Canada Roars Back in Wild One; Tops U.S. 7-4Ottawa, Ont. – Less than 13 minutes into their New Year’s Eve tilt before a record crowd of 20,223 at Scotiabank Place, the U.S., on goals from Kevin Shattenkirk, Jimmy Hayes, and Jim O’Brien, held a 3-0 lead over host Canada.
The building was quiet; the crowd totally out of the game.
But big-time players step up when things look bleak and Canada’s John Tavares did just that, striking for a pair of goals roughly two minutes apart to cut the U.S. lead to 3-2.
After the second goal the Canadians celebrated extremely close to the U.S. bench and U.S. forward Eric Tangradi, seated, fell for the bait, reaching out with his stick and clipping Canadian Chris DiDomenico in the face. In the nastiness that followed Canadian agitator Stefan Della Rovere rammed James van Riemsdyk into the camera area between the benches, leaving the UNH star shaken up.
Suddenly, with the Canadians under their skin, the U.S. lost their composure. Just 57 seconds later, and in a manner eerily similar to last winter’s semifinal loss to Canada, the U.S. took a crucial too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.
Canada, smelling blood, cashed in on the opportunity quickly as Jordan Eberle beat U.S. goaltender Thomas McCollum to even the score at 3-3. The three Canadian goals had come within a span of 3:15, and the momentum had swung back to Canada.
Just 37 seconds into the second period, Canada made it 4-3 on a disputed Zach Boychuk goal – the penalty timekeeper may have been a few seconds slow on the uptake.
U.S. defenseman Jonathon Blum managed to tie it back up for the U.S., scoring a power play goal from a scrum in front of the net at the 3:40 mark.
At the 6:56 mark Cody Hodgson scored a power play goal to give Canada a 5-4 lead. The goal would turn out to be the eventual game winner. Canada would add a pair of empty netters in the game’s final minute to account for the final margin of victory.
”It was a great hockey game,” said U.S. head coach Ron Rolston. “The pace and emotion throughout rivaled any game I’ve been a part of. We’re obviously disappointed with the outcome. We’ll be ready to play Slovakia on Friday.”
-- Canada is now 26-5-3 vs. the U.S. in World Junior Championship play.
Canada, with the win, earns a bye into the semis. On Saturday they will play the winner of Friday’s Russia-Czech Republic matchup.
The U.S. must play a quarterfinal match against Slovakia on Friday (7:30 pm). If they win that, they will face Group B champ Sweden on Saturday.
The U.S. could get another crack at Canada – but it would have to be in the gold medal game.
-- The Canadian power play was 4-for-7 --the Tavares’ goal that started the comeback, the Eberle goal that made it 3-3, the Boychuk goal that put them ahead 4-3, and the Hodgson goal that put them up 5-4 were all on the power play.
The U.S. was 2-for-5 on the power play.
-- Canadian goaltender Dustin Tokarski kicked out 23 of 27 shots. U.S. goaltender Thomas McCollum stopped 24 of 29. Late in the second, Tokarski came up with the save of the game, robbing Colin Wilson.
Box Score of the Month
You might have seen this one, from last Saturday night. But just in case you were missed it, here it is again.
Yale, one night after knocking off Cornell, was at Colgate, and trailing 4-0 with 13 minutes to go in the third period.
Yale was outshooting Colgate by a ridiculous margin, but things were looking bad for the Bulldogs. No Boola Boola.
So Yale head coach Keith Allain pulled his goalie, Alec Richards, who’d come into the game in relief less than two minutes earlier. An extra attacker stepped on the ice.
It took all of 18 seconds for the magic to kick in, as Yale defenseman Tommy Dignard scored at the 7:23 mark to cut Colgate’s lead to 4-1.
Allain put Richards back in.
A couple of minutes later, Yale had a 4x3 power play, and Broc Little capitalized to make it 4-2.
A little over a minute after Little’s goal, and with Mike Matczak off for tripping, Dignard scored a shorthanded goal when he burst in from the blue line and banged one home through the five-hole of Colgate goaltender Alex Evin to cut it to 4-3. The ghosts were stirring -- an extra-attacker goal at the 7:23 mark, followed by a 4x3 power play goal, followed by a SHG.
If the game had ended there, it would have been one to kick around for years.
But it didn’t end there. With 2:03 on the clock Sean Backman converted the rebound of a Matczak shot to tie the game at 4-4.
And then in OT, at the 1:00 mark, Kevin Limbert, off a pass from Denny Kearney, completed the improbable comeback.
We have certainly seen goalies pulled with a lot of time on the clock -- and in every period. But never have we heard, at least at this level, of a coach pulling a goalie with 13 minutes to go and trailing by four goals – and having it pay off like this. And we’re obviously not talking about the one goal. We’re talking about getting the initial goal – and following it up with four unanswered goals, the last in OT. That’s some serious mojo.
Afterward, Allain said, “I got the sense we could come back.”
Really? Well, the Eli certainly were getting shots on net. (The final shots were 46-16 for Yale, an element that just makes the game that much crazier.)
“A play like that is just like rolling the dice,” Allain added. “I wanted to roll, to give my guys a chance.
“I have never done that before.”
Going on the road and beating Cornell one night, and then coming back with a win like this one can carry a team a long way. With Yale joining Cornell at the top, and Princeton, Dartmouth, and Quinnipiac all battling it out, the ECAC stretch run could be a lot of fun.
Box Score of the Month
132 lb. Late ’93 D-Man Leads Croatia to GoldWe threatened we’d fill you in on the IIHF World Under-20 Div. II Group B championship, which wound up a couple of weeks ago in Logrono, Spain, a small city in the northern part of the country, in the Rioja wine region.
And we’re not going to let you down.
Croatia, led in large part by the youngest player in the entire tournament, a late ’93 named Borna Silovic, rolled through the field – Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, and China – with a perfect 5-0-0 record.
