Weekend reading: Jaden Schwartz, Mankato, Minnesota, NHL negotiations, CHI, NCAA hockey in Lincoln?, outdoor ticket prices

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz could prove to be a real boon for AHL Peoria if he falls short of making the very deep Blues’ NHL roster.

A BCHL defenseman has committed to MSU-Mankato.

Minnesota players and coach Don Lucia took part in a Q&A session at the state fair recently.

The College Hockey News points out that colleges will likely not benefit from a new NHL CBA.

Here is CHN’s Q&A article with new College Hockey Inc. executive director Mike Snee, who looks to take on a more positive tone than his predecessor. Here is an interview with Snee by USCHO.

This Nebraska-Lincoln student columnist thinks UNL should add Division I hockey now that it is in the Big Ten.  Thanks to Goon’s World for finding that. I love the concept, but believe one of the reasons Nebraska-Omaha dropped football and wrestling was to focus on D1 hockey and avoid those kinds of conflicts with the nearby big school. It seems unlikely any school can afford adding a men’s varsity sport (two with a women’s program needed under Title IX) in the near future.

Wisconsin season ticket holders got a rude surprise when the outdoor game ticket prices were announced.

The Atlantic Hockey Association gave its commissioner a three-year contract extension.

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College Hockey Inc. names new executive director

From College Hockey Inc. …

Mike Snee, a veteran amateur hockey and NHL executive, has been named the Executive Director of College Hockey, Inc., the organization’s Board of Directors announced today. Snee spent the past four years as the Executive Director of Minnesota Hockey and will begin his new duties on Sept. 17.

“Mike is a very talented professional with a great passion and love for college hockey,” said Steve Hagwell, Commissioner of ECAC Hockey and Chair of the 10-member Board of Directors of College Hockey, Inc. “He has enjoyed a great amount of success professionally. We look forward to a bright future for College Hockey, Inc. under Mike’s leadership.”

Snee becomes the second executive director in College Hockey, Inc.’s history. The organization was formed in 2009 to promote Division I men’s college hockey to prospective student-athletes and fans.

“I have followed College Hockey, Inc. closely since its inception and am honored to have this opportunity,” said Snee, a native of Duluth, Minn.  “I believe strongly in CHI’s mission and look forward to working with [Director of Communications] Nate Ewell and the Board to continue the exciting growth of college hockey throughout the country.”

Members of the Board – which consists of commissioners, athletic directors and head coaches – echoed Hagwell’s enthusiasm for Snee’s hire.

“Mike has a tremendous passion for hockey as well as an understanding of the issues and people involved at all levels necessary to succeed,” said Dave Smith, head coach at Canisius. “As our executive director, Mike’s previous experiences will be beneficial as he takes the lead for Division I college hockey in discussions with the NHL, NCAA and the current and future landscape of college hockey.”

“Mike has had tremendous success as an innovator and leader within the hockey community,” said Dr. Robert Corran, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics at Vermont. “His experience, from the NHL to youth hockey, will be invaluable in preparing CHI and college hockey for the opportunities which lie ahead.”

During Snee’s tenure with Minnesota Hockey he led a multi-platform strategic plan to ensure the long-term growth of the sport in Minnesota. He led the organization’s branding and communications efforts and nearly tripled corporate sponsorship revenue in just four years. He also served as a member of the USA Hockey Marketing Committee.

Prior to joining Minnesota Hockey, Snee spent nine years with Minnesota Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. He served stints as Director of Corporate Sales and Director of Ticket Sales and worked closely with college hockey as the Xcel Energy Center hosted the annual WCHA Final Five and the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four.

Snee led one of the most successful sponsorship groups in the NHL and helped spearhead the creation and execution of Hockey Day in Minnesota in 2007, a state-wide celebration of the game. Previously he led the initial ticket sales efforts for the expansion Wild, which produced a season-ticket base of 16,000.

Snee, a 1991 graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., started his sports business career as an intern with the Minnesota North Stars and also worked for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Moose of the now-defunct International Hockey League.

