Oshie, Parise to compete for Olympic spot

USA Hockey announced its roster for the men’s Olympic orientation camp and former Sioux forwards T.J. Oshie and Zach Parise will be there competing for a spot.

Roseau’s Dustin Byfuglien also will compete for a forward spot.

A total of 19 forwards, 12 defensemen and three goalies were picked for the camp, which will be held Aug. 17-19 in Illinois.

USA Hockey says the final roster will be a total of 23 players — 20 forwards-defensemen and three goalies. So there will likely be 13 forwards and seven defensemen.

Former UND forward Jason Blake — an American representative at the 2006 Torino games — was not included on the camp roster.

Six of the 10 WCHA teams have a representative at the camp.

Wisconsin has four (Tom Gilbert, Brian Rafalski, Ryan Suter and Joe Pavelski), Minnesota has four (Paul Martin, Erik Johnson, Phil Kessel and Kyle Okposo), St. Cloud State has Ryan Malone, MSU-Mankato has David Backes and Denver has Paul Stastny.

GOALIES (3) 
Ryan Miller 6-2 (188) 166 (75) 1/17/80 L East Lansing, Mich. Buffalo Sabres
Jonathan Quick 6-1 (185) 216 (98) 1/21/86 L Milford, Conn. Los Angeles Kings
Tim Thomas 5-11 (180) 201 (91) 4/15/74 L Flint, Mich. Boston Bruins

DEFENSEMEN (12)
Tom Gilbert 6-3 (191) 206 (93) 1/10/83 R Minneapolis, Minn. Edmonton Oilers
Tim Gleason 6-0 (183) 217 (98) 1/29/83 L Clawson, Mich. Carolina Hurricanes
Ron Hainsey 6-3 (191) 205 (93) 3/24/81 L Bolton, Conn. Atlanta Thrashers
Erik Johnson 6-4 (193) 219 (99) 3/21/88 R Bloomington, Minn. St. Louis Blues
Jack Johnson 6-1 (185) 225 (102) 1/13/87 L Indianapolis, Ind Los Angeles Kings
Mike Komisarek 6-4 (193) 243 (110) 1/19/82 R West Islip, N.Y. Montreal Canadiens
Paul Martin 6-1 (185) 195 (89) 3/5/81 L Minneapolis, Minn. New Jersey Devils
Brooks Orpik 6-2 (188) 219 (99) 9/26/80 L San Francisco, Calif. Pittsburgh Penguins
Brian Rafalski 5-10 (178) 191 (87) 9/28/73 R Dearborn, Mich. Detroit Red Wings
Rob Scuderi 6-0 (183) 218 (99) 12/30/78 L Syosset, N.Y. Pittsburgh Penguins
Ryan Suter 6-1 (185) 194 (88) 1/21/85 L Madison, Wis. Nashville Predators
Ryan Whitney 6-4 (193) 219 (99) 2/19/83 L Boston, Mass. Anaheim Ducks

FORWARDS (19)
David Backes 6-3 (191) 216 (98) 5/1/84 R Minneapolis, Minn. St. Louis Blues
David Booth 6-0 (183) 212 (96) 11/24/84 L Detroit, Mich. Florida Panthers
Dustin Brown 6-0 (183) 207 (94) 11/4/84 R Ithaca, N.Y. Los Angeles Kings
Dustin Byfuglien 6-3 (191) 247 (112) 3/27/85 R Minneapolis, Minn. Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Callahan 5-11 (180) 188 (85) 3/21/85 R Rochester, N.Y. New York Rangers
Chris Drury 5-10 (178) 190 (86) 8/20/76 R Trumbull, Conn. New York Rangers
Scott Gomez 5-11 (180) 200 (91) 12/23/79 L Anchorage, Alaska New York Rangers
Patrick Kane 5-10 (178) 175 (79) 11/19/88 L Buffalo, N.Y. Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Kesler 6-2 (188) 205 (93) 8/31/84 R Livonia, Mich. Vancouver Canucks
Phil Kessel 6-0 (183) 180 (82) 10/2/87 R Madison, Wis. Boston Bruins
Jamie Langenbrunner 6-1 (185) 205 (93) 7/24/75 R Cloquet, Minn. New Jersey Devils
Ryan Malone 6-4 (193) 224 (102) 12/1/79 L Pittsburgh, Pa. Tampa Bay Lightning
Mike Modano 6-3 (191) 210 (95) 6/7/70 L Livonia, Mich. Dallas Stars
Kyle Okposo 6-1 (185) 200 (91) 4/16/88 R St. Paul, Minn. New York Islanders
T.J. Oshie 5-11 (180) 170 (77) 12/23/86 R Warroad, Minn. St. Louis Blues
Zach Parise 5-11 (180) 190 (86) 7/28/84 L Minneapolis, Minn. New Jersey Devils

