April 20, 2008
Guentzel resigns after 14 years as Minnesota assistant

Minnesota assistant coach Mike Guentzel announced his resignation Friday, ending a 14-year stint as a Gopher aide.

According to a news release issued by the university, Guentzel, a four-year letterwinner at Minnesota from 1981-85, plans to pursue other coaching opportunities. He also cited a desire to spend more time with his family. Guentzel has three sons — the oldest, Ryan, was a freshman on the Notre Dame that advanced to the NCAA tournament championship game, while another, Gabe, spent last season with Sioux Falls of the United States Hockey League.

The Marble, Minn., native, joined the Gopher staff in 1994 as an assistant to then head coach Doug Woog. During his tenure, he helped Minnesota to two national titles, five NCAA Frozen Four appearances, three WCHA regular-season crowns, and five league playoff championships.

April 15, 2008
Berenson named 2008 Penrose Award winner

Michigan coach Red Berenson, who guided the young Wolverines to the CCHA regular-season and playoff championships and a trip to the Frozen Four for the first time since 2003, was named this year's winner of the Spencer Penrose Award, presented annually to the top NCAA Division I men's hockey coach by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

Berenson, who had never won the Penrose Award prior to this year but was honored as the NHL's Coach of the Year as the St. Louis Blues bench boss in 1981, led Michigan to a 33-6-4 mark and a record 18th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. The Wolverines, paced by Hobey Baker Award winner Kevin Porter, beat Niagara and Clarkson in the East Regional before falling to Notre Dame in the national semfinal.

Berenson, who will receive the Penrose Award at the ACHA banquet in Naples, Fla., later this month, is the third straignt CCHA coach to win the honor, following Miami's Enrico Blasi (2006) and Notre Dame's Jeff Jackson (2007). Boston College's Jerry York and Princeton's Guy Gadowksy were runners up for the award this season.

April 7, 2008
Funding approved for four Minnesota arena projects

The Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center is the oldest arena in the WCHA.

In the words of a Minneapolis native who came to be known as “Badger Bob” it was a great day for hockey in Minnesota. But the good news came from the halls of politics, not on the ice. With the stroke of a pen at the State Capitol, funding for a quartet of college arena projects became a reality.

Portions of the $716 million bill that became law on Monday will mean new D-I arenas for Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State, and a new multiple ice sheet facility that will house the D-III program at Minnesota Crookston. Also included in the bill was $6.5 million for upgrades and improvements at the 19-year-old National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State.

The “new DECC” project slated for the Duluth waterfront was perhaps the most talked about of the facilities. City and legislative leaders had been working for more than three years to secure state dollars ($38 million was approved) to build a replacement for the WCHA’s oldest arena. According to Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin, the hope is a September groundbreaking for the new facility. It will be built on the site of the current DECC parking lot, and is expected to open sometime in the 2010-11 season.

“This is a great day, not only for our program and our community, but for hockey throughout the state,” said Sandelin.

In Bemidji, the state dollars will be coupled with city money to build a new arena and events center which will have Beaver hockey as its primary tenant. School officials had said that a new arena and an entry into the WCHA were keys to the long-term survival of BSU hockey on the D-I level. The Beavers have not been admitted into the WCHA, but they have established a scheduling arrangement with the league which is expected to put the program on solid ground.

The St. Cloud State project will mean a more comfortable experience for visitors to the Huskies’ rink. The funding will help build a true ticket lobby and merchandise store on the south side of the rink, with meeting rooms and coaches offices added to the facility.

The Crookston facility will replace the community’s current two-sheet rink, which is adjacent to the Red Lake River and needs to be closed due to flood concerns. It was not all good arena news on Monday, as Gov. Tim Pawlenty chose to line-item veto upwards of $900,000 from the bill that would’ve gone toward planning and design for a women’s hockey facility at Minnesota State.

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