College Hockey, Inc. gets makeover

From College Hockey News …

The new governing structure for College Hockey Inc. is in place.

As first reported by CHN in April, College Hockey Inc.’s structure was to change in the aftermath of the departure of executive director Paul Kelly, a move that rankled many in the coaching community.

Instead of the five conference commissioners being in charge of CHInc., one more representative from each conference will be part of the group. That person can be an athletic department official of one of the schools, or a coach.

For the rest of the article, click here.

Monday reading: LaLeggia, Schultz, APR scores, WMU, Mankato

This graphic shows the increased number of former collegians playing in the NHL.    Courtesy College Hockey, Inc.

About 60 future NHL Draft hopefuls were shown how going to college often leads to the NHL.

Let the Justin Schultz free agency derby begin. Pittsburgh looks ready to make a run at former UND star Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

DU’s Joey LaLeggia proves it never hurts to have friends in high places. His friendship with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led the Oilers to selecting the 5-foot-8 defenseman in the fifth round Saturday. This could be a real nice pick for Edmonton who may have found a good two-way deal player.

Here are the Division I hockey APRs with Brown, Boston University, Dartmouth, New Hampshire, Notre Dame, Princeton and St. Lawrence all receiving perfect scores. CC was tied for 16th with RPI with a 994, well above the 982 average which was second in NCAA behind only men’s gymnastics.

The scores, which are based on eligibility and retention of scholarship players, include data from the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.

Here is a feature on a Western Michigan signee who the Red Wings hope develop into a physical player under Andy Murray’s tutelage. Michael McKee racked up 237 penalty minutes in 59 games last season.

Here is a look at MSU-Mankato coaches’ salaries.

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.

Thursday reading: Injuries and apologies

More Tigers are healing up and making the trip to play Minnesota Duluth this weekend and a capsule preview of the series, which will likely determine if the Tigers can secure home playoff ice.

CC is one of the last WCHA teams to see the new AMSOIL Arena.  I assume the duct tape connecting carpet remnants between the locker room and ice is long gone. Yes, the new arena was long overdue.

The UMD students add plenty of atmosphere to the new rink, but apparently, their racist chants during the North Dakota series prompted an apology.

Three Denver players will not play against visiting North Dakota, which will have goalie Aaron Dell on the trip. The North Dakota administrators and coaches continue to point out that continued use of the old nickname only hurts the school.

Playing at Nebraska Omaha will be tough for Minnesota, which coach Don Lucia admits can play pretty well.

Nate Ewell was named as interim director of College Hockey, Inc.

Here are the WCHA players of the week honorees. Here this weekend’s schedule as provided by the WCHA.

Games for Friday, February 24: St. Cloud State at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Colorado College at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Wisconsin at Bemidji State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; North Dakota at Denver (WCHA), 8:07 pm MT; * Alaska Fairbanks at Alaska Anchorage (NC), 7:07 pm AT. * Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup

Games for Saturday, February 25: St. Cloud State at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Colorado College at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Wisconsin at Bemidji State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; North Dakota at Denver (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT; * Alaska Anchorage at Alaska Fairbanks (NC), 7:05 pm AT. * Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup

Wednesday reading: Injury updates, features

Here’s CC’s notes for its road series at the defending champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs and a Tigers’ injury update. Duluth’s J.T. Brown is questionable for this weekend after practicing on Tuesday.

Here’s a feature on former Minnesota Duluth standout goalie Alex Stalock, pictured at left, who returned after a year-long recovery from a deep cut to his leg that happened only days after his NHL debut.

The Tigers’ opponent next weekend, Michigan Tech, will be a much tougher foe than most expected back in August.

Pine Creek High School graduate Emily West is featured by the Minnesota student daily as the Gopher women head into the WCHA playoffs this weekend.

The merits of live online streaming for the WCHA in 2013 are pointed out in this column. It’s critical for any league, regardless of their TV deal.

Here’s more reaction to Paul Kelly’s resignation from College Hockey Inc. and former Tiger Chad Rau’s NHL game-winner on Sunday.