the Third Period: Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?
The topic of college hockey coaches producing
college hockey-playing sons was visited again this week
when Ryan Guentzel, the offspring of Gophers assistant coach
Mike Guentzel, committed to skate for Notre Dame next season.
Minnesota seems to be the unofficial home of coach-son connections:
former coach Doug Woog watched son Steve skate for Northern
Michigan while son Dan played for the Gophers, and current
Gopher coach Don Lucia has son Tony on his roster.
coach Don Lucia is just one of several WCHA coaches
who has had the opportunity to coach his son.
“I don’t see him too much away
from the rink,” said coach Lucia of his son, saying
there’s a level of trust established during times
like the holiday breaks when they’re home together.
“I try not to breach that, and don’t ask him
about other players or things like that away from the rink.
The first month there’s a breaking-in period, but
Tony’s earned his ice time, and it’s been easier
than I expected.”
Just a few years ago, Wisconsin coach Mike
Eaves’ two sons, Patrick and Ben, were playing for
Boston College, creating a potentially stressful situation
for the family when the Eagles and Badgers met on the rink.
“We played against the boys in Boston
my first year here and it was definitely an interesting
event,” said the elder Eaves, recalling a 4-2 Badgers
loss, in which Patrick scored two of the Eagles’ goals.
“I’m glad it didn’t happen every year,
because it’s hard to separate your emotions. You try
to concentrate on your own team but your sons are out there,
and it’s amazing how strong your emotions are.”
Eaves coached Patrick for one season at the
U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, and
said that some modifications to the normal coach-player
and father-son relationships helped make things work.
“We laid down some ground rules right
away, and made it clear that we’d never talk about
hockey at home unless he brought it up,” coach Eaves
said. “During games, if there was something that needed
correcting about his game, I generally had an assistant
coach talk to him, but I made it clear to Patrick that he
would get called out by me in front of the team at least
a few times, and there was no special treatment because
he was the coach’s son.”
Had Patrick not left school a year early for
the NHL, last year’s NCAA title game would’ve
been a tense father-son reunion as well, as Mike’s
Badgers beat his boys’ former team for the national
As for the Guentzel family, Mike says that
he’s hoping the Gophers can schedule Notre Dame a
few times in future years for no other reason than an opportunity
to see Ryan play. Mike said he’s only seen Ryan skate
for Sioux Falls in the USHL six times or so this season.
“I don’t know how our schedule
is going to work out, but it would be neat to see him play
for Notre Dame,” coach Guentzel said. “In some
ways, him playing in a different conference will be easier
because there aren’t as many of those stressful situations.
I miss out on not being able to see him as much, but he
can do his own deal there.”
Guentzel added that the fact that his boss,
Lucia, is a Notre Dame alum, did not factor into Ryan’s
AND HEARD IN THE WCHA
McLeod's officials' statement:
It seems that this year more than in past years, WCHA officials
are under fire from coaches, fans and the media. WCHA commissioner
Bruce McLeod seemed to add fuel to that fire a few weeks
ago, when he told a North Dakota radio broadcast that the
officiating needed to improve. Many took this to mean that
changes could be afoot in the league office in the near
While attending a recent NHL game in Minnesota,
McLeod sat down with INCH for a few minutes to clarify his
position on the folks who wear the black and white stripes.
“I’m proud of our officiating
staff right now,” McLeod said, responding to a column
in the Grand Forks Herald in which Virg Foss wrote
that the WCHA had some of the worst officiating in college
hockey. “I know in fact that the opposite is the truth.
Talk to any coaches and anybody else that has watched the
other leagues and they know what I mean.”
Still McLeod acknowledges that just like the
other aspects of WCHA hockey, supervisor of officials Greg
Shepherd and his charges have some room for improvement.
“We need to be better,” he said.
