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117 posts categorized "College hockey"

January 10, 2014

Ice Time | Friday, Jan. 10

Posted by: Feldman So we're a week and a half into this new year; it's time to get the blog fired up again since I've been slacking all hockey season. I'll try to put something new up here each day, whether it's about the local high school teams, the Austin Bruins (I'll leave Ice Hawks notes to Phersy; he's all on top of that beat and I don't see them play often enough), former Rochester players who have moved on to juniors, college or pros, or maybe just some random thoughts on the Wild or NHL or college hockey. Whatever it may be, I'll try to have something fresh up here as often as possible. I have high school hockey on the brain right now, so let's get to it: * Rochester Century: The Panthers took one on the chin on Thursday night, a 12-0 loss to No. 6-ranked Lakeville North. But, at least from what I observed, it's not as bad as that score may indicate. For one thing, North piled on six goals in the third period, including four after Century made a goalie change. Not that North shouldn't have kept playing hard -- they are relentless on the forecheck and every bit deserving of their top-10 ranking in the state -- but when you get down 6-0 after two like Century did, then it climbs to 7 or 8 and keeps going, it's easy to sort of shut down. Century can take a couple of positive things out of the loss, though. First, if Century wants to make a run in the postseason, it's going to have to meet North again at some point. Aside from Lakeville South, Century is the only team in Section 1AA that will have faced North in the regular season. Century knows exactly what to expect and how hard it'll have to play if they meet North again. Second, from what I've seen of this Century team, it's not afraid to be physical and match opponents when it comes to hitting and battling in the corners and in front of the net. I also like to see that star defenseman Riese Zmolek has the green light to jump into the offensive play, and not only does he take advantage of those situations where he can join the rush, but his teammates are aware that he can and will do that and they cover for him defensively. Things don't get much easier for the Panthers, who are still unbeaten in Big Nine COnference play. They'll face Mankato West, the conference co-leader, on Saturday at the Rec Center. Speaking of West ... * Rochester Mayo: Mayo showed that it is among the best in the Big Nine on Thursday, playing West -- the No. 7-ranked team in Class A -- to a one-goal game at Graham Arena. West's Derek Frentz scored a short-handed goal with less than 30 seconds to go to win it 2-1. One of Mayo's concerns after the Kiwanis Festival had to be its play in its own end. And I'm not just talking about the defensemen, but all five skaters. It looks like they cleared some things up against West, and Mayo got another nice effort in goal from senior Eric Gibson. Gibson and Luke Utley have split time equally in goal and will continue to unless/until one of them grabs the job and runs with it. Mayo and Century meet next Thursday for the first time this season. Their matchups could be very important when it comes to home-ice advantage for the opening round of the section playoffs. North is clearly the No. 1 seed and Farmington has an argument to be No. 2, based on wins over all three Rochester teams already. If Lakeville South can beat Mayo when they meet on Jan. 28, the Cougars could have the inside track to the No. 2 or 3 seed. That would leave Century and Mayo to battle for No. 4 and a home game in the section quarterfinals, likely against each other. All of those things will shake out soon enough, but it's not too soon to start thinking about playoff matchups. * Rochester Lourdes: I can't remember a team I've covered being hit as hard by injuries as the Eagles have been this season. They lost D Griff Slightam before the season started. They've lost leaders Cody Cossette, Connor Fitzpatrick, Nick Roth and now Mason Carstens to injuries during the season. All that considered, the Eagles should still be competitive come playoff time. They're getting excellent goalie play from junior Jack Burkel and they've learned how to play in close, low-scoring games. That's likely how they'll have to win if they want to have some success in the postseason. They're also eight days away from playing on state-wide TV in Hockey Day Minnesota. It's a real bummer and shame that a few guys won't get to play in that game. ... While I'm thinking of HDM '14, I'll have a bunch of preview stories in next Friday's paper, the Jan. 17 edition. Regardless of how many players Lourdes is missing, I know the coaches and players will be sure to soak in the experience and just enjoy being a part of it. That's it for tonight. I'll try to put together more coherent thoughts from now on; tonight's post is just sort of a stream of consciousness that came out while watching a replay of the Wild game. I'm in the process of putting together this year's "The List." A list of all former Rochester-area players who are currently in juniors, college or pros. There are so many leagues and teams, I'm sure I'm bound to miss someone, but as soon as I get through all the leagues and team rosters, I'll post the list here. As always, let me know if I've omitted anyone.

