Saturday, July 31, 2010

What ever happened to these guys?

Every few days I check out Chris Heisenberg's list for new recruits. This list is the main web source for college hockey recruits and is very accurate. A few days ago I realized that there were archived lists so out of curiosity I checked out the list for 2008 recruits. For Union there were 11 players on the list with four of them of them reported to be coming to Union in 2009. Then I realized that of the 11 guys on the list that only five of them were on the Union Hockey team at the end this season.

Here were the names on the list: Wayne Simpson (2009), Nolan Julseth-White, Kelly Zajac, Taylor Reid, and Brian Yanovitch were all with Union at the end of the 2009-10 season. The other six were Carl Ekstrom, Kyle Chagnon, Brett Bothwell, Ronnie Smith, Randy Hanagan, and Matt Williams.

Who are these six mystery men? Where have they gone and what are they doing now? Of these six guys, three of them have suited up for Union but left the program mid-season. The other three never made it to Schenectady.

I have done some detective work on all six of these "other" players. I found a lot on some and close to nothing on others. If you have any information on the where about's of any of these guys feel free to comment.

Carl Ekstrom (defense): I reported mid-season that a friend told me that Carl transferred to St. Norbert (Division III), but that I couldn't find anything confirming it. Now after doing the research I have found that this rumor was true. Ekstrom played two games for the Green Knights where he scored a goal. In his time in Schenectady, Ekstrom sat out his freshman year due to an injury but was able to gain redshirt status. But, as a redshirt freshman he was never able to crack the Dutchmen lineup and left mid-season. So, Union's first Swedish import was never able to touch the ice at Messa Rink. Ekstrom was listed as #25 on St. Norbert's 2009-2010 roster.

Kyle Chagnon (defense): Chagnon was reported to join the Dutchmen in the 2009 season, but that never happened. He played for the Woodstock Slammers of the MHL, which was where he committed to playing for Union [press release]. It seems that he played one more year for the Slammers and then went on to play for the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. This was confirmed by the UPEI roster where Chagnon was listed as #27 and a first year player. Last year, the defenseman registered one assist in 14 games.

Brett Bothwell (goalie): Bothwell transferred to Union after his sophomore year when Wayne State dropped their hockey program. He went 16-22-1 with a .884 save percentage and 3.47 save percentage in two years at Wayne State. As a junior in Schenectady, Bothwell backed up Corey Milan along with Rich Sillery before leaving the team in December of 2008. I remember at the time that there was a rumor that he went to a college in Canada to finish up his career, and that is exactly what he did. Last season he played for Mount Royal University where he played in five games where he went 4-1-0 with a .873 save percentage and 3.54 GAA. Bothwell is listed as #1 on the Mount Royal roster.

Ronnie Smith (forward): Smith played the 2007-2008 season with current Union forward Kelly Zajac on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. It was listed that he would join Union for the 2009-10 season. In 2008-2009 season, Smith completed his junior career with the Nanaimo Clippers where he scored 12 goals and tallied 19 assists in 60 games. But after his season with the Clippers, he did not come to Schenectady. Instead he joined the Manhattanville Valiants (Division III) where he played four games and tallied an assist. He is listed as #26 on the Manhattanville website.

Randy Hanagan (forward): Hanagan also played for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in 2007-2008 where he was a major impact player, and then went to Union along with Kelly Zajac. He played seven games for the Dutchmen in 2008 where he scored two goals (one power-play). But, in the middle of the 2008-2009 season he left the team and never came back. It was rumored that he left the team due to a family illness. But, after reading an article from the St. Mary's Journal Argus it is unsure if this was true. The article reported that Hanagan joined the St. Mary's Lincoln's hockey team, a Junior "B" team in the Western Ontario Hockey League, and that he wanted to play for the University of Western Ontario hockey team. He is quoted in the article saying, "I wasn't enjoying it, and I want to play at Western next year." In the 2008-09 season Hanagan registered 10 goals and 20 assists in just 15 games for the Lincolns (two points per game). I am unsure of where he played in the 2009-2010 season as he is not listed on the St. Mary's roster or the Univeristy of Western Ontario roster.

Matt Williams (forward): Williams is a mystery to me. He played for the Fort McMurray of the AJHL with Taylor Reid in 2007-2008, and then played for the Brooks Bandits in the 2008-2009 season where scored 23 goals and had 25 assists in 58 games. After this I have not found anything on where Williams is. If you know anything feel free to comment.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Interview with Team Manager Phil Cohn

This is the first interview on UHB where I do not personally know the person, so I'm equally excited as you are to hear these answers from Union Hockey Team Manager Phil Cohn.

Phil is heading into his sophomore year at Union and was the team manager last season as he took over for my very, very good friend Jeremy Apple after he graduated in 2009. As I said, I really don't know Phil but I've played intramural roller hockey against him and he is a very good player. He sniped at least one goal on me in the intramural semifinals, but my team prevailed despite Phil's great effort (but mainly because of my stellar goaltending... haha just kidding!).

