Get tickets now for annual face off luncheon on Oct. 4

From Colorado Springs Sports Corp. …

Head coaches Scott Owens of Colorado College and Frank Serratore of Air Force will highlight the annual Colorado Springs Sports Corp’s College Hockey Face Off Luncheon on Thursday, October 4, at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort at Noon.

Both squads open at home right after the lunch with exhibition games against the University of British Columbia. The Tigers face UBC at the Colorado Springs World Arena on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 6:07 p.m. and the Falcons host the Thunderbirds on Monday, Oct. 8 at the Cadet Ice Arena.

The two local foes get to know each other early this year, with Air Force hosting the Tigers on Friday night, October 19 at the Cadet Ice Arena. The teams play only once this season.

Both coaches have a lot to talk about related to tough schedules and their top returning players, mixed in with a few outstanding freshmen who will play.

The Tigers finished 18-16-2 last season (5th in the WCHA), while the Falcons went 21-11-7, won their conference title, then lost to eventual NCAA Champion Boston College, 2-0, in the regional.

It’s the final season for the Tigers in the WCHA, with CC entering the new National College Hockey Conference (NCHC) in the 2013-2014 season with Nebraska-Omaha, Denver, Miami (O), North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan.

TICKETS: $25.00 for Sports Corp Members and AFA or CC Booster Club Members with ID. $35.00 for all others.

TABLES (10 Seats): $250.00 for Sports Corp Members or AFA/CC Boosters; $350.00 for all others.

RESERVATIONS: Contact Lincoln Floyd at the Sports Corp (719) 634-7333, ext. 1000, or by e-mail:


Thursday reading: Michigan, Jablonski, NCHC, Civitarese, Guentzel

Former Tiger David Civitarese made quite an impression at the recent prospects camp. Thanks to CC statistician Victoria Thomas for providing this image.

Here is a list of Michigan college players who signed pro contracts so far this offseason including Michigan Tech’s Jordan Baker going to ECHL Colorado.

Injured high school hockey player Jack Jablonski is making considerable progress.

Here is an update on CC’s $27 million in renovations at its El Pomar athletic complex, which will include a new varsity weight room and synthetic ice shooting room for the hockey program.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference added two to its league office staff.

And from the How Did I Miss This? story department, here are two older articles on former Tigers. David Civitarese was happy to miss the Calgary Stampede last month. Gabe Guentzel made a good first impression during his first partial pro season.

Anyone traveling to Omaha later this month may want to check out this hockey game fundraiser that features former Nebraska Omaha players and current NHLers.

Tuesday reading: Incoming NCHC freshmen, Michigan jerseys, outdoor games, PSU arena construction, D-1 composite schedule

Here is a look at the incoming Minnesota-Duluth freshmen and the 2012 recruiting class for Western Michigan.

Michigan announced a change to its away jerseys and that they will wear retro jerseys for the outdoor game.

Here is USCHO’s compilation of past outdoor game results and upcoming events that have been reported or announced for the 2012-13 season.

A Penn State fan blog updates the ongoing construction for the Nittany Lions’ new hockey arena.

Here is a spreadsheet that attempts to compile all the Division I hockey teams 2012-13 schedules together. The CC schedule looks correct so give this a look if you are curious about other teams. I cannot guarantee all the schedules are correct or have not changed since this was compiled. Thanks to the BU fan blog for finding this and linking it.

Former Tiger Nate Prosser will take part in a June 20 charity game at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

Monday reading: UMass-Lowell lookahead, North Dakota news, NCHC recruits, Alaska youth hockey upgrade, CC graduation rate, Civitarese

Coach Norm Bazin, center, runs through drills with the UMass Lowell hockey team at the Tsongas Center last season. Bazin, hired last spring, wasted no time turning the program around. SUN / TORY GERMANN

Here’s a good look at the 2011-12 season in Hockey East with some good 2012-13 info on UMass-Lowell, coached by former Tiger assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers, which returns its top three scorers and starting goalie for the game in Colorado Springs in October.

That looks to be a very challenging game to play a night after playing at Air Force. That promises to be a big weekend for Pairwise, even though it will only be the third weekend.

Brad Berry is the lead contender for the open North Dakota assistant’s job.

North Dakota forward Rocco Grimaldi skated for the first time on Friday as he recovers from his season-ending knee surgery

A SCSU recruit scored the game-winner to claim the RBC Cup (junior A national championship) in Canada.

A good offensive defenseman and Duluth recruit was named as the USHL Defenseman of the Year. Former Tiger Tom Preissing garnered the same award for the 1998-99 season.