September 05, 2012

Local hockey | Emptying my notebook

Posted by: Feldman

Lots of hockey notes that I've let build up that we need to get to here. Now that all of our high school fall sports previews are out of the way, I can get back to some hockey stuff that I've been meaning to get to for, in some cases, months!

Here we go ...

• John Marshall boys coach Jay Ness didn't really celebrate the Fourth of July this summer. He did his celebrating a week or so later, when he spent a few days in Sault Ste Marie, Mich. Ness was there to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Lake Superior State University's 1992 NCAA Division I hockey championship. It marked the school's second national title in four years, and it would go on to win another, in 1994. Ness played on the 1994 team, as well, as a senior. He finished his four-year LSSU career with 24 goals and 38 assists for 62 points. That '92 LSSU team was coached by Jeff Jackson, now the head coach at Notre Dame. Among the star players on that team: Brian Rolston, who has played more than 1,200 games in the NHL, including 241 with the Minnesota Wild. Rolston had 46 points for the '92 Lakers championship team; Ness had 19 that year (nine goals, 10 assists).

• As things change here at the P-B, my duties are expanding to include coverage of the North American Hockey League's Austin Bruins. The coverage of our local and area high schools won't suffer; but you'll probably notice more blog posts and, if you follow me on Twitter (@PBFeldy), more tweets about the Bruins and the NAHL this season. You likely won't see many stories on the Bruins appear in the actual Rochester print edition; my coverage will be mainly for the Austin edition of the P-B (yes, we put out a separate edition each day in Austin). The stories I do write on the Bruins, I'll link to them here, because ...

• Two former Rochester high school players will be playing really close to home this season. John Marshall's Zach Johnson and former Century standout Drew Anderson have made the Austin Bruins' roster. In addition to this blog, you can keep up with the Bruins on their web site.

• Four current Rochester Lourdes players have been selected as featured players in this year's Minnesota Hockey Hub/Breakdown Sports 2012-13 High School Hockey Guide. Defensemen Karl Krecke and Griff Slightam, and forwards Jason Samuelson and Alex Funk will be the first Eagles players to be featured in the book. We'll link to the book here when it becomes available for purchase. Funk, Samuelson and Krecke begin play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League this weekend.

A bunch of former Lourdes players are still playing and/or are in new places this fall:

• Two of the team's leading scorers from last year, forward Landon Farrell and defenseman Justin Dewitz, will play AAA midgets with Russell Stover this season.

• Former all-state defenseman Rory Vesel is back for his second season with the NAHL's Bismarck (N.D.) Bobcats. Vesel was just starting to play very well last year when he suffered a broken jaw and missed a couple of months. We'll get to watch Vesel a bunch this year, as the Bobcats are in the same division as Austin.

• Former Lourdes defenseman Alec Brandrup is playing close to home, too. He's with the Coulee Region Chill of the NAHL. Coulee Region is based in Onalaska, Wis.

• Another former Eagles d-man, Pete Spratte, will be a freshman at Lake Superior State University this fall. LSSU plays in the CCHA, which will merge into the new-look WCHA after this season. That means Spratte will get to play in Mankato each season, against MSU, Mankato, and former Rochester Mayo standout Charlie Thauwald. Former La Crescent star Eriah Hayes is a senior at MSU, Mankato, this year.

• Ex-Eagles netminder Nick Heimer is a freshman again. Heimer was offered a spot recently at Hamline University and he accepted. I'm going to try to get in touch with Nick in the coming days to find out what he thinks of finally playing college hockey and just how he ended up at Hamline.

• Former Lourdes forward Tyler Voigt will return to Tufts University for his second season of Division III hockey.

• Ex-Lourdes standout F Brandon Bahnemann will be a senior at St. Thomas this year. The 2007 Lourdes grad started his college hockey career at Division I Bentley University, but transferred back closer to home and will close his college career this season.

• Mankato West grad Tyler Bruggeman, the goalie who backstopped the Austin Bruins to the NAHL Central Division championship series last spring, will play college hockey at Division III St. Scholastica in Duluth.

• Former Rochester Century goalie Brock Kautz will play in the NAHL, too, with the Janesville Jets.

