Six future Tigers sign on with CC hockey program

cruikshank actionSix college players recently signed a national letter of intent to play for Colorado College.

Two are scheduled to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program this fall —  forwards Erik Middendorf (U.S. Under-18) and Grant Cruikshank (Penticton, BCHL).

Along with Middendorf and Cruikshank, forward Ben Copeland (Waterloo, USHL) and defenseman Bryan Yoon (Tri-City, USHL) will join the program this fall after signing their NLI earlier.

Copeland is currently sixth in the United States Hockey League in scoring with 62 points with a league high 44 assists, while Yoon leads the Storm in scoring and is sixth in the USHL among defensemen with 35 points (32 assists).

Forwards Tyler Coffey (Jersey, USPHL), Patrick Cozzi (Prince George, BCHL) and Josiah Slavin (Lincoln, USHL), as well as defenseman Chase Foley (St. Thomas Academy, Minn.) signed recently and will join CC in the future.

“We are thrilled that these players have agreed to join our program,” coach Mike Haviland said in a media release. “After the improvement we saw this past season, this group of players should help us progress even further. Combining these players with our returners the next couple of years provides a bright future for the Colorado College hockey program.”

CC hockey bios below:

coffey image

Tyler Coffey (pictured above)

Forward, 5-10, 175, Hamilton, NJ, Jersey Hitmen NCDC (USPHL)

Before Colorado College: Tied for third in the USPHL’s NCDC playoff scoring race with eight points (3g,5a) in nine games … Helped the Hitmen to a 34-15-1 regular-season record and a spot in the finals of the Dineen Cup … Finished third on the team and 15th in the league with 46 points (27g,19a) in 45 regular-season games … His 27 goals tied for second in the USPHL … Notched four points (3g,1a) in five games for Team Kelly at the 2017-18 USA Select Festival … Amassed 83 points (50g,33a) in two seasons with the Hitmen U16 squad.

cozzi imagePatrick Cozzi (pictured above)

Forward, 5-9, 170, Greenlawn, NY, Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL)

Before Colorado College: Scored 36 points (14g,22a) in 58 regular-season games in 2017-18 … Helped the Spruce Kings to a 33-17-4-4 regular-season record, good for fourth place in the BCHL … Tied for second on the team and tied for 10th in the league with 16 points (4g,12a) in the playoffs as the Spruce Kings are currently in the Fred Page Cup finals … Top rookie scorer in the BCHL playoffs … Collected 55 points (26g,29a) in 49 games last season with the North Jersey Avalanche.

Grant Cruikshank, Forward, 5-11, 185, Delafield, WI, Penticton Vees (BCHL)

Before Colorado College: Notched 74 points (53g,24a) in 82 games the past two seasons for Penticton, including 53 points (32g,21a) in 57 games in 2016-17 … Played in 25 games (21 points) this season before suffering a season-ending injury … Had 12 points (6g,6a) during the ’16-17 playoffs as the Vees advanced to the semifinals of the RBC Cup … Notched six points (2g,4a) in six games for Team Kelly at the 2014-15 USA Select Festival … Drafted by the Fargo Force in the sixth round of the 2017 USHL Futures Draft … Son of Olympic speedskaters Bonnie Blair and David Cruikshank.

Chase Foley, Defenseman, 5-9, 154, St. Paul, MN, St. Thomas Academy (USHS)

Before Colorado College: Finished third on the St. Thomas team with 38 points (17g,21a) in 23 games this season … Tied for the team lead with seven power-play goals and third with three game-winners … Helped team to a 22-2-1 overall record, a perfect 10-0 mark in league play and a quarterfinal berth in the Class AA Minnesota State Tournament … First-team All-Metro selection by the Star Tribune … Compiled 78 points (31g,47a) in three years at St. Thomas … Collected nine points in 20 games this season for Team Southeast of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League.

Erik Middendorf, Forward, 6-1, 190, Scottsdale, AZ, U.S. National U18 Team

Before Colorado College: Played 104 games for the U.S. National Development Program, including 43 this season for the National Under-18 Team … Collected 16 points (8g,8a) for the U18 team … Helped team win the Five Nations Tournament in February, defeating Finland, 4-0, in the final game …  Appeared in 55 games (23 points) for Team USA in the USHL … Collected five points in six games and helped Team USA to the Gold Medal at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway … Played in five games for Team Black at the 2015-16 USA Select Festival.

Josiah Slavin (pictured above) , Forward, 6-2, 182, Erie, CO, Lincoln Stars (USHL)

Before Colorado College: Second on the team with 42 points (23g,19a) in 60 games this season … Leads the Stars and is third in the USHL with a +27 rating … Tied for 17th in the league with 23 goals … Collected 16 points (10g,6a) during a recent 10-game point streak … Notched 14 points (6g,8a) in 49 games for Tri-City of the USHL during the 2016-17 campaign … Prior to that, he skated for two years with the Colorado Thunderbirds program, registering 41 points (25g,16a) in 56 games … Younger brother of former Tiger and current Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin.

slavin lincoln


Three CC commits/signees make final NHL Central Scouting rankings

copeland_webThree Colorado College signees were ranked among the 217 top North American NHL Draft prospects, the league’s scouts announced.

