2012 Summer In Review
by Avash Kalra/Staff Writer
Almost six months have passed since April 7, when the Boston College Eagles capped a 19-0 run to their third national championship in the past five years, defeating upstart Ferris State 4-1 in the national championship game in Tampa. But the news never stops when the season does. With the 2012-13 campaign around the corner, here’s a chance to get caught up on what you might have missed — from conference re-alignment drama and coaching changes to controversies and scandals.
Still celebrating their second national championship at Boston College, junior forward Chris Kreider (New York Rangers) and junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin (Carolina Hurricanes) signed NHL deals. Last season, Kreider led the Eagles in goals and points, and Dumoulin, who led BC defensemen in scoring, was a Hobey Baker Award finalist.
Mike Hastings, who had served as an assistant coach under Dean Blais at Nebraska-Omaha for the past three years, was named head coach at Minnesota State. Hastings is also a former assistant coach for the U.S. national junior team. Speaking of Blais, his successor at North Dakota, Dave Hakstol, who over eight years since taking over for Blais has become the third-winningest coach in program history, signed a six-year contract extension through the 2017-18 season. Hakstol, who has coached in five Frozen Fours in the past eight years, led North Dakota to its third consecutive Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA Final Five champions last year. Later in the summer, Hakstol replaced long-time assistant coach Cary Eades with former Sioux defenseman Brad Berry, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.
Preparations for the historic college hockey conference re-alignment, which will dramatically alter the sport’s landscape beginning in the fall of 2013, began in earnest. The Big Ten announced that, when it begins play in 2013-14, its postseason tournament will be hosted, in alternating years, by Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena and St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Soon after the announcement, two Big Ten schools (Wisconsin and Minnesota) announced that they will play outdoors at Chicago’s Solider Field this season, as part of a doubleheader on February 17, 2013 that will also feature a game between Notre Dame and Miami.
The NCHC, set to begin play in 2013-14 with Jim Scherr as commissioner, named Air Force administrator Joe Novak as its Director of Hockey Operations. Scherr previously spent nine years, including time as CEO, with the United State Olympic Committee. Later in the summer, Scherr announced that the Target Center in Minneapolis will serve as the conference’s home for its postseason tournament.
Union extended the contract of coach Rick Bennett through the 2018-19 season. Last year, Bennett led the Dutchmen to a 26-8-7 record, ECAC regular season and tournament titles, and the first Frozen Four appearance in program history. Later in the month, Michigan’s Red Berenson also signed a contract extension, through the 2015-16 season. Berenson, who has led the Wolverines since 1984, has guided Michigan to a record 22 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including 11 Frozen Fours and two national championships (1996, 1998).
Don “Toot” Cahoon resigned as head coach of Massachusetts after completing his 12th season at the helm for the Minutemen. Later in the summer, he was replaced by John Micheletto, a 21-year coaching veteran who spent the last nine seasons as an assistant at Vermont. Micheletto was far from the Minutemen’s first choice. Previously, UMass offered the position to Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold and Holy Cross head coach Paul Pearl, but both turned the offer down. Later in the summer, Pecknold signed a contract extension for the Bobcats, through the 2016-17 season.
Hockey East voted to accept Connecticut to the league starting in 2013-14, making the Huskies the league’s 12th team after the prior addition of Notre Dame brought the conference total to 11. “If you look at basketball, you look at football, you look at soccer, field hockey, baseball, they’re all competing in the national tournament every year,” long-time coach Bruce Marshall told CHN in the days following the announcement. “Now that we have the opportunity, we want to be in that same line.” Starting next season, Hockey East will expand its playoff format, qualifying each of the league's teams for the postseason tournament.
In the NHL draft, 67 current or incoming college player were drafted, led by American-born, Michigan-bound defenseman Jacob Trouba, who was selected ninth-overall by the Winnipeg Jets. Trouba’s selection represented the highest college player selected in the draft since 2008 (Colin Wilson, 7th overall, Boston University). Five additional incoming NCAA players were selected in the first round of the draft: Vermont’s Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo Sabres, 14th overall), Providence’s Mark Jankowski (Calgary Flames, 21st overall), Boston College’s Michael Matheson (Florida Panthers, 23rd overall), North Dakota’s Jordan Schmaltz (St. Louis Blues, 25th overall), Minnesota’s Brady Skjei (New York Rangers, 28th overall). Soon after the draft, Girgensons decided to forego playing for Vermont in order to sign an NHL contract instead.
In a relatively quiet month highlighted by the UMass coaching search recapped above, Nebraska-Omaha’s Jayson Megna, who would have been the Mavericks’ second-leading returning scorer, decided to leave after his freshman campaign to sign an NHL deal. Earlier in the summer, Nebraska-Omaha lost captain Terry Broadhurst to the NHL.
In a highly anticipated decision spurred in part by poor attendance issues in Atlantic City, he ECAC announced that it will be moving its postseason tournament back to the famed Olympic Center in Lake Placid, beginning in March 2014. Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games (including the “Miracle on Ice” game in 1980), served as home of the ECAC postseason tournament from 1993-2002.
Mike Snee, previously the Executive Director of Minnesota Hockey, was named the new Executive Director of College Hockey Inc., the marketing arm for the sport responsible for outreach and education. College Hockey Inc. was previously led by Paul Kelly, whose controversial departure several months earlier, led to a restructuring of the organization.
With the 2012-13 season just weeks away, an internal task force at Boston University released its findings that included a description of the Terriers’ program as a “celebrity culture.” The task force was created in March after two sexual assault allegations on campus involving hockey players Max Nicastro and Corey Trevino. Both players were dismissed from the team, though prosecutors later dropped rape charges against Nicastro, a Detroit Red Wings draft pick. University President Robert Brown removed Terriers head coach Jack Parker from the position of Executive Athletic Director in order to “establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability between the coach, the Athletic Director, and the President of the University.” The scandal comes in the wake of the recent scandal involving Penn State’s football program and a subsequent national discussion about the culture of college sports. Among over a dozen additional recommendations from the task force, the men’s hockey team members at BU must now undergo sexual assault training on an annual basis.
Formal practices began for most teams in preparation of the 2012-13 season, which officially begins on Saturday October 6. Niagara and Bowling Green play the first official game of the season, followed later that evening by two more nonconference matchups, with Quinnipiac visiting Maine and Merrimack visiting a Union team coming off a Frozen Four appearance a year ago.