Joe Pavelski 5-11 (180) 195 (89) 7/11/84 R Stevens Point, Wis. San Jose Sharks
Bobby Ryan 6-2 (188) 208 (94) 3/17/87 R Cherry Hill, N.J. Anaheim Ducks
Paul Stastny 6-0 (183) 205 (93) 12/27/85 L Quebec City, Quebec Colorado Avalanche

Bemidji celebrates; CCHA reacts

Bemidji State celebrated its admission into the WCHA on Monday afternoon and held a press conference on campus. In reading the stories posted on the Bemidji Pioneer site, it seems that Tom Serratore’s comments are the most interesting and they are all dead-on accurate (get used to that type of stuff coming from him).

A quick, general roundup of his comments:

  • Getting into the WCHA is bigger than going to the Frozen Four. The Frozen Four may eventually fade from memory, but the WCHA will be there week in and week out.
  • This never would have happened without Bemidji getting a new rink.
  • This will open up new doors in recruiting. How many times do you hear kids say that they want to play in the WCHA?
  • Bemidji State will have to adjust to playing the WCHA schedule. He said it’s one thing to play a WCHA every now and then, but having to do it week in and week out is going to be a big, new challenge.

Someone in the comments section asked about the CCHA’s reaction. CCHA commish Tom Anastos sent out a statement on Friday that said:

"We are disappointed to hear of UNO’s decision to leave the CCHA, as they have been a very good member for our league, and we wish them well. We have an excellent league, with very strong membership, and we will continue to focus all of our attention on being a great conference and a leader in helping to shape the future of college hockey. At this time, it serves no purpose to speculate on how this latest decision will impact the future makeup of the CCHA membership. There is a process being followed with respect to admittance or any new member and we are committed to following that process."

During Friday’s conference call, WCHA commish Bruce McLeod said he ran into Anastos in San Antonio earlier this month and the two talked about what was going on. Anastos made it clear to McLeod that he did not want to lose UNO.

McLeod said: "We went into this process above board, trying to do things the right way, the best way we possibly could, and part of that was keeping Tom informed. I hope we followed through on that. He made it perfectly clear that he did not want to lose Omaha and he made other suggestions to me. But in the end, when we were taking a broad look at things and I needed to step back and do what’s best for college hockey in general. I hoped that if in fact this worked out with Omaha or someone else, that it would open a slot in the CCHA and it could save another program. I can’t tell them what to do, but hopefully that slot can be filled by Huntsville."

One more at-large bid

One item that has not been heavily discussed during the conference realignment process is that ultimately, there is going to be one more at-large bid available to the NCAA tournament. The CHA will no longer be getting an auto bid.

This would have gotten one extra WCHA team in each of the last two years. MSU-Mankato was the last team left out in 2008. Wisconsin and Minnesota were the last teams left out in 2009. I also believe that St. Cloud State was the last team left out in 2006. Don’t remember 2007.

The last few years, the WCHA race has been extremely tight. It might not have had as many teams in the top five, but one of the reasons is that they all have beaten up on each other. Nobody has been allowed to run away with the conference title and a bunch of teams have lined up right on the bubble.

Maybe one of those bubble teams, who have perhaps done more to earn a spot in the NCAAs over the course of the year than the CHA champion, will be rewarded under the new conference setup.

I haven’t heard whether or not the CHA will get its waiver to have an auto bid again this year — its final as a league. But either way, another NCAA tournament slot is opening up soon.

