minor team, coached by his father, Brad (not to be confused with the former NHL defenseman of the same name). This Brad Maxwell played major junior, raised horses, and is now an assistant coach with the Guelph Storm (OHL).
We asked Brandon why he chose the college route over major junior.
“One,” he said, “to get an education, and, two, the hockey is great. I’ll be playing against men. I can go there for a full four years, but if I go to major junior I have to leave when I’m 20 – and I might not be ready to leave when I’m 20. With college hockey you have more time to prepare for the next step.”
Maxwell, whose mother is from New Jersey, was, as we mentioned above, born in Florida, where the family’s horse racing interests had taken them. When he was a young child, Maxwell’s family moved back to Ontario.
A 3/22/91 birthdate, Maxwell was the second round pick (#27 overall) of the Erie Otters in the May OHL draft. He describes his strengths as “probably the technical part, handling the puck, plus competitiveness. I don’t like to get beat and I don’t like to lose.”
In four games with the Under-17 Team, Maxwell has a 2.75 gaa and a .920 save percentage.
In addition to BC, schools in the hunt for Maxwell were North Dakota, Maine, and Michigan.
Friday’s shortened game has prompted action up at the Heights, as the school has moved quickly to approve money to install air conditioning in Conte Forum. Friday’s problems were set in motion when the two portable dehumidifiers, which were cranked up to keep the building dry and fog free, tripped the lights during the second period, plunging the building into total darkness until the auxiliary lights came on. The dehumidifiers, however, also raised the temperature in the rink so, while fog was not an issue in the first period, the building was extremely warm. In the end, the dehumidifiers had to be shut down so the lights could work – and that’s when the fog rolled in, and the game was halted.
NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch
The Central Scouting Players to Watch list has been released. It is what it is -- a preliminary list. Players are either ranked with an “A”, considered a potential top three round selection; a "B" for a potential third to fifth round selection, or a “C”, a potential late round selection. Expect a lot of changes between now and the NHL Entry Draft June 20- 21 in Ottawa, Ont.
Here's the link. Clink on the little Adobe PDF log in the center of the page.
October 2007: NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch
As Good as They Come at 145’11”, 170 lb. P.F. Chang’s Midget AAA forward Colten St. Clair has committed to Colorado College for the fall of ’10.
St. Clair, who is still 14, will turn 15 on 11/22/92 – a month from today. A native of Gilbert, Arizona, just east of Phoenix, he was the USHR #2 ranked forward at August’s Select 15 Festival, where he had a 5-4-9 line in five games and showed power and strength in his skating, excellent vision, and hands. He played hard, and was equally good in every game and every shift – very consistent.
Over the weekend, St. Clair’s team, which is based in Phoenix and coached by Jim Johnson, the former Minnesota-Duluth defenseman who went on to play for 14 years in the NHL, was playing in the Colorado College Tournament along with the Pikes Peak Miners, Colorado Rampage, and Dallas Stars. So St. Clair got a good look at the campus, and along with his teammates watched CC sweep the Gophers at home. According to Johnson, St. Clair has been zeroing in on CC hockey since he was ten years old, as the regional sports network that carries Tigers games extends down into Arizona.
“The small size of the college and the fact that it’s as close to an Ivy education as you can get out here had a lot to do with his choice,” Johnson said. “He’s well beyond his years physically but, most importantly, emotionally. He’s one heck of a player but he’s also a quality, quality character kid. He’s as focused and committed to development on and off the ice as anyone I’ve ever seen. He has that inner drive.”
“He plays with such passion,” Johnson added. “He plays at high speed with the puck on his stick. And he has great acceleration. Everything is at full speed. It’s very impressive.”
A wing for PF Chang’s, St. Clair had pretty much all the major college powers interested in him. Ohio State, where his father went to school, North Dakota, Minnesota, and BU were among those reported to be looking to land him.
St. Clair is one of the leading candidates for the U.S. National Team Development program.
He joins Omaha Lancers ’91 forward Dakota Eveland in the class entering Colorado College in the fall of ’10.
