Post #53 — 9/10/21 – Labor Day Tourney Observations, NCAA In-Season Events, Sifters
NCAA Coaching Changes… Keep up with all the coaching changes across D-I and D-III HERE.
In This Post…
- Labor Day Tourney Observations |
- NCAA In-Season Events |
- Sifters |
Labor Day Tourney Observations
Labor Day weekend has come and gone and so too have the tournaments that kicked off the 2021-2022 amatuer hockey season. 60 teams from all over the US + 1 Canadian Province came to Burlington, Vermont to compete at the U14-U16-U19 age divisions. While in Pittsburgh, PA at the PIP Labor Day Girls Fest, a total of 54 teams faced-off against one another traveling from as far away as Anaheim to Boston and everywhere in between.
Hotel prices in Burlington were sky high. +$300 / night at area hotels was a common theme. Some coaches had trouble finding rooms and had to stay in nearby Plattsburgh, NY. The weather however, was a nice consolation. It was an all-Connecticut final in both the U19 and U16 divisions with the CT Polarbears beating the Mid-Fairfield CT Stars in each age group. The MN Jr. Whitecaps took the U14 Division title with a 7-0 win over Ironbound. The Jr. Whitecaps averaged just shy of 7 goals per game… while only giving up 3 goals total in 6 games.
From what we heard in Pittsburgh there was a larger contingent of D-I coaches in attendance, all but 3 D-I schools were there. Of course there was a great contingent of D-III coaches as well. Within 3 age groups, 6 champions where crowned – winners were: U19 Silver – Little Caesars, U19 Gold – MN Jr. Whitecaps, U16 Silver – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, U16 Gold – MN Jr. Whitecaps, U14 Silver – Connecticut Jr. Rangers, U14 Gold – Chicago Mission.
The rumor was both events in VT and Pittsburgh were well run and with no major snafu’s.
Absent from this weekend’s’ slate of events NCAA coaches could get to was the Team Ontario U18 High Performance Camp being help north of Toronto. Many NCAA coaches might say this would have been the best of the three events to evaluate at. Why? A condensed topo-end talent pool and one location to manage. Quite a few D-I coaches (myself included) who were slated to go to Ontario found their way to Burlington instead, once news of the U18 HP event being closed due to COVID concerns became public.
First Look At New USA Hockey Rules
NCAA coaches caught their first glimpses of new USA Hockey rule changes regarding offsides and when a team is penalty killing. The changes are as follows:
Automatic offsides will be called… no ‘Tag-Up’ offsides is allowed. Ensuing faceoff at offending teams offensive blueline.
Teams killing a penalty may not ice the puck. If the puck is iced, icing will be called and ensuing faceoff will be in the defensive zone of the offending team.
Most NCAA coaches we talked to don’t care for the auto offsides. Most seem to be okay with no icing on PK’s. The Games were choppy and hard to get into a flow at times due to a lot of offside calls. Icing on the penalty kill seemed to have more of an affect on the parents in the stands than the players on the ice to be honest. We get the intent of both rules, make a smarter play. But the offside rule, really? If the intent is to make a smarter play, blowing the whistle doesn’t accomplish that, play stops. What about the defending team, who could retrieve the puck, regroup, breakout, attack etc., they don’t have a chance to make a smart play–it’s like the rule was only taken from the offensive perspective of the game.
And the auto offside faceoff location did not change – it’s still at its normal spot – at the offensive blueline of the offending team. Understood when icing occurs, the normal faceoff comes all the way down. I wonder if the faceoff location for the auto offside call should have been changed too. May be the ensuing faceoff should be at the offending teams defensive zone blueline instead? You are somewhat being rewarded by still getting the faceoff at your offensive zone blueline – even though you went offside.
Like most rule changes, it will take some time for players/coaches/officials (and parents) to adjust. We shall see if there is a positive impact.
NCAA In-Season Events
Here is the line-up of in-season D-I tournaments and special events. If we’re missing something send us an email so we can announce it.
- Smashville Women’s Collegiate Showcase — Nov. 26-27 — Boston College, Colgate, Mercyhurst, Minnesota
- Nutmeg Classic — Nov. 26-27 — Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, UCONN, Yale
- DI in DC — Nov. 26-27 — Ohio St., Penn St., Univ. MN-Duluth, St. Lawrence University
- World University Games — Dec. 10-17 — Northeastern University, Team Switzerland, Team China, Team Canada, Team Russia, Team Japan. You can find out more on this event HERE.
