Sauer – the fifth-winningest coach in college history
– writes a bi-weekly column for Inside College Hockey.com.
"The Dean" was the head coach for 31 years at Colorado
College and Wisconsin, where he won two national titles. Sauer
retired at the end of the 2001-02 season.
Editions of The Dean's List
early departures for the pros
this year's rule changes
rinks, old and new
major junior eligibility
listening pleasure, find The
Bud Song on Wisconsin's official site.
of the fun in doing this column is the opportunity to interact
with you, the hockey fan. Please send your questions or comments
the style of play change when a team goes from one ice surface
– Rufus, Waupun, Wis.
of play can be much different when going from an NHL rink
(200 feet by 85 feet) to an Olympic style rink (200x100).
It is more difficult to forecheck on a bigger rink, because
the opponent has more time and space to operate. On a smaller
rink, things happen more quickly, the puck moves more quickly
because there is less time to react and there is more contact.
My preference? A rink somewhere in between the two. A 200x90
rink would be optimum.
Dean's List by Jeff Sauer
One of the nice
things about writing this column has been the feedback it's gotten
from readers online and fans who have been nice enough to acknowledge
it from time to time this hockey season.
year, one of the questions I was asked was: Who was my favorite
player I've coached? I always tells people it was Patrick Flatley
from one of my first Badgers' teams. It got me thinking, in this
time to give thanks, of the people and things I've been lucky enough
to observe in the college game.
So this has
nothing do with raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, as the
song says, but here some of my favorite things in college hockey
Favorite opposing goaltender: The biggest name is Ken Dryden, who
was unbeatable in his days at Cornell before heading to his National
Hockey League Hall of Fame days in Montreal. I always remember Chris
Terreri standing on his head when I watched Providence in the NCAA
tournament inDetroit in the mid-'80s. You may never have heard of
Jerome Mrazek, but he was a guy who I recruited for Colorado College
in the early '70s. He had long hair and played the guitar and he
was really a talented goaltender, but I didn't get him. Minnesota-Duluth
did and he played awfully well on some teams that didn't have good
records. My favorite guy when I coached at CC was Eddie Mio, who
went on to become the best man in Wayne Gretzky's wedding and one
of the top 50 all-time players in the Western Collegiate Hockey
Association. He was so good that he had a cough one year and they
checked his locker and found he was taking pills before the game.
People thought he was on drugs. They just found he was taking sugar
pills, instead. Typical goalie.
Robbie Moore, the acrobatic Michigan goalie in the mid-'70s. He
had antics that the crowd loved, but he backed up the show with
great performances and almost won a national championship against
I wrote a few weeks back how I love the old rinks like Matthews
Arena in Boston with the lore and history. I felt the same way about
the Broadmoor World Arena where I coached and played in Colorado
Springs, and the old Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. Architecturally
I loved the old Appleton Arena where St. Lawrence played in Canton,
N.Y., and Hobey Baker Rink at Princeton. But for atmosphere there
was nothing more intimidating than on a cold night at the old Englestad
Arena in North Dakota with the student section screaming before
Call me a homer, but I'll take the Dane County Coliseum in Madison.
There was nothing like it when the place was rocking and the Badgers
coach: I always considered it an honor to coach against so many
guys like I did. So characters like Michigan State's Amo Bessone
and Notre Dame's Lefty Smith stand out as do legends like Denver's
Murray Armstrong, Minnesota's Herb Brooks and Bob (Johnson). It
was always challenging going against (Boston University's) Jackie
Parker and Mike Sertich (of Duluth and Michigan Tech), who wasn't
afraid to help me coach from the other bench.
Michigan Tech's John MacInnes, who was always well-prepared. His
teams were always well-coached and he respected everyone.
I've been encouraged to put this on the list because I do enjoy
my post-game pizza to break down a power play. And I have my special
spots like the Ambassador in Houghton, Mich., Campus Pizza in Minneapolis,
and The Italian Moon in Grand Forks, which gets special mention
for its cheese dip.
But my favorite:
Sammy's in Duluth. Just the right crust. And I know the owner.
note: Before the next category let it be noted that Sauer
is the only coach to ever receive a penalty while at a urinal. Between
periods. Bill Brophy writes In "Shot and a Goal: A History
of Wisconsin Hockey" (buy it online at amazon.com)
that The Dean received his unorthodox bench penalty while coaching
at CC. "We were at Michigan,'' Sauer recalls in the book, "and
there was an altercation after the period. I thought a Michigan
guy started it and we had (Michigan coach Dan) Farrell and I separating
40 guys. So we get back to the locker room and I talk to my team
and then head for the bathroom. Now at the old Yost Arena, there
was a vent over the bathroom in our locker room and I
could hear the officials in the next locker room saying I was right,
that a Michigan guy started the fight. So I banged on the wall and
yelled through the wall, 'if you see the bleeping penalty, call
it.' So I go out on the ice and find out I got a two-minute bench
penalty while in the men's room."
I've dealt with enough of them, but I always have said I didn't
have a problem with referees. I had a bigger problem with the impact
that linesmen and assistant referees had on the game on calls like
offside and icing. But referees are more noticeable. My list of
favorites has to include Greg Shepherd — who seemed to work
so many games one of our championship years that he should have
been in the team picture — and Dewey
(Duane Markus) and Dickie (Haigh) who seemed to be in every fight
during the '70s and '80s when there was a different era in college
hockey. Red Wilkie was memorable, if for no other reason than the
Badgers' fan chant once heard at a game in South Bend, Ind. ("A
horse's tail is long and silky, lift the tail and you'll find Wilkie"),
and Eastern officials like Ned Bunion and Steve McBride stand out,
Buzzy Christansen. It's like I used to always tell my players when
Buzzy was working our series: "Boys you will see something
called this weekend that you will never see again.''
Thanks for letting
me reminisce and Happy Thanksgiving.