Tuesday reading: Prosser, Rau, UND, UMass, Berenson

Here is where former Tigers Nate Prosser and Chad Rau, pictured,fit into the Minnesota Wild’s depth chart.

Grand Forks Herald columnist Tom Miller points out that all eyes will be on the performance of the major sport coaches at North Dakota as the Sioux nickname controversy fades. The major contract extensions will put added pressure on them to produce championship teams.

UMass makes its coaching hire official.

Michigan coach Red Berenson signed a contract extension hrough the 2015-16 season.

Wednesday reading: Adam, Testwuide, Holmstrom, UND, UMass job

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

Here is a well-done feature on WCHA referee Don Adam, pictured, whose day job is as a City of Louisville police officer.

The Flyers extended a contract offer to Ben Holmstrom but not former Tiger Mike Testwuide. It looks like the former CC captain will be a free agent after July 1.

UND nickname supporters file another appeal.

The Mankato beat writer talks about the WCHA’s Alaska Plan for the 2014 playoffs.

Suddenly the UMass head coaching job is open.

The incoming Wisconsin freshmen are coming in this week to start summer school.

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.

More weekend reading: Lasch, UND, Duluth, BU, Wayne State

Former St. Cloud State standout wing Ryan Lasch, fresh off the Finnish Elite League scoring title (62 points including 24 goals), has signed a two-way deal with Anaheim.

He is the first Orange County native to sign with the Ducks. Lasch (pictured playing for the Lahti Pelicans) is interviewed in this Q&A.

The North Dakota Alumni Association explains why it wants the Sioux nickname retired.

In happier news, incoming freshman Jordan Schmaltz has said he is 100 percent committed to playing at UND.

Nebraska-Omaha reportedly will hire St. Cloud State assistant Steve Johnson as its new assistant coach. replacing MSU Mankato head coach Mike Hastings. An announcement is expected soon. It is expected to take another week to 12 days before North Dakota announces its assistant hire: Brad Berry.

Cody Danberg, 25, received a medical hardship year from the NCAA and was named as captain by Minnesota-Duluth for 2012-13.

Boston University lost a sophomore to the Blackhawks organization. Rape charges against a former Terriers defenseman were dropped.

Wayne State, which recently eliminated its varsity program, has added a club team. Here’s hoping this is the first step toward another varsity program in Michigan.

An unheralded coaching icon at Providence College is retiring.

Here is some interesting info about the big money Canadian major junior franchises haul in while paying their players only $200 per month, which makes them ineligible for a college hockey scholarship, full or partial. Think the kids in the CHL are getting their real worth?

Friday reading: Hastings, Sioux nickname ad and TV debate

New Minnesota State Mankato coach Mike Hastings talks about why he jumped at the chance to coach the purple Mavs.

Here is the latest TV spot urging North Dakota voters about the Sioux nickname debate which goes to the ballot on June 12. Here is a short TV debate between both sides.

Mark Stuart’s father, Dr. Michael Stuart of the Mayo Clinic, is interviewed in this Boston Globe story on youth hockey concussions.

Michigan Tech officially announced its 2012-13 schedule as did Northern Michigan. Here are some details about Michigan Tech’s approach to scheduling.

Wisconsin announced its schedule. With a lot returning (13 forwards, six defensemen, including Justin Schultz at this point, and two goaltenders), the Badgers are hopeful they will to contend in their final season in the WCHA. They open at home against CC on Nov. 2-3.

No word yet on the long-rumored NCHC postseason venue. The recent Minnesota bill signed to keep the Vikings in Minneapolis also included about $100 million of renovations for the Target Center. Hopefully that can address some of the hockey fans’ concerns about the facility before March 2014.

Miami picked up a 20-year-old NAHL defenseman.

St. Lawrence filled one of the few vacant assistant jobs out there with a former Union goalie standout.