Colorado College, in case you missed it, swept the University of Minnesota in Colorado Springs over the weekend, getting a pair of strong outings from former Cushing Academy goaltender Richard Bachman, who kicked out 23 of 24 shots in Friday’s 3-1 win and then coming back on Saturday and kicking out 38 of 39 in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win. And while he came up on the short end of both games, Gophers goaltender Jeff Frazee was also excellent, stopping a couple of shorthanded breakaways – one a 2-on-0 – in the first period of Saturday’s game.
CC is making a rare visit east this weekend, playing at UNH Fri.-Sat. nights.
Miller to Crusaders
Luke Miller, a 5’11” right-shot forward who played at St. John’s Prep and is now taking a PG year at Exeter, has committed to Holy Cross for next fall.
Miller has excellent speed, protects the puck well, and plays a gritty game. He’s playing fall hockey for the Eastern Mass Senators.
Motherwell, O'Hanley Suspended
Boston College, already hurting going into tomorrow night’s tilt vs. North Dakota as a result of junior forward Brock Bradford suffering a broken left humerus (that’s the long bone in the upper arm) during the Eagles season-opening OT loss to Michigan at the Icebreaker Tournament at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, now will be without junior defensman Brett Motherwell and senior defenseman Brian O’Hanley as well.
Both players have been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
Motherwell and O’Hanley both played in the Michigan game but not in the consolation game vs. RPI on Saturday.
Beantown Schedule Update
The Fall Beantown Classic gets underway tomorrow (Thurs. 10/18) in Exeter and Durham, NH.
The Nevada Stars Under-16 team could not make it, and the South Shore Dynamos Under-16s, coached by Scott Harlow, will be filling in for them. Because of this change, there have been a few tweaks made in the schedule. Scouts planning to attend should go to the link that follows and double-check the games they are interested in.
Wrenn To Denver
U.S. Under-17 Team defenseman William Wrenn has committed to Denver for the fall of ’09.
Wrenn To Denver
Wrenn, a 6’1”, 185 lb. right shot from Anchorage, Alaska, is a tough, physical defenseman who plays with an edge, is strong on his skates, excels in his own end, and can break the puck out well. He has a strong shot, too.
In five games with the Under-17 Team, he has an 0-1-1 line with six penalty minutes. He’s been playing hurt in the early going, which has cramped his style, though he has yet to miss a game.
Wrenn moved from Alaska to Los Angeles last season to play hockey – think about that one for a second – with the LA Hockey Club. His parents are originally from North Carolina but moved to Alaska, where his father works on the pipeline.
Other schools in the picture for Wrenn were Michigan State and Michigan. He took unofficial visits to both of them.
The Under-17 Team will be making their only trip of the season to New England this weekend, to play at the Fall Beantown Classic. On Friday at 1:15 pm they will face the Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) and on Saturday at 3:10 they will play the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL). Both games will be at the Exeter Ice House.
Forward Kyle Palmieri, who was playing for St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, NJ and the NJ Devils Under-16s last winter, has been a standout in the early going for the U.S. Under-17 Team. A lot of players are playing well, but Palmieri, who is committed to Notre Dame, has been the one guy who has really exceeded expectations.
New To Providence
Avon Old Farms 6’0”, 175 lb. senior defenseman Danny New has committed to Providence College for the fall of ’08.
New, a 2/23/89 birthdate from White Plains, NY, is a tough, physical defensive defenseman who over the course of last season gained confidence handling the puck. In the offseason, he played well in various showcases.
New, whose older brother, Jimmy, played at Canterbury (class of ’03), posted a 0-3-3 line in 28 games to help Avon to the New England prep championship last season.
Besides Providence, other schools interested in New included Northeastern, Colgate, and Union.
Prep Page Now Open
Prep Page Now Open
Over the past few days, we’ve managed to get the ’07-08 Prep Page opened, though it won’t be totally operational for a week or two.
