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.
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
years you have had to nominate players for the Hobey Baker
Award. Who would you nominate this year from the players you
Elizabeth, Denver, Colo.
WCHA without question Peter Sejna of Colorado College is a
finalist. He's got all the tools and is having a great year.
North Dakota's Zach Parise is very talented and while people
may say freshman shouldn't be considered, I feel he is worthy
to be nominated.
saw the goalie from Cornell (Dave LeNeveu) at the world junior
tournament – and there it was mostly during
practice – but obviously he is having a wonderful
year. I think Ben Eaves of Boston College should be on the
list and Chris Higgins of Yale is a very good player. Tom
Preissing, CC's defenseman, has had quite a year for what
I think is the best team in the WCHA. Although I haven't seen
him, the kid from Ferris State, Chris Kunitz, has also had
a year worthy of making him a finalist.
28, 2003 The
Dean's List by Jeff Sauer
Many of you
are getting excited over the final weeks of the college hockey season
and speculating on who will play who and where in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, I have spent the week going through customs at Newark
Airport and crossing the Atlantic in preparation for an event I
am very excited about: coaching Team USA in the 15th annual Deaflympics
in Stockholm, Sweden.
It isn't often
that you get to participate in international hockey and I feel very
privileged to get to coach this team just months after being at
the World Junior Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is particularly
exciting for me because I have got to know most of players and seen
them grow up over their careers while working at Stan Mikita's Hockey
School for the Hearing Impaired in Chicago during the last 24 years.
It's great to finally get to coach them in a tournament such as
It is gratifying
work. These kids are wonderful to work with and there are some very
good hockey players. I feel we have a pretty good team. Much of
that is due to the dedication of the people who have worked at the
hockey school – people like David Lassonde, the University
of New Hampshire assistant coach, Darren Pang of ESPN and many of
the Chicago Blackhawks' alumni like Cliff Koroll, Keith Magnuson
and Reggie Kerr. Tony Granato, the coach of the Colorado Avalanche,
and his sister, Cammi, have helped us in the past. So while I am
coaching behind the bench, these players have received lots of good
All are hearing
impaired. Some are stone deaf. Others have impaired hearing. No
hearing aids during competition are permitted. Any player found
wearing a hearing aid is disqualified and the team would lose any
So how do you
communicate with players, people always ask? I have limited knowledge
of sign language. We have people on the bench who are much more
adept at it than me. And there are some modifications to the game.
For instance at all stoppages of play, instead of a whistle, lights
go on around the rink – like a stop light –
to signal a stoppage.
As a coach,
the biggest problem is making line changes. Instead of shouting,
"so-and so's line is up," you use numbers to signify whose
line is on the ice next. You can't call guys back if someone jumps
on the ice by mistake, so your team has to be disciplined.
is better than you think. Hockey players are athletes who instinctively
know the game, where their teammates are and when the stoppages
in a game should occur. It is intuitive in good athletes. We have
a lot of them. We have a quite a cross section of accomplished players.
Some of them have played in the Deaflympics before (the U.S. has
won one gold medal and two silvers in previous competitions). We
have high school players and a a guy who is 32 years old.
One of our defensemen,
Ryan Krajewski of Duluth, Minn., is an assistant coach at Proctor
High School. Three of our forwards left their high school teams
in Minnesota to join us. They are Steve Wangberg and Jon Dickson
of Bemdji, Minn. and Kyle Sontag of Maplewood, Minn.
Many of our
guys played college hockey. Forward Tony McGaughey played two years
at Northeastern, defenseman Matt Holmes played at Mercyhurst and
Michael Filardo was a goalie at New Hampshire. Forward Rick Poppe
played at Wisconsin-Stout, and forward Curt Selander played four
years for Hamline University. Defenseman Mike Drew was an all-city
high school defenseman in Chicago, Ben Johnson played at Duluth
East High School and then major junior hockey in Western Canada
and Jim Siciliano, our captain from Boston, is a veteran of two
of these tournaments.
You can see
it is a diverse group. I think it's a pretty good team and we have
a good chance to win a medal in an intense tournament.
We arrived Tuesday
morning in Stockholm and practiced Tuesday night. After practice
one day we toured Stockholm, and one of my former players at Wisconsin,
Jan-ake Danielson, arranged a scrimmage against a Swedish junior
Our first game
is Saturday, March 1, in Sundsvall against Germany and the opening
ceremonies of the Deaflympic are Saturday night. It is supposed
to be much like the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Winter Games,
as athletes from alpine skiing, downhill and Nordic will join snowboarders,
curlers and hockey players in the start of the games that run for
In the round-robin
tournament, we play Finland March 3, Russia March 5, Sweden March
6 and Canada March 8. Hopefully we'll be involved in the medal ceremony
after the Canada game.
It always is
a privilege to wear the USA colors. It will be especially exciting
for me to get to coach these talnted young men in this tournament.
Sauer and the team throughout the tournament at Deaflympics.com.