From what Jeremy Apple has told me about his job as team manager, it sounds like it is a very tough arduous job. And from what I can tell with his interactions with the Dutchmen players the team manager is treated like any other player on the team.

So without further ado, let's get to the interview with Phil Cohn.

DG: Where are you from and where did you go to high school?
PC: I grew up in Westfield, New Jersey where I attended Westfield Senior High School.

DG: Do you play hockey? If so, how long have you played and what position?
PC: I've been playing hockey since I was eight years old. However, I didn't start playing ice hockey until around 7th grade. The time and travel commitments that came with youth ice hockey did not fit into my schedule, so I consistently played organized roller hockey until transitioning to the ice game where I played center.

DG: What hockey teams have you played for?
PC: I played four years of ice hockey for my high school team, the Westfield Blue Devils, in addition to a year of travel hockey as a member of the Cranford Hockey Club and the Woodbridge Wolfpack, each minor club hockey organizations in central New Jersey

DG: What is your major?
PC: My major at Union is Computer Science. I am really interested in programming and studying the interaction between the computer and the use.

DG: What is your favorite thing about going to Union?
PC: My favorite aspect of attending Union other than the Union Hockey program is the trimester system. I really enjoy having the ability to focus on only three classes at a time rather than the traditional semester system, which requires students to take between four and six classes each term.

DG: How did you get the job as team manager?
PC: To get the job as team manager I contacted Coach Leaman in March of my senior year in high school inquiring about the position. At a Union Parents gathering in New Jersey two years ago my Dad found out that the current manager (Jeremy Apple) would be graduating in the coming spring, so I decided to take the initiative quickly. After exchanging emails and phone calls with the hockey staff throughout the summer I met with the coaching staff during my freshman orientation on campus and got to work right away.

DG: Tell us about your job as team manager. What do you do?
PC: My job as Team Manager has many different aspects and responsibilities. I am in charge of coding the game video during each game. During the game, my post is upstairs in the sideline press box where I code the game action on the computer using the program called Sportscode Gamebreaker. It allows me to organize the game video into several labeled timelines of clips for the coaches to analyze in between periods and after the game. I am also the assistant to the equipment manager. This includes repairing sticks, keeping the locker room clean, preparing the benches for practices and games, packing the bus for road trips, and getting the rink ready on game day. Another aspect of the position that I really enjoy is creating highlight videos of the players to watch in the days leading up to the game to get them emotionally ready to play.

DG: Do you travel for away games? Do you have a set roommate?
PC: I travel with the team on every road trip, but I don't have a set roommate.

DG: What was your favorite road trip last season?
PC: My favorite road trip last year was the trip to Clarkson and St. Lawrence in mid-November. It was my first road trip as a member of the team and it was also my birthday weekend. It was my first opportunity to visit other rinks around the league, places that I would never have the opportunity to watch hockey without my connection to Union Hockey. The Dutchmen swept that weekend beating SLU on Friday night and Clarkson on Saturday night, making the weekend even sweeter.

DG: Are there any perks to being team manager?
PC: There are certain perks that come with my job but I think that the biggest one is just having the opportunity to be at the rink everyday. Hockey has always been a huge part of my life and having the opportunity to watch hockey as a job is more than I could ever ask for.

DG: What is your relationship like with the players and coaching staff?
PC: I have an interesting position in the Union program. For one, I am a member of the staff so I hear a lot of what is said behind closed doors. On the other hand, the players have really taken me in as a member of the team so I feel like I am one of them. It is an odd position to be in sometimes, but I try to balance both sides as best as possible.

DG: What do you think will be the key for success next season?
PC: I think that the key for next season will be a balanced scoring attack. I think that we have a solid defensive corps and goaltending tandem to keep the puck out of our net, but it will be important to find a way to fill the scoring gap left by the graduated seniors.

DG: Who do you think will have a breakout season in 2010-11?
PC: I think that Jeremy Welsh will have a breakout season this year. He certainly contributed last year, but i think that a year of experience and an opening for new offense will allow him an opportunity to contribute more offensively.

DG: What do you like to do in your free time?
PC: In my free time I like to play ping-pong and video games, draw, and surf the net. I'm always up for a pickup game in virtually any sport and I'm always watching sports on TV.

DG: Who is your favorite pro sports team?
PC: My favorite sports team is the New York Rangers. My family has had season tickets for the Rangers at Madison Square Garden since 1971 and I have been going to games since I was born. In spite of their lack of success I continue to follow the Rangers religiously with hope that our luck will change soon enough.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Former forward Bowles re-signs with Cottonmouths

It has been announced that former Union forward Sam Bowles '08 has re-signed with the the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League. In 96 games as a Cottonmouth, Bowles has tallied 44 goal and 56 assists which is good for 100 points and a little over one point per game. Bowles has also accumulated 138 penalty minutes during his two season in Columbus.

