Former SSM standout commits to CC

The Indiana Ice announced Friday that 5-foot-11 forward Zach Aman committed to playing for Colorado College of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

There was no word on a commit date but 2013 is likely judging from his 3 goals and one assist in five preseason games. He did not record a point in the Ice’s season opening 3-2 loss to the Chicago Steel on Friday.

In that game, he took on three future teammates in Alex Roos (one goal), Christian Heil (one assist) and defenseman Jaccob Slavin. Roos’ unassisted goal early the third period proved to be the game-winner.

Aman, listed at 189 pounds, joins the Indy roster this season after spending last season with Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the powerhouse prep program in Faribault, Minn.

He finished the season fourth on the squad in goals (25) and assists (41) for a combined 66 points while a teammate with CC freshman Hunter Fejes. The Sabres won the 2012 USA Hockey U18 National Championships in Williamsville, NY.

The Johnstown, Pa. native is the second Ice player to commit to the Tigers after freshman forward Cody Bradley committed to the Colorado Springs institution last season.

Here is a link to his Ice bio.

Saturday reading: Alabama-Huntsville, North Dakota, Miami, All-American Prospects Game, schedule, Denver, Irish, ECAC

Here is a short profile on the new Alabama-Huntsville coach.

The North Dakota season preview supplement can be viewed here.

Miami senior defenseman Steven Spinell is also featured.

Remember – you can watch the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game tonight at 7 p.m. ET live, for free, on http://FastHockey.com

The College Hockey News recaps the offseason.

Three nonconference games open the season on Oct. 6 with most programs playing exhibition games. The first exhibition contest is Friday with Regina at Alaska-Fairbanks.

Due to Wednesday’s first presidential debate, the Pioneers will practice off campus until Oct. 8.

Notre Dame adds a commit from a goalie.

Here are both ECAC preseason polls. New Hampshire signed a 6-foot-5 goalie.

Thursday reading: UNO, CC, UND, Duluth, Hockey East, Mankato

Incoming Nebraska Omaha freshman goalie Anthony Stolarz, a 2012 second round draft pick of the Flyers, pictured, may be the key to the Mavericks’ success this coming season. Here is some more background on how far the NAHL standout has come.

NHL Central Scouting announced its preliminary 2013 draft watch list and CC 2013/14 defenseman commit Gustav Oloffson of the Colorado Thunderbirds and 2014 defenseman Teemu Kivilhalme were both rated. Kivilhalme is considered as a C-level prospect while Oloffson is  B-level.

Peter Stoykewych’s younger brother Paul was rated as was Jake Guentzel.

Former Merrimack commit and BCHL standout Wade Murphy visited North Dakota on Monday and soon committed.

The Karson Kuhlman commit continues a trend of northern Minnesota talent heading to Minnesota-Duluth.

As usual, there are plenty of impact freshmen joining Hockey East this coming season.

Former MSU-Mankato captain David Backes and North Dakota standout Jonathan Toews are featured in the NHLPA video concerning the lockout.

Ticket sales have been slow for Penn State’s first season of Division I hockey so far. A few wins will change that quickly.

Union received their 2011-12 ECAC championship rings.

CC garners commit from Burnsville standout

Burnsville incoming senior defenseman Teemu Kivihalme retweeted @veritashockey’s tweet congratulating him on committing to Colorado College. That is confirmation to me.

Thanks to the CC fan forum for finding the initial tweet from @veritashockey.

Here is a recent short Q&A on him by Minnesota Hockey Hub. His father is Burnsville coach Janne Kivihalme.  Here is the start:

Burnsville defenseman Teemu Kivihalme learned on June 28 he will suit up for Team USA’s junior hockey team at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August. A dual citizen of the United States and Finland, the senior-to-be spent the past two summers training with Finland’s U16 and U17 national team.

Here are some recent stats and the Hlinka team roster. The tournament is from Aug. 13-17 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia.

Thursday reading: Slavin, Parise, Suter, DU, Tech, UMass job, Trouba

Tigers 2013 signee Jaccob Slavin, pictured, says he plans to play three years at Colorado College before turning pro.

Suddenly, the Minnesota Wild matter after the signing of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, both former WCHA standouts.

With Suter signed, Denver alumnus Matt Carle found a new home in Tampa Bay.

Another former Badger joined the Wild too. Former Michigan Tech captain Brett Olson is at the Wild development camp.

Holy Cross’ Paul Pearl is said to be the lead contender for the open UMass coaching job. Here are some of the other likely candidates.

Accidents look the lives of this former Sacred Heart captain and Denver’s Ted O’Leary recently. My condolences to their friends and families.

The Kitchener Rangers are upset about the $200,000 payment reportedly offered for Michigan signee Jacob Trouba. His family has since denied it. This is not the first time the CHL teams have been accused of offering big money and nothing has come of it.

Update: Bradley commits to CC this fall

Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Cody Bradley has committed to play for Colorado College. He will be the first Floridan to play for the Tigers.

The 5-foot-10, 166-pound forward from Tampa will join CC this fall after compiling 10 points (6g, 4a) with Dubuque. In time split between the Saints and Indiana Ice this season, he recorded 18 points (9g,9a) in 31 games.