To this point, we have successfully archived last season’s prep page, and opened up this season’s. We’ve also started filling it with material, specifically schedules for all the pre-season jamborees, scrimmages, and in-season tournaments. We want to get all that posted early this season. Check back frequently, as we should have new stuff pretty much every day.
This week we’ll also be working on getting the school’s individual school pages in running order. Once we complete this, we will notify coaches, and they will be able to post their team’s schedules and, when the time comes, rosters, box scores, etc. As in the past, we will notify readers when team schedules start appearing (so you won’t have to go looking for things that aren’t yet there.)
We are also looking for some help with the prep pages. Specifically, we are looking for someone who has a good working knowledge of prep hockey, is comfortable with basic web design, and possesses an ability to collect information and get it uploaded to the Internet.
We are also looking for someone with solid writing and researching skills. Over the next year, we’d like to expand the scope of our coverage, not just geographically, but in terms of content (i.e. more analysis) as well.
We can be reached at email@example.com
Drolet Chooses Bears5’10”, 172 lb. Salisbury School junior forward Francois Drolet has committed to Brown University for the fall of ’09.
Drolet, a 1/23/90 birthdate, played for the Lac St. Louis Lions Midget AAA squad last season and, in 44 regular season games, posted a 17-27-44 line. With the Lions, he was a teammate of Louis Leblanc, who has returned to Lac. St. Louis this season, and current Salisbury defenseman Danny Biega.
Drolet, a left shot center, is excellent on draws, plays hard, skates well, puts up good numbers and is solid in all three zones. He was a key player for Lac St. Louis during their playoff run last season.
’60 Olympian Owen Found Dead
The body of Bob Owen, a defenseman for Harvard University in the late 50’s who went on to win a gold medal in Squaw Valley, Calif. as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team, was discovered Friday in a burned-out car outside of Topeka, Kansas.
The cause of the fire is undetermined, but, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal, it was probably accidental, likely from the car’s catalytic converter igniting dry prairie grass. The crew of a passing Union Pacific train reported seeing the Lincoln Continental fully engulfed in flames at about 5 am Friday near a remote creek.
“Nothing really looked that suspicious to us, but why Mr. Owen went out there we may never know,” said Shawnee County Sheriff Dick Barta.
It wasn’t until yesterday that investigators were certain that the body inside was Owen.
Owen, 71, who was born and brought up in St. Louis Park, Minn., had lived in Topeka for more than 40 years where he taught business at Washburn University and ran a consulting firm before retiring. He was active in Topeka hockey. Not only does the annual winner of the local beer league take home the Bob Owen Cup – a beer keg with a mug on top -- but Owen was involved in raising funds for Topeka Ice, a much-needed permanent community ice arena that’s in the works. Currently, the only ice in town is at the Kansas Expocenter, where the Topeka Roadrunners (NAHL) began play a little over a week ago after an off-season move from Santa Fe.
The 1960 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
Forwards: Billy Christian, Roger Christian, Billy Cleary, Gene Grazia, Paul Johnson, Bob McVey, Dick Meredith, Weldy Olson, Dick Rodenheiser and Tommy Williams. Defensemen: Bob Cleary, Jack Kirrane (captain), John Mayasich, Bob Owen and Rod Paavola. Goaltenders: Jack McCartan and Larry Palmer. Coach: Jack Riley.
Jaskowiak a Bulldog
5’11”, 196 lb. Tri-City Storm (USHL) RD Nick Jaskowiak has committed to Yale for next fall.
A native of Bloomington, Minn., Jaskowiak, a 2/8/89 birthdate, played at Benilde-St. Margaret’s before joining Salisbury for his junior and senior years.
An offensive defenseman, Jaskowiak competes hard, makes a good first pass, and can join the rush quickly.
As a junior at Salisbury, Jaskowiak posted a 4-19-23 line in 28 games as his team went on to win the Div. I prep school championship. (Current Eli forward Mark Arcobello was the leading scorer on that squad). As a senior last season, he was 0-10-0 in 25 games.
By the way, Tri-City’s game at Des Moines Saturday night was called at 3:25 of the third period due to excessive fog on the ice brought about by the warmth and humidity outdoors. The game, the home opener for the Bucs, will be made up later, with action picking up where it was stopped.