At Union, Sam scored five goals and registered six assists for 11 points in 100 games. While playing in Schenectady Bowles was known as a gritty third or fourth line player with good faceoff and penalty killing skills.

Help Cornell Head Coach Mike Schafer

The college hockey community is a small one, one that's tight knit and very passionate. While some fans and players might hate each other while the game is being played, off the ice we are one big family. And as a family we must help each other when one needs help... Even when the one your helping just destroyed your dream of your first ECAC Championship and ended your season.

Recently, Cornell Bench Boss Mike Schafer's nephew Jake has been diagnosed with cancer. This is not the first time his family has been stricken by a life threatening sickness. I'm not going to go into it, but you an read about it on Ithaca Journal.com.

So, I urge you to donate to the cause or at least send your best wishes to the Schafer family. You can donate or write a message to Jake's Team by clicking here. It's very quick and easy (only took me a minute), but most of all it is for a good cause.

Monday, July 26, 2010

College Hockey Video of the Week (7/26/10): 1980s Wisconsin-North Dakota brawl

College hockey really isn't known for its fighting, but there are times where rivals get heated and start swinging at each other which is what we have here. This might be the best College Hockey fight caught on video. It takes place at Wisconsin in a game between the Badgers and the North Dakota Fighting Sioux in 1982. You got to love the old school North Dakota jerseys with the Blackhawks logo on the front by the way. Wisconsin (red) has a third period lead over the Sioux (green), who take exception to getting there butts handed to them. So, they and Cary Eades (#22) start this fiasco. Also, be sure to listen to the announcers because they're great. Guess what team they support? (haha) This is such a goon fest, but hey it's extremely entertaining.

If you can't see the video click here.

Valery-Trabucco signs with team in Finland

Former Union star forward and recent graduate 'Super' Mario Valery-Trabucco has signed with TPS of Finnish SM-Iiiga league. TPS, which is short for Turun Palloseura, won the league championship last season. Some famous TPS alumni include Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, Anaheim Ducks forward Saku Koivu, and Jere Lehtinen who played for the Dallas Stars last season. After finishing off a record breaking senior year, Mario played a few games for the Adirondack Phantoms 0f the AHL. Hopefully, Mario is very successful in Finland and is able to work his way back to the states to play in the AHL, and maybe (and that's a big maybe) make a few appearances in the NHL. Valery-Trabucco is just one of many former Union players who will be playing in Europe next season (Walters, Schreiber, Fox, Beynon...)

For more check out ECAC Hockey.com and the TPS Website (if you can speak Finnish!).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Top 10 Union Hockey Moments of 2009-2010

With the Mets being a joke right now I need something to cheer me up. And the perfect thing to help me feel better is thinking about the greatest season in Union Hockey history. There were so many great moments and I am just honored to be a small part of it. I know that I should have done this awhile ago, but this is a perfect time for me to do the Top 10 moments of the season. I know some of you might disagree with me, but that's what makes this fun. Also, be sure to check out my Top 10 Moments in Union Athletics 2009-2010 on Concordy.com.

In the first game of the RPI Tournament both Union and LSSU went 65 minutes without scoring a goal, so the game went into the shootout. The Dutchmen won the shootout 1-0 with the lone goal coming from senior star forward 'Super' Mario Valery-Trabucco. Freshman netminder Keith Kinkaid made 30 saves and all of the shootout attempts for his first career shutout. 0-0 scores are rare in college hockey and I think the only time I have seen a 0-0 game was a game in 1995-96 at Army when they went scoreless with... Union.

By now most of you have realized how much I hate Quinnipiac, so this win was extra sweet to me. With first place in the ECAC on the line the game headed into overtime. Sophomore Luke Cain was the hero as his wraparound attempt beat the QU goaltender to give Union a 2-1 victory and first place. The goal was Cain's first of the season, and after the game Cain was a mainstay in the Dutchmen lineup for the rest of the season. Also, senior forward Jason Walters collected his 100th career point as he assisted on Union's first goal of the game.

This game proved that the Dutchmen had guts. The Big Green scored four goals in the first 7:20 of the game to take an early 4-0 lead. Being down four goals on the road is a tough thing to comeback from, but Union was able to do it. In the second period freshman Jeremy Welsh and senior Jason Walters scored power-play goals, while freshman defender Shawn Stuart tallied an even-strength goal to bring the Dutchmen within one heading into the final period. Luke Cain tied the game with about six minutes remaining, and freshman Kyle Bodie scored the game-winner with 2:45 left in regulation. You can see video from the game here.