Silovic, the ’93, is a 5’7”, 132 lb. defenseman from the city of Zagreb whose skills have taken him outside the country – specifically to HC Slovan Bratislava. Silovic emerged as the leading scorer among all defensemen in the tournament, finishing with a 1-6-7 line. No small feat, that. Perhaps Petr Placek can recruit him to Hotchkiss.
The leading scorer overall was 6’2”, 201 lb. ’89 birthdate Mitch Bruijsten of the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Bruijsten finished the tournament with a 9-6-15 line in five games. That’s two more points than he has for Sioux City – in 27 games.
5’9” defenseman John Connolly, a ’91 from the Texas Renegades of the Western States Junior A Hockey League, played for Great Britain, posting a 0-1-1 line in five games. Connolly is a native of Paisley, Scotland. Nice name for a town. Sounds peaceful. Makes me want to brew a cup of tea, kick back with a P.G. Wodehouse novel, and snicker at the neighbors.
Besides Silovic, there was another ’93 in the tournament: 5’9” forward Diego Linares of Mexico. Linares, however, may have been in over his head, or in a slump. He finished with an 0-0-0 line.
The Price Is Right6’’1”, 195 lb. RD Jeremy Price, the younger brother of BC junior forward Matt Price, has committed to Colgate, where he will get a full scholarship
Price played the last two seasons for Milton Icehawks (OPJHL) but wasn’t getting much college attention until this season, when he switched leagues, joining the Nepean Raiders of the Central League, which is coached by Garrey Galley, ex-Bowling Green and NHL defenseman.
In addition to Colgate, Bowling Green, Clarkson, and Vermont were in the hunt for Price.
Price, who has a 7-19-26 line in 42 games, is a 9/26/90 birthdate. He was on the Canada East team in the Jr. A Challenge in Camrose. Alb. in November. He’ll be at Colgate this fall.
Fitzgerald to Big Green
6’1”, 198 lb. Salisbury School RD Billy Fitzgerald has committed to Dartmouth College.
Fitzgerald, a late ’90 and a junior at Salisbury, will arrive in Hanover in ’10 or, possibly, ’11.
A Milton, Mass. resident, Fitzgerald played two years at BB&N before arriving at Salisbury as a repeat sophomore last year.
A right shot, he’s improved steadily over the past two years, and opened up eyes at the Flood-Marr Tournament last month.
He’s not flashy. He’s a strong defensive player with some offensive upside, as he shoots the puck well. He’s physical, skates well for a big kid, and moves the puck efficiently.
Holy Cross (where his dad, Bill, played hockey) has been onto Fitzgerald for quite a while. Clarkson, Northeastern, and Colgate were the other schools in the picture.
1/29/09 A Duo for the Dutchmen
-- Sullivan, a 6’0”, 180 lb. right wing, will be arriving at the Achilles Center in the fall of ’10.
A Darien, Conn. native, Sullivan is a player Union targeted over a year ago and has stayed on ever since. A left shot who plays the off wing, he has good size, and plays with grit and tenacity. He wins the battles along the wall and in the corners, and is very tough to play against. Sullivan is also the second-leading scorer for Berkshire, with a 12-15-27 line in 23 games.
A Duo for the DutchmenToday brings news of two commitments for Union, Berkshire School forward Kevin Sullivan and St. Louis Bandits (NAHL) goaltender Keith Kinkaid.
A 1/25/91 birthdate, Sullivan is ranked #189 in the NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term Rankings.
Sullivan played for Darien High before arriving at Berkshire as a sophomore last season. He’s the younger brother of Bobby Sullivan, a sophomore forward at Colby who played at Pomfret.
-- 6’3”, 180 lb. goaltender Keith Kinkaid of the St. Louis Bandits (NAHL) will be arriving in Schenectady this coming fall.
A 7/4/89 birthdate from Farmingville, NY (Long Island), Kinkaid is putting up some pretty impressive numbers this season – in 30 games he has a 1.82 gaa and a .927 save percentage.
Kinkaid played for the New York Bobcats (AJHL) before going out to Des Moines (USHL) last season. With Des Moines, Kinkaid appeared in 15 games with a 3.41 gaa and a .893 save percentage.
5’9”, 180 lb. LW Kenny Agostino, a junior at the Delbarton School, has committed to Yale for either 2011 or 2012, after a year or two of juniors.
Agostino, who we wrote about last month in these pages, is a quick, dynamic type with good hands and vision. He's perhaps underrated, playing a bit off the beaten path.
In 16 games for Delbarton this season, he has a 17-21-38 line.
He also plays for the New Jersey Colonials 16-and-Under. At Delbarton, Agostino is a teammate of 6’3”, 200 lb. wing Charles Orzetti, who is a 2011 recruit for Yale.
He’s a 4/30/92 birthdate.
UNH Strikes Quickly
UNH Strikes Quickly
UNH has a commitment for the fall of 2011 from 5’10”, 165 lb. RC Kyle Smith of Team Comcast 16-and-Under. Thus far, Smith, in 24 games this season, has a 30-33-63 line (and just eight minutes in penalties).
“His numbers don’t even begin to tell his story,” says his coach, Jared Beach. “He’s one of those players who does everything right in all three zones. He’s an unbelievable two-way center. He’s great along the wall. If I need a faceoff won in any zone, he’s the guy I want to take the draw. He’s also a big-time playmaker, and the guy everyone wants to play with. His hands are unbelievable, and with his playmaking ability, he just find the open man in every situation.”
Smith does not have high-end speed. Rather, Beach says, he’s a “strong skater” who will keep developing as he gets bigger and stronger.
A 2/14/92 birthdate, Smith is in the 11th grade. He’ll get drafted into the USHL in the spring, but may opt instead for the prep school route – Avon, Berkshire, Cushing, or Gunnery would be the likely destination.