Some more NHL draft notes

Here are a few more notes compiled after yesterday’s NHL draft, which saw Corban Knight, Derek Rodwell and Mike Cichy get picked:

  • Five incoming freshmen this fall are draft picks: Danny Kristo (2nd), Brett Bruneteau (4th), Mike Cichy (7th), Joe Gleason (7th) and Andrew MacWilliam (7th).
  • UND will have a total of 15 draft picks on the roster next season. If that’s not a record, it’s going to be close. It certainly hasn’t happened since the 1980s.
  • Kristo (No. 56 overall) will be the highest draft pick on the team next season.
  • UND will not have a first-round draft pick on the team this season. The last time that happened was 1999-00, also UND’s last national title. In fact, the only first-round pick to win a national title at UND was James Patrick in 1982.
  • Derek Rodwell continued a recent trend of NHL teams going off the board to get a Sioux recruit. Rodwell was unranked by Central Scouting. Other guys who were unranked by Central Scouting when they committed to UND but ended up going in the draft: Knight, Brett Hextall and Matt Frattin. Jason Gregoire was unranked at midterm by Central Scouting, but committed after the final rankings came out, where he was No. 145. Brett Bruneteau was unranked in the final rankings, but had a spot at midterm.
  • UND’s numbers were down a little bit with three guys going (the Sioux had six in each of the last two years). But it still ranked fifth in all of college hockey. Only St. Cloud State (6), Minnesota (6), Boston College (5) and Miami (4) had more. Draft-eligible recruits who were not selected were Danny Mattson, Mike Fink, Aaron Dell and Carter Rowney.
  • With all of this talk about draft picks, it is worth pointing out that UND’s two best players last year were Ryan Duncan and Chay Genoway — both undrafted players. In fact, three of UND’s top four scorers last season were undrafted free agents.

NHL draft day two live blog

The NHL draft is complete, the results are below. Check the Herald site later for stories.

UND’S DRAFT BOARD

Corban Knight (selected Round 5, No. 135 by Florida Panthers)
Danny Mattson
Mike Cichy (selected Round 7, No. 199 by Montreal Canadiens)
Derek Rodwell (selected Round 5, No. 144 by New Jersey Devils)

AREA DRAFT BOARD

Roseau’s Mike Lee (selected Round 3, No. 91 by Phoenix Coyotes)
Roseau’s Nick Oliver (selected Round 4, No. 110 by Nashville Predators)

WCHA DRAFT BOARD

Round 2

No. 41 – Nashville Predators – Zach Budish, F, Minnesota recruit
No. 43 — San Jose Sharks — William Wrenn, D, Denver recruit
No. 44 — Florida Panthers — Drew Shore, F, Denver recruit

Round 3

No. 63 — Pittsburgh Penguins — Ben Hanowski, F, St. Cloud State recruit
No. 67 — Florida Panthers — Josh Birkholz, F, Minnesota recruit
No. 71 — Edmonton Oilers — Troy Hesketh, D, Wisconsin recruit
No. 89 — Chicago Blackhawks — Dan Delisle, F, Minnesota-Duluth recruit
No. 91 — Phoenix Coyotes — Mike Lee, G, St. Cloud State recruit

Round 4

No. 98 — Nashville Predators — Craig Smith, F, Wisconsin recruit
No. 110 — Nashville Predators — Nick Oliver, F, St. Cloud State recruit
No. 114 — New Jersey Devils — Seth Helgeson, D, Minnesota recruit

Round 5

No. 135 — Florida Panthers — Corban Knight, F, UND recruit
No. 141 — Calgary Flames — Spencer Bennett, F, Alaska-Anchorage recruit
No. 144 — New Jersey Devils — Derek Rodwell, F, UND recruit
No. 150 — Detroit Red Wings — Nick Jensen, D, St. Cloud State recruit

Round 6

None

Round 7

No. 182 — Minnesota Wild — Erik Haula, F, Minnesota recruit
No. 195 — Chicago Blackhawks — Paul Phillips, D, Denver recruit
No. 196 — Philadelphia Flyers — Oliver Lauridsen, D, St. Cloud State recruit
No. 198 — Los Angeles Kings — Nic Dowd, F, St. Cloud State recruit
No. 199 — Montreal Canadiens — Mike Cichy, F, UND recruit
No. 202 — St. Louis Blues — Max Tardy, F, Minnesota-Duluth recruit

 

NHL draft round one updates

The first round of the NHL draft is over. Four WCHA players were selected — the highest was future Gopher defenseman Nick Leddy. All results are below. College players are in bold, WCHA players in red.

