More Wednesday reading: Thorimbert, CCHA coaches, media polls

Colorado College goalie Josh Thorimbert (39) made a save in the second period as Denver wing Chris Knowlton looks for the rebound during a college hockey game in Denver, Friday night, Feb. 3, 2012. The Denver Post, Karl Gehring

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert is profiled by Inside College Hockey.

From the CCHA …

For the fifth time in seven years, the coaches and media disagree on who should own the No. 1 position in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s annual preseason polls. The conference’s 11 head coaches ranked Notre Dame first for the second consecutive season, while voting from 87 members of the media tabbed Michigan as the preseason favorite.

In the coaches poll, the Fighting Irish captured seven first-place votes and one second, while Michigan took two first-place votes as well as six seconds to come in just five points behind the favorite. Western Michigan, last season’s CCHA Tournament Champion, had the remaining first-place votes to finish third, just three points behind Michigan and eight behind the Irish. Miami finished fourth in the poll while the 2011-12 CCHA Regular-Season Champion and National Runner-Up Ferris State rounded out the top five.

The media voted in favor of Michigan, with Western Michigan coming in second and Notre Dame in third, agreeing with the coaches on which three teams should occupy top three.  The Wolverines picked up 50 of a possible 87 first-place votes, while the Broncos garnered 25 and the Irish received nine first-place votes.  The Bulldogs and RedHawks finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the media poll as well.

The Wolverines, who finished in second place in the regular season, return 20 letterwinners that took them to their 22nd consecutive NCAA tournament. Included in that list is a pair of defensemen that were named to a Preseason All-Conference Team, with junior Jon Merrill being named to the first team and senior Lee Moffie earning a second-team selection. Michigan also returns seven of its top ten scorers, including last season’s Rookie of the Year, Alex Guptill, who tied for the team lead in scoring a season ago, notching 16 goals and 33 points.

Notre Dame also brings back 20 letterwinners from the 2011-12 season, which saw the Irish finish eighth in the conference. The Irish return their top two scorers in junior forwards T.J. Tynan, last season’s Scoring Co-Champion, and Anders Lee. Both are CCHA Preseason All-Conference First-Team selections and combined for 30 goals and 75 points last season.

The Broncos are the defending CCHA Mason Cup champion and return 15 letterwinners, including a trio of CCHA Preseason All-Conference First Team selections: junior Chase Balisy at forward, junior Dan DeKeyser on defense and sophomore Frank Slubowski in goal. Western Michigan returns their top offensive line of Balisy, junior Shane Berschbach and senior Dane Walters. The trio combined to score 39 goals and 98 points last season, making up almost one-third of the Broncos’ scoring.

Miami is coming off a fourth place finish and returns a young roster of 18 underclassmen, including three freshmen goaltenders. The RedHawks return their second-highest scorer from last season in sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, a Preseason All-Conference Second Team selection. Ferris State hopes to build off last season’s success, returning 18 letterwinners, including three of their top five scorers.  

A total of 87 media members ranked the 11 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. Points were awarded on an 11-10-9-8, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end.

     Coaches Poll

        1.       Notre Dame (7) 105

        2.       Michigan (2)   100

        3.       Western Michigan (2)   97

        4.       Miami  78   

        5.       Ferris State   67

        6.       Ohio State     66

        7.       Michigan State 56

        8.       Bowling Green  43

        8.       Northern Michigan      43

        10.      Alaska 31

     11.    Lake Superior    29

     Media Poll

        1.      Michigan (50)   903

      2.      Western Michigan (25)   825

        3.      Notre Dame (9)  765

        4.      Ferris State (3)        626

        5.      Miami   622

        6.      Michigan State  528

        7.      Ohio State      438

        8.      Northern Michigan       389

        9.      Bowling Green   264

     10.     Lake Superior   232

        11.     Alaska  150

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CCHA announces preseason honorees

From the CCHA …

Seven teams are represented on the 2012-13 CCHA Preseason All-Conference Teams announced today by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

Notre Dame junior forward T.J. Tynan, last season’s CCHA Scoring Co-Champion, topped the voting, receiving nine first-place votes and a total of 48 points. It is Tynan’s second consecutive appearance on the Preseason All-Conference First Team.

Notre Dame junior Anders Lee and Western Michigan junior Chase Balisy join Tynan as the other forwards on the First Team. It is also Lee’s second straight appearance on the Preseason All-Conference First Team and Balisy’s first. A pair of junior defensemen are on the blue line for the Preseason All-Conference First Team, as Michigan’s Jon Merrill and Western Michigan’s Dan DeKeyser both earned eight first-place votes and 44 points, tying them for the second-highest point total among all players. This is Merrill’s second straight appearance on the First Team. Western Michigan’s sophomore goaltender Frank Slubowski, last season’s CCHA Tournament MVP, is making his first appearance on a preseason team, rounding out the First Team.

Five of the six players on the Preseason All-Conference Second Team received multiple first-place votes. Michigan sophomore forward Alex Guptill, the 2011-12 Rookie of the Year, tops the team with four first-place votes, Miami sophomore forward Austin Czarnik and Michigan senior defenseman Lee Moffie both recorded three and Alaska junior forward Cody Kunyk and Michigan State junior goaltender Will Yanakeff both earned two. Northern Michigan senior defenseman Kyle Follmer rounds out the Second Team, with one first-place vote. Each player on the Preseason All-Conference Second Team is making his first appearance on a preseason team.

Michigan and Western Michigan lead the Preseason All-Conference Teams with three honorees each.

Voting was conducted among the 11 head coaches in the CCHA. Coaches could not vote for their own players.