• Former Century d-man Connor Faupel will play with the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League again this season. Faupel helped the team win the Turnbull Cup, the league's playoff championship, last season and advance to the Royal Bank Cup, the tournament that crowns Canada's Junior A champion.

• Century's Dalton Travis is on the Rochester Ice Hawks opening-day roster. I'm guessing he's doing a before-and-after deal, where he'll play with the Hawks until the high school season starts, then return to them after the high school season ends. I haven't confirmed that, yet, but I'd bet that's the case.

• Red Wing native Ryan Kesti is entering his third season with Northern Michigan University. Kesti lettered for the first time last year, when he had two points in 34 games.

• Byron's DJ Vold is a key returning forward for the Granite City Lumberjacks of the NA3HL. The 'Jacks won the NA3 title last year, in addition to winning the league's Central Division championship.

That's a fairly comprehensive list of area players who are playing in college, juniors or elsewhere this fall. I haven't scoured all college and junior rosters yet, so this isn't complete, but, if you know of former Rochester or area players who are competing in juniors, college or pro hockey, let me know. I'll start compiling a more comprehensive list soon.

June 12, 2012

H.S. Hockey | Some notes (and changes to Kiwanis Festival lineup)

Posted by: Feldman

Whew. That was a fun Stanley Cup Final, eh? Too bad the last game had to be the least enjoyable of all, but congrats to L.A., what a run for the Kings as a No. 8 seed. And I'm sure glad I picked them to win; it's in print and everything (but don't go back and look at my prediction, just take my word for it. Please.)

On to some local hockey stuff.

* A reminder: The Minnesota Wild Road Tour will stop in Rochester on June 25. Players Matt Kassian and Charlie Coyle will be here, as well as former player Antti Laaksonen and TV color analyst Mike Greenlay will be here. They'll stop at the Wells Fargo on 55th St. NW from 4:15-5:15 p.m. More info. on the Road Tour can be found here.

* The annual Don Lucia Model Camp began on Monday, with 108 players from around the state (and some from bordering states) divided into six teams of 18 players. Players from our area/Section 1 who are competing this year: Jared Bromberg, F, Rochester John Marshall (will be a junior this fall); Soren Colstrup, F, Owatonna (junior); Luke LIjewski, F, New Prague (junior); Ryan Jutting, F, Mankato West (senior); Andrew Scofield, F, Northfield (senior); Ryan Drazan, D, New Prague (junior); Austin Kilian, F, New Prague (junior); and Colton Schmidt, F, New Prague (junior).

For more information on the camp, including full rosters for each team, click here.

* First off, congrats to former Lakeville North goalie Charlie Lindgren, who has committed to play at St. Cloud State. The Huskies and coach Bob Motzko, an Austin native, are getting a steal. Lindgren was a pain in the side for Section 1AA teams for four years; I'm certain the Rochester teams were happy to see him graduate.

Lindgren's rise to a D-I scholarship reminds me of the path former Rochester Century standout Alex Kangas took. All of us in this part of the state realized how special Lindgren was from the time he stepped in the goal as a freshman. Two years ago, we watched him nearly single-handedly lift his team past Lakeville South in the section final, then nearly single-handedly win two consy games at the state tournament. I can't wait to see how he does in St. Cloud and the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which begins play in the 2013-14 season.

* This is pretty cool: The Ottawa Citizen newspaper recently reviewed the book "Scarlet Ice," written by Roger Dier. It's the story of the 1995 Mankato West hockey team, the issues it had on and off the ice, and more importantly, the story of its sparkplug player, John Janavaras. Just 15, Janavaras was a workhorse. He also died that year after a outbreak of bacterial meningitis swept through the school. Read the review, then check out the book. The writing is quite good in spots, not so good in others, but Dier has put a tremendous story in print.

* For college puck fans, I talked with Minnesota State, Mankato, beat writer Shane Frederick (follow him on Twitter @Puckato -- great follow) last week at the state softball tournament. I asked him how things were going so far with new Mavs head coach Mike Hastings officially on the job. He said it sounds like MSU has seen a spike in season ticket sales; the real test might be to watch the sales of single-game tickets. We know MSU can sell tickets when the Gophers, Wisconsin and North Dakota come to town. How will Hastings' presence impact the sales for games against teams like Michigan Tech or Anchorage, though? I suppose it all comes down to winning.

