Category Archives: D-III Update

Post #50– 8/30/21 – More D-I Starts, 3-Part Mutual Respect series, Sifters

In This Post…

  • D-I Schools Start The Year |
  • Observations: 3-Part Mutual Respect Series |
  • Sifters |

NCAA Coaching Changes… See all the coaching changes in one spot – HERE – on our google sheet. Announcements on new hires and recent openings can be found below in the Sifters section.

Stick Taps Section… We need your ‘Stick Taps’ suggestions! Have someone in the world of women’s college hockey you think deserves some recognition? Let us know who they are and why you think they’re so deserving! You can fill out our online submission form right HERE or Email us at: womenscollegehockey@gmail.com or tweet at us: @WMNSCollHockey. Stick Taps go out the first post of every month so stay tuned!

Online Directory of Recruiting Events/Leagues… We received several messages from event and league organizers wishing to get their events/league weekends/showcases listed in our online directory. So – we’ve created a google sheet with all the events that present good scouting opportunities we’re are aware of. You can find that list HERE. If you run a recruiting event or league and want to have us list it in our online directory, please click HERE and fill out our WCH.org recruiting event form.


D-I Schools Starting-Up

By the end of Friday this week, 14 more D-I programs will have joined Franklin Pierce and Syracuse University and started classes for the 2021-2022 D-I season. Just about under 40% of D-I teams will potentially be on the ice this week back in session ]. Whether or not teams are on the ice, is an entirely different story. Ice needs to be laid down, lines need to be painted, equipment needs to be handed out, NCAA compliance meetings need to be held, medical physicals have to occur, COVID protocols need to be met, and classes have to begin. Needless to say there’s a lot that goes into getting a team on the ice. Check below to see who starts class this week.

WCHACHAECACHockey East NEWHA
Bemidji St. – Aug. 23 Syracuse – Aug. 20St. Lawrence – Aug. 25 Boston College – Aug. 30 Franklin Pierce – Aug. 18
Mankato – Aug. 23Lindenwood – Aug. 23Colgate – Aug. 26Merrimack College – Aug. 30 Saint Anselm – Aug. 23
St. Cloud St. – Aug. 23 Mercyhurst – Aug. 23Cornell – Aug. 26Providence College – Aug. 30 Saint Michael’s – Aug.23
Ohio St. – Aug. 24Penn State – Aug. 23Clarkson – Aug. 30UCONN – Aug. 30Post Univ. – Aug. 30
MN-Duluth – Aug. 30 Rochester Inst. of Tech – Aug. 23 Quinnipiac – Aug. 30Univ. of Maine – Aug. 30Sacred Heart Univ. – Aug. 30
RPI – Aug. 30Univ. of New Hampshire – Aug. 30
Univ. of Vermont – Aug. 30

Observations – 3 Part Series On Mutual Respect

There is a tremendous amount of excitement as the 2021-2022 hockey season begins. Not only for NCAA programs, but for minor/youth players, coaches, parents, and everyone who plays a part in women’s hockey alike. We all want to get back to what was normal prior to the pandemic. We miss that sense of enjoyment we get from hockey. One of the ways we can ensure that enjoyment, is in how we treat one another. The better we treat one another, the more we enjoy the game. No matter what your role is within the game, we can all show a little more mutual respect between one another.

So, beginning tomorrow we’ll introduce part 1 of our 3-part ‘More Mutual Respect’ series and take a look at ways in which Parents can be more mutually respectful of one another this season. We’ll follow that up over the next two Tuesday’s, September 7th and 14th, with posts about how Players and Club/High School Coaches can be more respectful as well. Club and High School coaches who intersect with NCAA coaches during the recruiting process will definitely not want to miss this post.

Sifters

College Hockey Season Update… The AHCA, American Hockey Coaches Association met last week to begin it’s 2021-2022 season. One item of note that came up was how conferences and the NCAA will treat COVID related games that do not get played. The Hockey Commissioners association met to discuss possible options. Football conferences, such as The Big 10, have determined how they will handle certain situations should a team not be able to compete due to COVID. We expect all D-I hockey conferences to announce how to handle such situations. The NCAA on the other hand, does not recognize forfeits and no contest games. It will be interesting to see how the men’s and women’ ice hockey committees handles these situations for the NCAA National Tournament. As always, we’ll keep you posted.