Wednesday reading: UND early departures, Connelly, Crabb, J. Schwartz video, Slattengren, Sterling, M. Stuart, Air Force news

Winnipeg Jets' Mark Stuart (L), Tobias Enstrom (C) and Andrew Ladd (R) celebrate Ladd's game-winning goal against the Florida Panthers during the overtime period of their NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Florida April 3, 2012.
Photograph by: Rhona Wise, REUTERS

North Dakota sophomore Brock Nelson signed with the Islanders with Aaron Dell likely to follow him out of Grand Forks. Here’s a roundup of the comings and goings there. Here is a Sioux nickname update.

You can vote for former Tiger goalie Matt Zaba to be named European Player of the Month for March.

Here’s a video interview of Jaden Schwartz talking about his first few games with the Blues.

Aaron Slattengren scored the only Colorado Eagles goal in an ECHL playoff loss to Stockton.

Brian Connelly picked up an assist for AHL Abbotsford while Brett Sterling scored for Portland.

Joey Crabb picked up an assist for the Leafs in a loss.

Ninth-year Air Force assistant Mike Corbett has been promoted to associate head coach according to a press release.

“Mike has done an outstanding job throughout his tenure at Air Force,” coach Frank Serratore said. “He has played a key role in the overall success the program has enjoyed, Mike’s expertise has factored greatly into our six-year championship run, the promotion in title is well deserved and overdue.”

The former Denver defenseman and assistant captain under Serratore works with the Falcon defensemen and also assists in recruiting. Corbett has guided a group of defenseman that has helped lead the team to the five best goals-against averages in school history. This past season, the team allowed just 2.09 goals per game, the second best mark in school history and the best since setting the school record of 2.07 in 2008-09.

I am glad to see this happen. Mike has been a quality coach from the start, beginning when we first met as we started our careers; he as a Junior A coach of the Butte (Mont.) Irish and me as a sportswriter at the local paper.

Here is College Hockey Inc.’s graphic illustrating where the U.S. Division I players come from. Here is the latest from USCHO on the Frozen Four.

Friday reading: WCHA, national web site and blogger awards, previews

The WCHA announced its all-league honorees, including academics. Sophomore forward Jaden Schwartz was named to the second team as was senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel. Sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert was named as the third team goalie. Inexplicably, Rylan Schwartz was not honored.

The first annual All-WCHA Blogger awards were doled out this morning. The differences are interesting. Both Rylan Schwartz and Guentzel did not make the cut. Jaden Schwartz was a third team forward while Thorimbert moved up to second team netminder.

Whether you agree with the blogger list or not, thanks to Tradition of Excellence for compiling it. I doubt it was easy. The voters, which included me, are listed. I posted my ballot earlier this week.

USCHO announced its all-WCHA honorees as did College Hockey News. Inside College Hockey announced its all-WCHA team and playoff capsules here.

Here are more playoff series previews:

No. 12 seed Alaska Anchorage needs to make marked improvement in a number of areas if they hope to knock off top seed Minnesota at Mariucci. Nate Condon is one of the reasons why that still may not be enough for UAA.

No. 11 MSU Mankato is playing well and has a chance, albeit small, of returning to the Final Five with a series win at Minnesota Duluth, which is leaning on five rookies.

No. 10 Wisconsin will rely on Justin Schultz and Mark Zengerle at third-seeded Denver. Here’s a preview capsule. The Pioneers will platoon goalies this weekend with Juho Olkinuora starting on Friday.

No. 9 Bemidji State has quiet confidence headed into its series at fourth-seeded North Dakota, which has another nickname distraction brewing.

No. 8 Michigan Tech is hopeful that lessons learned from the regular-season finale at fifth-seeded Colorado College will pay off this weekend. The Tigers will need to play up to their potential to get a sweep and keep their Pairwise hopes alive.

No. 7 Nebraska Omaha hopes to reverse its downward trend at No. 6 St. Cloud State, which expects a physical series against the red Mavs.

Here are the Roman Empire’s predictions, including two series upsets.