The Storm, on goals by Jordan Willert and Mike Cichy, led 2-1 at the time.
The hometown fans, even though they couldn’t really see what was going on and the game had been stopped numerous times so players could skate around in an effort to dispel the fog, lustily booed the decision to stop the game.
Top Goaltender Picks RPI
6’4”, 175 lb. Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) goaltender Allen York has committed to RPI and will be joining the Engineers in the fall of ’08.
York, who was selected by Columbus in the sixth round of the June NHL draft, has been the object of a ton of attention. Schools we've heard mentioned have included Minnesota, Wisconsin, Denver, Clarkson, Michigan Tech, and Maine. Some schools, like Wisconsin and Minnesota, wanted him for ’09, while others were more than glad to take him right away. So York had options. In the end, it reportedly came down to Denver and RPI, but the equation changed when Denver got a recent commitment from Adam Murray from the NTDP (for ’09).
RPI head coach Seth Appert, a former goalie himself (at Ferris State) was a seven-year assistant at Denver before taking the RPI job. Reportedly, Appert first saw York at the MACs midget AAA tournament when he was still at Denver and kept him at the top of his wish list. Appert’s success at Denver, where he recruited and worked with top goaltenders such as Wade Dubielewicz, Adam Berkhoel, Glenn Fisher, and Peter Mannino likely played a large role in York committing to RPI.
At any rate, the recruiting of York is the first big-time battle that RPI has won in a good long time.
A 6/17/89 birthdate and a native of Wetaskiwin, Alberta (about 45 miles SE of Edmonton), York was 23-4 with a 2.17 gaa and a .906 save percentage during the regular season. In the playoffs – the Kodiaks won both the AJHL title and the Doyle Cup before getting knocked out in the semifinals of the Royal Bank Cup – York posted a 12-5 record with a 2.17 gaa and a .927 save percentage.
In the early going this year, York has a 4-0 record with a 1.76 gaa and a .936 save percentage.
His strong suits are his athleticism, hand-eye coordination, and competitiveness. He’s on the skinny side, though, and will need to fill out a bit.
Whitney Commits to Eagles5’6”, 165 lb. Lawrence Academy junior RW Steven Whitney, the younger brother of BC freshman forward Joe Whitney, has committed to Boston College for the fall of ’09.
Whitney, who we’ve written about previously in these pages, is one of the top ‘91 forwards in this country – for our money, the top forward. Last winter, he was the leading scorer at Lawrence Academy as a sophomore, finishing with a 23-30-53 line in 28 games, and edging out his older brother by one point. In March, Whitney went out to the NTDP tryouts in Ann Arbor, had a great camp, and was urged by the staff to attend the program. However, he chose to return to Lawrence Academy. “I needed to get my academics straightened out,” he told us. “I just wanted to stay on track.” In late June, at the Select 16 Festival in Rochester, NY, Whitney, paired on a line with Colorado College recruit Dakota Eveland, put on a show, finishing with a tournament-best 4-8-12 line (see USHR News; 7/3/07). In late August, Whitney was the leading scorer (4-3-7 in four games) on the silver medal winning U.S. Under-17 Select Team at the Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic.
A 2/28/91 birthdate and a right shot, Whitney is a native of Reading, Mass. To us, he’s a bit of a throwback – a classic Boston-area rink rat who combines grittiness with a high skill level. He’s a sparkplug type, an offensive dynamo with explosiveness, lateral ability, a great stick, quick hands, and a great first step. He does everything fast and hard, and with an edge. He can make plays at speed, but can also shift gears nicely, and slow it down. He’s shifty. His shot is hard and accurate, as are his passes. He finds the seams and sees the ice. In short, he’s a lot of fun to watch. About the only thing missing is high-end speed and size. Of course, if he had the latter, he’d be a totally different kind of player.
Whitney made his final choice of schools from between Boston College and UNH.