The top-rated CC signee is Waterloo center Ben Copeland (126th), who has 62 points (44 assists) in 60 games – good for sixth in the U.S. Hockey League. His 44 assists lead that league. He may go in the middle rounds.

NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings list on Monday with lefthanded left wingers Erik Middendorf (U.S. National Team Development Program), and Ben Sanderson (Okotoks, Alberta league) coming it at Nos. 195 and 208 respectively. That projects both as late-round picks at the June 22-23 draft in Dallas.

Middendorf (17 points, 28 games), who signed earlier this month, was listed at 206th in the midseason rankings while Copeland and Sanderson, a commit, were unranked.

Copeland is scheduled to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program this fall along with Middendorf.

sandersonSanderson (26 points, 20 goals in 60 AJHL games) is scheduled for the following season.

For those keeping score on the recruiting front, Denver led the NCHC with six commits/signees ranked followed by four for North Dakota, three for Minnesota Duluth and two each for Miami and Western Michigan. Omaha and St. Cloud State each registered one.

Here is a link to the rankings, which can be organized by college teams.


2018-19 CC hockey schedule starting to materialize

cc vs wmu2Here is my first draft of the Colorado College hockey 2018-19 schedule based on what has been reported at other outlets including a new scheduling mandate that has league rivals (CC vs Denver) playing during the final weekend of the regular season.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced the league schedule on Wednesday. The Tigers are coming off a 15-17-5 season with a tie for fifth place in the league standings.

I put XXX where nonconference weekends, including Air Force, or byes are likely. I would expect one weekend in October to be a bye with nonleague games expected that month.

Home games in ALL CAPS.

Sept. 30 – Exhibition TBA

Oct. 5-6 – xxxxxxxx

Oct. 12-13 – xxxxxx

Oct. 19-20 – xxxxxxxx

Oct. 26-27 – xxxxxx

Nov. 2-3 – ST. CLOUD STATE

Nov. 9-10 – at Minnesota Duluth (2018 NCAA champion)

Nov. 16-17 – MIAMI

Nov. 23-24 — xxxxx

Nov. 30-Dec. 1 – at Omaha

Dec. 7-8 – xxxxxx

Dec. 14-15 – xxxx


Jan. 4-5, 2019 — xxxxxx

Jan. 11-12 — at North Dakota (2016 NCAA champs)

Jan. 18 – DENVER (2017 NCAA champs)

Jan. 19 – at Denver

Jan. 25-26 – at Miami


Feb. 8-9 – at St. Cloud State

Feb, 15-16 – Bye week


March 1-2 — NORTH DAKOTA

March 8 – at Denver

March 9 — DENVER (Senior Night)

March 15-17 — NCHC first-round series

March 22-23 — NCHC Frozen Faceoff (Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul)

March 29-31 — NCAA regionals (Fargo, Allentown, Pa., Manchester, N.H., Providence, R.I.)

April 11-13 — NCAA Frozen Four (Buffalo, N.Y.)

CC Rylan Schwartz action

NCAA alumni in NHL cracks 300 for fourth year

UND MacMillanCourtesy College Hockey Inc. …

A standout group of rookies and a record number of goaltenders highlighted the 310 NCAA alumni to appear in the NHL this season, the fourth year that more than 300 former college hockey players have played in the league.

College players made up 31.5 percent of all NHLers —  the eighth straight season of at least 30 percent. The former college players in the NHL include:

  • Six of the league’s top 12 rookie scorers, including the top two rookie goal scorers in Kyle Connor (31) and Brock Boeser (29)
  • A record 28 goaltenders, three more than any other NHL season
  • 16 players who played in both the NCAA and NHL this season, a record for one year and four times as many as just four years ago

Forty-nine of the 60 NCAA Division I schools had an alum playing in the NHL in 2017-18. Minnesota led all schools with 26, followed by Boston College and North Dakota (22 each),Michigan (21) and Boston University (18).

The NCAA alumni in the NHL in 2017-18 included 80 percent of all Americans in the league, including 50 percent of the undrafted players in the NHL.

More than 71 percent of the 310 former college players in the NHL played at least three seasons on campus. Men’s hockey enjoys a 90 percent graduation rate, among the best NCAA Division I men’s sports according to the NCAA.

Haviland signs multi-year contract extension with Colorado College

On the heels of the program’s best season in years, Colorado College coach Mike Haviland signed a multi-year contract extension to lead the Tigers, athletics director Ken Ralph announced on Wednesday.

“We are thrilled Mike has agreed to continue as coach of the Tigers,” Ralph said in a media release. “We felt it was important to send a strong message to recruits and other hockey personnel that he will be behind the bench for many years to come in Colorado Springs.” 

 “There is a lot of positive momentum surrounding our team right now and we are all excited to watch the program continue to grow under Mike’s leadership,” he added. 

Per department and college policy, terms of the contract will not be released.

haviland posed

Haviland, who was hired as the 14th head coach in program history on May 9, 2014, led the Tigers to a 15-17-5 mark this season, the most victories in one season since the 2012-13 campaign.