Pretty much every game this year against RPI was wild, and this one was no different. You knew this game was going to be interesting considering Head Coach Nate Leaman suspended top scorers Mario Valery-Trabucco (14pts), junior Adam Presizniuk (11pts), junior John Simpson (9pts), and sophomore Brian Yanovitch (8) for breaking team rules, so the Dutchmen skated with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. It didn't seem that the Dutchmen were bothered by this in the first period as senior Mike Schreiber, and freshmen Jeremy Welsh and Kyle Bodie scored goals to give Union a 3-0 victory after 20 minutes. But, the Engineers chipped away with a late second period power-play goal and an early third period power-play goal to cut the lead to one. The Dutchmen seemed to have the game won when Jason Walters scored a power-play goal to give his team a two goal lead with less than four minutes remaining. But, Paul Kerins came to the rescue for RPI as he scored a goal 55 seconds later and then tied the game with a dramatic goal with no time remaining. Luckily for Union, tournament MVP Jason Walters wouldn't let this game slip away as he scored the game-winning goal 3:39 into overtime finishing the game with two goals, two assists, and four points. Check out the Kerins goal and Walters goal on YouTube.

This was one of the most memorable games I covered all season as I was flustered (along with everyone else in the press box) as soon as the puck dropped. Also, the game was on National Television. Clarkson got off to a quick start with a goal 20 seconds into the game. But, Luke Cain tied the game 28 seconds later. The Dutchmen didn't look back as they proceeded to score four more goals in the first, three in the second, and three more in the third to give themselves an 11-2 victory. The 11 goals is a team record. Also, 'Super' Mario had a hat trick and an assist on his way to his 100th point. Check out video from the game here.

This game might be the best college hockey game I have ever attended. It took place during Winter Break, but that didn't stop me from driving almost three hours to Troy with my Dad and brothers to watch the game... and it was soooooo worth it! This game proved that this was a special team with a special senior class as seniors Mike Schreiber, Jason Walters, and Mario Valery-Trabucco carried the team on their backs. RPI was up 2-1 heading into the third period, but ECAC MVP and All-American Chase Polacek gave the Engineers a 3-1 lead just 1:40 into the final frame. But, Valery-Trabucco scored a goal just over two minutes later and another one less than two minutes after that to tie the game. But, Polacek wasn't finished as he put his team up one with a power-play goal with 7:31 remaining. With under a minute left and down by one Coach Leaman pulled the goalie in favor of an extra attacker, and it paid off as Walters tied the game with 51 seconds left. It seemed that the game would be heading into overtime, but Schreiber scored the game-winner on a floater shot with 19 seconds left in the game to give his team the victory. Check out video from the end of the game here.

Have I mentioned how much I hate Quinnipiac? This was such a great moment for any Union fan as there were so many storylines in this 7-3 victory. The game started off with five seniors announced in the starting lineup and ended with all of the seniors being honored at the end of the game. Senior Jeff Christiansen was inserted into the lineup after other players went to Coach Leaman and insisted that he play (kind of like in Rudy). Leaman gave in and Christiansen made him look like a genius as Jeff scored a goal and tallied an assist in his first game all season. Jason Shaffer, another sparingly used senior, also registered a goal and an assist. By the end of the game six of the seven seniors were on the scoresheet. The only one to not have a point was captain Mike Wakita. Also, senior goaltender Rich Sillery got to play the final two minutes of the game in front of his family. For more of my thoughts on this game check out my blog post from the game here. To see highlights from the game click here.

3. Loss against Quinnipiac in longest game in NCAA history (3/12/10)
This is the only loss in the Top 10, but it is probably the most memorable game of the season and maybe in the history of Union College Hockey. The only reason this isn't #1 is because, well, Union lost in the 5th overtime. After 150:22 of hockey QU's Greg Holt finally ended the game when he put the puck past Keith Kinkaid. Ironically, the previous longest game in NCAA history was a 141:35 long game where Yale beat Union 3-2 at Messa Rink in 2006. The game was exhausting for us in the press box and the fans in the stands, and even though Union lost all Union fans will remember this game for a very long time. To see highlights from the game click here.

Sadly for Union this game took place during Spring Break so very few students stuck around for the game (there was just a handful of us), and this is why this is #2 and not #1. The energy and excitement from the student section just wasn't there for Union's first trip to the ECAC Final Four. But, many non-student Union fans showed up to the Times Union Center in their garnet apparel and cheered on their team to 3-1 victory over the Saints to reach the ECAC Championship game against Cornell. With the game tied at one in the third period, Union's Adam Presizniuk put Union on top with a goal midway through the final frame. On the play Jason Walters picked up an assist, which was his 115th career point, a Union Division I record. 'Super' Mario scored an empty netter with five seconds remaining to seal the victory. To see footage from the game click here.

The feeling when the final horn went off in Union's 2-1 win over the Bobcats was something that I never felt before. It was amazing watching my team from the student section (there was no way I could have watched this game from the press box) do something they have never done before. It was a do-or-die game as the winner would clinch a berth to the ECAC Final Four. It was the freshmen who came through for the Dutchmen as Wayne Simpson and Jeremy Welsh scored Union's two goals early in the first and second periods, respectively. Behind some stellar goaltending from junior Corey Milan (30 saves), Union was able to hold off the Quinnipiac attack. The celebration in the student section and on the ice after the game was so memorable. There are a few videos of the moment which you can see here, here, and here.