When asked why he chose the Eagles, Whitney said, “I loved the school, and the coaches, and I just wanted the chance to play with my brother.”
A Power Forward for Brown
A Power Forward for BrownNoble & Greenough senior RW Mike Griffin has committed to Brown for next fall.
Griffin, who is 6’4”, 190 lbs. and a native of Hingham, Mass., is as rangy as his height indicates and has upside as a power forward at the next level. Last season, he lifted his game up a notch, finishing with a 7-13-20 line in 31 games.
In addition to Brown, Dartmouth and RPI were also in the picture.
10/5/07 Indian Summer
It may not feel like fall yet, with temps in the 80s, but there is a batch of NCAA Div. I exhibition games this weekend, mostly vs. Canadian schools. On Sunday, though, the actual season gets underway as Clarkson will visit St. Lawrence for a 4:00 pm start at Appleton Arena. The game is on ESPNU (yes, we know that only 27 people actually get the channel).
Also, the USHL, with four games tonight and six tomorrow, gets underway for real this weekend. Of course, for most of the players in Sioux City last weekend, the Fall Classic was real enough.
Schmidt #1 in USHL Futures Draft
St. Cloud Cathedral sophomore LD Nate Schmidt was selected #1 overall by Fargo in last night’s USHL Futures Draft.
Fargo, the unnamed USHL franchise being put together by GM/head coach Dean Blais, is a couple of hours up Route 94 from St. Cloud, so Schmidt, in addition to being an excellent prospect, is also somewhat local.
Of the 92 drafted players, 11 players, by our count, are already committed to colleges. They are:
Toronto Canadians F Dan Erlich (Northeastern) by Waterloo
St. Catharine’s F Riley Sheahan (Notre Dame) by Tri-City
Stouffville F Ethan Werek (BU) by Indiana
Roseau HS F Nick Oliver (St. Cloud State) by Tri-City
Blake School F Josh Birkholz (Minnesota) by Fargo
Belle Tire F Brad Smith (Ohio State) by Green Bay
Holy Angels F Danny Mattson (Minnesota) by Omaha
Minnetonka HS D Jake Gardiner (Wisconsin) by Green Bay
Eastview HS D Cory Fienhage (North Dakota) by Indiana
Boston Junior Bruins G Connor Knapp (Miami) by Indiana
Shattuck F Derek Stepan (Wisconsin) by Lincoln
The full list can be found at www.ushldraft.com
Fall Beantown Schedule Set
The Third Annual Fall Beantown Classic, scheduled for Thurs.-Sun. October 18-21, will be significantly larger than its predecessors.
Sixteen teams will compete in the Under-18 division, and 16 teams will compete in an Under-16 division.
The tournament will take place at the Whittemore Center at UNH, and the Ice House in Exeter, NH (formerly known as the Rinks at Exeter). The tournament hosts are the Boston Junior Bruins.
In addition, there will be several other teams on hand, in a four team junior division that’s not really a division per se, as none of the teams will be involved in Sunday’s playoffs. The U.S. Under-17 Team will make the trip east from Ann Arbor and play a pair of games, one against the Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) on Friday the 19th at 1:15 pm and one against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) on Saturday the 20th at 3:10 pm, with both games to be played at the Exeter rinks. The Northwood School and the Jersey Hitmen (EJHL) will also be on hand.
Here’s a list of competing teams.
U.S. Under-17 Team
Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL)
Jersey Hitmen (EJHL)
Boston Junior Bruins (Empire)
Little Bruins (split season)
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers
Boston Jr. Eagles
LA Jr. Kings
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers
LA Jr. Kings
In previous years, the tournament only had an Under-18 division competing for the title on Sunday. Last fall, the tournament was won by the LA Junior Kings, who beat Team Illinois 3-1 in a classic tilt. In 2005, CYA beat Shattuck-St. Mary’s in a shootout.
