Denver hands out four-game suspensions for two players

From the Denver Post …

University of Denver hockey players Larkin Jacobson and Juho Olkinuora have been suspended for four games for violating team rules, Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky said. The suspensions stem from separate incidents and will include Saturday’s exhibition game against the University of British Columbia at the Pepsi Center.

Please click here to read the rest of the article including how shorthanded the Pioneers may be against Air Force.

NCHC hires Adam, current WCHA referee, as director of officials

Louisville Police Officer Don Adam is also a WCHA hockey referee. Adam was photographed at work Tuesday afternoon, June 12, 2012. Karl Gehring/The Denver Post

From NCHC media relations …

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has announced that Don Adam will assume the role of Director of Officiating for the conference at the conclusion of the 2012-13 college hockey season.

NCHC men’s ice hockey will make its debut during the 2013-14 season with eight successful Division 1 programs- Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University (Ohio), University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of North Dakota, St Cloud State University and Western Michigan University.

“We are excited about having Don Adam join the NCHC staff and look forward to having him assist us in overseeing the important officiating program,” said NCHC Commissioner Jim Scherr. “Don brings a proven level of on-ice and supervisory officiating expertise and his long term commitment to the college game is invaluable to our goals. Don’s hiring is another significant step for our conference as we move towards a new era in college hockey and the start of our new conference playing in 2013-14.”

Adam has served as one of the top NCAA Division I Ice Hockey officials in the nation for 24 seasons. As an on-ice official he has worked numerous WCHA championships, NCAA tournaments, and NCAA national championships. He was also selected by the International Ice Hockey Federation to officiate an impressive list of key international competitions which includes five World Championships, as well as the 1992 and 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, and Nagano, Japan. Adam was also an NHL referee trainee for three seasons, as well as an NHL-contracted official for one season. He brings additional prior experience as the Director of Officiating for both the West Coast Hockey League and Roller Hockey International.  His reputation and involvement as a supervisor of officials for USA Hockey’s Officials Development Program to the professional hockey ranks reflects his commitment to ice hockey officiating at all levels for over 25 years.

“I am excited to join the staff of the NCHC and recognize this as a unique opportunity to positively contribute to what I believe will become one of the top conferences in the nation,” Adam said.  “I’ve had the good fortune to work with many of the NCHC’s coaches and administrators over the course of many seasons and, based upon my respect for them both personally and professionally, I look forward to continuing those relationships in the future.  Under the leadership of both Jim Scherr and Joe Novak, this opportunity will allow me to implement and develop an officiating staff that the NCHC will be proud of.”

Adam currently resides in Denver and is employed by the city of Louisville (CO) as a police officer, where he has served the public for the last nine years. Adam compares his two current professions and looks forward to applying his experiences to his new position: “Both professions require a lot of quick decisions in pressure-filled situations. Experience, judgment, common sense and clear communication are all huge factors in achieving success, and I’m excited to face the challenges that this new position will present me with.”

NCHC coaches are enthusiastic about the new conference executive:

George Gwozdecky- University of Denver– “For over two decades, Don Adam has been regarded as one of the top hockey officials in the NCAA. His leadership skills, organizational ability along with his experience will be a valuable asset to the conference and will assure that, under his direction, the league will receive the finest collegiate officiating available.”

Rico Blasi  – Miami University Ohio “It’s very exciting to have someone like Don with the knowledge and experience leading our on-ice officials.  Along with his experience, his communication skills make Don a great asset.”

Dean Blais – University Nebraska at Omaha- “Don Adam brings a wealth of experience in officiating to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.  Don, as Director of Officiating, will be active in evaluating, recruiting, coaching and directing our conference officiating staff according to NCAA rules and regulations. He is a great communicator and will have a lot of significant responsibilities with our new conference. We are all looking forward to his role and leadership with our officiating program.”

Dave Hakstol/ University of North Dakota– “Don is very well respected throughout college hockey. Over the years his officiating style has constantly evolved as changes have come to the way the game is played and he is very well equipped to build a quality staff of officials for the NCHC.”

