Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Season Finally Underway

Following a plethora of exhibition games this past week, and a handful of non-conference (and even conference) contests, the 2012-13 NCAA hockey season kicks into full gear this weekend, a weekend when the NHL itself should have been starting regular-season play. Alas ...

The beginning of the year also means early-season college tournaments, with the most way-out one being the Kendall Hockey Classic at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska. The host Alaska Anchorage Seawolves will welcome in-state rival Alaska (Fairbanks), along with Canisius College and Air Force Academy. Friday's games will pit Alaska against Air Force, and Canisius against UAA. The second night will feature Alaska against Canisius, and UAA versus Air Force.

Next weekend, Alaska (the former UAF) will do the hosting honors for its own Alaska Goal Rush, as the Nanooks will entertain UAA, North Dakota and Merrimack at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.

Penn State also begins its varsity sojourn this weekend when it hosts American International College, one week after the equally new Penn State women's team won their inaugural game at Vermont.

The start of the new year also marks the beginning of the end for the current men's college hockey landscape. A year from now the WCHA will have a vastly different look, the new NCHC and Big Ten Conference will both get underway, and the CCHA will be just a memory after more than 40 years of competition and eight national titles to date.

But there's six months to go between now and then, when the NCAA Division I men's champion will be crowned in Pittsburgh. Onward and upward—and drop the puck.

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