Colorado College finished in a tie for fifth place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and one win out of fourth place and hosting a first-round NCHC playoff series for the first time. CC was eliminated by defending NCAA champion Denver in three games in March.

“My family and I are very excited to have the opportunity to continue coaching at Colorado College,” Haviland said. “I want to thank President Jill Tiefenthaler and Ken Ralph for their support during the past four seasons and throughout this process.”

Haviland has coached a pair of Tigers to first-team all-NCHC honors, including sophomore Nick Halloran, who led the conference in scoring for the majority of this season and finished the campaign with 45 points (26 assists). Seven players, including Halloran’s linemates, juniors Mason Bergh (40) and Trey Bradley (31), recorded career-high for points in ’17-18.

Colorado College was one of only two teams in the country (Boston College) without a senior on its roster this season.

Next year, the Tigers welcome transfer student Chris Wilkie, who won an NCAA championship with North Dakota in 2017, as well as incoming freshmen Ben Copeland, who is sixth in scoring in the U.S. Hockey League with 56 points and leads the league with 40 assists for Waterloo, and Bryan Yoon, who has 34 points as a defenseman for Tri-City of the USHL this season.

Another Slavin set to enter Colorado College fold

slavin lincolnLincoln Stars forward Josiah Slavin has committed to Colorado College, where his older brother and NHL defenseman Jaccob Slavin (Carolina Hurricanes) played for two seasons, the U.S. Hockey League franchise announced on Thursday.

He is scheduled to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program starting with the 2019-20 season.

“The coaching staff there is awesome,” Slavin said in a media release. “When I went to visit there this summer, it just felt right. It wasn’t the time to commit then, but we stayed in touch. Now, it felt like the perfect time to do it. It’s a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders. I’m just excited to start the next part of my life.”

The Erie, Colo. native, 19, has played 53 games with the Stars in his second USHL season, tallying 18 goals and 18 assists for 36 points with 23 penalty minutes and a +26 rating.

The 6-foot-2, 182-pounder recorded his first career hat-trick on Dec. 16, 2017 against Des Moines. Through 102 games, he has 24 goals and 26 assists for 50 points with four game-winning goals and three shorthanded goals.

The NCHC is regarded as one of the best conferences in college hockey, and the competition every night provides a unique challenge, according to Slavin.

“Family played a huge part [in my decision],” he said. “I always loved Colorado growing up in the state. I’m a homebody, so when I’m out of Colorado I miss it. I just love it there.”

Air Force comeback bid falls short in NCAA West Regional final versus Minnesota-Duluth

afa vs Duluth 1Air Force could not overcome a miserable first-period performance and lost 2-1 to Minnesota-Duluth in the Western Regional final.

The loss ended the Falcons’ season while falling one tourney win short of the NCAA Frozen Four for the second year in a row.

The Bulldogs out shot Air Force 14-0 in the opening 20 minutes Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D., and scored twice against all-tournament goalie Billy Christopoulos, who finished with 24 saves, including 12 in the first period, before the Falcons mounted a comeback.

He was the reason UMD could not deliver the knockout blow, which allowed for an exciting final 6:16 after a power-play goal by AFA forward Evan Giesler.

“I could not be more proud of our team,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore said. “Duluth came out and took us to the woodshed in the first period in a big-time way. We hadn’t seen speed like that all year. After they scored the second goal, we changed our fore-check and slowed them down a little. When it was all said and done, we turned the game. We just couldn’t find a way to get enough pucks through to the net and we ended up coming one goal short.”

With 1:42 left, the Falcons pulled Christopoulos, but Duluth, which made the NCAAs by .0001 percent in the Pairwise rankings, blocked four Air Force shots while another sailed wide in the final seconds.

UMD outshot Air Force, 26-12, in the game with the shots at 12-12 over the final two periods.

In the final 40 minutes, the shots were even at 12 apiece. Hunter Shepard made 11 saves for the Bulldogs.

It was the final game for eight Air Force seniors: Dylan Abood, Erik Baskin, Phil Boje, Jordan Himley, Jonathan Kopacka, Ben Kucera, Tyler Ledford and Kyle Mackey.

The class set a new school record with 86 wins over their four years.

“With all the injuries we have had this season, it didn’t seem like it was going to be our year,” Serratore said earlier this week. “But this group just refuses to surrender. This might not be the best group of individuals I’ve ever brought to the national tournament, but it might be the best team. They’ve got something special.”

Serratore’s opinion was only reinforced by Saturday’s comeback bid.

“Anybody who watched that game, if you’re an American, I’m glad those guys are going to be defending our freedom,” he said.

Ledford (two goals Friday) and Christopoulos (63 of 66 saves on the weekend) were joined on the all-tournament team by Karson Kuhlman (UMD), Parker Mackay (UMD), Dylan Samberg (UMD), Nick Wolff (UMD). Kuhlman was named the MVP.

The win sends UMD on to the Frozen Four in St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, the site where the program won the 2011 NCAA title. UMD was the NCAA runner-up last spring to Denver.

Photos courtesy of Kelsey Lee of Violent Turtle Photography.

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