of the schools in Atlantic Hockey aren’t the only ones
wondering about the impact the new league will have on scholarships.
coaches and administrators aren’t sure yet themselves,
but they are excited that they will at least have an equal
say in the issue.
schools in Atlantic Hockey would love to see the league
eliminate its scholarship limit (currently at 11 of the
possible 18 allowed by the NCAA). Mercyhurst, for one, has
been supportive of the idea, with head coach Rick Gotkin
and athletic director Pete Russo speaking publicly about
personally hoping that in time – hopefully a short
time – scholarships will be addressed,” Gotkin
said Tuesday, acknowledging that any changes for the 2003-04
season would be all but impossible. “I think we’ve
gotten about as good as we are going to get with 11 equivalencies.
For us to continue to grow, we need more scholarships.”
schools, not surprisingly, would see things differently,
whether due to budget constraints or institutional policies
against athletic scholarships. Holy Cross, just as an example,
is a member of the Patriot League, a conference whose members
do not grant athletic scholarships.
the interest in the scholarship issue, it apparently wasn’t
formally discussed during the creation of Atlantic Hockey.
Coaches have debated the restriction informally in the past,
but since only MAAC schools had a say in the matter, there’s
not a good sense of where each of the nine Atlantic Hockey
institutions would vote.
for more college hockey this summer?
up for Inside College Hockey's league on whatifsports.com,
a sports simulation site that lets users create a
dream team of NHL players throughout history to compete
against other users. The site charges $9.95 per team.
Naturally, in our league, you can only take former
didn’t talk about it much because a lot of those decisions
were made by schools that didn’t even have hockey
– the Manhattans and Marists and Sienas that were
members of the MAAC but didn’t have hockey,”
the MAAC structure, presidents from schools that were MAAC
members in every sport determined the governance structure.
With the elimination of hockey programs at Fairfield and
Iona, the only hockey-playing school with a direct role
in the league’s governance would have been Canisius
– a development that led directly to the formation
of Atlantic Hockey.
at least, all nine schools are happy to have a say in issues
like scholarships, playoff revenue sharing and expansion.
feel good in that Mercyhurst College has one-ninth of a
say in whatever issues are presented,” Gotkin said.
Gotkin and the Lakers just have to wait and see how many
other Atlantic Hockey members agree with them.
to its hire of Kevin Sneddon last week, Vermont slapped
the “tag, you’re it” distinction of running
a search for a head coach on ECAC foe Union. And not surprisingly,
one of the possibilities to become the new bench boss for
the Flying Dutchmen is former Clarkson coach Mark Morris.
haven't talked to (Morris), but it's a name you'd have to
look at because of what he's done in the past," Union
director of athletics Val Belmonte told Mark Singelais of
the Albany Times Union. "He's done a terrific
job and he's very respected in the community."
an assistant at Union during the 1984-85 season, is the
winningest coach in Clarkson hockey history with a 306-156-42
mark and guided the Golden Knights to nine NCAA Tournament
appearances. He was fired from his post last November for
his role in a altercation with a player during a game-day
skate. Belmonte declined comment on the issue that resulted
in Morris’ dismissal.
meanwhile, expressed an interest in the job when contacted
know the league," he told the reporter. "I know
Schenectady and the Capital District area. I became familiar
with it during my experience down there. I think they are
good people and they understand the commitment to the total
possible candidate is David Quinn, coach of the U.S. Under-17
Team and a former assistant at Northeastern and Nebraska-Omaha.
Belmonte was director of the USA Hockey coaching program
prior to his arrival at Union and is familiar with Quinn.
also mentioned an interest in speaking with Mercyhurst’s
Rick Gotkin and Craig Barnett of Findlay. A pair of CCHA
assistants – Notre Dame’s John Micheletto and
Kevin Patrick of Bowling Green – have also been mentioned.
The hiring process isn’t expected to begin until next
week at the earliest.
while a potential target by Belmonte for the Union gig,
might have a tougher time hearing the siren song of an ECAC
head coaching job thanks to a four-year contract extension
awarded to him by Mercyhurst athletics director Pete Russo.
Gotkin is aware of overtures that may come his way soon.
like anyone in this business, I'm always looking for the
next challenge, and I think we still have challenges here
at Mercyhurst,” he said prior to the announcement
of his extension. “I'm flattered that Val Belmonte
would mention my name. If Union wanted to talk to me about
the position, I'd be happy to. I would never say no to discussing
a possibility, but I'm not really sure I'd have an interest
until I had that discussion."
Gotkin’s direction, the Lakers have posted four straight
20-win seasons, captured back-to-back-to-back MAAC regular-season
titles from 2000-03 and took the conference’s playoff
championship and automatic NCAA Tournament bid in 2001 and
2003. He’s spent 15 years at Mercyhurst, the longest
tenure of any head coach in the school’s history,
and is 22 wins shy of the 300-victory plateau.
Dakota’s Dean Blais is also the new owner of healthy
contract extension. The coach and the university came to
terms on a three-year extension last week that will keep
him in Grand Forks through the 2006-07 season.
happy that entering the last year of my (old) contract with
UND, this won’t be my last year of coaching here,”
Blais told Virg Foss of the Grand Forks Herald.
