started by Gen. Douglas MacArthur more than 80 years ago could
meet its demise this weekend if two national military academies
can’t agree about who may play and who may not.
Royal Military College will play Army this Saturday in West Point
in what is billed as “the oldest continuous international
rivalry in sports.” The teams initially met in 1923, at
the behest of MacArthur, and have played every year since 1949.
But Army coach Brian Riley threatened that 2005 might be the end
of it all if RMC insists on putting non-cadets, such as part-time
reservists and graduate students who played Canadian college hockey
at other schools, in its lineup.
Paladins whom Riley doesn’t think should be allowed to play
is leading scorer Tyler Middlebrook, a former star at the University
of Toronto who is in his first year as an MBA student at RMC.
it’s not going to be cadets versus cadets, then it becomes
just another game, and we don’t need it,” Riley said.
“If it’s like that, we’d be better off playing
a team from the ECAC or Hockey East down here on the RMC weekend.
When this was set up, it was for cadets against cadets, but it’s
started to move away from being a cultural exchange.
the game is in real jeopardy. Unless there is some compromise
that can be reached, this could be the last year.”
he and other Army officials plan to voice their concerns to RMC’s
traveling party this weekend. The Black Knights have won eight
straight home games in the series, and hold a 38-29-6 advantage
overall. Riley said RMC began using non-cadets last season to
be more competitive in its league, Ontario University Athletics.
He said he
doesn’t begrudge the Paladins for that decision, but he
hopes they will voluntarily refrain from using non-cadets in the
exhibition against his squad.
game has been around forever, and I would like nothing more than
to see it continue,” Riley said. “I grew up around
this game. It was one weekend that was always circled when the
schedule came out each year. It’s the Canadians against
the Americans, two countries going at it. It’s an intense
rivalry that’s like nothing any other school has.
if RMC is going to be using privates and corporals and part-time
reservists, then the ice starts getting a little tilted.”
game will be broadcast live from Tate Rink on College Sports Television
in the States and on the NHL Network in Canada. The Black Knights
will be without freshman defenseman Brad Howard, who is done for
the season following knee surgery, and junior forward Chris Migliaro,
who is out at least this weekend with a shoulder injury. Both
were hurt last Saturday against Quinnipiac.
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Flying the coop? – While Army concerns
itself with RMC, the other hockey-playing service academy might
be invited into the Black Knights’ league before Presidents’
Day. INCH has learned that there will be a conference call among
Atlantic Hockey athletic directors on Feb. 11, during which a
vote could be taken on whether to admit Air Force into the league
starting with the 2006-07 season.
Bob DeGregorio and Canisius AD Tim Dillon visited the Academy,
a member of College Hockey America, during Army weekend in mid-January
and were impressed by the Air Force program. A presentation about
the trip was made to Atlantic Hockey ADs, seemingly clearing the
way for a vote during the Feb. 11 call.
said he “hopes” Air Force will join the league, which
currently has nine teams. Quinnipiac is leaving the AHA after
this season, dropping the enrollment to eight for 2005-06, but
Division III’s Rochester Institute of Technology will be
phased in to replace the Bobcats by 2006-07. Air Force would then
be the 10th program.
want to get it done,” DeGregorio said. “Hopefully,
before our playoffs. That would be a good announcement before
The only apparent
concern about Air Force is its lack of proximity. At present,
Atlantic Hockey’s western outposts are in New York and Pennsylvania.
Colorado would be quite a jump. But it doesn’t seem to be
a deal breaker. During the last three years, AHA members Quinnipiac,
Army, Holy Cross, Bentley and American International have made
the trip to Colorado Springs for nonconference games, and several
other schools have made similarly long treks to other nonconference
of why Air Force would want to switch from the CHA to the AHA
has several answers. For one, it would put them in the same league
as rival Army. Also, considering the Academy’s strict entrance
requirements, the Falcons likely would have more success in the
athletically weaker, academically stronger Atlantic Hockey. Finally,
Atlantic Hockey’s long-term future seems more stable than
the six-team CHA’s.
is committed to playing in the CHA next season, but if it were
to leave the following year, College Hockey America would have
to scramble to find a sixth team to remain at the NCAA-minimum
enrollment for an automatic bid to the national tournament. An
INCH source said the CHA would have a two-year grace period to
find a sixth team, meaning the spot wouldn’t have to be
filled until 2008-09. By that time, some Division II, Division
III or club program might be ready to make the jump to Division
I. But no school is known to be making the move yet.
outlooks would view Air Force’s departure as the death knell
for the CHA.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
at Quinnipiac (Fri.-Sat.) Considering Atlantic Hockey’s new tournament
format, which rewards the top four teams in the regular
season with first-round games at home, this series has major
implications. Fifth-place Quinnipiac has won four straight
and moved within a point of the third-place tie between
Mercyhurst and Sacred Heart. The Lakers have played one
more league game than both the Bobcats and the Pioneers.