Thursday reading: League honors, playoff notes, pros and women updates

CC sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert shared co-defensive player of the week honors from the WCHA. He gets a rematch in this weekend’s playoff series. Here’s preview notes from the fifth seeded Tigers and Huskies.

North Dakota climbed from 11th to fourth by season’s end, giving them home ice against Bemidji State this weekend. Beavers coach Tom Serratore talks UND in this video.

The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, seeded second in the WCHA playoffs, dyed their hair blonde last seaosn and won a national title. They hope Mohawks do the trick this seasonHere are notes for the playoff series preview against MSU Mankato.

Top seed Minnesota hosts last-place Alaska Anchorage a year after the Seawolves upset the Gophers. No. 3 Denver hosts No. 10 Wisconsin while sixth seeded SCSU hosts Nebraska Omaha.

Former Tiger Brian McMillin played his 100th pro game last Friday. Nate Prosser reminisces about the Minnesota state hockey tournament.

Here’s Bruce Ciskie’s look at the WCHA playoffs with predictions and the Merrimack beat writer’s predictions for the Hockey East quarterfinals. Tiger fans should hope he was wrong about Merrimack advancing.

The Grand Forks Herald provides only a smidgen of information since injury updates are forbidden during playoff time.Here’s the latest on the Sioux nickname mess. Here’s Goon’s World All-WCHA blogger ballot.

Pine Creek graduate Emily West cracked the women’s top 10 in all-time points at Minnesota with 153 career points last weekend.

From the WCHA:

Playoffs, First Round – Best-of-Three

Games for Friday, March 9: (12) Alaska Anchorage at (1) Minnesota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; (11) Minnesota State at (2) Minnesota Duluth (NC), 7:07 pm CT; (10) Wisconsin at (3) Denver (NC), 7:37 pm MT; (9) Bemidji State at (4) North Dakota (NC), 7:37 pm CT; (8) Michigan Tech at (5) Colorado College (NC), 7:37 pm MT; (7) Nebraska Omaha at (6) St. Cloud State (NC), 7:37 pm CT.

Games for Saturday, March 10: (12) Alaska Anchorage at (1) Minnesota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; (11) Minnesota State at (2) Minnesota Duluth (NC), 7:07 pm CT; (10) Wisconsin at (3) Denver (NC), 7:07 pm MT; (9) Bemidji State at (4) North Dakota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; (8) Michigan Tech at (5) Colorado College (NC), 7:07 pm MT; (7) Nebraska Omaha at (6) St. Cloud State (NC), 7:07 pm CT.

Games for Sunday, March 11 (if necessary): (12) Alaska Anchorage at (1) Minnesota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; (11) Minnesota State at (2) Minnesota Duluth (NC), 7:07 pm CT; (10) Wisconsin at (3) Denver (NC), 7:07 pm MT; (9) Bemidji State at (4) North Dakota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; (8) Michigan Tech at (5) Colorado College (NC), 7:07 pm MT; (7) Nebraska Omaha at (6) St. Cloud State (NC), 7:07 pm CT.

Thursday reading: Sioux nickname, ECAC capsules, weekend previews and features

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

The NCAA ruled Wednesday that North Dakota would forfeit its NCAA postseason games if any team members, cheerleaders or band member wore the Sioux nickname or image during an event.

Bernard Franklin, an NCAA executive vice president, said in a letter to university provost Paul LeBel that the university “must forfeit competition” if “it has not adhered to this requirement” in any postseason games that UND teams have been invited to play in.

“We ask that the university take measures to minimize or eliminate the presence of the imagery or nickname brought to an NCAA championship venue,” Franklin’s letter says.

That’s a dose of reality for the fans still fighting to keep the nickname, but North Dakota may not have to worry about that if their NCAA Tournament bubble bursts. The letter does not affect the home playoff series or the WCHA Final Five.

North Dakota also continues to struggle to field a full lineup due to injuries.