“It means that for all the players coming in this
season, I’ll be around all four years they’re
of the deal have not been disclosed publicly, but Blais
– who won NCAA titles with the Fighting Sioux in 1997
and 2000 – says the extension is similar to the one
Minnesota coach Don Lucia received. Lucia’s contract
extension, which runs through 2009, pays a $200,000 base
salary plus incentives in its final year.
set a self-imposed July 1 deadline for North Dakota to extend
his current deal; otherwise, he had previously stated he
would leave the school following the 2003-04 season.
the possibility of Blais bolting after the season and the
threat of losing their coach to North Dakota on the horizon,
former Minnesota-Duluth athletics director Bob Corran (now
at Vermont) launched a preemptive strike and extend Scott
Sandelin’s deal, the terms of which were not disclosed.
Entering his fourth year with the Bulldogs, the former Fighting
Sioux player and assistant coach guided UMD to a 22-15-5
record and a third-place finish at the WCHA Final Five last
SUMMER ON STATE STREET
his team’s struggles in Mike Eaves’ first season
behind the bench at Wisconsin, his 2003 recruiting class
was to be the Badgers’ saving grace. Now the future
of that recruiting class, ranked tops in the country by
many in the know, appears cloudy at best.
to the uncertainty regarding prized defenseman Ryan Suter
(although the latest reports out of Nashville, which picked
him the NHL Draft, suggest he will be in Madison this fall),
incoming goalie Mike Brodeur will be ineligible to play
for Wisconsin during the 2003-04 season.
talking with our compliance people, the best-case scenario
for Mike is that he’ll be ineligible for a season
and one game,” Eaves said last week. “So the
next step for us is to recruit a goalie. We’ll need
a capable backup in case Bernd (Bruckler) gets hurt.”
to the coach, the issue of Brodeur’s eligibility (or
lack thereof) arose in recent weeks in the normal process
of getting him registered for school. It was discovered
that Brodeur played in one period of an exhibition game
for the Seattle Thunderbirds, a major junior team in the
Western Hockey League. Minnesota Duluth forward T.J. Caig
was guilty of a similar transgression and was made to sit
out for a season and one game before becoming eligible to
play for the Bulldogs in December 2002.
were just doing our normal homework and came across this,”
said Eaves. “We’d rather find it now. Actually,
learning of this now rather than later is better for our
team and our school.”
isn’t the only Wisconsin recruit sidelined for the
season. Walk-on forward Ross Carlson, a Duluth, Minn., native
who played for Waterloo of the United States Hockey League
last season, tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a June
pick-up basketball game and is expected to miss the entire
major junior note, former Badger forward Alex Leavitt last
month signed with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western
Hockey League. Leavitt, you may recall, was involved in
a physical confrontation with Eaves following a November
loss at North Dakota. The incident became public in February,
with the coach receiving a reprimand for his role.
a well-worn saying, you don’t have to be a Boston
University graduate to become a National Hockey League coach.
But it helps. Consider that the last two hires in the NHL
– Steve Stirling (New York Islanders) and Mike Sullivan
(Boston) – both spent a significant amount of time
on Comm Ave.
who played for the Terriers in the late ’80s, was
head coach of the Bruins’ minor league affiliate in
Providence last season and filled in as an assistant coach
with the parent club after Robbie Ftorek was relieved of
his duties late in the year. That sentence sums up his entire
coaching resume. Still, the veteran of 11 NHL seasons has
drawn high praise from players and former teammates, not
to mention the man who watched his development in college.
Mike, there is no ego involved,” said Jack Parker
to Boston Globe writer extraordinaire Kevin Paul
Dupont. “No character flaws. Good father? He’s
the guy. Good husband? He’s the guy. Great student?
He’s the guy.”
like Sullivan, was promoted to the Islanders’ top
job from the team’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Unlike
his fellow BU alum, Stirling has an extensive coaching background.
In addition to his two years in Bridgeport, he was an assistant
with the Isles for one season and put in two years of service
as an assistant with Lowell of the AHL.
of the Terriers’ 1971 national championship team,
Stirling spent 15 years in the college ranks as head coach
at Babson and Providence. His most memorable coaching moment
came with the Friars in 1985, when he guided the Chris Terreri-led
team to the NCAA championship game only to lose to Adam
Oates and Renssalaer. Stirling's son, Scott, played goal
at Brown and spent part of this past season playing for
his father in Bridgeport.
to say, another person with BU ties was quick to put in
a good word for Stirling.
an excellent choice,” Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro
said shortly after the announcement. “People might
not know a lot about him right now, but Steve Stirling is
a fantastic coach.”
United States Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 2003 inductees
last week and, not surprisingly, some of those being honored
have strong ties to the college game.
late John Cunniff, a two-time All-American at Boston College,
is one of four individuals tabbed for enshrinement. Cunniff,
a member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team, spent 13 years in
the New Jersey Devils organization, included two years as
a head coach. He was also a Boston Bruins’ assistant
for three seasons.
honored was Dick Dougherty. Widely considered one of the
best U.S.-born players in the 1950s, he played college hockey
at Minnesota from 1951-1954. An All-American in 1954, the
International Falls, Minn., product ranks fifth on the Gophers’
all-time list in goals and 10th in points. Like Cunniff,
Dougherty was an Olympian, having played for the U.S. team
that finished second at the 1956 Games in Italy.
the most famous collection of college hockey players in
history, the entire 1980 U.S. Olympic Team will be enshrined
in the Hall. The second team to be inducted – the
1960 gold-medal winners were the first – was responsible
for the country’s second gold in hockey and one of
the biggest upsets in sports history with their 4-3 win
over the Soviet Union in a semifinal match in Lake Placid.
two other 2003 honorees are former NHLers Mark Howe, who
spent most of his career with Philadelphia, and 15-year
veteran Pat LaFontaine. The formal induction ceremony takes
place at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn.,
on Oct. 18.