The full schedule for this year’s tournament can be found at www.beantownclassic.com/calendar.html
Here are the latest official USHL drop/adds. Please note that there were additional players who appeared over the weekend in the Fall Classic who were “cut” but don’t figure in the drop/add scenarios because they were not on their team’s protected list. These players are either 1) with clubs on a tryout basis and were sent home without counting as a drop, or 2) are the property of the team they appeared with at the Fall Classic and can be warehoused on that squad’s affiliate list.
Cedar Rapids drops ’87 F Jeff Vellecca
Green Bay drops ’88 F Garrett Grimstad and ’88 D Jake Hannon, 88 D Reed Rushing, and ’88 D Chris Slavik; and ADDS ’87 D Cameron Burt and ’88 D Peter Child.
Indiana drops ’89 G Chris Paliafito, ’88 import F Tim Revell, and ’88 forward Andy Starczewski; and ADDS ’90 import goalie Matt Hoyle.
Lincoln drops ’88 D Jeff Ceccacci, ’88 F Eric Lake (dropped 9/26), ’87 D Lyon Messier; and ADDS ’89 F Mike Henderson (added 9/26).
Ohio drops ’88 F Patrick McAuley and ’87 F Mike Pilot.
Omaha drops ’87 F Jake Coyle.
Sioux City drops ’88 F Kyle Lundey.
Sioux Falls drops ’88 F Jordy Christian, ’89 F John Kruse, and ’89 D Justin Lee; and ADDS ’89 F Dane Walters.
Tri-City drops ’88 D Peter Child (and Green Bay adds him; see above).
Waterloo ADDS ’88 import F Silm Liivik.
Kruse, Lee, Rushing, Slavik, and Grimstad have all been added by NAHL teams.
Players on injured reserve are: F Tom Serratore (Sioux City), F Brett Olson (Waterloo), and F Anthony Schooley (Waterloo).
USHL Futures Draft Tonight
The USHL will be holding its annual futures draft tonight at 6:00 pm CST, with the expansion Fargo club (still unnamed) holding the first pick.
The number of players a team may select depends on the number of players they are carrying on their affiliate list. If a team enters tonight’s draft with eight players – the maximum allowed -- on their affiliate list, they will be allowed to select four players. (i.e eight plus four equals 12, which is the number of players each team will be carrying on its ‘new’ affilate list at the draft’s conclusion later tonight.)
The reason teams must enter the draft with eight or fewer players on their affiliate list is due to the fact that they must make selections in the first four rounds – and the first four rounds will be restricted to ‘91s.
Beginning with the fifth round, either ‘90s or ‘91s may be taken. Each team will continue to pick until their number of affiliate players – both carried over and added -- adds up to 12.
No ‘89s can be selected – they are too old – though previously drafted ‘89s can be carried through the ’07-08 season on teams’ affiliate lists. No ‘92s whatsoever may be selected – too young.
‘90s drafted tonight will remain the property of the drafting team for two years; ‘91s drafted tonight will remain the property of the drafting team for three years
Generally, teams enter the draft with 4-6 players on their affiliate lists.
You can follow the draft online at www.ushldraft.com
BU Gets a Point Producer
Boston University has a commitment for next fall from Omaha Lancers (USHL) forward Chris Connolly.
Connolly, who we identified over the weekend in Sioux City as the sudden recipient of a ton of attention – at least from those schools fortunate enough to have scholarships in hand for next season -- has been a standout ever since Omaha started the preseason. In the Lancers game at Rimouski (QMJHL) in early September, Connolly was named player of the game. In the Fall Classic, he played like a man on a mission, and emerged as the consensus top available forward. BU assistant coach David Quinn who, like many others, was in Sioux City for the entire tournament, liked what he saw and went for it.
Connolly picked the Terriers over Maine and Minnesota-Duluth (where his younger brother, Jack, is committed).
A native of Duluth and a graduate of Duluth Marshall HS, Connolly is a seasoned 20-year-old with two seasons in the NAHL under his belt. In ’05-06, he played in 56 regular season games for the Fargo-Moorhead Jets and posted a 17-42-59 line. Last season, in 62 regular season games for Fargo-Moorhead, Connolly posted a 20-56-76 line. In those two years combined – regular season and playoffs – he had a total of 26 penalty minutes.
