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
The Dean's favorite things
ahead to the WJC
back on the WJC
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
refereeing system to do you prefer, the four-man (two referee,
two linesman) system used in the National Hockey League? Or
the three-man system (one referee and two assistant refs)
used in college?
T. Ebner, Onalaska, Wis.
is no question the four-man system in the NHL definitely gets
more eyes on ice and has been effective at clamping down on
obstruction penalties. From my perspective, I'm not sure that
the game is designed to call everything on the ice. I think
the three-man system gives a more consistent call of the game.
I like the college system the way it is. I know there is some
discussion to go to the NHL system, but I like the way it's
done at the college level.
replay to review goals was discussed at the Western Collegiate
Hockey Associations meetings in January and I know coaches
would be in favor of it. The problem is to resolve the cost
to implement it in every facility in the league. If coaches
have their druthers, they would like to see it incorporated;
since it has gotten so tough to score a goal, it seems likes
a harsh penalty when a goal is taken away by an on-ice official
who doesn't have the benefit of replay.
Dean's List by Jeff Sauer
January is a
busy month in hockey – off the ice as well as on. Recently
administrators convened at the National Collegiate Athletic Association
meetings in Anaheim, Calif., on one weekend and at USA Hockey's
Winter Meetings in Tampa, Fla., the next. Here are some of the things
being discussed in hockey at the college and overall amateur level:
impact of the major junior situation in college hockey:
In my 31 years
in college coaching, this has been a constant topic. How does Major
Junior A hockey affect the college game?
It came up again
in Anaheim and the latest proposal on the table says that if a major
junior player plays a game before his high school class graduates,
he should be eligible to play college hockey after sitting out his
first year after enrollment. In other words, the current rule would
stand, such as what T.J. Caig went through at Minnesota-Duluth recently.
But if a player
plays major A hockey after his high school class graduates, he would
be ineligible to ever play college hockey.
This is a proposal
that some support, but the gray area is this – when should
the graduation date for a player be? Is it when a four-year high
school career is over? Is it after a kid goes to prep school? That
is still open to negotiation.
There are still
many discussions that need to be held before legislation would officially
go on the table, but getting more Major A players into college is
something that is being discussed behind the scenes.
I've been around
so long I remember when you could recruit Major A kids. We still
have a ways to go before everyone gets on the same page about how
Major A players fits in our game.
But I know this:
I saw a number of major A players at the world junior tournament
last month. If they were to be eligible for college hockey, it would
make the game even more exciting than it currently is and would
be good for the fan.
role of parents in hockey:
When I was at
the world junior tournament, a great TV commercial aired in Canada
showing a dad lining up a 10-foot putt with his kid behind him telling
him not to miss it. Shouting at him to make the right play. Then
when the dad misses the putt, the kid told him he should have worked
harder and that he was an awful putter.
message from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association came through
that parents put too much about pressure on hockey players from
the youth level to college. USA Hockey is concerned that parents
keep their perspective on the game. They are aware of the parental
influence on coaching decisions and hope to make this a focal point
to help coaches and managers of teams with the challenge of keeping
things in perspective.
I think many
of us could use a reminder that hockey is a game to be enjoyed by
kids at all levels.
Finally, I always
thought this was the best time of year to be a coach. It's when
teams come together. Players accept roles on their teams and the
good teams start playing their best hockey.
As a coach,
I always thought this was the meat of the season, a time when coaches
and players perform well.
I saw it myself
a few weeks back in a big series in Minneapolis between North Dakota
and Minnesota. The night I was there, Minnesota won a big game they
had to have to stay in the WCHA race. It was a game that reminded
me that it's a time when players turn their jets on and get ready
as an observer, to see how coaches and players react at this time
of the year. It is a time when teams evolve into title contenders.
I'm looking forward to it.