UMD sent out a corrected 2012-13 hockey schedule that works around the BYU-Notre Dame football game, among other scheduling demands.

The formation of the Alaska Jr. Aces should help youth hockey development in Anchorage. Why should a Tiger fan care? Consider that CC has four Alaskans — Hunter Fejes, Jared Hanson, William Rapuzzi, and Scott Wamsganz — on its roster for 2012-13 and have had a few great Alaskan players (Brian Swanson, Joey Crabb spring to mind) over the years.

Regardless of who is on the roster, the Tigers take care of academics when you consider this story about the entire department’s student-athletes. Former Tiger David Civitarese is a great example of that.

The USHL championships series will go to a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday. There are no current CC commits playing at Waterloo or Green Bay.

Alaska-Fairbanks announced its 2012-13 schedule which includes it season opener against Air Force in the Anchorage tournament.

The AHL conference final series resume on Monday. Norfolk, which includes Colorado Springs’ Jeff Dimmen (one assist, two games) has a 2-0 lead over St. John’s while Oklahoma City and Toronto are tied at 1-1 in the West finals.

Wednesday reading: AFA schedule, face shields, Novak reaction

One of the highlights of Air Force’s 2012-13 schedule includes a road series at new NCAA Division I program Penn State Nov. 9-10.

The defending Atlantic Hockey Association regular-season and playoff champion Falcons play an exhibition against British Columbia on Oct. 8, travel to the Fairbanks tournament the next weekend and then to Denver on Oct. 18 before the official home opener against Colorado College on Oct. 19. Think the Falcon fans will be excited for that one?

Here is a College Hockey News column by a doctor in support of eliminating full face shields.

Here is my USCHO article about Joe Novak’s hire as director of hockey operations. Feel free to join the fray in the comment board which is (I feel a twinge of pain while typing this) way more interesting than my article.

NCHC names Novak as operations director (updated with quotes)

Joe Novak could hardly contain his excitement this February while he read the job advertisement for the director of hockey operations at the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
“As I read the description I saw it was a perfect fit,” he said. “I jumped on it right away. This position is both a great challenge and a great opportunity and, with so much to do, I look forward to working
closely with the conference athletic directors and coaches and to getting to work.”
Commissioner Jim Scherr and the search committee that provided the commissioner with a list of three finalists out of the 160-plus applicants,  saw Novak as a perfect fit as well. Of those applicants, about 20 were discussed, and 12 were vetted before a final three emerged, said Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph, who served on the committee.
The hire of the veteran sports management executive, currently an Air Force Academy assistant
athletic director, USA Hockey supervisor of officials and NHL off-ice official, was announced on Tuesday.
“It’s a great hire by them,” said Air Force head coach Frank Serratore. “Joe is going to go in and do a great job setting up the league. He has the passion, connections in the hockey community and knowledge to excel in that position. It is a huge loss (for the academy) but Joe has done a good job preparing whoever his successor will be.”
Novak will be responsible for the internal hockey operations and administration of the Division I conference, which begins play in October 2013. Among his immediate tasks will be developing a
comprehensive league schedule; implementing a system for overseeing on-ice officials; developing and implementing league rules, playing standards, statistical programs and a discipline program; and serving as the hockey operations liaison with coaches and others in the hockey community.
“Joe’s officiating and operations background really set him apart,”  Ralph said. “He just had the background that best fit the job the league needed filled.”
Novak, a Colorado Springs resident, has more than 30 years of experience in sports management, the last 15 of them with Division I Air Force, including roles in athletic operations, events management and scheduling, athletic facilities management, contract management, and tournament and special events director.
He also has worked as an on-ice official, and as an off-ice official at the 2010 Vancouver Games; game operations manager for the Torino 2006 Olympic Committee/International Ice Hockey Federation; and managing athletic programs for the New York Military Army Command at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY, and the United States Army Europe Headquarters/Heidelberg Military Community in Germany.
“Being able to bring to the Conference a proven and imaginative executive with outstanding hockey credentials like Joe to serve as our Director of Hockey Operations is tremendous for our members and for me personally,” Scherr said in a press release. “The Conference’s inaugural season begins in about 18 months and there are many tasks to complete in advance of dropping the first puck. I will be relying on Joe to ensure that everything relating to hockey operations will be the best in intercollegiate athletics.”
Novak said he will begin working part-time for The National on May 15 while fulfilling his contract with the academy, which ends July 1. He begins work full-time for the league on July 15. He has not been involved with the league’s search for a postseason venue, which is being negotiated by Scherr.
Novak’s officiating background makes him a good hire, said Colorado College head coach Scott Owens.
“From a coach’s perspective, officiating is a huge part of the game,” he said. “Joe’s background and his contacts will help the league a lot in that way.”
Novak’s enthusiasm for the job was apparent, even in a telephone interview. He first heard some details about the job from Ralph before the Air Force-CC game in late December. He was interested and once he saw the ad, he was hooked.
“Getting this job is a culmination of all the work I have done up to this moment in a sport I love,” he said. “I have known and respected Jim Scherr since I first met when he was with the (United States Olympic Committee). The quality of the people involved, the coaches and the programs make this a great position to step into. I am very fortunate to leave one great job for another that allows me to focus on college hockey; a sport I love. How can you beat that?”
The league was formed in July 2011 by six founding members; Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, and North Dakota. St. Cloud State and Western Michigan joined on Sept. 22.
The recent conference realignments started with the announcement of Penn State’s new Division 1 program, which prompted the other Big Ten schools to form a six-team conference that starts play in 2013. The Big Ten has since signed a postseason tournament deal rotating the site between St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center and Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.
That league will include PSU and current Central Collegiate Hockey Association schools Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State and Western Collegiate Hockey Association members Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Those schools’ departure and concern over losing ground in recruiting and prestige prompted the original six members to form the NCHC in Colorado Springs, where the league is headquartered in the Copper Building near the Broadmoor Hotel.
After Notre Dame left the CCHA for Hockey East, the remaining members of the WCHA absorbed the depleted CCHA, which will cease operations after the 2012-13 season.