Frederick also said he expects that MSU assistant coaches Darren Blue and Todd Knott will be retained, at least through this season, if not longer. It would be tough for Hastings to start searching for assistant(s) now, anyway, with a short time before players report to campus. Plus, St. Cloud State is already on the hunt for a top assistant, after Steve Johnson left to join head coach Dean Blais in Omaha.


I fully admit I'm a dork, and I spend time in the middle of June digging through high school hockey schedules five months in advance of the season beginning. But as I did, I noticed a handful of teams who have been regulars at the Rochester Kiwanis Festival do not have the tourney listed on their schedules for this December.

I don't have the AA field (though I'll take a guess at most of it) yet, but I do have a tentative list of teams for the Class A field. I'll post what I know (and what I think I know) and let you formulate your opinions:

CLASS AA: Rochester Century, Rochester John Marshall, Rochester Mayo and Eau Claire Memorial all have the Festival listed on their schedules. I don't know this for certain, but I'm assuming long-time Festival attendees New Richmond (Wis.) and Fargo (N.D.) South will return. Those teams are a part of the Festival; it wouldn't be the same without them here. Eastview does not have its non-conference schedule posted as of yet, so there's a good chance the Lightning could return.

The eighth team in the AA field could be Richfield. The Spartans at one point had "Rochester tournament" listed on their schedule, but it noted "vs. Rochester Century" ... that has been removed from their schedule as of now. They only have 22 games listed -- three short of the 25 allowed by MSHSL rules -- so perhaps they're seeking a different tourney, or are waiting to confirm a spot in the Kiwanis? 

Prior Lake -- a team I was really hoping would return this year -- is out. The Lakers have the Schwan's Cup Silver Division listed on their schedule.

CLASS A: Here's the way the Class A field shakes out, tentatively, I'm told. Looks like long-time tourney participant Albert Lea is out, as are St. Michael-Albertville and Northfield, both of which were in it last year. Albert Lea is scheduled to play in Simley's tournament, in Inver Grove Heights.

The Kiwanis Class A tournament appears to include the following: Lourdes (defending champ), Dodge County, New Ulm (2010 champ), Ashwaubenon (Wis.), Verona (Wis.), WSFLG (Wis.), Northland Pines (Wis.) and Kansas City.

That would mean half the field has turned over. Lourdes (defending champ), Ashwaubenon (4th place last year), New Ulm (6th) and Dodge County (8th) are back; the other four teams are new.

Verona could be a nice addition; it went 22-1 in the regular season last year and qualified for the state tournament, where it lost in the semifinals to eventual state champion Notre Dame Academy.

That's all I know for now; I'll pass on more about the tournament as I find out.

May 21, 2012

College Hockey | Spratte commits to Lake Superior State

Posted by: Feldman

Pete Spratte is proof of just how far hard work and perseverance can take a hockey player.

Don't get me wrong, Spratte is a talented defenseman, but it's probably safe to say that his work ethic is what has made him a Division I college hockey player.

On Monday morning, Spratte, a 2009 Rochester Lourdes graduate, committed to play for Lake Superior State University, beginning this fall.

Spratte played the past three seasons for the Fairbanks (Alaska) Ice Dogs of the Junior A, Tier II North American Hockey League. The Ice Dogs won the Robertson Cup (the NAHL national championship) in 2011, and advanced to the final four of the Robertson Cup tournament this past season.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defenseman/forward had his best season as an Ice Dog this year. He tallied five goals and 15 assists for 20 points in 58 regular season games, then added a goal and two assists in 10 postseason games.

For his three-year Ice Dogs career, Spratte had 10-38—48 in 172 games, mostly as a defenseman.

He played defense at Lourdes, first under head coach Bob Haskins, then under coach Aaron Gill.

Spratte is entering a great situation at LSSU. The Lakers went 18-17-5 last season, losing to Central Collegiate Hockey Association postseason champion Western Michigan in a second-round playoff series.

The Lakers will play in the CCHA for one more season, then join the revamped WCHA in 2013-14. That was a big draw for Spratte, who will get to play plenty of games closer to home, with schools such as MSU Mankato and Bemdiji State remaining in the WCHA.

I talked to Pete a few minutes ago; as you might imagine, he's pretty excited and anxious to get up to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. (about 350 miles north of Detroit), to start training and getting ready for the season.