Here’s a link to the America One video streaming for college hockey around the country. You can always watch the Tigers via a link on CCTigers.com, but wouldn’t you rather watch them live?

Here’s a capsule preview of the Michigan Tech at No. 19 Colorado series. If the Tigers win Friday or Saturday night, more than 1,000 home playoff game tickets go on sale immediately. WCHA Final Five tickets go on sale on Monday.

MSU Mankato heads to North Dakota with a player returning from injury.

The Gophers are focused on beating Wisconsin, not the league title; along with other injury updates, etc. The Badgers’ Jason Clark is featured. Here’s a look at a big week in the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry.

Another Colorado Thunderbird commits to Denver, which travels to fifth-place Nebraska Omaha this weekend. The Pioneers will be without Beau Bennett and David Makowski.

St. Cloud State hosts No. 2 Minnesota Duluth in another series that will affect home playoff ice possibilities.

Bemidji State goes to Alaska Anchorage with both teams want to build momentum before going on the road in the league playoffs.

Here’s Bruce Ciskie’s take on the WCHA’s top forwards, including Jaden and Rylan Schwartz.

Former Minnesota captain Frank Sanders has died.

Here are Without a Peer’s ECAC first-round playoff capsules. Here’s the Pairwise rankings to see which series bear watching for WCHA fans.

The Patty Kazmaier finalists (women’s Hobey Baker award) were announced and six WCHA players made the 10-player list.

Here’s a rink the CC players will be familiar with after October 2012: the Cornell arena.

Former Tiger Brian Connelly is victorious in his return to AHL Rockford after being traded to Abbotsford a month ago.

This weekend’s schedule courtesy WCHA.com:

Games for Friday, March 2: Denver at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 6:37 pm CT; Wisconsin at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Minnesota State at North Dakota (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:37 pm MT; Bemidji State at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.

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

Thursday reading: Weekend previews, Sioux nickname, GLI

Colorado College junior goaltender Joe Howe makes a save in the second period of an NCAA hockey game against the University of Denver at the DU's Magness Arena on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011. (Daniel Petty, The Denver Post)

Colorado College’s defense is much improved of late while junior goalie Joe Howe will be the likely starter this Friday at Bemidji State. Backup Courtney Lockwood is making his first road trip. BSU coach Tom Serratore previews (video) the home series against CC.

Because of injuries, North Dakota does not have the extra players needed for a “healthy scratch” when it travels to No. 3 Minnesota Duluth. The Sioux nickname returns at the University of North Dakota, at least temporarily. The Big Sky Conference, the new league home for the other UND sports, is not amused.

It looks the Big 10 and The National may end up holding its postseason tournaments at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul every other year.

The top line for No.1/2 Minnesota will be a real test for Denver, which hosts the confident Gophers this weekend and needs to do well down the stretch to avoid having to win the Final Five tournament outright for an NCAA bid.

Nebraska-Omaha travels to Michigan Tech in a battle of two teams tied for fifth place. Mankato travels to Anchorage to conclude the Seawolves’ homestand.

St. Cloud State is idle this week. Here’s a profile of goalie Mike Lee in the interim. The Badgers also have the weekend off.

The Great Lakes Invitational will be played outdoors Dec. 28 and 29, 2012 and will included future National Collegiate Hockey Conference member Western Michigan. The NCHC announced Wednesday that it would have a 24-game league schedule when it begins play in October 2013.

Here’s the weekend schedule courtesy of wcha.com …

Games for Friday, February 10: *Nebraska Omaha at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; North Dakota at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Colorado College at Bemidji State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Minnesota at Denver (WCHA), 8:07 pm MT; Minnesota State at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT. * Winter Carnival

Games for Saturday, February 11: *Nebraska Omaha at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 5:07 pm ET; Colorado College at Bemidji State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; North Dakota at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota at Denver (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT; Minnesota State at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT. * Winter Carnival