2012-13 CCHA Preseason All-Conference Teams

First Team

Position        Name, Year, School      First   Totals

Forward T.J. Tynan, JR, Notre Dame      9       48

Forward Anders Lee, JR, Notre Dame      7       42

Forward Chase Balisy, JR, Western Michigan      5       40

Defense Dan DeKeyser, JR, Western Michigan      8       44

Defense Jon Merrill, JR, Michigan       8       44

Goaltender      Frank Slubowski, SO, Western Michigan   6       40

Second Team

Position        Name, Year, School      First   Totals

Forward Austin Czarnik, SO, Miami       3       31

Forward Alex Guptill, SO, Michigan      4       28

Forward Cody Kunyk, JR, Alaska  2       22

Defense Lee Moffie, SR, Michigan        3       34

Defense Kyle Follmer, SR, Northern Michigan     1       22

Goaltender      Will Yanakeff, JR, Michigan State       2       17

Vote Values: 1st place = 5, 2nd place = 3, 3rd place = 1

Honorable Mention (next six highest point totals, regardless of position with first-team votes in parentheses): Scott Czarnowczan, JR, D, Ferris State, (2) 19; A.J. Treais, SR, F, Michigan, (1) 18; Kyle Bonis, SR, F, Ferris State, (1) 16; Kevin Kapalka, JR, G, Lake Superior, (2) 15; Andrew Hammond, SR, G, Bowling Green, (1) 15; Sam Calabrese, SR, D, Notre Dame (0) 12.

 

CC garners votes in USA Hockey preseason poll

USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today released its preseason poll on Monday with Colorado College coming in at what would be tied for 19th if the rankings went that far. Air Force garnered a few votes as well. All the WCHA teams listed in the poll are bolded.

National Collegiate Hockey Conference fans will note that Miami (No. 9) and Western Michigan (11) also got some love.

 

Men’s Poll – Week 1: Sept. 24, 2012 

  Team

Points
(First Place Votes)

2011-12
Record

1 Boston College

476 (20)

33-10-1

2 Minnesota

476 (12)

28-14-1

3 Michigan

408 (2)

24-13-4

4 North Dakota

407

26-13-3

5 Union College

295

26-8-7

6 Cornell

233

19-9-7

7 UMass-Lowell

221

24-13-1

8 Denver

220

25-14-4

9 Miami

203

24-15-2

10 Notre Dame

186

19-18-3

11 Western Michigan

182

21-14-6

12 Minnesota Duluth

176

25-10-6

13 Boston University

158

23-15-1

14 Ferris State

123

26-12-5

15 Wisconsin

99

17-18-2

Others receiving votes: Harvard University, 58; University of Maine, 24; Quinnipiac University, 24; Michigan State University, 19; Colorado College, 19; University of New Hampshire, 17; Ohio State University, 17; St. Cloud (Minn.) State University, 15; Merrimack College, 7; Providence College, 6; Yale University, 6; United States Air Force Academy, 3; Northern Michigan University, 1; Michigan Tech University, 1.

 

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).

Thursday reading: Jaden Schwartz, Colleges keep close eye on NHL negotiations, North Dakota, Alaska-Fairbanks

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz was interviewed as part of a 30-rookie NHL symposium in Toronto recently. They were asked some softball questions (I know because I have asked quite a few back in the day) and the best answers were published here. The writers did mess up and list Jaden as playing for the Canadiens.

Question 3: How do you think your life will change after you make the NHL?

“I don’t know what to expect, obviously it will be way different. The lifestyle is different, you’ll be playing with older guys and hanging out with older guys — that will be very different. It’s a job now, more serious than junior or college hockey,” Schwartz said.

Here is a good USCHO article by Chris Peters about how the NHL’s negotiations this offseason will affect the college ranks. Included is an idea to set a deadline for NHL teams to sign college and college-bound players at June 15, the same deadline for European club players. With so much of the NHL brass having come up through the Canadian major junior ranks, I am not hopeful this will change. But it would be a great thing for college fans.

Some North Dakota fans in Fargo may be unable to see TV broadcasts of their team. Here is a list of all the UND players who have Twitter accounts.

The three finalists were named for the vacant Alaska-Fairbanks athletic director position.

Saturday reading: SCSU renovations, OHL, fundraiser, Bemidji State

The renovations to the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud continue on schedule.

The Windsor Spitfires were punished harshly by the OHL for rules violations.

Here are more details, including that Kitchener, which is suing the student Michigan Daily newspaper, was found innocent by the OHL.

Toronto made it official by signing incoming Miami sophomore forward Tyler Biggs (17 points).

A fundraiser is planned for fallen Army hockey player Tom Kennedy, who was killed in Afghanistan. The link is within a blog post by 1989 and Counting.

Chicago Steel forward Charlie O’Connor has committed to Bemidji State.

Former Tiger Brian Connelly, pictured, and Wild teammate Tom Gilbert signed autographs at Bloomington Jefferson’s youth hockey registration.

Thursday reading: Year in review, WMU, NCHC season ticket prices

Here is the Mankato Free Press beat writer’s look back at the past year and the huge changes to the college hockey landscape. Seeing it all in a few hundred words is a good reminder of how different things became so quickly.

A big change for Western Michigan is the financial commitment the Broncos must make as a member of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference. The story linked does a good showing that as part of a four-part series on the WMU athletic department budget.

Of interest to other NCHC fans is a box comparing season ticket prices for the eight member schools in the WMU article:

NCHC Season Ticket Prices for 2012-13

    • Denver: $360 – $624
    • Miami: $275 – $565
    • Nebraska-Omaha: $235 – $415
    • Colorado College: $149 – $409
    • Minnesota-Duluth: $400
    • St. Cloud State: $325 – $400
    • North Dakota: $390
    • Western Michigan: $190 – $210