Northern Michigan University Talking Women’s D-I Hockey… As it has been talked about before, Northern Michigan University has voiced its desire to have a D-I women’s NCAA program again. Just two days ago an article that appeared in the Brainerd Dispatch where AD Forrest Karr was quoted, “To me it’s an obligation that we have in the state of Michigan to help grow the sport.” You can read the full article HERE. Michigan did have a D-I NCAA program at Wayne State University, where yours truly worked from 2003-2007 under then Head Coach Jim Fetter. But the program fell prey to statewide budget cuts in 2011. No women’s D-I team in the state has existed since.

Coaching Hires Continue… We are just a few weeks away from the start of the season and there are still a few coaching positions both at D-I and D-III left to be filled.

LIU… Head Coach Rob Morgan announced he has filled one of his two open Assistant positions with former Brown alum Erica Kromm. She played for the Bears from ’07 – ’11. You can read more on Kromm’s hire HERE.

St. Anselm College… Head Coach Jen Kindret recently announced the hiring of Vinnie Ferrainola as its new full-time Assistant Coach. Ferrainola comes to St. A’s after spending the 20-21 season as Director of Hockey Operations for women’s hockey at Robert Morris University. You can read more his hire HERE.

Concordia University Wisconsin… has hired Ellie Tabaka, former player at Augsburg College ’20 and will assume the Assistant Coaching duties. You can read more on Ellie’s hire HERE.

RIT, Merrimack, and LIU… still have Assistant positions to announce.

At Division III… There are several Head and Assistants positions that need to be announced. Trinity College has a job posting for it’s Full-Time Assistant Coaching position. Anyone interested in applying can do so HERE.

RMU Update… And speaking of Robert Morris, it appears there will be no hockey played for either the women’s or men’s team for the 2021-2022 seasons. However, the school athletic department announced a ‘Hockey Is The Goal’ fundraising campaign on August 18 to help reinstate the women’s and men’s programs. An amount to get to was never announced.

Muddying the waters a bit is a story on TribLive about a lawyer representing a few RMU hockey players, who has alleged, “…a university official ordered an athletic department employee to “get rid of” text messages and emails about the school’s decision to eliminate the men’s and women’s ice hockey programs.” You can find that story HERE.

Upper Midwest HS Elite League Schedule… The Girls Minnesota High School Elite League gets back into action for the Fall of 2021 September 7th. You can find the entire league schedule HERE. The schedule spans 7 weeks this year culminating the the Girls NIT Tournament October 22-24, 2021.

Ontario U18 Camp… Women’s minor hockey in Ontario is looking more normal as the weeks go by. One sure sign is the OWHA announcing its annual U18 High Performance Invitational Camp September 3-5 in Allston, ON at the Nottawsaga Resort. Eighty players born 2004 and 2005 will be invited. This event in preparation for the Female U18 Canadian National Championships Oct. 31 to Nov. 6, 2021 in Dawson, Creek, BC. Ontario will have 2 team entries – Red and Blue.

World Championship Update… Today the US meets Finland at 3pm EST and Canada meets the Swiss at 7pm EST. Winners of today’s semi-final matchups face one another for the World Championship tomorrow, Aug. 31 at 7:30 EST. The US’s lone loss in the tournament so far was to Canada 5-1 in the prelim round. Canada remains undefeated. Placement games for all other countries have been taking place, Russia takes on Japan tomorrow at 12:00pm EST in the final placement game.

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.

Post #49– 8/18/21 – D-I 21-22 Season Update, A 3rd Wave?, Sifters

In This Post…

  • D-I 2021-2022 Season Update|
  • A 3rd Wave?|
  • Sifters|

NCAA Coaching Changes… See all the coaching changes in one spot – HERE – on our google sheet. Announcements on new hires and recent openings can be found below in the Sifters section.

Stick Taps Section… We need your ‘Stick Taps’ suggestions! Have someone in the world of women’s college hockey you think deserves some recognition? Let us know who they are and why you think they’re so deserving! You can fill out our online submission form right HERE or Email us at: womenscollegehockey@gmail.com or tweet at us: @WMNSCollHockey. Stick Taps go out the first post of every month so stay tuned!