And: “Don has always been the personification of an honest, well-prepared and knowledgeable official. What more can you ask for?”  – Lou Vairo 1984 United States Olympic Hockey Coach • Former Assistant Coach; New Jersey Devils (NHL) • Currently: Director, Special Projects; USA Hockey

Summary of Don Adam’s officiating career

 One year under contract as an NHL referee (1993-94).

Two Olympic Winter Games as a referee (1992 in Albertville, 1998 in Nagano).

Two NCAA Frozen Fours as a referee (1997 in Milwaukee, 2003 in Buffalo, N.Y.).

Director of Officiating for both the West Coast Hockey League and Roller Hockey International

USA Hockey Officiating Development Program staff member

22 years as a Western Collegiate Hockey Association referee (plus two as a linesman).

Monday reading: Playoffs, Bachman, Lagrone, Mexico, Eaves

WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said the Alaska Plan for the 2014 playoffs may change. It had been reported that Anchorage and Fairbanks would play in the first round every season, but that would change if one is the top seed and gets a bye to the Final Five tournament, wherever that may be held.

The Alaska-Anchorage athletic director was the only one who voted against the Alaska Plan.

Here are more details about the possible Final Five venues from the Mining Gazette in Houghton, Mich.

Here is some more reaction.

It looks like former Tiger Richard Bachman will have some very tough competition for the Stars backup job.

Future Tiger Duggie Lagrone advanced to the Des Moines training camp roster.

A Mexico-born player, pictured, tries to make USHL Sioux City roster.

Here is some analysis on the retiring Minnesota athletic director.

Miami announced its schedule for its final season in the CCHA.

This Canadian hockey writer thinks Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves should get a hard look from the Capitals.

The Gazette weighs in on the Sioux nickname vote.

From the Thunder Bay. Ont. newspaper …

During Thursday’s dinner, Dr. George Gwozdecky was named the recipient of the Chris Ferguson Sr. Memorial Award for his service as a Thunder Bay sports builder. Gwozdecky, the father of University of Denver men’s hockey head coach George Jr., was director and doctor of sports organizations in soccer, tennis, hockey, football, running and water skiing.
Dr. Gwozdecky, who was inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, is a member of the Canadian Council of Sports Medicine and was the Chief Medical Officer for Team Canada at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

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.

CC battles back to win Gold Pan

The Gold Pan Trophy is back where it belongs after Colorado College deliverable a memorable, gut-check performance against its hated rival.

The 11th-ranked Tigers overcame the biggest adversity they had faced this season, rallying from down 2-0 to forge a 2-2 tie and garner the annual traveling trophy from No. 13 Denver Saturday night at World Arena.

Denver jumped out to a 2-0 lead before injuries started to take a toll on the Tigers (15-9-2, 12-71 WCHA). Senior captain Nick Dineen left the game in the first period with an apparent upper body injury.

But the Tigers dug deep and found a way to win behind the heroics of Jaden Schwartz who sparked a two-goal spurt to tie the game and junior goalie Joe Howe, who later stepped in for sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert after he was knocked out of the game in the second period after a collision from Denver’s Chris Knowlton of Colorado Springs. Thorimbert also suffered an upper body injury.

“Down 2-0, losing your captain, one of your best players and emotional leader,  tying and later losing your goalie, Josh, who was one of the hottest in the country is a lot to overcome,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. ““We definitely earned that point and that trophy.”

Schwartz jumpstarted the Tigers and the announced crowd of 7,733 with a highlight-reel goal, weaving around two Denver defenders and beating DU goalie Juho Olkinuora high stick side with a hard-angle wrist shot to make it 2-1.

“I had speed and I caught them flat-footed, I guess,” Jaden said. “We definitely battled through adversity tonight especially after losing our captain and Thorny.”

Jaden didn’t remember when he last scored such a goal.

“You don’t really remember when you have a goal like that. But I’ll remember that for awhile,” Schwartz said.

So will the Pioneers and their fans.

“I’ll be having nightmares about the Jaden Schwartz goal,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. “They had absolutely nothing going for them but that’s what great players do.”

CC rode the momentum from that four-on-four goal, tying the game with a Jeff Collett power-play goal a couple minutes later. Collett camped out in front and tipped in a Rylan Schwartz crossing pass.

