Thursday, July 5, 2018

Ferguson Back in NCAA with Denver


Former University of Alaska (Fairbanks) defenseman, assistant coach, and head coach Dallas Ferguson is returning to the college game as an assistant coach with the University of Denver.
He spent last season as head coach of the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, compiling a 24-37-record.

After beginning his coaching career as an assistant with the North American Hockey League's Fairbanks Ice Dogs in 2002, Ferguson served as an assistant coach with UAF from 2004 to 2008 before being elevated to the rank of head coach. He was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Coach of the Year in his first campaign, and the following year led UAF to its first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Hockey Tournament, an at-large selection. The Nanooks fell to eventual national champion Boston College, 3-1, in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass.

In 10 seasons overseeing the Nanook hockey program, Ferguson, 44, finished with a career record of 139-151-42, according to USCHO.com. In five of those seasons, he led the Nanooks to 17 or more victories. UAF also won eight consecutive Governor's Cups against rival Alaska Anchorage in his time behind the bench, although three of those Cups were vacated due to self-reported NCAA violations by the university. 

Ferguson was a four-year letterwinner on defense for the Nanooks from 1992 to 1996, as UAF played its first four campaigns in the CCHA. He tallied a career-high six goals and 31 assists for 37 points as a sophomore, according to hockeydb.com, and finished his career with 17-87—104 points and 64 penalty minutes in 138 career collegiate outings.

At DU, Ferguson will join former Nanook forward and head coach Tavis MacMillan, whom Ferguson assisted from 2004 to 2007 at UAF. The Pioneers, 2017 NCAA champions, won the NCHC playoff crown last year, but fell to Ohio State in the NCAA Midwest Regional final in Allentown, Pa.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Former Collegians on the Move in NHL Free Agency


A number of former college players changed NHL teams over the last week, both before and after the league's annual free agent frenzy got underway.

Prior to the beginning of the free agency period on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Penguins dealt forward Connor Sheary (Massachusetts) and Matt Hunwick (Michigan) to the Buffalo Sabres for a conditional 2019 draft choice. Pittsburgh later signed defenseman Jack Johnson (Michigan) of the Columbus Blue Jackets to a five-year contract. Jimmy Hayes (Boston College) and John Muse (Boston College), who both helped BC to its 2010 NCAA title, joined the Penguins from the New Jersey Devils and Reading (ECHL), respectively.

Power forward and 30-goal scorer James van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire) returned to the Philadelphia Flyers after six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the latter club pulling perhaps the biggest coup in free agency this summer by signing New York Islanders captain and All-Star forward John Tavares.

Paul Stastny (Denver) has jumped from the Winnipeg Jets to the Vegas Golden Knights. Tage Thompson (Connecticut) went from the St. Louis Blues to the Buffalo Sabres as part of a four-player trade, while Tyler Bozak (Denver) has re-upped with the Blues for three years. Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage), who helped the Washington Capitals win their first-ever Stanley Cup this spring, has left Washington after decade to join the Vancouver Canucks, while Nic Dowd (St. Cloud State) has signed with the Caps after spending last season with the Canucks.

Brian Gibbons (Boston College), a two-time NCAA champion with the Eagles, parlayed his most successful NHL season to date by leaving New Jersey for the Anaheim Ducks, while Eric Gryba (Boston University) went to the Devils from the Edmonton Oilers. Longtime pro netminder Mike McKenna (St. Lawrence), who backstopped the Dallas Stars' American Hockey League franchise to within one win of the AHL's Calder Cup championship, has signed with the Ottawa Senators, as has former New York Rangers forward Paul Carey (Boston College).

A full list of recent NHL transactions can be found here.