Neither Mercyhurst nor Quinnipiac has lived up to expectations
this year, and having to play on the road in the first round
of the league tournament would be a major disappointment.
Expect spirited games between two rivals who were the class
of the league at the turn of the millennium.
you’re there: There’s plenty of room to roam
in the Sleeping Giant State Park right across from the Q’s
campus. And after the exercise, you won’t feel so
bad heading down to Whitney Avenue for a beverage and some
dinner at Eli’s..
Hockey America finished tied for fourth for the
inaugural Commissioners’ Cup, which pits the six Division
I conferences against each other. Doesn’t sound impressive?
Well, the other fourth-place league was the WCHA –
widely regarded as the best conference in the nation. And
the CHA’s three wins equaled the CCHA’s total.
is looking worse and worse with each Buffalo
News article that comes out. First, a players revolt
led to the firing of longtime head coach Brian Cavanaugh
in December. Days later, forward Dan Bognar was arrested
for allegedly punching a police officer during an incident
outside a restaurant. He has since been removed from the
team. Then came word of a wild trip to North Dakota shortly
before Christmas, complete with players doing drunken somersaults
that caused damage to hotel property and bleeding feet and
arms. Four players involved in the shenanigans were suspended
for the team’s series against the Under-18 U.S. National
Development Team late last month. As a fan of Ohio State
football, I know you can’t judge an entire program
by the actions of a few. But the Griffs would be wise to
keep their noses clean for a while – and focus on
winning the league.
not showing up in statistics or records, but American
International coach Gary Wright believes things are
improving in Springfield. “We’re disappointed in our
record, certainly, but by the same token, we’re more competitive
than we’ve been in a while,” he said. The Yellow Jackets’
schedule has made it hard for them to get in a flow. They played
an Ivy-like 11 games before Christmas, with just four back-to-backs.
In the New Year, they have 19 regular-season games scheduled,
but still only five back-to-backs.
C.J. McConnell, whose 12 goals last year were third most
on the team, finally scored his first goal of the season last
Friday, but he still has just eight points heading into this weekend’s
home series versus Canisius. After being scratched
for two games earlier this season in an attempt to get him to
work harder, he has returned to taking a regular shift of late.
the first time this season, Wayne State was swept
last weekend. Nebraska-Omaha got the better of the Warriors, who
had been the split kings of college hockey thus far – taking
one win and one loss in nine of their 12 previous series.
most pleasant surprise for Wayne State this year
has been freshman forward Stavros Paskaris, who has a team-leading
25 points (8-17) despite a funky skating style. “Because
he’s so upright with his body, he doesn’t get a great
push,” Warriors coach Bill Wilkinson said. “You’ll
see his initial thrust isn’t as powerful as (freshman) Tylor
Michel’s, because he doesn’t use his legs as much.
It something we’ve worked on, but you can’t change
it drastically at this point.”
will officially dedicate the Mark Edward Freitas Ice
Forum during the first intermission of Saturday’s game against
Sacred Heart. Freitas, who played hockey for
the Huskies and graduated in 1981, now is the president and CEO
of Frank Crystal and Company, an insurance brokerage firm in New
York. The rink opened in 1998. UConn students will be admitted
free to Saturday’s game, and the first 1,000 fans will receive
complimentary t-shirts. Other contests and freebies also are planned.
after giving up nine goals to St. Cloud State on Friday, Sacred
Heart goalie Jason Smith played again in a 3-1 loss Saturday.
The fact that Smith played all 120 minutes of the series seemed
curious, considering how much St. Cloud was scoring and the fact
that No. 1 goalie Kevin Lapointe was available. But Pioneers coach
Shaun Hannah apparently wanted to build Smith’s confidence
after allowing the nine-spot Friday. Either way, the SCSU sweep
capped off a wretched nonconference season for Sacred Heart, which
went 0-10-0 and was outscored 51-11.
State had some tough luck at the Ralph last weekend,
squandering a 3-0 lead Friday and a 1-0 lead Saturday in an eventual
tie and loss, respectively, against North Dakota. Leading scorer
Andrew Murray (thigh bruise) didn’t play in the series,
and is questionable for this weekend against Wayne State.
goalie Jeff Van Nynatten might have showed his rust a
week late. After coming back from eight weeks of recuperating
from a broken finger with two wins against Air Force,
Van Nynatten surrendered eight goals on 42 shots during a one-point
trip to Robert Morris last weekend. The 4-4 tie
and 6-0 Robert Morris victory might represent the worst weekend
of the season for the perplexing Purple Eagles, and the best for
the upstart Colonials, who now are unbeaten in three straight.
is 1-8 in one-goal games this year.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.