What a great season! Hopefully next season will be even better!

Koenig signs with team in Norway

Former Union goaltending great Trevor Koenig (1994-1998) has signed on to play with the Storhamar Dragons (Norway) in 2010-11. Ironically, Koening played for the Dragons de Rouen (France) last season.

Koenig is one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of Union College Hockey as he was the named the ECAC Goalie of the Year in 1997 and was named to the ECAC All-Decade Team for the 1990s.

For more check out ECAC Hockey.com.

Monday, July 19, 2010

College Hockey Video of the Week (7/19/10): Longest Goal in NCAA History

In last week's College Hockey Video of the Week I had a clip that had the Minnesota Golden Gophers embarrassing the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. Isn't it only fair that I pick a video that has North Dakota embarrassing Minnesota? Well that's what we have here with the longest goal in NCAA Hockey history with a goalie in the opposing net (or at least I think so).

The play occurs during a Golden Gopher power-play late in the first period while up 3-2. North Dakota is able to gather the puck in their own zone and then tries to kill time by passing the puck around and then firing the puck down the length of the ice. When ND's Robbie Binz receives the puck behind the net, he steps up to the area between the goal line and the bottom of the right circle and proceeds to shoot the puck into the Minnnesota zone in order to kill off the rest of the penalty... but more than that would happen. Not even Binz nor Gopher goalie Jeff Frazee could have predicted what would happen next.

If you cannot see the video click here.

Interview with Ken Schott

This week's interview is with Ken Schott, who to me is the King of College Hockey... at least in the capital region (haha), and covers Union Hockey for the Daily Gazette (the Schenectady paper). Not only does Mr. Schott have the coolest hockey name on the planet (pronounced shot), but he's like a walking, talking sports encyclopedia. Through my experience with Ken it is obvious that he is the ultimate sports fan. He truly lives and dies with his favorite teams.

As a reporter one must be unbiased at all times while on the job, which is something I learned very early on from Ken (which is something he probably doesn't even remember). The first time I ever sat in the press box during a Union Hockey game was my freshman year when I was just dabbling in sports journalism. The Sports Information person for the men's hockey team at the time (who I believe was Hilary Haynes) invited me to take in a game from the press box since I just signed on to cover the team for the Concordiensis (previously I was just taking some small notes while sitting in the student section). And I vividly remember at one point in the game the Dutchmen scored a big goal right under us, and I pumped my fist and yelled out a loud "Yeah!" Right when I did this I looked a few seats down from me where I saw Ken waving his finger at me signaling not to do that. That was my first lesson on press box decorum, even though I should have realized it.

I still have some trouble controlling my emotions during games, since deep down inside I am a big Union Hockey fan... you can only imagine how I was feeling during the 50t game against Quinnipiac! But, I believe that caring about the team that you cover makes your coverage better and more meaningful. That is another thing I learned from Ken. Even though he is an unbiased reporter I think he too deep down inside really cares about the Union Hockey program and everyone involved. The best example of this came after Union's 2-1 victory over Quinnipiac to clinch a trip to the ECAC Final Four for the first time. I remember standing in the lobby of Messa Rink watching all the fans line up to buy tickets for the following weekend, and seeing among the crowd a teary eyed Ken Schott. Ken then proceeded to seek out Union Athletic Director Jim McLaughlin and give him a big hug. I think Ken might have been the happiest and most proud person in the arena at that moment. That pure feeling of being so overcome with joy because your team has won that it drives you to tears is something that I want to feel someday (but I highly doubt it considering I'm a Mets, Jets, Nets, and Islanders fan).

This was what Ken brings to rink every night: emotion. Every game that I've ever worked at Messa Rink, Ken is always one of the first to show up and the last to leave. He is always into all aspects of the game from the game play itself, to the in between periods entertainment, and the music played throughout the game... Ken always gets into Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" which is played in between the second and third periods. He's always having fun and is almost like a super-fan.

In many ways I am striving to be like Mr. Schott in my own career. I can tell how much he loves his job, and how much he enjoys being at the rink. Hopefully one day I can love my job as much as Ken does. But for now, I will try to learn as much as possible from him in my final year in Schenectady.

DG: Where are you from? What high school did you go to?
KS: I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I am a 1981 graduate of Holy Ghost Prep.

DG: Did you play any sports in high school?
KS: I played on the tennis team in my junior and senior years. The school started the sport my junior year. I was a statistician for the basketball team my junior and senior years, and I was a scout for the baseball team my senior year. I did play intramural street hockey all four years.

