Friday, July 20, 2018

BCs Brown Joins NHL's Rangers

Another Hockey East coach has joined the New York Rangers. Longtime Boston College associate/assistant coach Greg Brown will be joining new Rangers head coach and Boston University alumnus David Quinn on Broadway, as assistant with the Rangers.

Brown, 50, had been with his alma mater as a coach since 2004, and helped the Eagles to NCAA titles in 2008, 2010 and 2012. He played at BC as a defenseman from 1986 to 1987, and from 1998 to 1990, with his tenure broken up by a stint with the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team. A 1990 Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist, he also helped BC to the Frozen Four in Detroit that season, and finished his career with 24 goals and 96 assists for 120 points in three seasons.

A second-round draft choice of the Buffalo Sabres in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, the Southborough, Mass. native played in the NHL with Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Winnipeg. He also skated with Rochester in the American Hockey League, and with San Diego and Cleveland in the International Hockey League, before finishing out his playing career in Germany from 1996 to 2003.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Largen Takes Over Hometown Nanooks

My latest USCHO feature story, on new Alaska (Fairbanks) head coach and Nanook alumnus Erik Largen, is now online here. Fairbanks native Largen, a former UAF goaltender and assistant coach, is the ninth head coach in modern Nanook Hockey history.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Former Hockey East Players Highlighted

Two former Hockey East players recently re-signed with their respective NHL teams, while another will have his jersey number retired next season.

Former NCAA forward Devin Shore (Maine) and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (UMass Lowell) have resigned with the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets, respectively, while Paul Kariya (Maine) will have his number retired by the Anaheim Ducks next season.

Shore played at Maine from 2012 to 2015, where he tallied 34 goals and 70 assists for 104 points for the Black Bears. A native of Ajax, Ont., he was a second-round draft choice of Dallas in 2012, and has compiled 24-41—65 points in all while playing the last two full NHL seasons for the Stars.

Hellebuyck, from Commerce, Mich., played at UML for two years (2013, 2014), and fashioned a 38-12-2 record with a 1.60 goals-against average, .946 save percentage and 12 shutouts in 53 outings. He also backstopped the River Hawks to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Frozen Four berth in 2013, and two Hockey East tournament titles. A finalist for the Vezina Trophy this past season as the NHL's best goaltender after fashioning a 44-11-9 record, he has gone 83-41-14 (2.55, .917) in 149 career appearances over the past three NHL campaigns.

Kariya, from Vancouver, became the first freshman to win the Hobey Baker Memorial award as the NCAA's best player in 1992-93 when he tallied 25-75--100 points and also helped Maine to its first-ever national title that year. After skating for the Canadian National Team in the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, he turned pro and went on to record 402-587—989 points in 989 NHL regular-season contests with Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville and St. Louis over 15 seasons before retiring in 2010.

A five-time 30-goal scorer with the Ducks, including a pair of 100-point seasons, Kariya added 16-23—39 points in 46 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, and helped the Ducks to within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2003. A two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last year.

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 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, 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.