Friday, September 12, 2014

New Boston College Uniforms for 2014-15


Boston College recently unveiled new men's hockey uniforms for the 2014-15 NCAA campaign, as shown on Twitter. The uniforms are still manufactured by UnderArmour, which took over BC's athletic apparel in 2010.

The new home white version (shown at right) modeled by sophomore forward Ryan Fitzgerald features maroon and gold stripes that now go all the way around the waist. There's also the return of the iconic interlocking BC Eagle logo on the shoulders.

The vertical stripes on the sleeves have been replaced by horizontal maroon and gold stripes at the elbow, with the stripes on both the arm and the waist being separated by the stained glass pattern introduced four years ago. The front of the new jersey also features a traditional lace-up neck, while the Hockey East patch remains in its customary spot below the right shoulder.

BC opens its new season on Oct. 4 with an exhibition game against visiting New Brunswick at Kelley Rink, before delving into the NCAA waters at Hockey East rival UMass Lowell six days later. The home opener will be on Oct. 24 against Colorado College.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering Mark Bavis: Sept. 11, 2001


A story I've presented here before - hard to believe it's been 13 years now. Rest in peace, Mark.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Former 1980 Olympian Suter Passes On




Bob Suter, a member of the 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, and a former Wisconsin Badger, died of an apparent heart attack yesterday in Madison, Wisc. He was 57.

Suter, brother of former NHL defensemen Gary Suter and former Badger player John Suter, and father of current Minnesota Wild blueliner Ryan Suter, was a defenseman on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team that upset Russia and then topped Finland to claim the gold medal in Lake Placid. Bob Suter is also is the first player from that storied squad to pass away, having been preceded by head coach Herb Brooks, who died in a car crash in 2003.


"This is a heart-breaking day," said Wisconsin men's coach and former Badger teammate Mike Eaves at uwbadgers.com. "Bob was the ultimate teammate. He could skate like the wind and was as hard of a competitor that I ever knew. He has passed much too young."

A 1977 draft choice of both the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the WHA's Birmingham Bulls, Suter played for his hometown University of Wisconsin from 1975 to 1979, helping the Badgers to an NCAA title as a sophomore. In 1978-79, as a senior, he posted 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in 40 games, according to hockeydb. He closed out his college career with a total of 27-76103 points and 377 penalty minutes in 157 appearances.

Suter, who set a Badgers record for most assists in game by a defenseman with five against Denver in 1979, was also a college teammate of current Badger men's coach Mike Eaves and current women's coach Mark Johnson. He also played seven games with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League after graduation.

After joining the U.S. National Team, Suter won gold with Johnson at Lake Placid despite having broken his ankle during the club's preliminary tour. He played one final pro season in 1981-82 with the CHL's Nashville South Stars, notching 12-2133 points and 160 PIM in 79 outings.

Suter, who also owned a sporting goods shop in Madison, was aiding the newest incarnation of the Madison Capitals junior team at the time of his passing.

"I think he was in a great place with the new USHL team coming in and they were just getting up and starting to practice and getting ready for some exhibition games," said Johnson on the Badgers web site, "It is unfortunate that this happened at such a young age, and there are a lot of people who are going to miss him."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Not Long Now


The NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia seems like last monthbut in reality, the 2014-15 Division I men's college hockey campaign is just 24 days away.

The festivities face off on Oct. 3 when Western Ontario visits Alaska Fairbanks at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, kicking off the usual slate of exhibition games between American universities and their Canadian counterparts. It's also the second year of the revamped structure of men's college hockey, with the Big Ten, the NCHC, and the revamped WCHA having all replaced the dearly-departed CCHA.No conference upheaval this time out, although UConn will be skating off to Hockey East from Atlantic Hockey.

It's all part of the usual grind to get through the next six months before the 2015 Frozen Four is held at TD Garden in Boston, the first time the championship will be played in Beantown since Denver defeated Maine, 1-0, in 2004. The ECAC will also be seeking its third national men's title in as many years, following NCAA title runs by Yale (2013) and Union (2014) after a two-decade drought.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Former BC Blueliner Forrest Rejoins U.S. NTDP as Coach





Former Boston College defenseman and recently-retired professional blueliner J.D. Forrest will be stepping behind the bench.