DG:Where did you go to college and what was your major? Did you play any sports there?
KS: I went to York College of PA., and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in speech communications (Radio/TV). I didn't play sports at YCP, but I was the statistician for the men's basektball team all four years, the baseball team my freshman and sophomore years and the women's volleyball team my junior and senior years. I also called play-by-play of men's and women's basketball, and baseball for the college radio station, WVYC.

DG: What are your favorite pro sports teams?
KS: Philadelphia Flyers, Phillies, and Eagles.

DG: Do you have any nicknames?
KS: Back in high school, when I had hair and it was permed, I was called "Hindu." Now, it's basically "Schooter."

DG: When did you start your sports journalism career?
KS: November 1983. I took a journalism class the fall semester of my junior year. It was taught by two editors from the York Daily Record, and one of the requirements was to do a one-day internship at the paper. My assignment was to cover the Baltimore Orioles playing a charity basketball game at a high school in Southern York County. It was right after they had beaten the Phillies in the World Series. The sports editor liked what I had written and asked if I wanted to do some part-time work. I said, "Yes." The rest is history.

DG: Tell us about your job with the Daily Gazette.
KS: I am the college hockey writer for the paper. I also write a sports TV/Radio column every Saturday. I am also a copy editor. I also write the Parting Schotts blog and produced videos for or Website, http://www.dailygazette.com/.

DG: What is your most favorite aspect about your job?
KS: Being able to cover a sport I love, hockey, and interact with fans.

DG: What is your favorite thing to do when you're not working?
KS: Being able to spend time with my son Steven and talk sports. He's into baseball, hockey, and bowling.

DG: How long have you been covering Union Hockey?
KS: I will begin my 20th year in October.

DG:What is the most memorable game you've covered?
KS: Wow, where do I begin? I have covered two of the longest games in men's college hockey history (both Union losses, to Quinnipiac in March and Yale four years ago), and also covered the fourth-longest game (Boston U. - St. Lawrence in the NCAA East Regional in 2000). But, I have to rank three games as most memorable. Union's 7-2 win over Clarkson on March 7, 2009, which clinched their first playoff series win at the Division I level. The 2-1 win over Quinnipiac on March 14 that put Union in the ECAC semifinals for the first time, and the 3-1 semifinal victory over St. Lawrence six days later.

DG: Where is your favorite place to take in a college hockey game?
KS: I like Dartmouth's Thompson Arena. Press box on the side. Great View. Quinnipiac's TD Bank Sports Center is nice too, but the the lack of heat is a drawback.

DG: What place will Union finish in the ECAC regular season standings in 2010-11?
KS: Third place is a good bet.

DG: Who is the team to beat in the ECAC?
KS: Cornell

DG: What will be the key for the Dutchmen next season?
KS: They will need to replace the scoring lost by Mario Valery-Trabucco, Jason Walters, and Mike Schreiber. They are solid on defense and in goal.

DG: Who do you think will have a breakout season for Union this year?
KS: Wayne Simpson showed some flashes in his freshman season, but spent too much time being too fancy and not shooting the puck enough. With a year under his belt, I believe he will have an outstanding sophomore year.

DG: Will Coach Nate Leaman leave for a bigger and better job soon?
KS: It's going to have to be the right job for him to consider it.

DG: Will any Dutchman from any of the recent teams make it to the NHL? Does anyone even have a shot?
KS: Right now, no.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some off-season news

Just some quick updates here. First off, ECAC Hockey.com briefly talks about what sophomore goaltender Keith Kinkaid has been doing this summer in the NHL Prospect Camps. I have already reported that Keith has taken part in camps with the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Rangers. He is also participating in a camp with the San Jose Sharks.

Also, former Dutchmen Jay Varady '01 has been named an Assistant Coach for the U.S. U-18 team. Last year he was the Video Cordinator for the team. Varady was only able to stay healthy for three seasons before being sidelined with an injury in his senior year where he became a Volunteer Assistant Coach for the 2000-2001 season. In 73 games as a Dutchman Varady scored three goals and tallied five assists, while accumulating 119 penalty minutes. For more on Varady and his promotin check out ECAC Hockey.com.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pennsylvania gets 2013 and 2014 Frozen Fours

The NCAA has announced that the 2013 Frozen Four has been awarded to Pittsburgh and the brand new Consol Energy Center, while Philadelphia and the Wachovia Center was awarded the 2014 Frozen Four. This is the first time that either site has received a bid. 2012-2014 will mark a three year span where the Frozen Four will take place in a non-traditional college hockey city (2012 Frozen Four will be in Tampa).

While these Pennsylvania cities are not college hockey hotbeds they should be good venues. Both rinks are top notch and host NHL teams. I've been to Philly plenty of times for Phillies games and the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four and I have to say that it is a fun city with plenty to do... especially if you love cheesesteaks! I'm definitely going to Gino's and/or Pat's for some steaks in 2014. I've never been to Pittsburgh, but I bet it's a half decent city (I'm sure Kevin Zalaznik is very excited and can fill us in on some fun things to do in the city). Hopefully for both weekends the Pirates and Phillies will be in town. Citizens Bank is one of my favorite stadiums to watch a game (even though I'm a Mets fan), and PNC is supposed to be a very nice park as well.

