CHA Structure Committee is chaired by Alabama-Huntsville
director of athletics Jim Harris. Other members include
Peters, Wayne State A.D. Rob Fournier, Bemidji State A.D.
Dr. Rick Goeb and Findlay head coach Craig Barnett. The
group will pass a recommendation on to the rest of the league's
members – a recommendation that could come as soon
as next week. The CHA schools will then decide whether to
admit the applicant to the league. Peters expects the process
to be complete no later than the end of April.
the team in question wouldn't join the CHA as a full-fledged
member until the 2004-05 season due to scheduling requirements,
Peters said conference schools would be encouraged to add
them to their slates for the 2003-04 campaign.
EMBROILED IN CONTROVERSY
head coach Mike Eaves is at the center of a controversy
regarding a physical altercation with one of his players
earlier this season.
Wisconsin's record since 1998-99
(WCHA - place)
(13-12-3 - 4th)
(23-5-0 - 1st)
(14-10-4 - 5th)
(12-13-3 - 5th)
(4-15-3 - 9th)
to published reports out of Madison, Eaves had an argument
with sophomore forward Alex Leavitt in a Grand Forks hotel
Nov. 23 following the Badgers' 3-2 loss to North Dakota
over an alleged curfew violation. Leavitt, a 19-year-old
from Edmonton, told Adam Mertz of the Capital Times
he had planned to eat dinner with his girlfriend and her
parents following the game, but realized he would miss the
team's 11 p.m. curfew if he stayed. He asked his girlfriend
to bring his meal to his room and walked back to the team
said that he was in his room when assistant coach John Hynes
made the first bed check, and got the go-ahead from the
coach for his girlfriend to drop off the food. She showed
up at the hotel around 11:15 and was present when Eaves
made a second bed check around 11:20. He politely asked
the pair to wrap up their conversation; Leavitt's girlfriend
left about five minutes later.
Head coach Mike Eaves and director
of athletics Pat Richter comment on the Leavitt incident
our game vs. North Dakota on Nov. 23, 2002, Alex Leavitt
and I had a confrontation at the team hotel. Upon returning
to Madison, I met with the Leavitt family, their representatives
and athletic department administrators. I apologized
for my actions at North Dakota. We met and left with
a mutual understanding of what was expected of me, and
I have fulfilled all of those requirements. I regret
the incident at UND and feel we have put it in the past
and established a plan for the future." –
after the confrontation, Athletic Department administrators,
including myself, met with Coach Eaves, the Leavitt
family and their representative. We had open and candid
conversations and reached an understanding of the next
steps to be taken. Mike has totally adhered to the requests
that were approved by all parties. Understandably, this
has been a difficult season for the men's hockey team,
but I have complete confidence that Mike is the right
coach for this program." – Pat Richter
player said that he returned to his room and was watching
TV when Eaves burst through the doorway looking for the
girlfriend and said, "Where's that (expletive) broad
you had in here?" When Leavitt told Eaves she had left,
the coach replied, "I don't (expletive) trust you...for
one second. You're always up to no good."
says he was face-to-face with Eaves when the coach poked
him under his eye; he asked Eaves not to touch him. Leavitt
then alleges that Eaves got mad when he again told the coach
not to touch him, and says Eaves grabbed him by the shirt,
pushed him across the room into a chair and pinned him in
the seat while he launched into a tirade. Before leaving
the room, Eaves allegedly tossed Leavitt's duffel bag on
no longer feel like I can take the fall for someone while
I'm being pushed out the door," said Leavitt to Mertz.
"I wanted to set the record straight."
has been a healthy scratch in each of Wisconsin's last three
games, but prior to learning he was going public with the
issues, Eaves offered him the chance to return to the lineup
for Friday's game against St. Cloud State. The player had
initially agreed to keep the incident confidential after
a meeting with school officials the week after the incident,
but said his reduced role moved him to speak out. He doesn't
plan on quitting the team this season, but is looking at
options for next year.
don't care if I play another game this season," said
Leavitt, who has two goals and 13 assists this season after
scoring 11 goals as a rookie. "Ice time was not a factor;
it's that I was isolated from the team and get a negative
feeling from being on the team."
told reporters Wednesday that he doesn't condone physical
contact by coaches.
it's wrong," the coach said. "And I admitted that
in that incident. There's a letter of reprimand in my file,
and that's duly documented."
is in the midst of one of their worst seasons in school
history. With a 10-19-3 overall record and a 4-15-3 mark
in WCHA play, the Badgers are on a pace to set school records
for fewest overall victories and fewest conference wins.
