September 29, 2006
Los Angeles Acquires Rights to Michigan's Johnson From Carolina

The defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes traded the rights to Michigan defenseman Jack Johnson and veteran blueliner Oleg Tverdovsky to the Los Angeles Kings Friday in exchange for forward Eric Belanger and defenseman Tim Gleason.

Johnson, who is about to start his sophomore season with the Wolverines, was the third overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. During his freshman campaign at Michigan, the Ann Arbor native scored 10 goals and 32 points in 38 games. He also racked up a Division I-high 149 penalty minutes.

"I’m here in Michigan, and that’s where my focus is,” Johnson told the Associated Press. “I’m excited about my new team, but my life isn’t going to change because of it.”

A source close to the Carolina organization told Inside College Hockey at June's NHL Draft in Vancouver that the Hurricanes' brass was privately upset with Johnson for twice rebuffing the team's efforts to sign him even though he would've stepped into the lineup immediately.

"[Johnson] wanted to spend another year in school," Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford told AP. "I think that in his best interests for his development ... he should be playing pro now. He’s ready to do that. The sooner he starts playing pro, the sooner he starts to develop into a real good NHL player."

September 29, 2006
WCHA Experiments With Rules in Exhibitions

The WCHA will experiment with three rules during exhibition games this season. They are:

  • An officiating crew consisting of two referees and two assistant referees.
  • Teams will not be allowed to ice the puck while killing penalties.
  • Teams will not be allowed to substitute players if they ice the puck with three exceptions – if a goaltender was pulled for an extra skater and that team wants to put the goaltender back in, if a player is injured on the play or if a penalty occurs during the play.

September 18, 2006
Vermont Names Mitchell Assistant Coach

Willie Mitchell, a former associate head coach at Wayne State, has been named an assistant coach at Vermont, Catamount head coach Kevin Sneddon announced Monday.

"I feel very fortunate to be adding another great coach to our program," Sneddon said. "I have been truly fortunate during my career to be surrounded by great people, and this continues today by naming Willie Mitchell as men's hockey assistant coach. Willie's coaching experience at the collegiate level combined with his recruiting expertise will certainly help our program. Throughout his career as a player and as a coach, he has had success. Our staff is looking forward to continuing that trend as we compete for Hockey East championships."

"I am grateful to Kevin Sneddon and the University of Vermont for such an incredible opportunity to be a part of their program and family," Mitchell said. "I am very honored and excited to join such a prestigious program and look forward to working with the student-athletes and entire staff as we work toward our goals as a team."

Mitchell comes to Vermont after spending seven years with the Wayne State program. The 1993 graduate of Western Ontario previously served as the volunteer assistant coach at Michigan State.

September 8, 2006
Watson Joins UMD Staff

Former two-time All-American and Hobey Baker Memorial Award recipient Bill Watson, a name synonymous with University of Minnesota Duluth men's hockey, has been added to the 2006-07 Bulldog staff as a volunteer assistant coach.

"I'm glad to be back in college hockey again and be involved with the sport on a day-to-day basis," said Watson, 42. "I think with my experience both as a coach and a player, I can bring a different perspective to the Bulldog hockey program."

September 7, 2006
Laatsch Back at Denver as Coach

Former Denver captain Matt Laatsch has joined the team as a volunteer assistant coach, head coach George Gwozdecky has announced. Laatsch guided the Pioneers to their second consecutive NCAA championship in 2005 and tallied 6-24—30 during a solid four-year career. He returns to the Pioneers after a brief stint with the American Hockey League’s Utah Grizzlies before retiring from professional hockey after attending the Chicago Blackhawks camp in the fall of 2005.

“I am excited to be back as a volunteer assistant coach,” Laatsch said. “I have always wanted to coach and I am very grateful to Coach Gwozdecky and the University of Denver for this opportunity.”

Laatsch will assist in on-ice coaching, game analysis and video breakdown for the Pioneers. He played 110 games for DU and was part of the most successful classes in DU hockey history. His senior class of 2005 posted a 112-43-14 record in 169 games, captured back-to-back NCAA titles in 2004 and 2005, two WCHA Final Five and two WCHA regular-season championships, and four Wells Fargo Denver Cup championships.

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