Smith was the MVP of the Junior Chowder Cup last summer with the Brandywine Selects. From the sounds of things, UNH assistant coach Scott Borek recognized something in Smith early on, and quickly targeted him. UNH was the only college Smith visited.
Curadi Changes Mind; Decommits from UMass
6’4”, 250 lb. Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack (AJHL) LD Luke Curadi, who committed to UMass last month, decommitted last night.
Curadi, a raw defenseman who a year ago was playing for Notre Dame-West Haven High School in Connecticut and is now #91 in the Central Scouting’s Mid-Term Rankings of Domestic Skaters, described decommitting from UMass as ‘a family decision.’
We asked Curadi, whose family adviser is Tim Sheehy, if he was planning on going major junior.
“No,” he said. “I’m planning on going to school.” Also decommitting from college is Brown University recruit Lindsay Sparks, a 5'9", 170 lb. forward from the Oakville Blades (OPJHL).
Why the change then? we asked.
“I want to go through the process correctly,” Curadi replied. “I guess you could say I jumped the gun a bit in choosing a school. Nothing against UMass but I would like to go through the process.”
By ‘process,’ Curadi said he just wants to visit and talk to a greater number of schools.
We asked Curadi, who committed in mid-December and therefore has not signed a letter of intent with UMass, if there was currently another school – or schools -- in the picture.
”No,” he said. “Nobody has talked to me.”
We asked Curadi if he was still planning on playing in the USHL for a year before going to college. “As of right now, I don’t have an answer for that,” he said. “That would depend on what school I chose.”
So, as of right now, Curadi, a senior at Notre Dame-West Haven, is a free agent again. Look for a lot of suitors.
For more on Curadi see the USHR News of 12/15/08.
Sparks, who has speed and skill, is an August '90 birthdate. In 38 games, he has a 17-35-52 line.
So he, too, is a free agent.
By the way, we were at the Brown-St. Lawrence game a couple weeks ago and the announced crowd at Meehan Auditorium was 817. In reality it was nowhere near that -- not even close. Clearly, these are not the best of times for the Brown program.
Also decommitting from college is Brown University recruit Lindsay Sparks, a 5'9", 170 lb. forward from the Oakville Blades (OPJHL).
Andover Again #1 in USHR Div. I Poll
For the third straight week, Phillips Andover Academy holds the #1 spot in this week’s USHR poll.
One team in last week’s poll was bounced out, that being Choate. The Wild Boars, #7 a week ago, lost both their games last week – to Berkshire and then to Deerfield. Both were one-goal losses, and the latter was in OT.
Deerfield, riding a five-game win streak has moved into the #10 spot.
A team to watch this week will be South Kent. They beat Cushing today and are bubbling under, but they also face a make-or-break week with games against #9 Belmont Hill and #3 Taft, both on the road.
Hotchkiss is coming on, but, in order to make up for the egg they laid in December, have to be pretty close to perfect from here on out.
USHR Div. I Prep Poll: Week of Jan. 26, 2009
AJHL/Met All-Star Rosters for SundayThe Atlantic Junior Hockey League and Metropolitan Junior Hockey League will be holding their All-Star games this Sunday (Jan. 25) at the Iorio Arena in Walpole, Mass.
There will be three games. Here is the schedule:
MET North Game – 11:00 am (Olympic Rink)
MET South Game – 11:30 am (NHL Rink)
AJHL Game – 1:55 pm (Olympic Rink)
Links to Rosters:
Met South Florida Roster.xls
Please note the following roster changes:
Added to MET South Central: George Gerasimou (Team Carolina), Colin Masters (East Coast Eagles), and Sam Calahan (Jax Ice Dog).
Scratched from MET South Central: Stefan Shively (Charleston Wolverines), Dalton Betzen (Charleston Wolverines), and Austen Bulter (Team Carolina).
Goodbye to Div. II Preps
This is the final season that New England prep hockey programs will be split into two divisions.
Starting in the fall, all NEPSIHA programs, across the board, will be classified as Div. I.
“It’s an admissions-driven deal,” NEPSIHA president John Gardner said. “There is no rule governing moves to Division I. Anyone can do it.”
And now everyone has.
A number of hockey coaches/athletic directors met Tuesday night at Williston-Northampton to discuss the situation with Mark Conroy, the Williston-Northampton AD who is also president of the NEPSAC AD’s.
Naturally, tournament plans were and qualifying criteria were discussed, but before any proposal is finalized the schools’ ADs have to sign off on it.
With over 60 schools now eligible for the Div. I tournament, look for the field to be expanded, most likely with a tiered system. More details will be available soon.
In November, Hebron and Kent’s Hill announced plans to go Div. I, then New Hampton followed suit. The tipping point came when the entire Holt Division – six teams on top of Hebron and Kent’s Hill – decided to leave. After that, there wasn’t much reason remaining for soldiering on with a Div. II league.
1/17/09 Update: The proposal outlined in this article was ratified by the USA Hockey Board of Directors, and will go forward.
Won’t Get Fooled AgainBy the time this weekend’s USA Hockey Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida draw to a conclusion the hierarchical structure of youth hockey in the United States could be permanently altered.
Those likely to be hit hardest will be the prep schools of the Northeast, all junior programs with the exception of the USHL, possibly the Minnesota high schools, and, most devastatingly, any current youth organization that does not meet – or does not wish to meet -- the criteria USA Hockey and the NTDP will be setting out for the new 36-team national “super league.”
Why is this happening?
