Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dutchmen staying on WPTR

by Ryan Fay

Don't change that radio dial.

Union College men's hockey games will continue to be broadcast on WPTR (1240 AM) after the college signed a three-year extension Monday with Empire Broadcasting Corporation.

The deal also includes the "Union Hockey Coaches Corner" show from the Van Dyck Restaurant in downtown Schenectady. Eleven shows will be broadcast during the 2014-2015 season, with the first slated for Oct. 7. Two shows will air each month through March with the exception of December, when only one will air.

“Union College has a tradition of tremendous academic and athletic excellence and Empire Broadcasting is fortunate to be partnering up as the exclusive radio network for the next three years," said Neerav Patel, Chief Operating Officer/Principal of Empire Broadcasting Corporation.

Play-by-play announcer Matt DuBrey and analyst Brian Unger return behind the mic. DuBrey will continue as host of the coaches show, which debuted in 2011.

The extension also includes the broadcasts of Union football games. Frank Rossi returns to call the action.

"We are pleased to continue our excellent relationship with Empire Broadcasting Corporation, particularly for a three year period," said Eric McDowell, Assistant Athletic Director/Sports Information at Union. "I thank Neerav and his staff, and we look forward to the continued exposure and promotional opportunities with Walt Adams and other on-air personalities with their family of stations."

The games and shows will be streamed online at www.sporty1240.com.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Saratoga Race Course to honor Dutchmen

by Ryan Fay

The honors keep pouring in for NCAA-hockey champion Union.

The Saratoga Race Course will honor the Dutchmen tomorrow during the track's sixth annual College Day. The third race (around 2 p.m.) is in honor of the Dutchmen, and head coach Rick Bennett will be in the Winner's Circle congratulating the race winners.  

Additionally, the national championship trophy will be on display throughout the afternoon near the Big Red Spring in the track's picnic area.

Providence hires ex-Union goalie Mayotte

by Ryan Fay

Former Union goaltender Kris Mayotte was hired as an assistant coach at Providence, the school announced Wednesday.

Mayotte
Mayotte, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant at St. Lawrence, replaces former Union assistant Ben Barr. Barr was named associate head coach at Western Michigan in June.

The 31-year-old Mayotte is reunited with Providence head coach Nate Leaman, who coached him at Union from 2003-2006.

"Kris has developed into a bright, young hockey mind that our players are going to benefit greatly from working with," Leaman said. "A tireless recruiter, he will work with all aspects of our program, including the goaltenders. He has a tremendous work ethic and a positive energy that will bring a lot to our program."

Mayotte, who holds Union's Division I era goaltender wins record with 46, is excited to join the Providence staff.

"I have certainly followed coach Leaman's career and been impressed with the success of his Friar teams over the past few seasons and I could not be more excited to join the team and help to continue building on that success," he said. "It is a great time to be part of the hockey program at Providence College and I am ready to get to work with the players and staff."

Mayotte began his collegiate coaching career with a stint as a volunteer assistant at Cornell during the 2011-2012 season.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stuart signs with Amiens of French Elite League

by Ryan Fay

Former Union defenseman Shawn Stuart signed with Amiens of the French Elite League earlier this month.

Stuart
Contract length and financial terms were not available.

The 25-year-old skated with Drakkars de Caen of the French Elite League last season. He scored his first professional goal in style on Dec. 14, lighting the lamp at 1:10 of overtime to lift Drakkars to a 4-3 win over Strasbourg. He finished the season with two goals and eight assists in 26 contests.

Stuart was a steady defensive force for Union from 2009-2013. He added four goals and 22 assists in 147 games.

Click here for a feature on Stuart from last season.

Welsh comes to terms with Blues

by Ryan Fay

Former Union forward Jeremy Welsh signed a one-year, two-way deal with the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

Welsh
Capgeek.com reports Welsh will earn $100,000 in the American Hockey League and $550,000 in the National Hockey League.

Welsh, who was an unrestricted free agent, spent last season in the Vancouver Canucks organization. In 19 games with the Canucks, Welsh scored one goal, his first at the NHL level. It also marked the first NHL tally by a former Union player.

The 26-year-old native of Bayfield, Ontario also complied seven goals and eight assists in 49 games with the Utica Comets, the Canucks' AHL affiliate.

In 25 career NHL games with Vancouver and Carolina, Welsh has a goal and an assist.

