Sauer – the sixth-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. He was the 2003
Snooks Kelley Award winner for contributions to U.S. hockey
and ranked 16th on INCH's list of the all-time greatest
college hockey coaches.
listening pleasure, find The
Bud Song on Wisconsin's official site.
the fun in doing this column is the opportunity to interact
with you, the hockey fan. Please send your questions or comments
10, 2003 The
Dean's List by Jeff Sauer
The start of
a new season is always a time of great expectations. Last year it
was a time of rule changes that impacted the game, like the speed-up
faceoff rule which nearly every fan and certainly every coach and
player noticed had an effect on the game.
There is no
such high-profile rule change this season. Referees have been instructed
to be look for points of emphasis on the rules which will insure
the safety of players, a goal each year. As usual, referees have
been asked to watch the checks from behind and the hits to the head.
rule change involves goaltending equipment. You may have noticed
that many goaltenders lost their facemasks last year during collisions.
Part of the reason for this was that goalies didn't fasten their
chin straps and thus it was easier for the mask to come off.
assistant referees will check before the game and during the game
that goalies, like all players, must have their chin straps fastened
or a two-minute penalty will be assessed.
rule has been tweaked a little since last year, when referees were
instructed to drop the puck 15 seconds after a stoppage.
While the rule
was generally favorably received, most coaches and officials thought
the 15-second rule didn't give the home team enough of an advantage
on a change. So the college game will now model the National Hockey
League and there will be 18 seconds before the puck is dropped –
five seconds for the visitors to change, eight seconds for the home
change (three more than last year), and five seconds to get settled
and drop the puck. Everyone seemed comfortable with this adjustment.
game continues to grow. The NCAA just announced the national tournament
will expand from four to eight teams next season (2004-05), which
is great for the sport. But after sitting through some meetings
involving women's coaches and referees, I think there still has
to be some consensus into how much physical play should be allowed
in the women's game.
Some coaches and officials think there should be some contact allowed.
Others think it should stress skating and passing, and I think there
will have to be more give and take on this issue.
that comes up every year is instant replay. The NCAA just ruled
it will run its own replays at the national tournament next year
so it will not be reliant solely on the television producers to
dictate which replays are available to officials. This ruling negates
an experiment by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, which
was going to set up its own replay system in Denver this season.
But after receiving
the NCAA guidelines on replays for the national tournament next
year, the WCHA thought it would be too cumbersome to run a similar
replay system during league games in Denver. It has shelved the
idea for now.
The start of
the season is always exciting with all the predictions, the talk
of exciting new players and high expectations.