It’s simple. USA Hockey, for the first time, has been granted player development money by the NHL. It’s money USA Hockey has wanted for a long time, and they are getting it. This year's figure is $8 million. The NHL, as investors of sorts, expects the money to be spent on 'elite player development.' And that’s what they are going to get. Approximately $2 million will go directly to Ann Arbor, and a hefty chunk of the remaining $6 million will go to an extension of the NTDP called the High Performance and Long Term Athlete Development Initiative. The program, being presented by Jim Johannson, Ken Martel, and Kevin McLaughlin, is designed to offer many of the training benefits of the NTDP to the 36 youth organizations that agree to hew to the player development philosophy they have carefully outlined (it’s in the document we have attached to the end of this article).
What we’re about to see is a massive consolidation of power in which 36 youth organizations will, in essence, be dubbed AAA+ (or AAAA, if you will). Any organization not “anointed” by USA Hockey and the NTDP will remain as they are presently set up – as AAA organizations. One could, quite accurately, say the “unchosen” will be instantly devalued, for elite players will naturally gravitate to one of the 36 super teams. For purposes of this new program, USA Hockey, which is comprised of twelve districts, will be redistricted into six regions. Within each of these new regions will reside six super teams, at five different age levels. They will only play each other. The best players will move on to the NTDP and the USHL (which will also be getting some of the NHL money, and will be expanding from 12 to 16 teams).
How the districts will be carved up depends on which organizations adhere to USA Hockey’s standards. It’s possible the organizations will get selected first and then squeezed into gerrymandered geographical areas. USA Hockey is playing this very close to the vest. We do know that a couple of the Chicago organizations have already been approached in a preliminary manner, much to the consternation of other AAA organizations in the area.
What organizations would be chosen? For a rough idea, do this: start with the 20-team lineup of the Tier I Elite League which stretches from the Pacific Southwest to Pittsburgh but has its biggest foothold in the Midwest with five teams in Michigan alone (Compuware, Honeybaked, Little Caesar’s, Belle Tire and Victory Honda). Then, once you are through with that, look at other teams outside that loop that have shown consistent success at Nationals, and have also run solid year-round programs. Those are the ones that are also likely to be “anointed.”
The irony here is the fact that the organizations most likely to be able to meet the criteria set forth for them by USA Hockey already have deep pockets. In addition, by being anointed, an increasing number of players will want to migrate to those programs, meaning the anointed organizations will be able to hold numerous tryouts (i.e. fundraisers) at numerous age levels, in the process strengthening their relationship with rink owners due to the large number of teams they will be icing.
Each of the 36 clubs chosen will be expected to operate 18-and-Under, 16-and-Under, 15-and-Under, 14-and-Under, and 13-and-Under teams – each in their own superleague. In addition, each of the anointed teams will be expected to run 6U, 8U, 10U, 12U programs that will follow the LTAD model outlined in the attachment.
Let’s look at his locally. In New England, we expect there to be at least three teams, maybe a couple in Eastern Mass, and one in Connecticut. These programs would be able to skim the cream of the crop – players will obviously stream to these regional “mini-NTDPs,” especially given the fact the programs are subsidized, and the economy is going through a bad patch. Kids given the opportunity to join these elite programs are kids who will not be going to private schools -- at least as hockey players. Look for kids who are in these programs at the youngest age levels to stay in them for as long as they continue to be moved up the ladder. They are on the “path” to Ann Arbor or the USHL. They will be immersed in hockey and will be playing a rugged schedule under the watchful eyes of NTDP “regional directors.”
USA Hockey is putting together something that, at least in some respects -- and on paper -- is appealing. Martel, the program’s principal author, has put a huge amount of thought into player development, and we respect his work greatly. Read the enclosed attachment, and you'll see that he has brought together a lot of the best thinking on the subject, and presented it clearly. Individual teams could gain much from implementing all or part of his plan -- if they wish. But for USA Hockey to say, basically, "our way or the highway" just won't fly. It might work in Soviet Russia, or East Germany, or smaller nations like Finland. In other words, countries where hockey (and athletics in general) are on the same page, and dominated by strong national governing bodies.
However, the U.S., in hockey (as well as other ways!) is a fractured, factious, crazy-quilt of a country. Here, looking back to the late 19th and early 20th century, we can see that hockey made its entry into this country from many different points and in many different ways. It entered via the boarding schools of New England, and from there filtered down to the high schools. It entered on the backs of the millworkers who streamed down from Quebec, settled in towns like Woonsocket, RI , and created what would in time become powerhouse high school programs like Mount St. Charles. It streamed across the border from Windsor, Ontario into Detroit, and took shape as a club system, similar to that in Canada. In Minnesota, it dropped down across the northern border from Manitoba to towns like Roseau and Warroad, and also moved from the east into the Twin Cities, and formed a foothold in the Minnesota high schools. In recent decades, due to NHL expansion and some strong economic boom years, the game has flourished in non-traditional areas from the Southeast through Texas, Arizona, and Southern California.
In other words, there is no one path to success in this country. There are myriad paths, and many, many people are fiercely protective of their turf, and proud of what they have accomplished in the past, and continue to accomplish. Under USA Hockey’s proposal, we think the clubs that get anointed – if everything gets that far – will do well and will indeed put a lot of top players on the ice. Why wouldn’t they? They will have all the players. The USHL will watch, the colleges will watch, and the pro scouts will watch. Everyone will say what a great league it is. The NHL will pat itself on the back, and so will USA Hockey, who will point to the success of the players coming out of the program, and take as much credit as they possibly can.
Those who aren’t chosen to be part of the super league will limp along as best they can, carrying players who are suddenly second-class hockey playing citizens. Youth organizations will fold. Prep hockey will take a major hit. If, God forbid, a superleague team gains a toehold in Minnesota, Minnesota high school hockey, which features our game in its purest amateur state, will take a major hit.
