Friday, May 29, 2020

Sharks Select Brett Riley as First Head Coach


Long Isl‎and University has hired Brett Riley (Hobart) as its first-ever NCAA Division I men's hockey coach. He spent the 2019-20 season as an assistant at Colgate University.

Riley is the grandson of former Army hockey head coach Jack Riley, the son of former Army head coach Rob Riley, and the nephew of current Army coach Brian Riley. A native of Needham, Mass., he played at Hobart from 2010 to 2014 as a forward before entering the coaching ranks.

Riley, 29, served as head coach at Albany Academy from 2014 to 2017 while also working as a scout for Charlottestown (QMJHL) his first two seasons. He then started the NCAA Division I men's hockey program at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, where he stayed for two years. He led the Colonels to a 16-8-2 overall mark in 2018-19, in their first season on ice, before moving on to Colgate.

LIU, which intends to begin play in the 2020-21 campaign, has yet to announce a roster, schedule or home arena for the Sharks.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Alabama-Huntsville Drops Men's NCAA Hockey Program



The death knell has sounded once again for the University of Alabama-Huntsville men’s hockey program—and this time it looks to be permanent.

Citing COVID-19/financial difficulties, UAH administration announced today that it was discontinuing the Chargers hockeyprogram, effective immediately, along with the men’s and women’s tennis teams. Scholarships will be honored if players choose to remain at UAH, while they will also be allowed to transfer to other schools without penalty.

Charger Hockey had faced the chopping block before, when the program was shut down temporarily in the fall of 2012 before being revived soon after.

The program, which was an independent at the time after the College Hockey America conference disbanded, later joined the Western Collegiate Hockey Association where it spent its final seven seasons, finishing 48-181-24 overall. The “Hockey Capital of the South” now joins the likes of Fairfield, Findlay, Illinois-Chicago, Iona, Kent State and Wayne State among the modern-era schools that dropped NCAA Division I hockey in the past few decades.

UAH went 2-26-6 for the 2019-20 season, and finished last in the WCHA. The Chargers’ last game ever was a 4-1 home loss to Bowling Green at VBC Propst Arena in Huntsville on Feb. 29. The program’s last victory came on Feb. 1, when the Chargers defeated visiting Michigan Tech, 3-1.

The Chargers began life as a club program in 1979, winning three national club championships, and then had a brief foray in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics before joining the NCAA in 1985 as a Division II independent. After two seasons at that level, UAH moved up to NCAA Division I for five seasons, also as an independent, before dropping back down to Division II, where they won NCAA national championships in 1996 and 1998 while also recording two runner-up finishes.

After NCAA Division II hockey was discontinued in 1998, the Chargers returned to Division I as an independent, where they went 21-5-1 in 1998-99 before joining the CHA for 11 years. In that span they won league regular-season championships in 2001 and 2003, and claimed two CHA postseason titles in 2007 and 2010 that also earned them automatic berths to the NCAA Division I tournament. The Chargers fell by a goal both times, to Notre Dame in double overtime in Grand Rapids, Mich., the first time, and then to Miami (Ohio) three years later in Fort Wayne, Ind. The CHA itself then dissolved in 2010, leaving the Chargers without a conference home.

UAH then spent the next three years as an NCAA Division I independent before joining the WCHA. The program’s final overall record at the NCAA varsity level was 456-570-82 (.449), with Doug Ross winning a school-record 376 NCAA games in all as head coach from 1985 to 2007. His son, Jared, played in 22 career NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers, and scored 73 goals in four seasons (2001-2005) at UAH while playing for his father. The Chargers' most famous hockey alumnus is undoubtedly goaltender Cam Talbot, who spent three years in Huntsville (2007-2010) and has since gone on to backstop 314 NHL regular-season games with the New York Rangers, Edmonton, Philadelphia and Calgary, in which he has recorded 150 career wins along with 22 shutouts.  

Along with Alaska Anchorage and Alaska (Fairbanks), UAH was slated to be one of just three schools left in the WCHA after the 2020-21 campaign as Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan were due to withdraw from the conference to form the new Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

ADDENDUM: The Chargers got a reprieve of at least one season after a week-long GoFundMe fundraising campaign that ended on May 29 netted over $500,000 in online donations.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Providence's Dugan Signs with Vegas


Jack Dugan (Providence) is done at the NCAA level after two seasons.

The leading scorer for both the Friars and Division I men's hockey this past season, the Rochester, N.Y. native signed a professional contract earlier this week with the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights. He thus foregoes his final two seasons of college eligibility.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound forward recorded 10 goals and 42 assists for 52 points in 34 games this past season, to go with 64 penalty minutes. In two years at Providence, Dugan, 22, posted 20-71—91 points in 75 overall outings, along with 114 PIM. As a freshman, he recorded 10 goals and 39 points in helping the Friars to a 24-win season and the NCAA Frozen Four in Buffalo.

Drafted by Vegas in the fifth round (142nd overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Dugan prepped with Chicago (USHL) prior to joining Providence in the fall of 2018. The current NHL season is still on hold due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which canceled the 2019-20 NCAA hockey campaign in March, including the NCAA tournament and Frozen Four.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

LIU to Begin Division I Men's Hockey


Long Island University will become the 61st current school to participate in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey.