He said he wouldn't have made it to this level without all of the coaches he's had along the way, citing Haskins, Gill, Josh Spaniol, Todd Lampman (and his son, Bryce, who has played professionally), P.J. Lepler, Steve Forliti, and John Notermann.

I'll have more at later tonight and in the P-B print edition on Tuesday.

March 18, 2012

College Hockey | Kirby for Hobey, tournament notes

Posted by: Feldman

We haven't had much time to talk college hockey on here this season, thanks to a 12-pound 3-month-old who clearly doesn't think I should work at home, and a 5-year-old with a much more active social life than me or Mrs. Feldy.

But, with the high school season having wrapped up, we can talk some college hockey now and through the national tournament. Let's get right to it:

* Huge news came Friday for former Austin High standout defenseman Tim Kirby, who was named one of the top 10 Hobey Baker finalists this week. Kirby, a senior at Air Force, is the third Falcons player to be honored as a top-10 finalist since 2007 (Eric Ehn, 2007; Jacques Lamoureux, 2009). Kirby, of course, is coached by former Rochester Mustangs head coach (and quote machine) Frank Serratore

KIrby has 12 goals and 27 points in 36 games. His 12 goals are third-most by a defenseman in the country. He ranks ninth in school history in points by a defenseman (87) and holds the AFA record for most career games played (152). He's never missed a game in his four seasons.

The top-10 list will be cut down to three names (the Hobey Hat Trick finalists) on March 29. The Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced on April 6 in Tampa, Fla., the day before the national championship game. You can find bios of all 10 finalists here.

Kirby had an assist on the game-winning goal Saturday as AFA topped Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology, 4-0, in the Atlantic Hockey championship game. That victory gives the Falcons an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, which begins Friday. It appears that the Falcons will likely be sent to the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass., where they will face top-ranked and No. 1 overall seed Boston College.

* There's a good chance that Western Michigan ends up in the West Regional, at the Xcel Energy Center, as the No. 4 seed in that region. The Broncos beat Michigan for the CCHA postseason championship on Saturday, earning an automatic bid into the national tourney.

The Broncos are coached by longtime NHL coach Andy Murray, and Rochester native Pat Ferschweiler is an assistant coach for WMU.

* We could have a meeting of two former Rochester Mayo players out east as is projecting Maine and Minnesota-Duluth to meet in the first round. Defenseman Bill Norman, a 2011 Mayo grad, is a freshman at Maine, though he hasn't played in a game this season. UMD's head equipment manager is 1997 Mayo grad Chris Garner, who is in his fourth season with the Bulldogs.

* The Gophers are in the tournament for the first time since Alex Kangas was a freshman (2007-08), and as the site host, they're locked into playing in the West Regional at the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday-Sunday, most likely as the region's No. 2 seed. By the time you're reading this, we'll probably know the other teams who have been slotted into that regional (the tournament selection show will air at 11 a.m. Sunday on ESPNU), but it sounds like there's a good chance that North Dakota will end up back at The X for a second consecutive weekend.

Either North Dakota or Michigan is expected to the be the No. 1 seed in the West Regional. The question that the selection committee faces, though, is this: Do they hold up what's referred to as "bracket integrity" (send the No. 1 seeds as close to their homes as possible?) or do they consider attendance issues? If it's the latter, then Michigan will come to The X and UND will head to Green Bay and the Midwest Regional.

From the NCAA's point of view, the Gophers will carry the West Regional, attendance-wise. Sending UND to St. Paul would guarantee a sellout crowd, but it might also guarantee a a lot of empty seats in the Resch Center in Green Bay (with Michigan, Ferris State, Denver and Cornell the likely teams to land in that region).

Either way, if the Gophers get past their first game (quite possibly against Boston U.), they'll be staring down a big rival in the regional final -- UND or Michigan.

August 18, 2011

Hockey | Playing catch-up, part I

Posted by: Feldman

Amazing what can pile up when you're on vacation for a bit (Phersy should know what this feels like, since he's always on a vacation).

Here are a few notes to toss out there for now, and I'll have a post on the Lourdes boys hockey team's summer practices a little later tonight. I went over and talked to coach Josh Spaniol during their final week of summer workouts in late July. I didn't get around to posting anything, as I was waiting to hear how a couple of their players did in Junior tryout camps (not that any of them anticipated leaving high school, but I was waiting to see how they fared at those camps).