The $8 million is simply being shoveled in the wrong direction, and here’s why. We’re in a recession, people have less money to spend, and the average middle class worker is earning less than ever in real wages. But the cost of playing hockey is higher today than ever. Today, hockey is a pure suburban sport. In Greater Boston, the blue-collar players that used to come out of the city's working class communities like Winthrop and Weymouth and Charlestown and South Boston and Dorchester and Quincy are fast becoming extinct.
This fall, in the blue-collar suburbs of Detroit, where the auto industry is in trouble, we are hearing stories of families pulling back from the game.
Youth registration across the country – particularly on the boys’ side – is down.
We have an idea. And we don’t think it’s particularly radical. We believe in it because we’ve seen it work in Boston. We saw a whole generation of hockey players come out of town-based leagues where, in the wake of the success of the Bobby Orr-led Bruins of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the state jumped on board and, in a very short period of time, built a huge number of rinks. From those rinks came the likes of Mike Eruzione, Jack O’Callahan and too many others to mention. On the public rinks in Minnesota came Mark Pavelich and Neal Broten and Dave Christian and others. It was a flowering of USA Hockey and continued on with the stars of the‘80s and early ‘90s like Mike Modano, Tony Amonte, Jeremy Roenick, Brian Leetch and many, many others.
We think the LTAD misfires on two fronts. The first is simply that it concentrates on players 13 and over. Don’t worry about them. The good players at 13 will find every door open wide to them. They’ll even find agents to carry them across the threshold. And coaches who will beg to have them on their teams. It’s the way capitalism works, and it's the way a meritocracy works, too. Right now, there are more than enough good programs in place for the players that we currently have. We just need to get more players better prepared by the time they arrive in these programs -- skilled players, not overcoached autonomons. The LTAD even preaches the importance of player development between 11-13, so why are all the bulk of the program’s benefits being funneled to those 13 and over? Why is the LTAD aimed at the few rather than the many? Hasn’t the very existence of the NTDP shown that elite all-star programs of hothoused players have dubious results?
What do we really need then? We need more rinks and cheaper ice. Hockey is too expensive. We have all seen young kids leave the game because of the cost. About seven years ago, this typist saw a very good 9-year-old city kid drummed out of a youth program because his parents couldn’t rub two nickels together. I still see this kid. And he’s still an excellent athlete, and he’s still a joy to watch. But he plays basketball.
We also know times are hard and public initiatives like what the Mass. District Commission did during the Orr era might not fly. (Though rink building would certainly create jobs!)
Listen, we don’t need fancy rinks. In many parts of the country, seasonal outdoor rinks work fine. They provide a starting point. They get kids on the ice at a young age. Kids just need a place where they can play in unstructured situations without grownups, leagues, the ridiculous amounts of travel, and the huge bills. We’ve seen cheap outdoor rinks all across Canada. There are quite a few in Minnesota, too, in town parks. The communities manage to come up with the money. Volunteers step up with the muscle. They make it happen. It’s a source of civic pride.
If we were given the $8 million dollars USA Hockey is getting and were given a mandate to spend it in a way that would help the American hockey player the most over the next 20 years, we’d put together a crack panel of men and women with proven success in public/private partnerships to figure out how to get the most rinks built in this country for the least amount of dollars. We’re not talking about eight-sheet super rinks, either. We’re talking “little rinks.” A lot of them. It's all so simple. Get a lot of kids on skates and you’ll get a lot of hockey players.
If you’re skeptical, travel down to the Dominican Republic and look at all the baseball diamonds. Most of them are lousy dustpatches that would be considered an embarrassment in our bucolic suburbs. They are strewn with rocks. Bases are hard to come by. But you'd recognize them as baseball fields. They are everywhere, and they are continuously used. And the Dominican Republic produces more baseball players per capita than any other spot on the earth -- and many of the game's stars.
Our message to USA Hockey. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, and kill what we already have. Look to the successes of the past for the key to the future. It’s right there under your nose.
And vote NO on the High Performance and Long Term Athlete Development Initiative.
USHL All-Stars AnnouncedHere are the rosters for the 2009 USHL Prospects/All-Star Game, which will take place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Wed. Feb. 4th.
Each team will consist of 20 players – two goaltenders, six defensemen and 12 forwards. Players were chosen by a vote of the league's coaches. Coaches are not allowed to vote for players from their team.
Four teams – Cedar Rapids, Chicago, Indiana and Lincoln -- will have five players playing in the game. Fargo and Omaha will have four players apiece taking part, and host Sioux Falls three. Each team will be represented by at least one player. Waterloo forward Nick Larson is the only player on this year’s roster who played in last year's All-Star game.
Coaches have not yet been announced.
Goaltenders:Mike Johnson (Cedar Rapids), Brett Bennett (Indiana).
Defensemen:Matt Donovan (Cedar Rapids), John Moore (Chicago), Max Nicastro (Chicago), Phil Samuelsson (Chicago), David Makowski (Green Bay), Joe Hartman (Indiana).
Forwards:Mike Seidel (Cedar Rapids), Jeff Costello (Cedar Rapids), Kyle Flanagan (Cedar Rapids), Andrew Miller (Chicago), Eric Alexander (Chicago), Alex Chiasson (Des Moines), Reed Seckel (Green Bay), Stanislav Galiev (Indiana), Brandon Richardson (Indiana), Shane Berschbach (Indiana), Craig Smith (Waterloo), Nick Larson (Waterloo)
Goaltenders:Mike Lee (Fargo), Kevin Murdock (Lincoln).
Defensemen: Luke Witkowski (Fargo), Jake Newton (Lincoln), Mike Dalhuisen (Lincoln), Seth Helgeson (Sioux City), Max Grover (Sioux Falls), Blake Thompson (Sioux Falls).
Forwards: Keegan Flaherty (Fargo), Josh Birkholz (Fargo), Kirt Hill (Lincoln), David Gerths (Lincoln), Pat Mullane (Omaha), Danny Kristo (Omaha), Louis Leblanc (Omaha), Ryan Daugherty (Omaha), Stephane DaCosta (Sioux City), Justin Daniels (Sioux City), David Eddy (Sioux Falls), Mike Cichy (Tri-City).
