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.
ALL-INCH ERA TEAM
||David McKee, Cornell
||Matt Carle, Denver
||Andy Greene, Miami
||T.J. Hensick, Michigan
||Zach Parise, North Dakota
||Brett Sterling, Colorado College
Several INCH writers single out their favorite
players (or people) to cover during the last five years:
|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 ESPN.com 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.
|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.
|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
|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."
|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
|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.