So, for some notes:

• Former Rochester Century standout d-man Connor Faupel will play for Neepawa of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League this coming season. It's a nice move for Faupel, who passed up his senior season at Century to play for the Russell Stover midget program in Kansas City. I'll put in a call to Faupel tonight and hopefully find out more about his decision.

From what I'm told, he had the chance to go to three or four other places, including another team in the MJHL (which is a Tier II league in Canada), and to Helena, which won the USA Hockey Junior A, Tier III, national championship here in Rochester back in April. Faupel leaves for Neepawa on Tuesday. Neepawa is about 45 miles northeast of Brandon, Manitoba, or about 130 miles west of Winnipeg.

• Former Rochester Mayo forward Charlie Thauwald has become the most recent Rochester native to commit to a Division I hockey program. Thauwald made it official with Minnesota State, Mankato, last week. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Thauwald could make an immediate physical impact for the Mavericks. He'll be the biggest player on the team (along with LaCrescent's Eriah Hayes, who goes 6-4, 210) and the second member of his family to play D-I hockey (his brother, Scott, played at Colorado College and now plays professionally in Australia).

Charlie left Mayo before his senior season to play with Chicago of the USHL. After suffering an injury there, he played part of the 2009-10 season with Owatonna of the NAHL. Last season, he was a key member of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs' run to the NAHL (Robertson Cup) championship, along with Lourdes grads Tyler Voigt and Pete Spratte.

• The University of Maine has posted its men's hockey roster, and former Mayo defenseman Bill Norman will wear No. 12 for the Black Bears. Norman is listed at 5-feet-9, 160 pounds, so he'll have to use his speed and hockey sense — like he did at Mayo last season — to have an impact in Hockey East this year. The closest Maine comes to Minnesota this season is a two-game series at North Dakota, Oct. 14 and 15.

• Another former Century standout, goalie Alex Kangas, is officially a free agent. He wasn't signed by the team that drafted him — Winnipeg (actually drafted by Atlanta, of course, in 2006) — by Monday, so he's free to sign with another NHL team, or go overseas, if he chooses.

• Rochester native Colin Stuart re-signed with the Buffalo Sabres organization last month. Stuart reportedly signed a one-year, two-way deal, which will pay him $525,000 if he sticks in the NHL, or less if he plays with Buffalo's AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine. Stuart had 16 goals and 28 assists in 72 regular season games with Portland last season. He added three goals and four assists in 12 playoff games. He also played in three games for the Sabres, with no points and two penalty minutes.

• As Phersy noted in a previous post, the Rochester Ice Hawks are holding their final tryout camp this weekend, beginning tomorrow (Friday) and running through Sunday. They jump right into training camp on Monday.

July 25, 2011

College Hockey | Ferschweiler among final candidates for WMU job

Posted by: Feldman

When Pat Ferschweiler took an assistant coaching job at his alma mater, Western Michigan University, last summer, I'm guessing he didn't think the chance to become a head coach would happen so soon.

But, David Drew of and the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette, notes in an article today that Ferschweiler is one of four confirmed or rumored finalists to become WMU's head coach. The announcement will be made Tuesday.

Ferschweiler, a Rochester John Marshall grad, played at WMU for three seasons (1990-93). He had 30 goals and 65 assists in three seasons, then played six seasons in the IHL.

The job at WMU opened when Jeff Blashill took an assitant coach job with the Detroit Red Wings earlier this month.

It's also been reported that if Ferschweiler isn't named head coach, he's still under contract for the upcoming season as an assistant.

The list of four finalists is an impressive one. It includes Ron Rolston, the head coach of the of the USNTDP U-18 team, Nebraska-Omaha assistant (and former Gophers assistant) Mike Hastings, and former NHL coach Andy Murray.

Rolston was reportedly on WMU's campus last Wednesday for an interview. He has never been a college head coach, but has been an assistant at four schools (Lake Superior State, Clarkson, Harvard and Boston College).

Those guys are intrigued with the job, a) because Blashill turned the program in a nice direction last season, qualifying for the NCAA tournament, and b) WMU could very well end up in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which could provide the program with some national TV exposure, as well as games against big-time programs such as Denver and defending national champ UMD. WMU, which plays in the CCHA, will lose a lot of those big-time conference opponents when Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State leave in two years for the Big Ten.