1/15/09 Empire All-Star & Futures Rosters Released
Yesterday, we posted the rosters for the EJHL All-Star games for Monday Jan. 19 in Hooksett, NH. (We think four all-star teams from a 14-team league is too much, but that's a discussion for another day).
There will also be a pair of Empire League showcase games on Monday in Hookset. The Empire is going at it a little differently, and actually better, with one all-star game for the older kids, and one futures game in which all the ‘93s and ‘94s in the league can show what they can do against players in their own age group.
The Empire League All-Star Game will face off at 10:30 am (North Rink) and the Empire Futures Game will be at 10:50 am (South Rink).
Empire All-Star & Futures Rosters Released
Click below for all four rosters on an Excel spread sheet.
Rosters: Empire All-Star Game/Empire Futures Game
1/15/09 Updated Top ’92s/'93s at Berkshire This Weekend
Playing in the showcase will be The Little Flyers ('92), Long Island Gulls ('92), Team Comcast ('92), Dallas Stars ('92), P.F. Chang’s ('92), and the Junior Flyers ('93).
There are a number of '93s playing up on the '92 teams. There's even a '94, Henrik Samuelsson (son of Ulf) rostered on P.F. Chang's.
A link to the schedule is below as are links to the rosters of half the teams (P.F. Chang’s, Comcast, and the Philly Jr. Flyers).
Schedule: East vs. West Showcase at Berkshire School
Top ’92s/'93s at Berkshire This WeekendThis is rather last-minute, but due to some other showcase elsewhere in the country falling through, five top ’92 teams and one '93 team will be coming to the Berkshire School this weekend (Sat.–Mon Jan. 17-19) and availing themselves of the Jackman L. Stewart Athletic Center, the school’s brand-new new twin-sheet facility which will be officially dedicated Jan. 31.
EJHL All-Star Rosters
The EJHL All-Star Games will again be hosted by the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and held at the Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett, NH. The date is Monday Jan. 19 (Martin Luther King Holiday) and the games will consist of two 25-minute halves.
In addition to the two EJHL All-Star contests, there will be two other all-star games at the Tri-Town Arena that day: the Empire League Futures Game at 10:50 am, and the Continental Jr. B Hockey Association all-star game at 1:30 pm. (Tri-Town Arena is a two-sheet facility.)
Game #1 – 1:00 pm
EJHL Northern Division:
Goaltenders: Robert Joe Dawson (Stars), Russ Stein (Bruins).
Defensemen: Colin Shea (Bruins), Patch Alber (Bruins), Daniel Federico (Bruins), Eric Bonawitz (Stars), Brandon Hew (Glades), Michael Donnellan (Glades).
Forwards: Steve Morra (Bruins), Joseph Pendenza (Bruins), Dennis Ors (Bruins), Matt Wilson (Stars), Joe Wilson (Stars), Mike Montagna (Stars), Rob Morton (Stars), Peter Massar (Glades), Riley Wetmore (Glades).
EJHL Southern Division:
Goaltenders: Eric Mihalik (Breakers), Jon Morrow (Hitmen).
Defensemen: Greg Merrill (Breakers), Blake O’Connor (Breakers), Nick Grasso (Applecore), Anthony Bitetto (Applecore).
Forwards: Nick Geraci (Hitmen), Kevin Czepiel (Hitmen), Jeremy Langlois (Hitmen), Ansel Ivens-Anderson (Hitmen), Garret Chumley (Hitmen), Will Frederick (Hitmen), Josh Harris (Breakers), Anthony Principato (Breakers), Adam Mitchell (Breakers), Zak Stone (Applecore), David Spadacene (Applecore).
Game #2 – 3:00 pm
EJHL Northern Division:
Goaltenders: Brian Billett (Monarchs), Nathan Corey (Huskies).
Defensemen: Brian Dumoulin (Monarchs), Mike Cornell (Monarchs), Tim Schaller (Huskies), Kyle Rajaniemi (Huskies), Jake Lewis (Shamrocks), Chris Wilcox (Warriors).
Forwards: Eric Peterson (Warriors), Nick Marquis (Warriors), Reed Hersey (Shamrocks), Colin Hoey (Huskies), Mike Richard (Huskies), Brooks Herrington (Monarchs), Adam Shemansky (Monarchs), Matt Mangene (Monarchs), Kyle Beattie (Monarchs)
EJHL Southern Division:
Goaltenders: Mike Milana (Falcons), Scott Lewan (Selects)
Defensemen: Ben Rosen (Kings), Nolan Descoteaux (Kings), Dylan Barbieri (Bandits), Dean Moore (Bandits), Tim McGarry (Falcons), Robert Etts (Falcons).
Forwards: John Heffernan (Bandits), Chris Rooney (Bandits), Brandon Nunn (Bandits), Tim King (Bandits), Chris Wagner (Kings), Sean Logue (Kings), Evan Chlanda (Falcons), John Grossi (Selects), George Isham (Selects).
Andover New #1 in USHR Div. I Prep Poll
The new USHR Div. I prep poll was released tonight, and Andover sits in the #1 spot. Salisbury is right behind them – and we do mean right behind them. For all practical purposes, the two teams are tied. Call them #1 and #1a.
After Andover and Salisbury there is a dropoff. Exeter, at #3 and the only school undefeated in NEPSIHA play, has a chance to make a huge statement on Saturday at Andover. It won’t be easy, either. Taft, at #4 can make a huge statement much sooner (Monday) when they host… Salisbury.
Things are getting interesting indeed.
Three teams that were in the last poll (Dec. 22) have been bounced out. They are: Nobles, Gunnery, and Winchendon.