- Battle At The ‘Burgh — Jan. 1-2 — Boston University, Penn State, Syracuse, St. Cloud State
- Minnesota Hockey Day Outdoor Game — Jan. 23rd — Mankato vs. St. Thomas
- Mayor’s Cup — Jan. 29 — Union College vs. RPI
- The Beanpot — Feb 1 & 8 — Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University
Friars’ Domenico Named To Canada’s National Women’s Team Staff… Providence Friar Associate Head Coach Alison Domenico was named to Canada’s National Women’s Team coaching staff as an Assistant Coach for the 2021-2022 season including the Olympic Games in Beijing. Domenico was recently promoted to the position of Associate Head Coach at Providence after finishing her 3rd season as an assistant. Jim Midgley left Team Canada’s National Women’s Team to join the New York Rangers as an Assistant Coach on Aug. 24th. Gina Kingsbury, Director of Hockey Operations with Hockey Canada made the announcement of Domenico’s hiring September 1. Kingsbury is very familiar with Domenico as she has been part of Hockey Canada’s women’s coaching staff before. Both are alums of St. Lawrence.
Providence has not named a replacement for Domenico yet. In these types of situations, a program usually has the option to add someone as an NCAA emergency hire just for the year on a temporary basis. Head Coach Matt Kelly only used 2 coaches on staff last year. Perhaps that will be the case for this year? You can read more on Domenico’s hire HERE.
The Hunt For Coaches Continues… LIU, Merrimack, RIT, and RPI, have yet to name Assistant Coaches to their respective staffs as of yet. There are several D-III Assistant Coaching positions that have yet to be filled also–Nichols and Hamline need to hire head coaches.
COVID Updates… As the Delta COVID variant presses on around the US, athletic departments are being faced with major decisions about fan attendance. The RPI Athletic Department of the ECAC came out with a statement as follows: ‘As per Rensselaer’s plan to return to campus-based operations of August 13, 2021, external spectators are not permitted at this time. Only RPI faculty, staff and students who are fully compliant with the Institute’s COVID-19 protocols are allowed to attend games.’. Other athletic departments are most likely pondering potential adjustments to spectator protocol should the need arise.
Early Exhibition Games… In looking at various schedules, it appears teams are taking advantage of the new NCAA rule on exhibition games allowed to be scheduled vs. NCAA schools for this year. The earliest games we’ve noticed thus far:
- Sept. 18 — UCONN @ Quinnipiac
- Sept. 19 — RIT @ Mercyhurst
- Sept. 19 — Syracuse @ RPI
- Sept. 25 — Franklin Pierce @ Northeastern
- Sept. 25 — Saint Michael’s @ Univ. of Vermont
RMU Update… Robert Morris University Athletics has announced that former RMU Men’s Head coach Derek Schooley has been named Head Coach and director of hockey operations for both the men’s and women’s programs effective immediately. From the story that appears on USCHO.com HERE, a total of $2.4 Million is needed to reinstate both programs by Dec. 15, 2021. Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle, former US Olympian and RMU goaltender has been named as a special assistant for hockey operations.
Perhaps RMU can follow in the footsteps of The University Alaska-Anchorage as their men’s program recently announced it had reached its fundraising goal and will be reinstating the program for the 2022-2023 season. They raised over $3.1 million.
The Hall Calls For Purple Eagles… Niagara University will induct the 2001-2002 Women’s Hockey team into the 2021 athletics hall of fame class. The announcement was made earlier this week. The 01-02 Purple Eagles went 28-6-2 that year winning the ECAC regular season championship, making it to the Frozen Four, and playing Minnesota to a 2-2 tie in the 3rd place game. The induction will be held Dec. 4th, 2021. The Purple Eagle program was cut after the 2011-2012 season.
Until Next Time…
Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College Hockey.org and beginning his 3rd season as an Assistant Coach with the Yale University women’s hockey program. Grant has developed an experienced perspective in the world of women’s ice hockey, having coached and recruited players from across the globe during his 25+ year amatuer and NCAA coaching career. He has coached at 6 NCAA DIII and DI programs in the NCHA (D3), the CHA, WCHA, Hockey East, ECAC, and the Ivy League (DI). Beyond coaching, Grant served as a site representative for the 2019 NCAA quarterfinal of the D-I NCAA Tournament. He also currently serves as an Officer with the American Hockey Coaches Association as Vice President of Membership and sits on the AHCA’s Women’s Hockey Executive Committee.