Wednesday reading: L. Sweatt, UNO, PSU, Sioux, DU, Niagara

Here is a solid USHL feature on former Tiger Lee Sweatt and his decision to retire from hockey at age 26.

Talk about a new hockey arena for Nebraska-Omaha has quieted down despite reportedly having the funding lined up.

The Penn State fan blog outlines its coverage plans including the Air Force games.

A lawsuit concerning the Sioux nickname is thrown out of court.

A famed DU hangout with a colorful, if not exactly safe, history is up for sale.  The Niagara coach received a contract extension.

Hockey East hired a longtime NHL linesman to be director of officials.  A former BU player pleads guilty.

Tuesday reading: WJC, Crabb, Hillen, Petersen, Bachman, Sweatt, free agents, Cullen, Fredheim, Frischmon, Petiot, C. Stuart, Emrick

Here is the final Team USA roster for its World Junior Championship camp. Thirty-four of the initial 45 players in attendance at the 2012 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp will remain to oppose Sweden and Finland in a series of international games in Lake Placid this week.

The players are auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia.

NHL.com predicts the lineup for the Washington Capitals as part of its 30 in 30 (days) series. Former Tiger Joey Crabb, pictured, is projected as the fourth-line right wing while Jack Hillen is the fourth pairing’s right defenseman.

In Dallas, former Tiger Toby Petersen is the extra (13th) forward while goalie Richard Bachman is the backup, though he may be challenged by top prospect Jack Campbell. Bill Sweatt is not projected to have a regular role in Vancouver.

Here are the remaining available free agents (all unrestricted) as of 2 a.m. Mountain on Tuesday: They are (name, 2011-12 team): Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

NBC play-by-play announcer Doc Emrick is doing his usual excellent job, this time covering water polo at the London Olympics. He talks about similarities between ice hockey and water polo and why fans should check this sport out. I agree as does Petersen. It is an entertaining sport to watch with lots in common with hockey.

Stars hire former Tiger Lidster as AHL assistant

Former Tigers standout Doug Lidster, pictured, is back in the coaching ranks.

From theahl.com …

Texas Stars general manager Scott White announced Friday that the club has hired Doug Lidster as assistant coach of Dallas’ primary affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Lidster, 51, was the hockey director for the Victory Honda AAA youth program in suburban Detroit the last five years. He also served a stint as the assistant coach for Canada’s women’s national hockey team in 2009-10, where he helped guide the team to the Four Nations Cup Championship, as well as an Olympic Gold Medal and an MLP Cup Championship.

Prior to his time with Victory Honda and Team Canada, he was the head coach of the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League.

Lidster was an assistant coach with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League in 2002-03, the first season during which new Texas Stars head coach Willie Desjardins was the Tigers’ bench boss. With Medicine Hat, he helped guide the team to the second round of the WHL Playoffs.

“We are pleased to add Doug Lidster to our coaching staff,” said White. “He and Willie Desjardins have a history of working well together, and he clearly has fantastic experience as a player and as a coach. We feel he’ll be an outstanding asset to the club and we welcome him to the Texas Stars family.”

The native of Kamloops, B.C., played in the NHL from 1984-1999 with the Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars. In 897 career games, he recorded 343 points (68 goals, 268 assists) and 679 penalty minutes. He played in a total of 80 Stanley Cup playoff games and was a member of Stanley Cup championship teams in New York (1994) and Dallas (1999).

The All-American had an impressive CC career as well with 174 points in 143 games as a Tiger, the third-best among defensemen in school history.

Wednesday reading: Future Wisconsin at CC nonconference games, Hillen, Schultz, Prosser video, Rau, Fredheim, UND, Minnesota, NMU

Chad Rau is joined by Wild teammates to celebrate his goal during the second period on January 21, 2012 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. It was Rau’s NHL debut. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Wisconsin’s nonconference schedule is coming together with plans for single road games at CC and Denver during the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons and a two-game road series during the 2013-14 season. Do not be surprised to see either Minnesota or Air Force as the other opponent on those single-game weekends. Either way it is a great weekend for ticket sales at World Arena. Here is the 2012-13 Tigers schedule.

Former Tiger Jack Hillen did not receive a qualifying offer from Nashville and will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie listed Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Philadelphia and the N.Y. Rangers as the most likely landing spots for free agent Justin Schultz, who may decide as early as today.

Nate Prosser was a crowd favorite during the Wild road tour. He is interviewed in this video as is former Pioneer Jason Zucker.

Chad Rau has signed a two-year deal with the Wild while RFA Kris Fredheim did not get a qualifying offer. Here is the team’s contract chart.

Minnesota will host North Dakota as part of Hockey Day Minnesota. The retiring Gophers AD had hoped Penn State would join the CCHA and avoid the conference shakeup the sport has experienced the past two summers.

The Mining Journal outlines how Northern Michigan administrators juggled their duties over the past 19 months.

Tuesday reading: Sweatt, Slavin interview, NCHC and WCHA news

Craig MacTavish (left), then coach of the American Hockey League affiliate Chicago Wolves, gives Vancouver Canucks prospect Bill Sweatt (right) some advice at team practice in Penticton September 10, 2011. MacTavish is now the head of hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers.

Slavin

2013 signee defenseman Jaccob Slavin of Erie, Colo, is headed to USHL Chicago’s training camp this week to start another year preparing for college hockey, along with teammate and 2013 CC forward signee Christian Heil, 6-foot-1, 178 pounds, of Westminster.