“This league has come leaps and bounds when you look
at the coaching staffs, you look at the quality of players,
you look at the buildings, and all of those things. We need
to find a way of having the officiating staff keep up with
League coaches have been more publicly critical
of officials this season, culminating with the much-publicized
incident at Mariucci Arena in January when campus police
had to separate referee Jon Campion and two Minnesota State
Great Weekend Getaway
at Colorado College
Minnesota visits Colorado College this weekend having
already clinched home ice in the WCHA playoffs and
looking to win the MacNaughton Cup for the second
season in a row. The Tigers, even with a sweep, cannot
catch the Gophers this weekend, but they can leapfrog
idle arch-rival Denver and move into third place.
With the jockeying for a top-three finish having already
begun, there are important points up for grabs at
While You're There: There’s
a three-game, three-conference, two-sport tripleheader
to be had in Colorado Springs this weekend. After
Gophers-Tigers on Friday, the red-hot Air Force basketball
team (ranked #14 in the nation) hosts Colorado State
on Saturday afternoon, and the Air Force hockey team
engages Canisius in an Atlantic Hockey duel on Saturday
second week in a row, we’re raising
our sticks to the Dean. Long-time Wisconsin
coach, and good friend of INCH, Jeff Sauer was behind
the bench again recently, coaching a team of the nation’s
best hearing-impaired hockey players to the goal medal
at the Winter Deaflympic Games, held in Salt Lake
City earlier this month. Team USA finished 4-1-0 with
Sauer at the helm, beating Germany 8-1 in its final
out of Minneapolis have Gopher freshman defenseman
Erik Johnson being smothered by autograph hounds nearly
every time he appears in public. While we’ve
got no trouble with the kids getting their college
hockey hero to sign a Gopher sweater, the multitudes
of shady-looking adults showing up with Blues
sweaters and pennants (that you just know
will be available on eBay within minutes) are getting
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Minnesota State visits Alaska Anchorage
this weekend looking to continue its winning ways versus
the Seawolves. When Alaska Anchorage won 3-2 in Mankato
earlier this season, it was the Seawolves’ only win
in their last 10 meetings with the Mavericks.
• Denver rookie Brock Trotter looks
to join some elite company if his hot scoring way continue.
Trotter leads the Pioneers with 36 points in 34 games and
is on pace to become the first freshman to lead the team
offensively since Dave Shields did it in 1986-87. Thus far,
freshmen have accounted for 49% of the Pioneers’ offense.
• Michigan Tech defenseman Lars Helminen
had four assists last weekend as the Huskies took three
of four points from Denver in the annual Winter Carnival
series. Helminen, who needs three more points to move into
the top 10 on Tech’s list of top-scoring defensemen,
was named Winter Carnival MVP for his efforts.
• Any Minnesota Duluth players who complain
about being tired this weekend when the Bulldogs travel
to North Dakota should be benched immediately. Friday night’s
game in Grand Forks will be just the third game the Bulldogs
have played in the past 22 days. North Dakota is not a great
place for Minnesota Duluth to look for wins. Scott Sandelin’s
club is 1-12-0 in its last 13 meetings with the coach’s
• If you like goalies, and not goals,
Madison might be the place to be this weekend. St. Cloud
State boasts the league’s top goaltender in Bobby
Goepfert, while Wisconsin’s team defense is the best
in the conference. Of course, knowing the unpredictable
nature of hockey, we can all but count on one team winning
a game 7-5 with an empty-netter.
• In the “former Badger makes
good” category, congratulations are due to New England
College coach Tom Carroll, who now has 89 wins in five seasons
behind the bench for the D-III school in Henniker, N.H.
and has become the Pilgrims’ all-time winningest coach.
Carroll played on the 1981 and 1983 NCAA title teams at
Wisconsin and was an assistant coach at Notre Dame for 14
years. He is part of an impressive Minnesota hockey family.
Brother Steve was a Hobey finalist goaltender at Minnesota
State and led the Mavericks to the NCAA D-II title in 1980.
Brother Jim was the Twin Cities metro area high school player
of the year in 1986 and played four seasons at Michigan
• North Dakota needs at least a win
and a tie versus Minnesota Duluth this weekend to finish
above .500 at home. The Fighting Sioux, who close the regular
season with four straight road games, are 9-4-0 away from
home this season, but just 7-7-3 at Ralph Englestad Arena.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.
Jess Myers can be reached at email@example.com.