A member of BC’s 2001 NCAA championship team, Forrest will return to his roots with the U.S National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. this season as he begins his duties as intern assistant coach for the U.S. National Under-18 Team.

A native of Auburn. N.Y., Forrest was an original member of the NTDP (1997-2000), according to USAHockey.com. He ranks first in career games played (208) and is also tied for the lead in career assists (88) with current Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. He also holds the NTDP record for career points by a defenseman (111).

Forrest, 33, played at BC from 2000 to 2004, helping the Eagles to four combined Hockey East Association regular-season and tournament titles, three NCAA Tournament berths, and two NCAA Frozen Four appearances. He posted 24 goals and 74 assists for 98 points in 145 career games with BC, according to USCHO.com. He registered a career-best 6-25—31 points as a junior, and also earned Second Team All-America accolades that season. He then served as an assistant captain in his final collegiate campaign.

A sixth-round NHL draft choice (181st overall) of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2000, Forrest played professionally the last 10 seasons, mostly in Europe, according to hockeydb.com. He spent five years in Finland, and put up a career-high 5-28—33 points with Karpat in 2008-09. He also had stints with Florida and Elmira in the ECHL, and with Albany and Worcester in the American Hockey League, and also skated one season in Switzerland. He closed out his pro career by playing one year with Malmo (Sweden) and two years with Augsburg (Germany).

The U.S. National Under-18 Team opens its 2014-15 USHL season on Friday against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Hextall Joins the Flyers (Again)






The father has helped the son.

Former University of North Dakota forward Brett Hextall will join the Philadelphia Flyers organization, where his dad, Ron, once tended net and now serves as general manger. He has signed a one-year minor-league contract, according to nj.com.

The younger Hextall will be assigned to the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Lehigh Valley. He tallied 39 goals and 42 assists for 81 points in 115 career collegiate games with the then-Fighting Sioux from 2008 to 2011, according to his stats page at uscho.com.

A 5’10”, 186-pound California native, Hextall also put up 254 penalties in three seasons while helping UND to three NCAA Tournament berths, two Western Collegiate Hockey Association championships, and two WCHA regular-season crowns. He was chosen in the sixth round by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft after playing junior hockey with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.

Hextall turned pro in 2011 and has spent the past three years with Portland (AHL), with whom he put up a career-high 11-12—23 points and 83 PIM in 59 appearances last season, as noted at hockeydb.com. In three campaigns with the Pirates, he registered 27-26—53 points and 221 PIM in 197 regular-season outings.

Hextall is a fourth-generation professional player, following his father Ron, his grandfather Bryan Hextall Jr., his great-grandfather Bryan Hextall Sr., and his great uncle Dennis Hextall.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Milnao Chooses OHL over BC




It was reported last week (while I was on vacation, of course) that Boston College incoming freshman forward Sonny Milano decided to instead sign with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, as reported at uscho.com. He was the Columbus Blue Jackets first-round draft choice (16th overall) at this year's NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia.

Truthfully, I never believed that Milano, who had originally committed to Notre Dame, was ever going to wind up in Chestnut Hill. He possesses superlative skills, particularly stickhandling, but scouting reports have also said he often overhandles the puck and tries to do too much out on the ice. Maybe BC head coach Jerry York could have weaned him off of that, and also made him a better all-around player. 

Though Milano said several times that he was committed to BC, I felt I'd only fully believe it when I saw him suited up in maroon and gold. He could have developed just as well playing at Conte Forum for a year or two instead of jumping right away to major juniorbut now we’ll never know.


Honestly, I’m more excited about Milano’s former U.S. National Team Development Program teammate Alex Tuch joining the Eagles this season. They need more big bodies up front to crash the boards and the net, and the Minnesota Wild’s first-round selection (18th overall) this year has good size (6-foot-3, 213 lbs.) and possesses a rocket shot. He should do well in supplementing BC’s usual crop of smaller, skilled forwards.

Mike Vellucci of Plymouth is a good coach and should get a lot out of Milano, who simply may have also just wanted to play hockey and not deal with the academic side of the college hockey equation. While he’s chasing a Memorial Cup, though, Milano may wonder “what if” himself, especially if the Eagles secure another NCAA championship or two over the next few years.