Even though Philly and P-Burgh are not guaranteed to be successful venues I like where the NCAA is going with this experiment. Hey, at least it won't be in half of an indoor football stadium like this past year in Detroit!

Oh and just so you know it takes around five hours and 300 miles to get from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.

For more check out USCHO.com.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Interview with Kevin Zalaznik

For my second interview for the blog I have chose a person who has influenced my sports industry career a lot, even though he might not realize it. This guy is Kevin Zalaznik, who has been the Assistant Sports Information Director at Union for the past two years. His responsibilities included media responsibilities for the ice hockey, baseball, men's lacrosse, and soccer teams at Union. After two years in Schenectady, Kevin has decided to go on to bigger and better things... but don't worry he's just moving down the road to Albany to take a position with the new AHL team for the New Jersey Devils.

Kevin was mainly known on campus for being the "Hockey Media guy." He was pretty much Union Hockey 24/7 as he ran the Official Union Hockey blog, did the Union Hockey twitter, and did things on the Union Athletics website.

My first interaction with Kevin came this past season when I applied for the arena reporter job with USCHO, which was posted on the Union eRecruting site. Kevin called me up the day I applied and called me down to his office where he instantly gave me the job. We talked for a bit, and I was like "this guy is cool... he seems pretty chill."

But, what I didn't think was how much I could learn from this young guy. During the season I learned a lot from Kevin like important things such as getting to the rink as early as possible to prepare for the game, always realizing who's on the ice, making sure I have all the notes for the game, etc. He also taught me some simpler things like don't wear your Union Hockey sweatshirt into the press box (I know that was dumb) and being aware when the pizza comes so you get some before the hungrier and more seasoned writers eat it all. Kevin is a pro at running a press box. He made sure everyone had their material, had a seat, and knew all the scoring changes, etc. With Kevin at the helm the mood in the tight and narrow press box at Messa Rink was light but very professional.

My favorite moments with Kevin were during the 11-2 romp over Clarkson, and the 3-2, 50t loss against Quinnipiac in the first game of the ECAC quarterfinals. In the Clarkson game there was a barrage of Union goals and the press box was hectic. I remember sitting next to Ross Bennett (good pal of Will Friedman), who was helping do recaps for Union Athletics.com, and looking at each other like "what the heck is going on here!" Luckily for us Kevin was on top of his game and made everything easy for us so we understood who scored the goals and what records were eventually broken. The Quinnipiac game felt like a marathon for us writers, but Kevin made it sustainable as he always made sure that there was food and gave us updates on how close the game was to breaking the record for longest game.

Even though I only got to interact with Kevin for just one season he has impacted my career in the sports world tremendously. For the longest time I wanted to be a sports journalist, but after spending time with Kevin I think I might go the sports public relations route like he did. Kevin was so involved with the in's-and-out's of everyday operations and truly cared about the team and the players. This is something that want to experience one day. Even though Kevin liked messing with me and never got Subway for the press box for a game (like he promised me!), he is "the man."

Who ever fills Kevin's position has some big shoes to fill. If I were one year older I would definitely try to take his former position and fill his shoes. I hope you all join me in saying goodbye and best wishes to Kevin as he moves on in his career.

DG: Where are you from?
KZ: I'm originally from Pittsburgh, but after four years of school at Ithaca, a year at Syracuse and now entering my third year in the Capital District, I guess upstate is slowly becoming home.

DG: Where did you go to college? What was your major?
KZ: I'm a 2007 graduate of Ithaca College with a B.S. in sport media with a minor in writing.

DG: Did you play any sports in high school/college?
KZ: Since I was 10, I played travel hockey --- I was a goalie. I also played varsity golf from ninth grade on. During my freshman and sophomore years at Ithaca, I played hockey on the club team.

DG: Single or taken? (The ladies want to know Kev!)
KZ: Kind of a personal question don't you think? Anyways, I'm taken and my girlfriend might be the biggest Union College hockey fan out there.
DG: We'll see what Will Friedman has to say about that! (haha)

DG: What did you do before you came to Union?
KZ: I was a post-graduate intern in the Syracuse University Athletic Communications office. Syracuse didn't have the success it is having now when I was there. They were in the Greg Robinson era and the men's hoop team lost early in the NIT. However, men's lax did return to glory that year with a national championship --- I had nothing to do with that... or the football and baseball teams' struggles.

DG: What was your favorite thing about working at Union?
KZ: This is a tough one. I want to say it takes place between the hours of 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights in the winter, but I'm not 100% sure on that. Being in the public relations field, I guess my favorite part was when Union received recognition on a large scale. During my time here, we were featured on ESPN.com twice and we made a few appearances on Sports Center's Top 10 list.