Welsh starred for Union from 2009-2012, registering 53 goals and 47 assists in 117 games to become one of 10 Dutchmen to crack the 100 career point plateau. He gave up his senior season when he signed with Carolina in April 2012. Carolina traded him to Vancouver before last season.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kyle Bodie signs with Royals (updated)

by Ryan Fay

Former Union forward Kyle Bodie signed with the ECHL's Reading Royals, the team announced Friday.
Bodie

Bodie was signed to an ECHL Standard Players Contract for the 2014-15 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Royals acquired the ECHL rights to Bodie as completion of the future considerations element of the October 2013 trade that sent Bobby Shea to the Toledo Walleye.

Bodie spent last season with four ECHL teams. He started the year with the Cincinnati Cyclones, but was traded to the San Francisco Bulls on Nov. 13. A month later, the 26-year-old was dealt to the South Carolina Stingrays, where he was reunited with former Union teammate Wayne Simpson. After being released in mid-March, Bodie was claimed by the Walleye. Between the four stops, he recorded six goals and 10 assists in 57 games.

The East St. Paul, Manitoba native scored 28 goals and 57 assists in 122 games with Union from 2009-2013.

Dutchmen announce incoming recruiting class

by Ryan Fay

NCAA-hockey champion Union announced its incoming recruiting class Monday.

The eight-player group consists of forward Ryan Scarfo, forward Kevin Shier, defenseman Nick DeSimone, defenseman J.C Brassard, forward Tyler Hynes, forward Roman Ammirato, defenseman Connor Light, and forward Spencer Foo.

"I want to commend [assistant coaches] Joe Dumais and Jason Tapp for their excellent work in putting together this class," said Union head coach Rick Bennett. "It's a group that will establish its own identity over time and blend in well with the team we have in place."

Scarfo, 20, collected 17 goals and 31 assists in 50 games last season with the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League. The Kings have been the source of several Union standouts in recent years, including Mat Bodie and Daniel Carr. Scarfo could be next in line.

Shier
“He can become a high-end guy who scores and defends against the opposition's top lines,” said Leon Hayward, who coached Scarfo as a prep player at Governor’s Academy. “Union has a steal. He’s someone who will help lead them to many more Frozen Four appearances.”

Shier is another offensive threat. The 20-year-old spent last season with the Ontario Junior Hockey League's (OJHL) Toronto Lakeshore Patriots, recording 21 goals and 33 assists in 46 games while serving as an alternate captain. He was even better in the postseason, pacing the team in scoring with eight goals and 24 assists in 19 games to help lead the Patriots to their first OJHL title.

"Kevin is a gifted offensive player with a quick and accurate shot," said Patriots head coach Jason Fortier. "He has quick hands and is an amazing team first player. Look for Kevin to bring a smile to the rink every day and bring an ability to score big goals."

Between Bodie graduating and Shayne Gostisbehere leaving a year early to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers, a lot of offense was lost from the blueline. DeSimone could help replace some of that offense. The 19-year-old skated with the OJHL’s Buffalo Junior Sabres last season and ranked second among league defenseman with 13 goals and 38 assists in 52 contests. He was one of the club’s assistant captains.

“He has great instincts offensively,” said Junior Sabres head coach and longtime NHL player Michael Peca. “He played forward a bit coming up through the game of hockey and that has served him well to see the ice and where forwards might be or be heading. He does a lot of that without putting himself in situations where he's vulnerable defensively.”

Brassard, who was originally committed for 2015-2016, could be another source of offense along the blueline. The 18-year-old played with Noble and Greenough last season and was the top scoring defenseman in New England prep hockey with 11 goals and 32 assists in 27 games.

"He has outstanding skills," said Noble and Greenough head coach Brian Day. "He sees the ice incredibly well. He makes a terrific first pass. He jumps up into the play offensively. He's terrific at running a power play. He's able to put pucks through the net. He has a good shot, and he has the ability to pick corners. He's just a very gifted offensive defenseman."

Hynes adds a local flavor to the class as the 20-year-old hails from Slingerlands, roughly 20 miles from Messa Rink. Hynes, who played with Dutchmen defenseman Jeff Taylor at Albany Academy, was originally slated to arrive last season but opted to defer a year. He split last season with the U.S Hockey League’s Omaha Lancers and Fargo Force. In 59 combined games, he registered 20 goals and 15 assists.

"He can be a great second or third line player," said Lancers head coach Brian Kaufman. "He'll play in front of the net on a power play, he's very good on the penalty kill, and he'll be a great energy guy. He'll finish checks, block shots, and do a lot of things not a lot of people are willing to do."