Michigan goaltender Al Montoya and Michigan State forward
David Booth not accelerated high school studies to graduate
a year early, they'd probably still be playing in Ann Arbor
with the U.S. National Team Development Program. They'd
also be sure-fire selections in this year's National Hockey
League Entry Draft.
guess you could call it a shot in the dark. It probably
went by four or five players, through a crowd."
– Denver defenseman Aaron MacKenzie, whose
goal with two seconds left in regulation gave the
Pioneers a 2-1 win over North Dakota Saturday.
got a group of athletes that are pretty laid-back...they're
not Type-A personalities. And that's something that,
for them to step out of their comfort zone, it takes
a good, swift kick in the ass." – Wisconsin
coach Mike Eaves, following the Badgers' losses at
Minnesota last weekend.
guy called to say good luck. Another guy, I try to talk
to him once in a while to keep his head on straight.
They're always popping up. Especially when they're at
the bar and I can't be." – Buffalo Sabres'
goaltender Ryan Miller, asked recently if his former
Michigan State teammates stay in touch with him.
are in the CCHA, however, and are shining for their respective
teams. Montoya has been a workhorse for the Wolverines this
season, posting a 21-8-3 record, a 2.24 goals againse average
and a 91.2% save percentage. Booth leads the Spartans with
15 goals and is second among conference freshmen in scoring.
But thanks to an NHL rule, they'd have to forego their final
three years of college eligibility in order to make themselves
available for the draft.
graduated high school in three years, so I worked hard to
play college hockey early so I could have an extra year
of college before I was drafted," said Booth, voicing
his obvious displeasure with the rule. "Montoya did
the same thing. We worked at it, and I think we should be
rewarded for doing that."
rule affecting Montoya and Booth states that players who
have reached their 19th birthday are automatically eligible
for the NHL Draft. Any 18-year-old, defined by the NHL as
a player born between Sept. 16, 1984 and Sept. 15, 1985,
must opt in, thereby forfeiting their remaining NCAA eligibility.
Montoya and Booth have both put together solid freshman
campaigns, the rumor mill is abuzz with talk that one or
both may opt in to this year's draft and play in the Ontario
Hockey League – his rights are held by the Windsor
Spitfires – next season. Michigan associate coach
Mel Pearson says Montoya will return for his sophomore season.
who is the youngest player in the Division I ranks, would
be wise to return to Ann Arbor in the long run. Most experts
feel the crop of goalies eligible for the 2004 draft is
weaker than this season's group, and he has a golden opportunity
to impress the hundreds of scouts in attendance at April's
IIHF Under-18 World Championship. He'll likely play in the
event if the Wolverines fail to advance to the NCAA Frozen
meanwhile, says that, on a scale of 1 to 10 – with
1 meaning he'd opt in and 10 meaning he'll come back to
MSU – he's a 10.
I'm a good player and the NHL scouts know that, I'll have
a great season next year," says Booth, who would be
one of the few undrafted 19-year-olds in the 2004 NHL Entry
Draft and could slide into the first round with a strong
sophomore year and a solid showing at the World Junior Championship.
"It will help me out even more. I've just got to stay
positive and play better next year. That's the road I want
to take right now."
whose OHL rights are owned by the Sarnia Sting, once thought
the best route to the NHL was through the major junior ranks.
But he's since seen the light.
is the safe way, and tons of great players come out of college
hockey," Booth explains. "I thought (the OHL)
would be better hockey. I really had no clue, and I didn't
care that much about school. My dad emphasized school and
I realized that was the way to go.
when it made sense to come to college. That's the route
I chose, and thank god for that."
FROM TODAY'S HEADLINES
for the playoffs: Imagine working the entire regular
season to secure the home-ice advantage for the first round
of the conference playoffs, only to be evicted from your
building by girls' basketball players. Welcome to the Ohio
State Buckeyes' world.