Connolly, who led the USHL in preseason scoring, is a smart player who is constantly looking to make plays. He keeps his feet moving, has good balance, and moves the puck quickly and accurately. A left shot, he appeared at both LW and RW over the weekend. He has many attributes of a top center as well. On the power play, he manned the left point very efficiently. He’s 5’9”, 165 lbs., and a 7/23/87 birthdate. It’s fair to say Connolly is a late bloomer, and/or one who just flew under the radar. (Sorry about all the metaphors.)
Omaha selected Connolly in the fifth round of the June USHL draft.
On to the Regular SeasonSorry for the delay in putting together some notes on yesterday’s action at the USHL Fall Classic. For this typist – and many others at the tournament – getting back to the east coast was a two-day process, for reasons no one at Northwest Airlines really cared to explain. At any rate, there was hockey – a half days worth for this observer… In the early game at the big rink, Tri-City and Indiana were tied at 3-3 in the third period when the Storm’s 6’2” ’88 LW Troy Mattila, a Dartmouth recruit, struck for a pair of back-to-back goals. His center, North Dakota recruit Mike Cichy, picked up an assist on both – and Tri-City picked up the 5-3 win. This observer didn’t get a really strong sense of what Tri-City can do, though… didn’t focus enough on them, perhaps. Indiana, to their credit, played much better than the night before, though they had to fight a schedule that had them playing the early game after playing the late game the night before. Go figure. They still finished 0-3 here, though it’s worth keeping in mind that, despite all the attention, these are still exhibition games. Things will change over the long arc of the season. They always do.… At the small rink, Omaha took on the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets and both teams came out hard. Ohio really worked hard, but it made no difference: at the end of one period, they were outshot 10-2 and trailed 2-0. They would eventually lose, 4-0. It was a good test for the Blue Jackets and we saw some nice things from ’90 center Matt Leitner, 89 LW Alexei Dostoinov, and ’90 center Tim Hall, a CC recruit. 6’2” Luke Witkowski, a ’90 who is committed to Western Michigan, looked good on the blue line. Considering that a batch of Ohio’s better players were watching from the stands, they put up a decent fight. Omaha is just too good, though. For the Lancers, center Matt Thurber was on his game, as was his RW, Aaron Lewadniuk, a Bemidji State recruit. UNH recruit Matt White asserted himself well, too… Back at the big rink, Green Bay took on Des Moines, and wound up blanking them 3-0. ’89 wing Anthony Hayes – again – played well for the Gamblers, assisting on two of the three goals. Des Moines was really flat in this game – they had a hard time mounting any kind of an offense…And that was all this observer saw before heading to the airport.
Some general observations: Omaha, which went 3-0 and outscored their opponents, 15-1, clearly is the team to beat. They’re fun to watch. Ditto for Waterloo, which, despite being outshot, smoked Sioux City in yesterday’s late game, 9-3. With some big, strong snipers who can apply a ton of pressure, they will be tough. Cedar Rapids, the only team besides Omaha to go 3-0 here, looked pretty cohesive, especially considering it’s September. For this observer, those three teams were a notch above the rest.
The Fall Classic will be played again in Sioux City next year. The Musketeers did a great job hosting this tournament. Their new arena, which is attached to the old one, is by far the most significant landmark in the city. From the highway, which runs along the banks of the Missouri, it appears as if downtown Sioux City was almost thrown together to provide a backdrop to the arena, which is large and features a high, vaulted ceiling.
For now, though, it’s cutdown week in the USHL. The regular season gets underway this Friday, Oct. 5 and concludes exactly on April 5, exactly six months later, on April 5th.
Our pick for the 2007-08 USHL scoring leader: Matt Thurber (Omaha). Others who should put up numbers are Jason Gregoire (Lincoln); Nick Dineen (Sioux Falls); Andrew Conboy (Omaha); Chris Connolly (Omaha); Jared Festler (Lincoln); Mike Seidel (Cedar Rapids); and Billy Maday (Waterloo).