Based out of Brooklyn, the Sharks are expected to begin competition during the 2020-21 season, according to the school's athletics website at liuathletics.com. They are the first school to join the NCAA Division I men's hockey ranks since Arizona State University elevated its program to varsity status from the club level in 2015-16.

Three years later, the Sun Devils became the first school to make the NCAA Tournament as an independent since Alaska Anchorage did so in 1992. ASU likely would have also qualified for this years's national tournament, until the 2019-20 season was canceled by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in March.

Last year, LIU combined its C.W. Post (Pioneers) and Brooklyn (Blackbirds) campuses into one entity, to compete at the NCAA Division I level in all sports as the Sharks. LIU women's ice hockey started skating in 2019-20, playing out of Islanders IceWorks and other arenas on Long Island. They finished 14-18-0 overall, and also won the 2020 New England Women’s Hockey Alliance tournament championship.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Gaudet Retires From Dartmouth After 32 NCAA Seasons


Longtime college head coach Bob Gaudet (Dartmouth) has called it a career.

Gaudet, who has mentored his alma mater since the 1997-98 campaign, has announced his retirement, effective at the end of June, after serving as head coach at first Brown University and then Dartmouth College since 1998-99. He departs with a 424-482-112 overall record amassed over 32 NCAA seasons.

Gaudet coached in his 1,000th career contest in a 4-3 win at Princeton on Jan. 3. He coached his final career game in the Big Green’s 5-4 overtime loss to Princeton on March 7 in the first round of the 2020 ECAC Hockey championship.

”It blows me away, the doors that Dartmouth opened for me in my life, and to have the chance to come back as a coach … it was a natural progression,” said Gaudet to New York Hockey Journal in late 2018. “I owe so much to this school, and I try to repay it in some small way as a coach.”

Gaudet, from Saugus, Mass., became the all-time leader in hockey victories at his alma mater when the Big Green defeated Cornell, 3-2, on Nov. 30, 2018. It was Gaudet’s 309th win at Dartmouth, which pushed him past school legend Eddie Jeremiah.

In 23 seasons in Hanover, N.H., Gaudet posted a school-record 331 victories. The 2005-06 ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year when he guided the Big Green to the conference regular-season title, he also led Dartmouth to the 2006-07 Ivy League crown, and was personally inducted into the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.

A 1981 graduate of Dartmouth, Gaudet backstopped the Big Green for four seasons as a goaltender, including NCAA semifinal appearances in both 1979 and 1980. After signing a contract with the Winnipeg Jets and playing professionally with Fort Wayne (IHL), he began his coaching career as an assistant at Dartmouth in 1983-84 before moving on to Brown in 1988-89 as the head coach for eight years. He led the Bears to a 1993 NCAA tournament berth before returning to Dartmouth for good four years later.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Perunovich Wins 40th Hobey Baker Award, Swayman Earns Richter Award


Scott Perunovich (Minnesota-Duluth) has been named the winner of the 40th annual Hobey Baker Memorial Award, as the top player in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey.

Perunovich, 21, from Hibbing, Minn., recorded a career-high 34 assists and 40 points this season in 34 games, and was also named the 2019-20 NCHC Player of the Year. The junior defenseman finished his collegiate career with 20 goals and 95 assists for 105 points in 115 career outings with the Bulldogs, whom he helped to two straight NCAA national titles (2018, 2019), plus a top five national ranking this year. A shot at a third straight NCAA crown was derailed last month by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has canceled almost all major sport seasons.

Perunovich becomes the sixth UMD Bulldog to win the Hobey Baker Award, following Tom Kurvers (1984), Bill Watson (1985), Chris Marinucci (1994), Junior Lessard (2004) and Jack Connolly (2012).

Jeremy Swayman (Maine) was named the winner of the 2019-20 Mike Richter Award as the top goaltender in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey. The junior from Anchorage, Alaska fashioned an 18-10-5 record for the Black Bears this past season with a 2.07 goals-against average and .939 save percentage, along with three shutouts, in backstopping them to a top 20 national ranking. In three seasons in Orono, Swayman, 21, went 47-40-12 in 100 career appearances (2.51, .927, 4 ShO). He was also a finalist for this year's Hobey Baker Award.

Both awards were revealed late Saturday night on ESPN, on an evening when the NCAA Division I men's ice hockey national title game was to have been played in Detroit. Both Perunovich and Swayman have bypassed their senior seasons to sign professional contracts with the NHL clubs that drafted them, Perunovich with the St. Louis Blues and Swayman with the Boston Bruins.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

BC's Newhook Rookie of the Year


Alex Newhook (Boston College) has earned the 2019-20 Tim Taylor Rookie of the Year Award as the top newcomer in NCAA Division I men's hockey.

Newhook, 19, a 5-foot-10 native of St. John's Newfoundland, tied for BC's scoring lead with 19 goals and 42 points this season in 34 games. He helped the Eagles to a 24-8-2 overall record, a top five national ranking, and a first-place finish in Hockey East before the campaign was canceled last month by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Newhook's NHL rights are owned by the Colorado Avalanche, who drafted him 16th overall last summer.