Three new teams have slid in: Lawrence, Berkshire, and Cushing.
USHR Div. I Prep Poll, 1/11/09
NHL Central Scouting Mid-Term Rankings Released
The Central Scouting Mid-Term Rankings have been released.
Here are the links. Each link opens into a PDF file. If your computer was built after Ronald Reagan left the White House you will be fine.
Cepis Has a New Home5’7”, 150 lb. sophomore forward Jacob Cepis, who left Bowling Green for personal reasons on Dec. 19, has found a new college at which to pursue his studies.
The Parma, Ohio native will be enrolling at the University of Minnesota immediately and will be eligible to play for the Gophers in the middle of next season.
There have been a number of schools that have been pursuing Cepis, but in the end it came down to Boston University (where he visited last week); the University of Wisconsin; and the Gophers. Denver had interest too, though we’re not sure if Cepis had him among his finalists.
Bowling Green would not release Cepis to any other CCHA school.
Cepis, a 12/21/87 birthdate, can score goals. As a freshman, he was Bowling Green’s second leading scorer with a 15-16-31 line in 38 games, and was named to the CCHA all-rookie team. At Cedar Rapids (USHL) the year before, he led the league in goals with 34
Last month, to a reporter from the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, Cepis said, “I’m not happy with hockey right now. There are some decisions you have to make in your life. You have to be happy and you want to do well and you want to be the best you can be. This is what’s best for me right now.”
Asked about speculation that he didn’t get along with Falcons head coach Scott Paluch, Cepis said, “I’m not going to comment on that. It’s one of those things that if you’re not happy, the game isn’t fun for you. At a certain point, you have to say it wasn’t the right fit. That’s the bottom line.”
This season, Cepis’ numbers are way down. In 18 games, he has a 1-4-5 line.
As we mentioned at the tail end of our Milton-Belmont Hill game story on Wednesday night, Milton Academy goaltender Thomas Tysowsky has committed to Holy Cross for the fall of ’09.
Tysowsky, who actually committed that night at around 9:00 pm, has been a key to Milton’s success this season. The 6’3”, 195 lb. senior from Buffalo, NY drew attention last season, and had some excellent games. This year, he appears to be moving more confidently than last season. He appears quicker left to right. And he’s become much more consistent. In other words, pretty much all his games have been excellent this year. His save percentage so far this year is .946. Last year, it was .926.
Former St. Paul’s and current NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) defenseman Cheyne Rocha, whose season has been cut short by a shoulder injury, has committed to the U.S. Military Academy for the fall 0f ’09.
Rocha, who had surgery on the shoulder December 18th, is the son of former Berkshire School head coach Larry Rocha. His mother was an All-America in both lacrosse and field hockey player at Penn State.
In nine games with the Monarchs this season, Rocha had a 1-4-5 line. A rugged defensive defenseman, Rocha is 6’2”, 180 lbs. and an 11/10/89 birthdate.
A native of Rye, NH, Rocha graduated from St. Paul’s last June and was a member of the St. Paul’s team that reached the prep finals before losing to Avon Old Farms in overtime.
Over the years, a lot of readers with businesses have asked us if we would be offering advertising. We always wanted to do it, but only in a way that would allow everyone, no matter how small their budget, to effectively get their message out. What we decided on was a system of sponsorships – basically, text-based advertisements – to appear on a page of one’s own choosing.
For example, if you owned a hotel or restaurant in Salisbury, Connecticut, it might give your business a boost to sponsor one of Salisbury’s four different Team Pages, either Roster, Schedule, Results, or Stats. But this does not have to be limited to businesses. Alums, parents – anyone, really -- may sponsor a page. These “ads” are simple text boxes similar to Google ads – just type in what you want, and that’s what will appear. Because you are renting the space, you can go back and update your message to suit different occasions.
We are also offering Marketplace Sponsorships. These will appear in the areas of heaviest traffic – i.e. polls, standings, stat leaders, scoreboard page, and box scores. These ads, which cost a little more, rotate around amongst the aforementioned pages. Marketplace ads will be of interest to those trying to reach the broadest number of readers, and would include businesses with both a direct and indirect interest in the prep hockey world.
-- Hockey camps
-- Tryout camps
-- Hotels and restaurants
-- Equipment manufacturers and retailers
-- Boarding Schools
-- Conditioning and weight training facilities
-- Family advisers
-- Trophy manufacturers
-- Rink designers, builders, and suppliers
-- Team photographers
-- Bus lines
We could go on. The bottom line is this: whatever your business, we have space for you. Of course, all ads will be vetted for appropriateness. If you take out a sponsorship supporting a specific team, please avoid derogatory comments about opponents. And please consider USHR a portal that opens up your business to a discerning group of readers and consumers. If you have something of quality to offer, you will find a highly receptive audience. Remember to include your web address in order to bring readers to your site! Good luck and thank you for your support.
No Bennett vs. Delbarton
1/5/09 Final score: Delbarton 4, Hotchkiss 2
No Bennett vs. Delbarton
Bennett, a Michigan recruit who sprained his knee four weeks ago, just got back on skates yesterday and will not be suiting up for Hotchkiss until the Bearcats get back to playing league games.
However, there will still be plenty of scouts on hand tomorrow, because the game offers a prime opportunity to see what Velischek, the son of former Providence College and NHLer Randy Velischek, can do against a good team. Scouts who went to see Delbarton against Moses Brown and Bishop Hendricken just before Christmas left the building shaking their head over the level of the opposition, and the depths to which Rhode Island high school hockey has fallen. The game Delbarton played against Catholic Memorial in Boston wasn't much better. Delbarton, as we reported at the time, won that one, 5-1.
In addition to Velischek, who will be at Providence College in the fall, scouts will be watching 5'11", 180 lb. Hotchkiss forward Derek Deblois and 6'3", 180 lb. goaltender Cab Morris, both of whom are '91s and draft eligible.
