Posted by: Feldman
The blog's been kind of slow lately, so I figured we'd patch together a few random notes.
• I heard from two sources today that Rochester Century is close to having a new head boys hockey coach. Can't provide the name just yet, but I'm hearing it's someone who is very familiar with the program, who played high school hockey in Rochester.
• Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School has been added to the Dodge County boys and girls co-op for next season. Wildcats coach Eric Hofmann tells me he's not yet certain how the addition of any new players will impact the program, other than adding depth. He said he would need to see any new players skate and compete before he can assess what kind of impact they'll have on the team.
• Rochester John Marshall has yet to announce its varsity assistant coach for next season. Former Lourdes coach Jay Ness will take over as head coach in the winter.
• A few high school programs around the state have filled vacant head coaching positions.
The most recent announcement came today, when Wayzata hired former Gopher forward Pat O'Leary. The Plymouth native had 15 goals and nine assists for the Gophers from 1998-99 through 2001-02, before playing three seasons of minor league pro hockey. O'Leary, an assistant at Wayzata the past three seasons, takes over for Carl Davis, who resigned shortly after the season. Wayzata lost to eventual state champ Eden Prairie in double OT in the Section 6AA championship game.
Ritch Menne, a 1990 Centennial High School graduate, will take over the reins at his alma matter. Erik Aus stepped down after this past season, after 24 years as the team's head coach.
I'm not sure this one has been reported, but Centennial assistant coach Adam Schmidt has been named the new head coach at Irondale. Schmidt and I went to school together at North Dakota, and he'll do a great job with a team that struggled last season. As he told me this week, "we have a long way to go, but there's only one way to go ... up!"
• International Falls, an annual competitior in the Kiwanis Festival here in Rochester at holiday time, is again looking for a new head coach. Mike Bolstad stepped down recently after just one season as the Broncos' head coach. Bolstad took over for long-time coach John Prettyman. The Broncos went 10-15-1 last season, losing to Duluth Marshall in the Section 7A quarterfinals.
• The North American Hockey League will hold its annual entry draft tomorrow (Thursday), beginning at 1 p.m. Amateur players who are younger than 21 on or before Dec. 31, 2011, are eligible, unless they are on an NAHL roster or have signed a tender from an NAHL team prior to the draft. Also, any player who was on an NAHL roster in 2010-11, but played less than 10 games, is eligible.
Rochester Lourdes defenseman Rory Vesel, a Second Team All-State player, has signed tender with the Bismarck (N.D.) Bobcats, and is not eligible for the draft.
• Some rosters have been posted for the annual Don Lucia Model Camp, to be held at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis June 13-18. I'm not sure if the rosters are complete; only 10 of the 12 rosters are listed online right now. Registration deadline was last Friday, so perhaps they're still filling spots in the camp.
The only Rochester player listed as of now is Mayo D Jack Dingle, though I contacted Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol today and he believes a couple of his players have applied for the camp and may be attending.
Other current/former Section 1 players listed include former Faribault D Brandon Parker, who played for the Russell Stover AAA team last season with former Rochester Century standouts Connor Faupel and Drew Anderson; Lakeville South forward Michael Chuinard; LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter goalie Chris Amsden; Lakeville North forward Evan Peterson; Lakeville South defenseman Charlie Heller; South forward and Gophers commit Justin Kloos; Lakeville North goalie Charlie Lindgren; and New Prague goalie Joe Morris.
• We're less than a month away from the NHL Draft, to be held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, June 24 and 25. New Prague native and University of Minnesota recruit Seth Ambroz is ranked 31st among North American skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting Service rankings.
• Members of the Big Ten Hockey Conference are mulling two possible scenarios for their postseason tournament format.
• The Minnesota Wild have scheduled a Fan Fest to coincide with the first day of the Draft, June 24, at the St. Paul Crowne Plaza hotel. Some big names are scheduled to appear, including 2010 first round draft pick Mikael Granlund, who showed the world what he could do earlier this month at the IIHF World Championships.
Tickets for the Fan Fest are $20 (ticket does not get you access to the Draft) and go on sale on June 1. More information is available here.