Ammirato, 21, will be reunited with Dutchmen forward Michael Pontarelli, one of his teammates on the Central Canadian Hockey League’s Cornwall Colts during the 2012-2013 season. The 5-foot-9, 165-pounder played with the North American Hockey League’s Amarillo Bulls last season, compiling 17 goals and 30 assists in 57 games. He was the team’s top scorer in the playoffs with three goals and nine assists in eight games.

"Roman's strength as a player is that he is always competing," said Shawn Anderson, who coached Ammirato during the 2012-2013 season. "You would think looking at him that he will be out-battled in one-on-one situations. It is the opposite; he wins most of his one-on-one's with his speed and smarts. His size is deceiving and he plays a lot like [New York Rangers forward] Martin St. Louis. He scores points whether it is filling the net or making the plays to help put the puck into the net."

While Ammirato will never be the biggest player on the ice, Light might be. The 19-year-old checks in at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds and will add a physical presence at the blueline. He skated with Hynes on Omaha last season and posted three goals and seven assists in 55 games.

"Connor obviously has great size, but he has an exceptional skill set to complement that size,” said Dean Boylan, who coached Light as a prep player at Andover Academy. “He has good hands, very good feet for a big man and he can shoot. I think Connor can eventually develop into a shut down defenseman who is sent out to play against the other team's top unit.”

Foo, 20, is coming a year earlier than expected. He skated with the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Bonnyville Pontiacs last season; he led the team and ranked sixth in the AJHL with 40 goals and 27 assists in 60 contests.

"Spencer is an incredibly driven individual who comes to the rink each and every day to improve his game," said Pontiacs head coach Rick Swan. "Over the last two seasons he has made some excellent strides with respect to his development and his potential is huge.

Union opens its 2014-2015 slate with a home exhibition game against the University of Prince Edward Island on Oct. 5. The regular season kicks off Oct. 10, when the Dutchmen host American International.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dutchwomen announce incoming recruiting class

by Ryan Fay

The Union women's hockey team announced its incoming recruiting class Thursday.

The six-player group consists of forward Hannah Erickson, forward Erica Kelly, defenseman Caitlyn McLaren, goaltender Alexx Ridding, forward Nicole Russell, and defenseman Brandy Streeter.

Hannah Erickson in action for Achiever Academy
last season
Erickson, known for her smooth skating and offensive touch, spent last season at Achiever Academy in Vadnais Heights, Minn. She scored 15 goals and 24 assists in 39 games while serving as team captain. She is the younger sister of current Dutchwomen forward Emily Erickson and could spark an offense that ranked fifth-to-last in Division I at 1.53 goals per game last season.

Kelly is another offensive weapon as she is coming off back-to-back 100-point seasons for King's-Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia. She served as team captain last season while racking up 63 goals and 55 assists. She impressed the Dutchwomen coaching staff with her ability to play in all three zones, her defensive awareness and ability to score goals.

McLaren spent the past two seasons with the Ottawa Senators Intermediate AA team of the Provincial Women's Hockey League (PWHL). She was the team's top scoring defenseman last season with a goal and 11 assists and was an assistant captain. At 5-foot-8, McLaren could be counted on to replace some of the size lost on the blueline following the graduation of Ashley Johnston.

Ridding is a quick, athletic goaltender who tended net this past season for the Barrie Junior Sharks of the PWHL. She recorded an 8-8-2-1 record in 19 starts with a 1.94 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and two shutouts. Ridding, who has the potential to become one of the top goaltenders in ECAC Hockey, is the heir apparent to Shenae Lundberg, who graduates next spring.

Russell brings a mix of great stick skills with quickness and great vision on the ice. She spent the past five years with the Detroit-based Honeybaked program, winning back-to-back state championships in 2013 and 2014. Russell was the top scorer from Michigan at the 2014 Toyota USA Hockey National Championships (Tier I Under-19 Division), where she registered five goals and two assists in seven contests.

Streeter is an in-state product from Morrisville, located two hours west of Schenectady. The quick defenseman spent the past four years with the Buffalo Bisons program, most recently with the Bisons Under-19 squad. Streeter also skated for one of the nation's top prep programs, the Nichols School in Buffalo. She served as Nichols' team captain this past season and helped the Vikings to the North American Prep Hockey Association (NAPHA) title and the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) championship.

"We are excited about this class because it is going to add depth to all ends of the ice," said Dutchwomen head coach Claudia Asano Barcomb. "We look forward to their leadership, work ethic, energy and skill on the ice."

The Dutchwomen open their 2014-2015 schedule with a home exhibition against the Ottawa Junior Senators on September 27. The regular season gets underway Oct. 3 with a trip to RIT.