Heil recorded 19 points (8g,11a) in 55 games this past season.

Slavin, 6-2, 170,  plans to focus on improving his skating, backwards and forwards, while looking to assume a larger leadership role on the Steel.

Heil

“It really depends on what our captain decides on college,” he said last week. “If he leaves, I would like to think I would be considered for a role.”

Slavin, an alumnus of the Denver-area Colorado Thunderbirds club program along with Heil,  played his first full season with Chicago this past season, recording 30 points (3g,27a) in 60 games and a plus-6 rating. That was a huge step up compared to the one point (1g) and minus-15 in 17 games the season before.

The improvement has made him a possible late-round draft pick later this month at the 50th NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.

“The Thunderbirds did a good job preparing me for juniors but it was a big step up,” Slavin said. “They run a good program.”

Both Colorado residents are part of the first Tigers freshman class to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which begins play in October 2013.

Here is the Associated Press’ story on the NCHC inking a 5-year contract with the Target Center in Minneapolis. The WCHA league meetings start today when a postseason home will be discussed.

Wednesday reading: Playoff preparation, Bachman, all-league picks

The way the DU hockey community made this meaningful moment happen for this UND fan, pictured at center right, is reason No. 2,779  to love college hockey.

Here’s an update on how CC and Mchigan Tech are preparing for their playoff series this weekend. The Huskies are staying in Colorado Springs since this week is the school’s spring break.

Former Tiger goalie Richard Bachman improved to 8-3-1 with a win at Vancouver Tuesday night. He admitted he had some nerves to overcome.

A cell phone came in pretty handy for St. Cloud State on Saturday night. Here’s the Inside College Hockey power rankings.

Future NCHC opponent Western Michigan dominated the All-CCHA rookie team honors recently.

Here’s a look at the Hockey East quarterfinals and predictions. Tiger fans should keep an eye on the Maine-Merrimack series for Pairwise purposes.

Here’s the CCHA bracket.

Here is my All-WCHA ballot as submitted for an upcoming WCHA blogger poll. Thanks much for the invite, Tradition of Excellence.

I’ll link to that once made available.

All-WCHA First Team

F – Jack Connolly, UMD

F – Jaden Schwartz, CC

F – J.T. Brown, UMD

D – Justin Schultz, UW

D – Ben Blood, ND

G — Kent Patterson, UM

All-WCHA Second Team

F – Drew Shore, DU

F – Rylan Schwartz, CC

F – Danny Kristo, ND

D – Brad Hunt, BSU

D – Gabe Guentzel, CC

G – Josh Thorimbert, CC

All-WCHA Third Team

F – Nick Bjugstad, UM

F – Jason Zucker, DU

F – Brock Nelson, ND

D – Joey LaLeggia, DU

D – Nate Schmidt, UM

G – Dan Bakala, BSU

All-WCHA Rookie Team

F – Kyle Rau, UM

F – J.P. LaFontaine, MSU

F – Matt Leitner, MSU

D – Joey LaLeggia, DU

D – Andrew Prochno, SCSU

G –  Juho Olkinuora, DU

WCHA Player of the Year – Jack Connolly, UMD

WCHA Defensive Player of the Year – Justin Schultz, UW

WCHA Rookie of the Year – Kyle Rau, UM

WCHA Coach of the Year – Mel Pearson, MTU

*WCHA Goaltender of the Year will be the First Team Goaltender

Friday reading: WCHA previews; Prosser, Rau called up

CC will need big weekends from players like David Civitarese to offset No. 4 Minnesota's depth.

Here’s a capsule preview for the No. 11 CC at No. 4 Minnesota series. The game will be televised  live on ROOT at 6:07 Mountain tonight and FSN North at 4:07 Saturday (tape delay 6:07 p.m. ROOT). Gophers assistant Mike Guentzel has his game face on for this weekend’s series against his son, CC senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel and his assessment that his son may be trying to do too much is accurate.

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year Rocco Grimaldi will sit out the rest of the season at injury-riddled North Dakota, which plays at St. Cloud State this weekend.

SCSU’s Jordy Christian, who broke the Tigers hearts last Saturday, has significant hockey history flowing in his veins. Here’s a preview capsule on a series that could determine home ice for both teams.

Nebraska Omaha travels to MSU-Mankato. Both schools have dreams of better facilities including this one for the red Mavericks, which would include an on-campus hockey practice facility.

The purple Mavs need more out of their seniors.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth, led by star J.T. Brown,  plays Alabama-Huntsville for the first time. Here is a preview capsule. The Chargers’ boosters will need to come up with more than 50 percent of the team budget next season. Yikes.

Two Wisconsin freshmen have made the jump from high school to the WCHA. The Badgers host Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. Michigan tech is idle this weekend.

Former Tiger Bill Sweatt is the subject of this profile. Chad Rau and Nate Prosser were both called up by the Wild Friday.

Here’s NHL.com’s preview of the NBC Sports Network game; Michigan at Notre Dame at 5 p.m. Mountain.

NHL.com also gives some love to longtime Mercyhurst coach Rich Gotkin, who is known for some good quotes over the years including this one included in the article:

Before the start of 2001 NCAA regional game against Michigan, Gotkin looked across the rink and thought: “Wow, that’s Red Berenson, coach of Michigan. I wonder if he’s looking over here and saying, ‘Wow, that’s Rick Gotkin, coach of Mercyhurst.'”