Wednesday reading: Huntsville, Gophers, PSU, Niagara

Alabama-Huntsville announced its 2012-13 schedule and it is very thin after Jan. 1 because everyone else is playing conference games.

Minnesota defensive defenseman Seth Helgeson, pictured, is profiled here as is Penn State’s Taylor Holmstrom, a former AHA Rookie of the Year for Mercyhurst who spent last season on the Nittany Lions’ club team. Air Force foe Niagara also has a player featured.

Updated weekend reading: J. Schwartz, PSU, lawsuit, Gophers

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz knows he needs to get stronger and work harder to overcome a size disadvantage in the NHL.

The ECAC’s Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year Award went to her former Yale teammate, who led efforts for bone marrow registration. Hughes has been instrumental in the founding of the Mandi Schwartz Foundation and organizing the annual “White Out for Mandi” fundraising hockey game at Ingalls Rink.

Here are some details from the outdoor doubleheader at Soldier Field next February. The pairings are as reported before with CCHA foes Miami taking on Notre Dame and WCHA rivals Minnesota versus Wisconsin.

The last two times Wisconsin played in an outdoor game, the Badgers reached the NCAA championship game, winning once. That also bodes well for Boston College which played the Badgers each time in 2006 and 2010.

The likelihood of NCAA sanctions against Penn State remains a real possibility. It is unclear how that would affect the ice hockey programs there. Former Nittany Lions star Matt Millen, now an ESPN analyst, is being ripped for his pro-Paterno analysis of the report.

The likelihood of the Kitchener lawsuit against the student-run Michigan Daily resulting in any actual damages paid is unlikely, according to this student press law center article. The paper said it plans to defend itself.

Here is a look at Minnesota’s strengths and weaknesses headed into the 2012-13 season.

A New Hampshire assistant captain was hurt at the Capitals’ development camp. It does not appear to be serious. The Wildcats play at CC over Thanksgiving weekend.

UMass had another coaching candidate turn down its head job. A UNH assistant with college head coaching experience and Air Force associated head coach Mike Corbett may be the leading candidates now.

Bjugstad will return for Gophers

From Goal Gophers

The Gophers men’s hockey team, coming off a Frozen Four season and armed with a bunch of talented incoming recruits, figured to be good next season regardless of whether Nick Bjugstad decided to come back for his junior year or turn pro with the Florida Panthers.

But the news from the program Thursday — that Bjugstad is, indeed, coming back — was huge nonetheless.

Bjugstad, a 6-5, 211-pound center from Blaine, was named All-WCHA First Team and Second-Team All-American last season as a sophomore. He had a team-leading 25 goals, which was tied for fifth in the nation. He was a first-round pick of the Panthers in the 2010 draft, and the prospect of him turning pro genuinely seemed like a 50-50 proposition, though in a February interview with the Star Tribune, Bjugstad perhaps hinted at his mindset when he said, “I would have no problem coming back for another year or two years,” and talked of the joys of college hockey.

Here is a look at what this means for the UM program this coming season and more from College Hockey News.

Weekend reading: Interesting 2014 WCHA playoff format, North Dakota nickname, Jaden and Mandi Schwartz, Parise, Big 10

The WCHA announced its nine-team playoff format which includes Anchorage and Fairbanks playing in a best-of-three first-round series every time unless one is the No. 1 seed.

It is clearly a cost-cutting measure so the league does not have to pay for two teams’ round trips to or from Alaska, but could make for some weird playoff scenarios in March 2014.

Here are more details from the Mankato beat writer and a reaction from the UND reporter.

Also, there was no word about any move toward adding Alabama Huntsville. Too bad. There is a lot of unfinished business ahead for the new-look WCHA. There was no word on the postseason venue either.

The state Board of Higher Education has directed the University of North Dakota to retire its Fighting Sioux nickname. State residents voted overwhelmingly earlier this week to uphold the Legislature’s repeal of a state law requiring the school to use the nickname. The moniker that the NCAA finds offensive had been brought out of retirement for a second time while the measure was decided.

Board President Grant Shaft, of Grand Forks, says there’s not much more that can be said about the issue that hasn’t been said already. UND will be asked to report its progress at a later date.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will get to see the CHL’s Memorial Cup firsthand this week.

One of Mandi Schwartz‘s former teammates is a finalist for a league award in her honor.

The Minnesota Wild keep being mentioned as the possible new homes for free agents Ryan Sutter and Zach Parise. This may be a case of wishful thinking judging from this NHL.com interview by Parise.

Here is a feature on UNO recruit Brian Cooper of Anchorage.

The Big Ten paid out $24,6 million to its member schools.

The Fargo arena is in financial trouble. The Dartmouth women add an assistant.

Division III New England ran afoul of the NCAA’s financial aid rules. UMass has lost its radio home.

The dream is one step closer to fruition: the Penn State club hockey web site shut down voluntarily since the varsity program is handled by the university. Follow TYT for PSU updates.

Here is a look at the Mercyhurst program.

Saturday reading: NCHC venue, games of the decade, Gomez leaves

The Grand Forks Herald reported that the contract between the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the Target Center in Minneapolis is for six years with an opt-out clause. UND player Andrew MacWilliam had shoulder surgery.

This CHN article also has some more background on the venue.

No doubt the WCHA will stay in the X and alternate with the Big 10 in Detroit as well. That contract will probably be announced soon.

College Hockey Weekly compiled its best games of the previous decade (1999-2000 to 2008-09 seasons) with two CC results making the honorable mention and one, the 2005 regional final versus Michigan,  making the top 10.

Which Tiger games are in your top 10?  Please include your real name by messaging me on Paisley Hockey on Facebook. I will pitch the story idea to CC sports information about this if there is enough fan interest shown. Thanks.

The NCAA rules committee managed to put off a decision concerning face shields and make some minor change recommendations.

Former Tiger Cody Lampl is training the next generation of college players to come out of Idaho’s Wood River Valley, where he grew up. I lived in that area and having that “hockey garage” is a step up for the area.

Finally, Gazette college hockey/Olympics/Sky Sox reporter Brian Gomez announced that his final day at the newspaper will be June 15 as he moves home to Phoenix to work for the Red Cross. Good luck to him (not that he will need it). He did a good job handling a heavy workload and I will miss him in the press box.

Tuesday reading: DU’s NCAA hopes are dim; Jaden video; Sioux nickname

After a loss and tie against CC this weekend, the Pioneers will have a difficult time making the NCAAs.

Minnesota Duluth will honor its four Hobey Baker winners this Friday during the home series against North Dakota.

The Big Ten plans to use a neutral site for its postseason tournament.

Minnesota’s version of the Beanpot Tournament is getting people excited. A comment suggesting they name the tournament the Herbie after Herb Brooks is a great idea.

Here’s video of the Jaden Schwartz goal from Saturday. Wow. DU coach George Gwozdecky said the goal would give him nightmares for some time. You can see why. Denver was in control up to that moment with CC tying the game three minutes later.

This debate will never die: A petition being submitted Tuesday night could restore the Sioux nickname at North Dakota, dependent on forcing a state referendum.