Monday reading: DU, Minnesota updates; Final 5 wrap; R. Schwartz; good eats

Injuries from Saturday’s 4-0 loss to North Dakota will test Denver’s depth in the NCAAs vs. Ferris State.

It’s going to be difficult for Minnesota not to look past Boston University to a possible West region final against North Dakota. If they do, it could be the second embarrassing loss in a row for a team that looked to have all the pieces for an NCAA title.

Here’s Puckato’s wrap-up of the WCHA Final Five.

Rylan Schwartz is rightfully garnering the attention of some NHL teams looking for college free agents according to the Toronto Sun’s Calgary reporter: “After vowing to put more resources and energy into trying to sign U.S. college free agents, word is the Flames are indeed in hot pursuit of a couple players right now. Problem is, so are 30 other teams. One of the more interesting players available out there is centre Rylan Schwartz, who left Colorado College last week with brother Jaden, who captained Canada at the world juniors. Jaden, who scored his first NHL goal Saturday with the St. Louis Blues, had 15 goals in 30 NCAA hockey outings this year, while his older brother had 23. Another name on the Flames radar is diminutive forward J.T. Brown from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.”

Five future National Collegiate Hockey Conference members made the 2012 NCAAs: Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota and Western Michigan. With the Broncos and Sioux playing, at least one will make a regional final. Judging from the pairings, attendance should be good at all four regions.

West region, St. Paul, March 24-25
No. 1. North Dakota vs. 4. Western Michigan
2. Minnesota vs. 3. Boston University

Midwest region, Green Bay, March 23-24
No. 1 Michigan vs. 4. Cornell
2. Ferris State vs. 3. Denver

East region, Bridgeport, Conn., March 23-24
No. 1. Union vs.   4. Michigan State
2. Miami vs. 3. UMass-Lowell

Northeast region,  Worcester, Mass., March 24-25
No. 1 Boston College vs. 4. Air Force
2. Minnesota Duluth vs. 3. Maine

And finally, an all-star team we can all feel strong about — the all-WCHA dining team.

More Wednesday reading: UNO live chat, CC and SCSU renovations, Lowell update

Join USCHO’s Matthew Semisch for a live chat on Nebraska Omaha hockey.

The $3.5 million donor for the new fitness center at Colorado College, part of the $27 million renovations and new construction project at CC’s El Pomar Sports Complex was announced. The renovations will include a new varsity weight and cardio room and an “ice” shooting practice room.

A $14.7 million renovation and new construction project for the 23-year-old National Hockey Center is schedueld to be completed in time for St. Cloud State’s National Collegiate Hockey Conference debut in 2013.

Here’s a preview of the UMass-Lowell-Providence series. Lowell is coached by former CC assistants Norm Bazin, pictured above, and Jason Lammers, who led the RiverHawks from last to second in Hockey East  in less than 12 months. Here’s more from the Lowell Sun.

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

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 …

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