1. New York Islanders — John Tavares, OHL
2. Tampa Bay Lightning — Victor Hedman, Sweden
3. Colorado Avalanche — Matt Duchene, OHL
4. Atlanta Thrashers — Evander Kane, WHL
5. Los Angeles Kings — Brayden Schenn, WHL
6. Phoenix Coyotes — Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Sweden
7. Toronto Maple Leafs — Nazem Kadri, OHL
8. Dallas Stars — Scott Glennie, WHL
9. Ottawa Senators — Jared Cowen, WHL
10. Edmonton Oilers — Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Sweden
11. Nashville Predators — Ryan Ellis, OHL
12. New York Islanders — Calvin deHaan, OHL
13. Buffalo Sabres — Zach Kassian, OHL
14. Florida Panthers — Dmitry Kulikov, OHL
15. Anaheim Ducks — Peter Holland, OHL
16. Minnesota Wild — Nick Leddy, D, Minnesota recruit
17. St. Louis Blues — David Rundblad, Sweden
18. Montreal Canadiens — Louis LeBlanc, F, Harvard recruit
19. New York Rangers — Chris Kreider, F, Boston College recruit
20. New Jersey Devils — Jacob Josefson, Sweden
21. Columbus Blue Jackets — John Moore, D, Colorado College recruit
22. Vancouver Canucks — Jordan Schroeder, F, Minnesota
23. Calgary Flames — Tim Erixon, Sweden
24. Washington Capitals — Marcus Johansson, Sweden
25. Boston Bruins — Jordan Caron, QMJHL
26. Anaheim Ducks — Kyle Palmieri, Notre Dame recruit
27. Carolina Hurricanes — Philippe Paradis, QMJHL
28. Chicago Blackhawks — Dylan Olsen, D, Minnesota-Duluth recruit
29. Tampa Bay Lightning — Carter Ashton, WHL
30. Pittsburgh Penguins — Simon Despris, QMJHL

Expansion conference call notes

The WCHA conference call regarding the vote to add Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha has now concluded. Here are a few notes before it’s time to type up the story:

  • Commish Bruce McLeod’s three phrases to describe the day: "awful excited," "awful happy" and "awful proud."
  • McLeod says St. Cloud State’s athletic director Morris Kurtz played a key role when negotiations seemed to break down.
  • Dean Blais: "My deep down love is for the WCHA and I’m happy to be back."
  • McLeod does not want to talk specifics about the deals he brokered with UNO and BSU.
  • No scheduling system has been worked out yet for regular season or for playoffs. McLeod thinks the playoffs will be six first-round games. Two games on Thursday, two on Friday and one on Saturday.
  • McLeod hopes that the CCHA will pick up Huntsville now.
  • The vote was 9-0-1. One school decided not to vote. It wasn’t happy with the process. No word on which school that was.
  • McLeod says it was not an easy process. "Trev, you can be a tough guy to deal with and I’ve got some scars to prove it." Alberts says "I wouldn’t say Bruceis easy himself, and I say that kindly."
  • BSU coach Tom Serratore said "This is like a 200 pound monkey off of our backs."

WCHA announces the expansion for 2010-11

Here is the release that was just sent out by the WCHA:

MADISON, Wis. – In what will rank among the most significant days in the storied, 58-year history of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the membership today voted to admit both Bemidji State University and the University of Nebraska Omaha into the Association family beginning with the 2010-11 season. This marks the first expansion of the WCHA since Minnesota State University, Mankato was admitted as a 10th member for the 1999-2000 season and eighth time overall the league has expanded since it’s founding in 1951.

The admission of Bemidji State and Nebraska Omaha will bring the league membership to 12 teams. The current 10-team membership of the men’s WCHA is comprised of University of Alaska Anchorage, Colorado College, University of Denver, Michigan Technological University, University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State University, Mankato, University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University and University of Wisconsin.

“I am extremely pleased to announce that the Western Collegiate Hockey Association is expanding to twelve teams,” said WCHA Commissioner Bruce M. McLeod. “With the addition of Bemidji State University and the University of Nebraska Omaha the WCHA solidifies and positions itself to maintain and expand upon the excellence that is the WCHA.

“This is certainly a defining moment for the WCHA and we are proud to add Bemidji State and Nebraska Omaha to our already strong organization.

“This is a happy and proud day for me,” continued McLeod. “I’m happy because I think this is such a win-win circumstance for the WCHA, our new members and collegiate hockey in general. I could not be more proud of the way our WCHA members have handled this very complex circumstance and have been able to look beyond their own backyard and do what is best for college hockey and the WCHA.

“The WCHA is proud of what they’ve put together in 58 years (2009-10 will be the league’s 58th season) and I think this day will go down as a watershed day. I fully anticipate what we’ve done today will make us even better. I’m excited about the future and can’t wait to get going.”