Great Weekend Getaways
Minnesota-Twin Cities at Minnesota-Duluth: The
improved play of the Bulldogs, coupled with the up-and-down
nature of the Gophers' season (they're up right now),
adds even more spice to this heated rivalry. It's
always interesting to watch the free-wheeling UMTC
offense try to adjust their game to work on the Boston
Garden-esque ice sheet at the Duluth Entertainment
and Convention Center, where open space in the neutral
zone is harder to find than a favorable review for
a Martin Lawrence movie. Question: Has the "Spehar
sucks" chant become to UMD fans what the "Potvin
sucks" chant is to New York Ranger fans?
you're there: There are many pre- and post-game entertainment
opportunities in the Canal Park area, just a short
walk from the DECC. None is better than Grandma's,
the restaurant hard by the Aerial Lift Bridge that
spurred Duluth's waterfront boom in the '70s. Its
menu boasts a nice variety –
try the chicken tetrazzini. Looking for a quick pick-me-up
before heading into the rink? Stop by the Curling
Club, which is in the same complex as the arena, for
a burger, a beverage and the early line on who'll
win this year's Silver Broom.
2) Michigan at Nebraska-Omaha:
With the Mavericks on the outside looking in with
regard to a home-ice berth for the first round of
the CCHA playoffs, these could be the last conference
games played at Omaha's venerable Civic Auditorium
– UNO closes the season with a non-conference
match against visiting Minnesota State, Mankato. That
being said, who better that the Wolverines to close
North Dakota at MSU, Mankato: Even the
when the Fighting Sioux were at their national-championship
best, the Mavericks always gave Dean Blais' teams
fits. Both teams are jockeying for playoff position;
points here could spell the difference between advancing
to the WCHA Final Five semifinals with a first-round
series win versus being subjected to the dreaded play-in
can clinch home ice this weekend with a win against Alaska-Fairbanks
or a Notre Dame loss. But the Ohio High School Athletic
Association girls' basketball tournament is scheduled for
Value City Arena March 13-15. We could see if VCA operators
would sell their souls for LeBron James, but girls' hoops?
Incidentally, the Bucks are 14-1-0 at home this season and
a perfect 10-0-0 against CCHA foes in 2002-03. In their
last 17 against conference opponents at home, OSU is 14-0-3.
Arena, home to the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, is booked
for hockey on March 13 and 15, with a visit from University
of Minnesota alum Yanni on March 16. Might the hoary OSU
Ice Rink – basically a glorified pole barn now home
to the Buckeye women's team – get a last chance to
bask in the CCHA glory?
The Hockey News' annual Future Watch issue is on
newsstands now and, as usual, a host of players with college
ties are listed among the publication's top 50 prospects.
The magazine considers a prospect as a player who has played
fewer than 50 NHL games.
Former Minnesota standout Jeff Taffe, now in the Phoenix
organization, is the top-rated prospect with WCHA ties at
18th. Ex-Michigan blueliner and current Mike Komisarek is
the first CCHA player to appear on the list at 22nd; he's
playing in the Montreal system. Fellow Wolverine and Los
Angeles hopeful Mike Cammalleri is ranked 31st. Gopher defenseman
Paul Martin, whose rights are held by New Jersey, is rated
39th. Michigan forward Eric Nystrom rounds out the top 50.
He was chosen by Calgary with the 10th overall pick in the
first round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Groslie Grounded: Snake-bitten Nebraska-Omaha
got another dose of bad news earlier this week when sophomore
Gus Groslie announced his hockey career is over due to recurring
"I'm to a point where I notice it, but it's not going
to cause that much damage to my life," Groslie said.
"But in the same regard, I am worried about it and
I don't want it to get any worse."
The sophomore from Moorhead, Minn., was forced out of hockey
for nine months after being diagnosed with post-concussion
syndrome last spring. He returned to the Maverick lineup
Nov. 1, but suffered another head injury in a win against
Ohio State in Omaha Jan. 25. Groslie finished his UNO career
with seven goals and six assists in 49 games.
Wedded Badger Bliss: Even though Wisconsin
dropped games to arch-rival Minnesota at Mariucci Arena
Friday and Saturday, the weekend wasn't a complete downer.
Sunday, Bob Heisler, father of junior forward Jake Heisler,
and Kay Talafous, mother of sophomore forward Pete Talafous,
were married in St. Paul suburb of Afton. Heisler is from
the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, while Talafous calls
Hudson, Wis. – just across the St. Croix River from
the Twin Cities area – home.