The score came after senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel, who averaged 32 minutes this weekend, kept the puck in the zone. The goal stood after a short video review.

Howe made sure the two goals stood, making big save after save, including a leg pad stack in overtime to rob Daniel Doremus with 2:46 left.

“He lives for this stuff,” Guentzel said.  “We didn’t have any doubts that Howie could get the job done.”

Friday reading: Gold Pan rivalry news, other WCHA previews and notes

No doubt, this scene will be played out a few times tonight at Magness Arena.

Big news out of Denver: Red-hot freshman Ty Loney has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. The Post also reports coach George Gwozdecky is leaning toward starting goalie Sam Brittain at home Friday.

The Gazette looks at the Gold Pan rivalry from No. 11 CC’s perspective. The Gazette also reports that sophomore Josh Thorimbert has all but sealed up the No. 1 goalie spot ahead of Joe Howe. Here’s the Post’s preview notes. The No. 13 Pioneers are on a roll headed into the series.

No. 1/2 Minnesota-Duluth travels to desperate Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. The desperate Seawolves are mired in a seven-game losing streak. Did I mention they’re desperate for a win?

Come to think of it,  the Bulldogs are plenty motivated too after falling behind No. 1/2 Minnesota, which is idle. The Gophers are losing their longtime, well regarded AD to retirement.

No. 17 North Dakota is resting up too. Here are some excellent observations about the league from the UND beat writer and more news from Grand Forks.

A confident Michigan Tech team hosts 11th-place MSU Mankato. And yes, the Huskies are aware of the dangers of a letdown.

Like CC, Bemidji State is tweaking its power play as it heads to the sixth-place Nebraska-Omaha, which needs home points to keep in the home playoff ice hunt. UNO goalie Ryan Massa is likely to be back in net this weekend. BSU’s Jordan George has emerged from Matt Read‘s shadow.

St. Cloud State has a decision to make in net as they head to Wisconsin, which needs to get on a run if it hopes for home playoff ice.

Here’s USCHO’s WCHA roundup including Jordy Christian’s season being over.

Thursday reading: Pros updates, weekend preview notes

Mark Stuart has been a leader at every level of hockey he's played.

Former Tiger Mark Stuart, pictured at left playing for Team USA last summer, is profiled by the Winnipeg Jets while listing all his considerable accomplishments.

Getting replaced by Joey Crabb on your line is a good motivational tool for Leafs’ coaches. Crabb has made the most of his chance this season.

From the “Hockey is a Small World” department, here’s a story by the Post’s Mike Chambers linking two Avalanche teammates to their peewee days when they lost to two former Denver standouts and a former CC goalie named Richard Bachman.

Here’s Goon’s World’s weekly predictions and an injury update for Colorado College, which looks to have lost sophomore Michael Morin for the season with surgery on a broken right ankle.

Here’s the Gazette’s capsule preview for the home-and-home series between CC and Denver.

The Minnesota AD announced he will retire soon.

Former Mankato standout and Blues captain David Backes used his free time over the NHL All-Star Break to save three shelter dogs by flying them from Houston  to a no-kill shelter in St. Louis.

The City of Mankato is looking to invest some serious money into improving the Verizon Wireless Center. Great job by Shane Frederick finding that Backers story.

After some talk of the Blues trading the rights to current CC sophomore standout Jaden Schwartz, that rumor has been dispelled.

Michigan Tech is no longer anyone’s doormat.  The Huskies take on MSU-Mankato this weekend.

Here’s Denver’s weekly press conference video  featuring coach George Gwozdecky.

Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore discusses his team’s road series at Nebraska-Omaha in this video.

Alaska Anchorage has the unenviable task of hosting No. 1/2 Minnesota Duluth.

Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves talks about his team’s home series against St. Cloud State.

North Dakota’s Corban Knight is the subject of the “Through These Doors” weekly video feature. UND is idle this week as are the No. 1/2 Gophers.

This Week in the WCHA …

Games for Friday, February 3: St. Cloud State at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Colorado College at Denver (WCHA), 7:37 pm MT; Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.

Games for Saturday, February 4: Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Denver at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT; St. Cloud State at Wisconsin (WCHA), 8:07 pm CT; Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.