CHN New Season Primer: Road to St. Louis
CHN Staff Report
Someone once said, "It's all relative." And someone was right.
The summer is either too long, or too short, depending on how you look at it. But either way, we know it's over.
And so it is that we come upon another college hockey season, and College Hockey News' second year.
The 2006-07 college hockey season gets under way with the start of the official practices this weekend and several exhibitions, and then with the season's first real games, Oct. 6. Between now and then, College Hockey News will have all the information and analysis necessary to get you started.
And in order to first shake all of our cobwebs out, we start with this primer on the new season:
Like every fall when kids return to school, we start with a review.
When last season was put on ice, we saw the return of the Wisconsin Badgers to the status of national champions, with a stirring win over Boston College at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. When Peter Harrold's shot rang off the post with 0:02 remaining, the Badgers were able to hang on for the title.
To review all the excitement from last year's postseason, see CHN's 2006 TourneyWatch section, which includes dozens of articles, insight and data about the tournaments.
The Road to St. Louis
This year, the Frozen Four will head to St. Louis, a "non-traditional" city, if you will, but one that has a rich hockey tradition.
You'll be able to follow the Road to St. Louis on CHN's 2007 TourneyWatch page. That page also has information on the NCAA Regionals, including locations, times and ticket information.
The arena the Frozen Four will be played in has undergone two name changes since its inception, so if you're confused, don't be alarmed. The Kiel Center opened in 1994, a new home for the St. Louis Blues. But in 2000, the naming rights were sold and it became the Savvis Center; and in another six years, the rights were sold again. It's now the Scottrade Center. Oy! Again, get more info via TourneyWatch.
Getting to the NCAAs will be slightly different this year, thanks to another round of tweaks to the NCAAs tournament selection criteria (article). We still advocate KRACH as a better method to solve these issues, but if you want to understand the current process, check out our FAQ.
Comings and Goings
The biggest changes during the summer came by way of a mass exodus of high end talent to the pros, along with the usual assortment of other defections. That issue was well-chronicled here throughout the summer. (see: complete list of player moves.)
And if you just want to see the current rosters, all of them can be launched from here.
Of course, there were changes in the coaching ranks again, although it was limited to just the ECAC, where Yale and RPI dismissed long-standing mentors. None was longer standing than Yale's Tim Taylor, who was unceremoniously removed last spring. The situation was tempered by the hiring of Taylor protege Keith Allain, a goalie for Yale in the early '80s. Dan Fridgen won an ECAC tournament title in his first season at RPI, in 1995, but never matched that. He was replaced by Seth Appert, another former goalie and a young coach who was an assistant for Denver's two recent national championship teams.
The coaching fraternity will also miss a legend, Maine assistant Grant Standbrook, who retired from full-time coaching, but will still be a volunteer for the Black Bears.
Numerous coaches received lengthy contract extensions during the offseason, including Rand Pecknold (Quinnipiac), Rick Gotkin (Mercyhurst), Paul Pearl (Holy Cross), Red Berenson (Michigan), Scott Sandelin (Minnesota-Duluth), Derek Schooley (Robert Morris), Kevin Sneddon (Vermont), Nate Leaman (Union) and Dave Burkholder (Niagara).
The current coaching status for all teams can be found, as always, in our Almanac.
There was some other news from the summer, none bigger than the latest reprieve the CHA appears set to get locked in. After Air Force's departure for Atlantic Hockey, CHA was left with five teams, one short of the NCAA minimum to receive an automatic bid. With no new schools looking to enter the league, there was speculation that the member schools would announce the disbanding of the conference, effective following this season. But at the April coaches convention, a loophole was found in the NCAA by-laws.
There were some minor rules changes enacted, which were recently discussed here.
There are two gorgeous new arenas that will be played in this season. Miami's Steve Cady Arena will open right away, and will host the first game of the season, between Vermont and Colgate in the first semifinal of the season-commencing tournament. Miami and Denver will follow. The other new arena, at Quinnipiac, will not be ready until January.
In addition, Cornell's Lynah Rink and Western Michigan's Lawson Arena underwent multi-million dollar renovations.
And don't look now, but Alaska-Fairbanks is now just "Alaska." The school is now designated the main campus of the state university system, and just like "Minnesota" and "Massachusetts," it now gets the state-only distinction. Alaska-Anchorage remains the same.
The season gets under way on October 6, with some great matchups right out of the chute. For a list of great games on the horizon, see this entry in our brand new CHN Blog.
The overall schedule is here, and links to the team schedules are here. New at CHN, you can also download the team schedule to your calendar, for use in any software program or PDA that supports it.
And through the course of the year, don't forget our stats pages, which can be viewed numerous different ways, and the custom stats area, which members can use to keep tallies on favorite groups of players.
Check us Out
The best thing to do if you want to follow everything, is check out College Hockey News often.
And CHN has lots of new staff, and new partnerships, that will help us grow and provide more coverage.
A good place to start, too, is the CHN Team page of your favorite school, available from the drop down menu near the top right of every page.
Enjoy the season.