At this rate,
college hockey fans in Duluth may go months without seeing two
head coaches behind the respective benches in a game.
weeks ago, when Scott Sandelin’s departure to coach Team
USA at the World Junior Championships forced Bulldogs assistant
coach Steve Rohlik to take a turn as acting head coach for UMD’s
homes series with Denver.
are back in action, with Sandelin behind the bench, only to face
another stand-in skipper when Alaska Anchorage comes to town.
Seawolves head coach John Hill is having a slower-than-expected
recovery from December back surgery, and will not make the trip
to Duluth. Assistant coach Jack Kowal will run the show and fellow
assistant Keith Morris will slide into the co-pilot’s seat,
at least for the coming weekend.
hurting back follows a trend that has Seawolves fans pessimistic
about a second-half surge. Anchorage Daily News beat writer Doyle
Woody reports that in the first half of the season, the team has
already had nine players miss a total of 58 games, and even after
nearly a month off they aren’t fully healed.
And the Seawolves
head to Duluth with their roster one man lighter than it was the
last time they took to the ice. Shortly after the Seawolves 7-2
loss versus Colorado College on Dec. 11, Hill dismissed sophomore
Brett Arcand-Kootenay and from the team. Arcand-Kootenay had missed
four games at the start of the season after suffering a broken
jaw in a preseason fight with a teammate, and had been suspended
by Hill for previous violations of team rules. It was reported
that he refused to meet with his teammates after the CC loss,
prompting Hill’s move to part ways with the forward.
AND HEARD IN THE WCHA
Impresses the World – More than three years after
it opened, the $100 million home of the Fighting Sioux is still
drawing raves. The thousands of Canadian visitors who traveled
to Grand Forks for the World Juniors seemed right at home, filling
the building throughout the tournament. And the visiting press
seemed even more impressed.
first tour of the place, USA Today hockey guru Kevin
Allen marveled at the Ralph’s massive weight room, joking
that the 10,000-square-foot workout facility alone should merit
a NCAA investigation into unfair recruiting practices.
I look at this place, I wonder how North Dakota doesn’t
win the NCAA title every year,” said Allen.
Great Weekend Getaway
College at Minnesota (Sat.-Sun.) The top-ranked Golden Gophers are on a one-game
losing streak after dropping the opener of the new rink
at Boston University, while the second-ranked Tigers are
coming off a win at the Ohio Hockey Classic in Columbus.
Of course, both teams are hopeful of winning another college
hockey tournament in Columbus before the season ends. For
now, they’ll have to settle for their second regular
season meeting in barely a month, and the Tigers will become
the latest visitors to try to end Minnesota’s impressive
home winning streak, which is quickly approaching one calendar
You’re There: In order to accommodate basketball,
the Gophers and Tigers play at 4 p.m. on Saturday, meaning
that if you hurry after the game, you can catch a decent
college-high school doubleheader. At 7:30, Bloomington Ice
Garden plays host to what used to be the best intra-suburb
rivalry in Minnesota. Perennial power Bloomington Jefferson
(currently ranked fourth among the state’s high-enrollment
schools) faces once-proud Bloomington Kennedy, which has
become the clear underdog in this decades-old rivalry. Still,
when the Jaguars and the Eagles get together, you can throw
out the record books.
everyone involved in the World Junior Championship,
from the coaches and the fans to the organizers and the
volunteers, we tip our hats to you for putting on a great
show. We give a special nod to Scott Sandelin for his candor
and frankness in assessing his team’s strengths and
weaknesses to the assembled media. If, a few years down
the road, the IIHF is willing to forget about that nasty
freezing rain/blowing snow/dangerous wind chills combo that
Mother Nature served up and return the tournament to Grand
Forks, we wouldn’t be surprised.
we normally focus on the college game, and no, we never
thought we’d miss 1-1 ties this much, but we’ve
got to take a moment to holler at the NHL owners
and players for their continuing labor woes. Folks,
it’s now January and you’re both still rich.
Let’s get this crap settled pronto, so we don’t
have to conduct the NHL draft with teams picking in alphabetical
order. Like the Capitals don’t have enough troubles
of the Ralph, the most entertaining note of warning we found on
the building’s official
web site was this gem: “Live or dead animal mascots
(badgers, gophers, etc.) are not allowed inside Ralph Engelstad
Arena. Anyone caught with such items will be removed from the
glad that they specified exactly which varieties of dead animals
they’d be shocked (SHOCKED!) to see anyone sneak into the
TO PICK UP AFTER PRACTICE
Trend-watchers in Mankato must wonder if the
new year doesn’t mean it’s time for another upward
streak for the Mavericks. Thus far in the 2004-05 season, the
Mavericks have had a 0-5-1 streak to start the season, a 7-1-1
streak to claw back to respectability, and enter 2005 on a 0-4-1
run. Over the holidays, Troy Jutting’s club finished third
at the Ohio Hockey Classic, falling to host Ohio State in the
opener before a 3-3 tie, and a win in the ensuing shootout, with
Cloud State didn’t bring a trophy back from the
Huskies’ southern tour to the Florida College Classic (they
fell to Boston College in double overtime during the title game)
but may have served notice to WCHA rivals that they’ll be
a factor in the league’s race for home ice. The Huskies
officially had a tie and a loss in Florida, but beat Maine in a shootout
(after a 1-1 deadlock) and had broadcasters raving about the play
of sophomore goalie Tim Boron. The Winnipeg native posted a .958
save percentage during the tournament, allowing only three goals
in more than 140 minutes between the pipes.
like to wish a big “welcome back” to our friend Erich
Bacher, Denver’s hockey sports information
director. Bacher has been out of action for better than a month
dealing with complications from appendicitis that had him making
repeated stays in a Denver hospital. Bacher, who turned in one
of the more impressive performances at the INCH get-together in
Boston last April, is one of the great friends of college hockey,
and his pressbox presence has been missed.
seems to happen more and more often about this time of year, Badger
hockey is the hot ticket in Madison. Wisconsin
has already sold out two of its remaining games well in advance,
and the Badgers are within striking distance of breaking their
NCAA record for highest average attendance over a full season.
Wisconsin set the record in the Kohl Center’s first year,
1998-99, averaging 12,153 in the 15,237-seat building.
the funniest “kick ‘em when they’re down”
line we heard over the holiday break came from a noted NHL scout
who we wouldn’t dream of naming. Our friend said that Michigan
Tech head man Jamie Russell deserves to be named the
WCHA’s coach of the year, since so far he’s the only
coach who’s found a way to slow down Chris Conner. Ouch.
nominating process for 2005 Vote for Hobey has begun. Head over
to show your support for your favorite players.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.