September 26, 2007
INCH's Fifth Anniversary | The Players

Our fifth anniversary celebration can begin nowhere else but with a salute to the players of the last five years – both the most talented and the ones we enjoyed covering the most.


G David McKee, Cornell  
D Matt Carle, Denver  
D Andy Greene, Miami  
F T.J. Hensick, Michigan  
F Zach Parise, North Dakota  
F Brett Sterling, Colorado College  


Several INCH writers single out their favorite players (or people) to cover during the last five years:

Mike Eidelbes

1. The 2003-04 Denver Pioneers Guys like Adam Berkhoel and Connor James will never be topped. In terms of loosey-goosey, fun-loving locker rooms, the Pioneers that won the national championship in Boston are the gold standard. The Wisconsin team that won it all in Milwaukee was good, too.
2. Chris Porter, North Dakota Talking to him was like talking to another coach. He explained the game unbelievably well. Not that I didn’t expect that from him, but his descriptions of plays were so detailed and thorough.
3. Nathan Gerbe, Boston College Became an instant favorite when I saw him with the U.S. NTDP, laying a hit on a Michigan State defenseman who was about 10 inches taller than him.
4. Al Montoya, Michigan The year he led the U.S. to the World Junior title and was chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft, I talked to him so much because of INCH and stuff we were doing for that I felt like a relative. When he announced he was returning to Michigan for his junior year, he called me (on a Saturday morning while I was on vacation in Victoria, B.C.) before he called the coaching staff.
5. Dave Poulin, Notre Dame Regardless of whether his team won or lost, he was always a gracious interview and very insightful. I always felt he had a knack for explaining the things his team did right or wrong with such clarity. And I always felt he was genuinely proud of his guys when they won, and hurt for them when they lost.

Nate Ewell

1. Steve Saviano, New Hampshire Undersized, highly skilled guys are the best part about college hockey. I predicted he'd blow up as a senior, and I like guys who prove me right.
2. Ryan Shannon, Boston College You get bonus points when you thank the media for covering your team at the postgame press conference.
3. Pat Oliveto, Niagara Good kid, good player, good family. A supremely polished interview coming from a smaller school and immediately after an NCAA Tournament loss.
4. Conor James, Denver The INCH staff usually does a good job of keeping each other smiling at the Frozen Four, but we all took a backseat to James in Boston. We ran into his family on the T to the title game and saw where he gets it.
5. Jonathan Ornelas, Rensselaer I caught him in one game two years ago while in Albany for a friend’s wedding. He reminded me of Saviano and he earned a fan immediately.

Joe Gladziszewski

1. Noah Welch, Harvard A Cornell fan once asked our editors, "What's up with Joe G.? Is he the president of the Noah Welch Fan Club?" Answer: Yes.
2. Mike Hamilton, Maine I wished he was in ECAC Hockey, because whenever I spoke with him at regionals or Frozens he was insightful, well-mannered, and a terrific player in March and April.
3. Adam Mitchell, Colgate Mitchell is a nice guy, a great interview, and a big reason why Colgate improved so much in the last four years, even though he was rarely recognized as one of the top players in ECAC Hockey.
4. Nick Dodge, Clarkson The most outstanding player I've seen in four years of covering ECAC Hockey because he does the little things so well.
5. Gino Guyer, Minnesota Guyer is another out-of-region player who I wish I saw more of. His penalty-killing and face-off proficiency caught my eye at the 2003 Frozen Four in Buffalo. Gopher assistant coach Mike Guentzel said it best: "He makes other players better."

Jess Myers

1. Zach Parise, North Dakota Amazing skills, and great to talk to, win or lose, after the game. Best player of the decade without a Frozen Four on his resume.
2. Chris King, Alaska Anchorage Hard-working kid balancing the challenges of being a student, an athlete and a new father at the same time, while still maintaining a smile and decent save percentage.
3. Brett Sterling, Colorado College You’ve got to love an undersized kid who plays with a chip on his shoulder, daring opponents to try to move him away from the top of the crease. If they would’ve cut the 2005 Hobey in half and given Marty Sertich’s linemate an equal share, there wouldn’t have been many complaints.
4. Junior Lessard, Minnesota Duluth Bouncing back from nearly drowning in Lake Superior before his senior year, Lessard had a magical run to win the 2004 Hobey. It was a refreshing bonus to see something other than a Maine sweater when you hear a French-Canadian accent.
5. Matt Laatsch, Denver Full disclosure: I coached Matt when he was a 13-year-old playing pee wee hockey. To see him grow from a little kid with a toothy smile into a two-time NCAA champion was a joy.