For the future -- the 2011 draft, to be specific -- they'll be watching 6'3", 175 lb. Hotchkiss sophomore forward Petr Placek, a 12/28/92 birthdate from the Czech Republic. Check him out.
The faceoff for the game (Tues. 1/6) is at 4:30 at the Aspen Ice Arena in Randolph, NJ. On Wednesday, Hotchkiss will be in Hamilton, NY, facing Wyoming Seminary in a 6:15 pm start at Colgate's Starr Rink.
Unice, van Reimsdyk Lift Junior Team
Ottawa, Ont. – A James van Riemsdyk goal at 2:49 of OT lifted the U.S. to a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic and a Fifth-place finish at the 2009 World Junior Championship.
Josh Unice kicked out 25 of 27 shots for the win. It was his first and only appearance in the U.S. net since playing the final 20 minutes of an exhibition blowout of Latvia on Sun. Dec. 21, exactly two weeks ago tonight.
Eric Tangradi and Cade Fairchild scored the other goals for the U.S.
Jacob Fallon notched a hat trick and Shane Sooth had three assists as the U.S. beat Canada West, 4-2, in the bronze medal game of the World Under-17 Challenge this afternoon in Part Alberni, BC.
Willie Yanakeff kicked out 26 of 28 shots for the win, and finished the tournament with a .930 save percentage. Defenseman Adam Clendening and forward Brandon Saad were named to the tournament's six-player all-star team.
In the championship game, just concluded, Team Ontario topped Canada Pacific, which beat the U.S. in OT of last night’s semifinal.
The U.S. has not done terribly well in this tournament, especially given the fact that they are the only full-time standing team among the Under-17 Teams here. They also represent an entire county, whereas Canada sends five different regional teams (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, West, and Pacific), each assembled solely for the tournament. While the U.S. goes into this tournament with at least a theoretical edge, they haven’t been successful, failing to win gold since back-to back championships during the Mike Eaves’ era at the NTDP. Since then, gold has been won by Ontario, Canada West, Quebec, Ontario, and, once again, this evening, Ontario. The U.S. has won two medals during that time span, both silvers.
U.S. Juniors Stunned by SlovakiaOttawa, Ont. -- In the biggest upset of the 2009 World Junior Championship, Slovakia -- yes, Slovakia -- KO’d the U.S. National Junior Team from medal contention today, knocking them off 5-3 in quarterfinal action before 18,042 fans at Scotiabank Place.
The best the U.S. can hope for now is a fifth place finish. They’ll be going for that on Sunday (7:30 pm) against the Czech Republic. It’s a bitter pill for a U.S. team with eight first round NHL draft picks.
This was a game of goaltenders. U.S. head coach Ron Rolston, who will be facing a ton of questioning, defied common sense by going entirely with one goalie here, playing Thomas McCollum in every minute of every game (five in eight nights), even the Kazakhstan start, a 12-0 U.S. win. It's hard to describe the intensity of this tournament -- it's a huge pressure cooker, and we tend to forget that these are teenagers. McCollum had been good, but not great, in the games leading up to the Wednesday's tilt against Canada. And, against Canada, fatigue -- be it emotional, physical, or a combination -- seemed to catch up to him. He looked shaky on a couple of goals, and his overall composure appeared to be ebbing.
But he’s Rolston guy, so once again Josh Unice watched from the bench, and today the Slovaks burned McCollum for goals on three of the first eight shots against him. A couple were real softies and a defensive blunder didn't help on the third. The bottom line: the U.S. trailed early -- and throughout -- and when all was tallied up McCollum had made only 14 saves on 18 shots.
The U.S., however, still could have won this game but for the remarkable job by Slovakian goalie Jaroslav Janus, an undrafted kid playing for the Erie Otters (OHL). Janus was the only goalie here whose minutes came even close to McCollum's, but we really don't know who was backing him up. Not that it made any difference. Slovakia had defied expectations by reaching the quarterfinals and Janus had the hot hand. Very hot, actually. He wound up stopping 44 of the 47 shots he faced. He was tested early, having to turn aside Jordan Schroeder on a penalty shot just 55 seconds into the game, and his confidence just grew from there.
It was, "the best game of my life," Janus said afterward. Bypassed in last June's NHL draft, Janus certainly lifted his stock for this summer's draft.
After the game, Rolston said, "It was one of those games that just wasn't meant to be."
We don't know what people mean when they say that. We've never seen a game that was simply "meant to be." Games aren't affected by invisible powers. The participants -- be they coaches or players -- actually do play a role in the outcome.
It looked to us like Rolston was in over his head this week. In the game against Canada, he was totally bested by Pat Quinn -- and wilted in the magnitude of the moment. Today, due to not parcelling out playing time earlier in the tournament, as Quinn did with Dustin Tokarski and Chet Pickard, or the Russians and Swedes did with their goalies, Rolston had boxed himself in.
But Rolston doesn't really have to worry. This was his second go-round as coach of the junior team, having had the assignment two years ago. And two years from now, he'll probably have the job again. USA Hockey, at its upper levels, is a strange, cloistered universe that doesn't really spend a lot of time asking questions and/or looking for better ways to do things. We can't help but question how much they really care about winning the World Junior Championship. They say they do, but we just see the same people doing the same things in the same way, year after year after year. We expect -- and hope -- the U.S. will beat the Czech Republic on Sunday. Unfortunately, if that happens, nothing is likely to change. USA Hockey brass will pat themselves on the back for the way their team bounced back from a couple of "tough losses," and then everyone will go right back to business as usual. Count on it.
-- The semifinals for tomorrow (Sat. 1/3) feature Sweden vs. Slovakia at 3:30 pm; and Russia vs. Canada at 7:00 pm.