Not to be outdone, junior defenseman Dan Boeser served as
best man for friend Robbie Nelson at his wedding Thursday.
The two were pee wee hockey teammates in the Minneapolis
suburb of Burnsville and went to high school together. Nelson
and his wife arranged the ceremony around Boeser's schedule.
An added twist: the union occurred just before Nelson, who's
in the armed forces, was shipped to the Middle East.
News of the weird: Ever heard of Negro
League star Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, who earned
his nickname by pitching the first game of a doubleheader
before playing catcher in the nightcap? If not, say hello
to Chris "Double Duty" Brooks. When the Western
Michigan assistant coach's schedule allows, he's playing
in home games for the Kalamazoo Wings of the United Hockey
League. In four games with the Wings, Brooks has a goal
and two assists...Every CCHA series Alaska-Fairbanks has
been a part of this season has ended up with one team taking
three of four points...Ferris State is the first CCHA team
to clinch home ice for the first round of the conference
playoffs. The Bulldogs, who haven't hosted a playoff game
since 1993, have never lost a postseason game at home –
they're 4-0-0...With Air Force's 11-game winless streak
by the wayside, the CHA's dubious honor for longest win
drought belongs to Findlay. The Oilers are 0-11-2 since
beating Connecticut Dec. 29...Wayne State's power play was
a combined 0-for-18 in two losses at Alabama-Huntsville
last weekend...St. Cloud State goaltender Jake Moreland
is probably flinching in his sleep this week. He made 42
saves in a win vs. Colorado College Friday, then stopped
49 shots in a 5-3 loss the following night...The straw that
stirs the drink? Since captain Grant Potulny returned from
injury a little more than a month ago, Minnesota is 5-1-2...Who
are the four WCHA newcomers averaging more than a point
a game? Three are gimmes – North Dakota's Zach Parise,
Thomas Vanek of Minnesota and Colorado College's Brett Sterling.
The fourth? Minnesota-Duluth sophomore T.J. Caig, who has
13 points since making his long-awaited debut Jan. 3.
Michigan goaltender Mike Mantua: He took the
loss Sunday against visiting Ferris State, but in the game's
first five minutes, he was as good as any netminder in the
nation. Mantua stopped prohibitive CCHA Player of the Year
favorite Chris Kunitz on a breakaway 30 seconds into the
first period and later stoned defenseman Matt York as he
raced in all alone. He also twice thwarted Kunitz on point-blank
Force: The Falcons snapped an 11-game winless
streak in impressive fashion, sweeping MAAC power (oxymoron?)
Quinnipiac by 5-4 and 6-2 scores at Cadet Ice Arena. The
11 goals on the weekend snapped a prolonged scoring slump
for the Zoomies; the team had notched 18 goals during its
Ferris State detractors: Plenty of e-mails
were sent our way after INCH promoted Ferris State to No.
2 in our weekly Power Rankings. Get over it, folks; this
team is for real.
The INCH West Notebook Jinx: Last week,
Michigan Tech and Wayne State were featured in the West
Notebook. The Huskies and Warriors proceeded endure series
sweeps – Tech to Minnesota-Duluth, Wayne State to
Alabama-Huntsville – and were outscored by a combined
margin of 22-8. Shame on us.
THIS WEEK'S NHL TRANSACTIONS
Thrashers: Recalled forward Ben Simon (Notre
Dame) from Chicago of the American Hockey League; placed
defenseman Andy Sutton (Michigan Tech) on injured reserve,
retroactive to February 13; assigned goaltender Damian Rhodes
(Michigan Tech) to Greenville of the East Coast Hockey League.
Acquired defenseman Bubba Berenzweig (Michigan) and a conditional
draft pick from the Nashville Predators for forward Jon
Sim; assigned Berenzweig to Utah of the American Hockey
Assigned defenseman Mike Komisarek (Michigan) to Hamilton
of the American Hockey League.
Recalled forward Steve Guolla (Michigan State) from Albany
of the American Hockey League.
Claimed forward Ryan Johnson (North Dakota) off waivers
from the Florida Panthers.
LEAGUE TRANSACTION OF THE WEEK
Cleveland Barons (AHL): Assigned goaltender
Mark Kielkucki (Air Force) to Cincinnati of the East Coast