DG: What is your favorite Union hockey moment?
KZ: The whole past year was a lot of fun and if I wasn't running around like a dog during the ECAC Hockey Championship weekend, I'd say that was my favorite moment. However, I'm going to go with Mike Harr (defenseman, Class of 2009) scoring the game-winning goal on Senior Night in 2009 to give Union home ice-advantage (in the first round of the ECAC playoffs).

DG: Who would you say is your favorite Union Hockey player?
KZ: Matt Cook (forward, Class of 2009). He was a senior when I arrived and he would do anything I asked when it came to interviews and appearances. One of my proudest moments was helping promote him as a finalist for the Lowe's Senior Class Award. Of course, Matt was a remarkable student-athlete and I don't think he needed my help.

DG: So you have said that you're not returning next season. Tell us what you are doing?
KZ: Well a few weeks ago, I decided to throw my hat into the mix for the Albany Devils Director of Public Relations job. Assistant Athletic Director Eric McDowell and Nate Leaman really helped me during the process by making a few phone calls --- I'm really appreciative of that. After interviewing, I was offered and accepted the position at the end of June. So I start the new job on the 19th (of July) and will basically be handling all public relation duties, including their website (www.thealbanydevils.com).

DG: What are you going to miss the most about Union?
KZ: I'm going to miss the excitement of witnessing, first hand, the men's hockey program grow to something special. There's no doubt that on Friday and Saturday nights I'll be checking the scores every chance I get --- assuming I'm working and not in the stands at Messa Rink.

DG: Who is your favorite pro sports team?
KZ: Pittsburgh Penguins. No doubt. Of course I might have to reconsider now that the New Jersey Devils sign my paycheck.

DG: What do you think about Lebron James going to Miami?
KZ: Watching the Lebron ESPN special was probably the only 30 minutes I'll dedicate to the NBA this year, so ultimately I really don't care. The whole situation, including the hour special and the letter written by the Cavs owner, was way over the top. I've moved on pretty quickly.

For more on Kevin go to Union Athletics.com.

College Hockey Video of the Week (7/13/10): The Blake Wheeler Goal

This is my first non-Union College Hockey Video of the Week, which features former Minnesota Golden Gopher Blake Wheeler who now plays in the NHL for the Boston Bruins.

This video takes place in the 2007 WCHA Championship game as Wheeler's Gophers take on the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. In the WCHA semifinals Wheeler scored a hat trick in a 4-2 win over Wisconsin. With the game tied at two in overtime and the title on the line, Wheeler raced down the ice in hope to prevent an icing call. He prevented the icing call and did something else... scored an amazing diving, one-handed goal to give his team the championship. This combined with his semifinal performance led to him being named the tournament MVP.

The goal was compared to Neal Broten's goal in the 1979 NCAA Championship game which gave the Gophers the title over North Dakota. Less than a year later Broten would be a member of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team.

If you can't see the Wheeler goal click here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

College Hockey Video of the Week (7/5/10): Eric Ehn's crazy goal against Justin Mrazek

This week's College Hockey Video of the Week is an all-time favorite of mine mainly because I was there. It takes place at the 2008 Skills Competition in Denver during the Frozen Four. I remember being very excited that Union goaltender Justin Mrazek '08 was in the competition because I would actually have someone to cheer for during the Frozen Four. And since I was the only person at the tournament wearing a Union jersey (at least I think so), I was very proud to be cheering for Union... until this goal by Air Force's Eric Ehn against Mrazek.

While there might be an illegal hand-pass involved in this goal, it is still a very cool move. I will admit that I was a bit embarrassed, but it was still an incredible thing to see. But, after this and the performance Jason Walters '10 put on at this year's Skills Competition I really wouldn't mind if no other Dutchmen took part in this competition. (haha).

If you can't see the video click here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July... even my boys in Canada! While the ponds might be melted there are still plenty of roller rinks to play some puck.

Fun fact about Americans and Union hockey: all three of Union's goalies last season were from the United States (Keith Kinkaid - New York, Corey Milan - Massachusetts, Rich Sillery-Maryland). The leading American scorer on the team last season was John Simpson with 20 points (4g, 16a). Big Simpson was seventh on the team in scoring

Friday, July 2, 2010

Webb signs with EHC Munchen

Former Union great Jordan Webb '05 has just been signed by EHC Munchen of Germany. Last season he played for Kaufbeuren where netted 24 goals and 48 assists. Prior to this season Webb held the record for career points by a Dutchmen (114), but Jason Walters broke the record as he jumped ahead of Webb with an assist against St. Lawrence in the ECAC semi-finals. Mario Valery-Trabucco tied Webb with an empty net goal in the same game, but was unable to get point 115.

For more on Webb check out ECAC Hockey.com.