He recorded 20 points (11g,9a) in 51 games with Indiana his rookie season.

“After taking a look at all my options and talking with the coaching staff, I felt like Colorado College would be the best fit for me,” Bradley said in a Dubuque press release. “I want to go to a school that will give me an opportunity to play right away. I know that I’ll be able to make an impact as a freshman at CC.”

He is the son of 14-year NHL veteran Brian Bradley, who recorded 86 points in 80 games with Tampa Bay during the 1992-93 season.

The signing period starts on Wednesday and lasts until August.

He is expected to join newcomers Hunter Fejes, Jared Hanson, and Michael King this fall. With CC expected to go from 28 players to the usual 26 on the active roster, that leaves one or two spots open after six seniors graduated and sophomore Jaden Schwartz left the program early. Dakota Eveland will miss next season to recover from neck surgery.

Colorado College will spend one more season in the WCHA before joining the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013-14.

Two former Saints are already with the Tigers – both Jordan DiGiando and Scott Wamsganz moved on after helping the Saints to a Clark Cup championship last year.

“I’m really happy for Cody Bradley,” said Saints head coach Jim Montgomery. “He’s an exceptional player who is going to an exceptional college hockey program. Our fans got a glimpse of Cody’s ability to make plays this year, and we wish Cody the best of luck in his collegiate career.”

Record high number of U.S. college players made the NHL

Stats compiled by College Hockey, Inc. and Let's Play Hockey

Courtesy College Hockey Inc.

NEWTON, Mass. – A total of 300 former U.S. college hockey players participated in the 2011-12 NHL regular season that concluded Saturday, the biggest NCAA representation in history and a 39 percent increase from 10 years ago (216).

Former college players accounted for 30.5 percent of all players in the NHL this season, also a record and the second straight season at 30% or higher. Forty-six former college players made their NHL debuts this season, including seven who appeared after their college seasons concluded.

The 300 former college players who played in the NHL this season represented 45 colleges, led by Michigan (23), Wisconsin (22) and Boston College (21). Colorado College had a record 14 this season.

Among the former NCAA stars who played in the NHL this year were Brian Elliott (Wisconsin), who led the league’s goaltenders in goals-against average and save percentage, and Jonathan Quick (Massachusetts), who led the league in shutouts. Seven 30-goal scorers were among the group, as well as five of the top nine rookie scorers in the league, including rookie goal-scoring leader Matt Read (Bemidji State). Jonathan Toews (North Dakota) led the league in faceoffs and Curtis Glencross (Alaska-Anchorage) led in shooting percentage.

More than half of the NHLers who played college hockey spent all four years in school, with 74 percent staying at least three years on campus. Eighty-four of the former college players who reached the NHL this year were undrafted free agents.

College hockey’s impact in the NHL will continue to be felt moving forward, as already 40 players have signed NHL contracts  at the conclusion of their 2011-12 college seasons – an average of more than one per NHL team. More than 200 NHL draft picks played college hockey this season, and 96 current or future college players, including 2012 CC commit Samuel “Hunter” Fejes were among the players in the NHL Central Scouting rankings for the 2012 NHL Draft that were released today.

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

Lincoln Stars forward Hanson commits to Tigers

Lincoln Stars forward Jared Hanson has committed to play at Colorado College this fall.

The 6-foot, 190-pound forward is currently third on the Stars with 43 points (22g, 21a) in 44 games.

Twenty goals were scored at even strength, including four game-winning goals.  The 19-year-old has six multi-goal games this season, including two hat tricks – Dec. 10 vs. Waterloo and Dec.30h vs. Des Moines.  Hanson also has a plus-27 rating, the seventh best mark in the USHL.

The Palmer, Alaska native first played in the USHL last season for the Stars and posted 24 points (9g, 15a), 104 penalty minutes, and a plus-12 rating in 53 games.

“Jared’s a great example of someone who has worked himself into a complete hockey player,” said Lincoln Stars head coach Chad Johnson.  “He leads by example, is a great team guy, and scores big goals in crucial times.  We’re excited for him to have this opportunity at a school like Colorado College.”

Four other current USHL players are also committed to play hockey at Colorado College; Christian Heil (Chicago Steel), Alex Roos (Chicago Steel), and Jaccob Slavin (Chicago Steel), and Duggie Lagrone (Des Moines Buccaneers).

Seventeen 17 USHL alumni were on the roster for the Tigers this past season; Nick Dineen (Sioux Falls Stampede), Dakota Eveland (Omaha Lancers), Gabe Guentzel (Sioux Falls Stampede), Tim Hall (Ohio Junior Blue Jackets), Joe Howe (Waterloo Black Hawks), Alex Krushelnyski (Sioux City/Chicago), Joe Marciano (Omaha Lancers), Eamonn McDermott (Fargo Force), William Rapuzzi (Green Bay Gamblers), Jaden Schwartz (Tri-City Storm), Scott Winkler (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Aaron Harstad (Green Bay Gamblers), Peter Stoykewych (Des Moines Buccaneers), Jordan DiGiando (Dubuque/Cedar Rapids), Charlie Taft (Muskegon Lumberjacks), Scott Wamsganz (Dubuque/Waterloo), and Ian Young (Fargo/Chicago).