July 06, 2011

Hockey | Hayes back at Blackhawks camp

Posted by: Feldman

For a second consecutive summer, La Crescent native Eriah Hayes has been invited to the Chicago Blackhawks' prospect camp.

Hayes has been invited as a free agent. The camp in no way affects his college eligibility; he has not signed a contract with any pro team. These camps serve as a way for NHL teams to get a look at their recent draft picks and potential free agents.

Hayes played in all 38 games and was the third-leading scorer for Minnesota State, Mankato, last season, with 22 points (11 goals and 11 assists). Hayes, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, had 240 points in his high school career for the Lancers. He then played two seasons of junior hockey, including one with Waterloo of the USHL, before moving on to MSUM.

The camp begins Thursday and runs through Monday. It is being held at Johnny's Ice House in Chicago. Four of Chicago's first-round draft picks will be at the camp — Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault (2011), Kevin Hayes (2010) and Dylan Olsen (2009). Olsen, you might remember, played a season-and-a-half for Minnesota-Duluth, leaving the Bulldogs at Christmastime this past season and missing out on their national championship run.

Eriah Hayes' MSUM teammate of the past two years, Ben Youds, will also be at the Blackhawks' camp. Youds was a senior defenseman for the Mavericks last season. He had 11 goals and 56 assists in his four seasons with the Mavs.

Here is the complete roster for the Blackhawks' prospect camp.



May 25, 2011

Catching up on some random hockey items...

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.

Here's a blog Ambroz did throughout his final USHL season for

• 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.

May 19, 2011

Hockey | Was the NHL's southern invasion worth it?

FELDY: It's looking more and more each day like Rochester native Mark Stuart and the Atlanta Thrashers will make their home in Winnipeg next season (or, possibly the following season, depending upon if, and how soon, a sale of the Thrashers can get done).

Another southern NHL team, the Coyotes, are safe in Phoenix for at least another season, thanks to the city of Glendale covering some of the NHL's big-time financial losses there. That leaves the Thrashers as the team targeted by Winnipeg's True North Sports and Entertainment to move into the seven-year-old MTS Centre (the name alone sounds like a hockey building, with the "re" on Centre).

With all of that in mind, an interesting topic has bounced around on Twitter over the past couple of days, primed by former USA Hockey P.R. guy Chris Peters (who happens to operate the kick-#!@ hockey blog, the United States of Hockey) and Fargo Fourm hockey writer Ryan S. Clark. (by the way, if you're a hockey fan at all, follow those guys on Twitter -- @chrismpeters and @ryan_s_clark)

The debate: Has the NHL's entry into southern markets been worthwhile?

With the financial troubles that the Coyotes and Thrashers have had, it's easy to say that the NHL's invasion of the non-traditional markets in the U.S. has been a bust. But that's really not fair, not looking at the big picture.

I won't quote all of Peters' research here; he did a lot of work on this, so go to his site to check it out. He looked at the increase in hockey players of all ages in the NHL's southeastern markets (Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh, Miami, Tampa Bay, and he included Dallas).

Here's a link to Peters' statistical spreadsheet, which looks at the number of registered players in those southern states with NHL teams. Note that, over the past decade, the number of registered players in those states has either come close to doubling, or it has more than doubled. That's a pretty big impact on areas not previously known for hockey. In Georgia, nearly 85 percent of new players over the past 10 years are 18 years old or younger. Now, that is how the game grows, by getting kids involved and active.

Also, look at the number of players from Texas, California and the Carolinas now making their way into junior hockey, college hockey and the pros. It's obviously not as many as come from Canada and the northern U.S., but my hometown college hockey team (University of North Dakota) will have as many players on its roster next season from Arizona and California as it will from North Dakota.

More examples: Check out last year's NHL Draft: Beau Bennett and Emerson Etem, both California-born, were selected in the first round. Bennett's Denver University teammate, Jason Zucker, from Las Vegas, was a second-round pick of the Minnesota Wild.

The NHL may not have succeeded in Phoenix or Atlanta, but it's worked well in Dallas, San Jose, L.A., Nashville, Tampa Bay and Carolina.

It's difficult to watch NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman do all he can to keep a team (Phoenix) in a market that hasn't supported it. And, Atlanta looks like it will be NHL-less in a matter of months. But, two bad apples shouldn't ruin the bunch. The NHL's presence in the south has done much more good than bad.