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is home to a collegiate record 36 national championship teams since it’s founding in 1951, a record 13 Hobey Baker Memorial Award Winners, some 400 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League and some 725 NHL Draftees, more than 150 alums who have played on various Olympic hockey teams, and more than 40 players and coaches who have been part of Stanley Cup (NHL) winning clubs. In addition, the WCHA has drawn in excess of 1,500,000 fans in each of the past seven seasons and in excess of 1,000,00 for 16 consecutive years and annually conducts one of college hockey’s premier post-season tournaments – the Red Baron™ WCHA Final Five held annually at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The Final Five drew 82,065 fans this past March.

“The pieces are all falling into place for Bemidji State hockey,” stated BSU Director of Athletics Dr. Rick Goeb. “Beginning with the efforts to elevate our hockey programs to the NCAA Division I level and having the women’s program join the WCHA over 10 years ago, to our partnership with the city to see a world-class venue like the Bemidji Regional Event Center come to fruition, and now the men’s hockey program being approved for membership into the elite conference in all of college hockey.
“We want to thank the city of Bemidji, our dedicated fans and the student body who have supported Bemidji State hockey. These outstanding hockey fans and partnerships have made membership into the WCHA a reality.”

Said Bemidji State men’s hockey coach Tom Serratore, who took his team to the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in April of this year, “This is a great day for the Beavers.“

“First, I want to thank the WCHA for this opportunity. It is truly an honor to be a part of the greatest hockey conference at the Division I level and we feel privileged to come along side the other Division I hockey programs in the state of Minnesota as members of the WCHA.

“Beaver Hockey reaches far beyond this campus so that makes today’s announcement a dream come true for our alumni, many in the community and many in the region. This is a proud day for all involved with Bemidji State.”

Said University of Nebraska Omaha Director of Athletics Trev Alberts, “The WCHA is an outstanding conference with a long history of excellent players and coaches. When we were approached about admission, we took a long look at all aspects of a move to the WCHA. In the end, we felt there were many long-term benefits to our program. We’re excited about becoming a part of the WCHA’s rich tradition of outstanding hockey.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Alberts continued. “We have had a fruitful ten-year affiliation with the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. It is a very well-run conference, and its member institutions have been outstanding partners. We know the CCHA will continue to thrive after we depart.”

“I was happy to hear that we would be joining the WCHA in a year’s time,” said Dean Blais, UNO’s new head coach. “I’m obviously very familiar with the league as both a head coach and assistant coach for 19 years and as a player. It’s a league with a great tradition and excellent coaches, and I’m looking forward to competing against them.”

Founded in 1951, the original seven members of the WCHA – then known as the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League – were Colorado College, University of Denver, Michigan Tech University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota and University of North Dakota. In 1953-54, the league changed it’s name to the WIHL, or Western Intercollegiate Hockey League, and then in 1959, the league became known as the WCHA.

The first expansion of the league membership occured effective with the 1965-66 campaign, when the University of Minnesota Duluth became the WCHA’s eighth team. In 1969, the membership rose to nine teams with the addition of the University of Wisconsin for the 1969-70 season. And then in 1971, the WCHA increased its membership to 10 teams with the admittance of the University of Notre Dame for the 1971-72 season.

The WCHA remained an Association of those 10 teams through the 1980-81 playing season, when Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech and Notre Dame left the fold to join the CCHA, or Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The WCHA then remained a six team league up until 1984-85, when Michigan Tech returned to the Association and the league welcomed Northern Michigan University as an eighth member team.

Then in 1990, the WCHA again grew to nine teams with the admittance of St. Cloud State University for the 1990-91 campaign and on to ten teams again when the University of Alaska Anchorage was admitted for the 1993-94 season.

In 1997, Northern Michigan opted to leave the WCHA to join the CCHA, again giving the WCHA nine teams before Minnesota State University, Mankato joined the family for the 1999-2000 campaign.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

WCHA expansion talk on 740 The Fan

Throughout the morning, The Fan’s Dan Hammer and I have been trying to figure out details of the WCHA’s impending expasion (Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha will be admitted today) and we’re going to talk about what we’ve found at about 12:20 this afternoon.

One interesting note that both of us have learned this morning is that the terms of admission for Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha are different. That will certainly be one of the items talked about.

Tune in online here.