Online Directory of Recruiting Events/Leagues… We received several messages from event and league organizers wishing to get their events/league weekends/showcases listed in our online directory. So – we’ve created a google sheet with all the events that present good scouting opportunities we’re are aware of. You can find that list HERE. If you run a recruiting event or league and want to have us list it in our online directory, please click HERE and fill out our WCH.org recruiting event form.


D-I 2021-2022 Season Update

21-22 Season could in theory could start today… Hard to believe but yes, the NCAA D-I season here. Franklin Pierce University of the NEWHA begins classes today, Aug. 18. The NCAA rules allow teams beginning with the first day of classes or Sept. 15, whichever is earlier, to have up up to 4 hours of on-ice skill related activity per week. Most D-I programs will be up and running by Sept. 13th, that’s when Union and Dartmouth begin classes. Especially for the programs that did not have a season last year due to COVID, you can bet they’ll want to begin their seasons as soon as NCAA rules allow. There are also some programs that take a little slower approach and opt for a few days to go by, especially for freshmen, so everyone can get their bearings before jumping into the team schedule as to not overwhelm.

We went online and compiled a list of when each D-I school starts undergraduate classes… not taking into account COVID, some unknown delay like an athletic department policy, or scheduling error, here is a ‘fairly accurate’ (according to the internet anyway) list of dates when programs can get back on the ice if they so choose HERE.

NCAA 1st Official Practice Date… Contrary to the above mentioned 4-hours per week of on-ice skill work, Sept. 18 is actually the first official practice date in NCAA women’s ice hockey for the 2021-2022 season. That’s when all D-I programs, minus Ivy League schools, are allowed to begin their regular season allotment of up to 20-hours per week of required athletic activity–on-ice practice, strength & conditioning, team meetings, video sessions, team building, etc. The first official practice date for Ivy League institutions will be Oct. 1.

First D-I Games Just 37 Days Away… The first slate of games are scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 23-26 – just 37 days away. On Thursday Sept. 23, St. Lawrence travels to take on Penn State to kick off the 2021-2022 NCAA season. It’s customary for programs to schedule an exhibition game prior to the NCAA season beginning. After going through D-I online schedules, we are unable to find any exhibition games scheduled so far. Certainly we’re all hoping the season altering COVID restrictions are behind us and teams across all divisions (and in all sports) can have a safe normal season without interruption.

COVID Fallout – Large Rosters… As expected team roster sizes for the 21-22 season are bigger on average than in prior years. We went to every programs official website to look at 21-22 rosters that were posted. Thus far Harvard has the largest at 34 players. Not all teams are accounted for and there could be roster additions and even deletions as school begins. We’ll put together a comprehensive list once all teams rosters are finalised.

A 3rd Wave… Of Coaching Changes?

Historically the month of August and into September bring a few late coaching changes. A head or assistant coach leaves abruptly and bam, schools are left scrambling to find a replacement. This year is a bit different with more coaching changes than we’re ever seen. But that doesn’t mean we’re done with seeing some movement. Case in point, D-III Nichols College just announced an opening for their Head Coach position as Sam Fallon has resigned to take a similar position at a prep school. I expect a few more surprises. You can find our complete list of coaching departures and hires from this year HERE. As classes begin, programs are announcing recent hires… more on those below.

  • Mercyhurst University has hired Scott Spencer as an Assistant Coach. Spencer knows the CHA well as he was the first D-I Head Coach at Lindenwood University. Prior to Lindenwood, Spencer has coached at Ohio State, Robert Morris University, and Bemidji State on the men’s side. You can read more about his hire HERE.
  • Union College has filled its two Assistant Coach positions and has hired Chris Ardito and Breanne Wilson-Bennett. You can read Union’s official announcement HERE. Ardito comes to Union after having spent the past 3 seasons as the Head Girls Hockey Coach at Vermont Academy. Wilson-Bennett was a former player at Colgate during Head Coach Josh Sciba’s time as an Assistant at Colgate.
  • William Smith announced the hiring of former Dartmouth Assistant Coach Matt Cunningham as its next Head Coach. Cunningham spent the previous two seasons with ‘The Big Green’ in Hanover. You can read more on Matt’s hiring HERE. Cunningham who is originally from Phoenix, AZ played his college hockey for Minnesota State-Mankato. He will be the 3rd Head Coach in Heron history.

While not a NCAA coaching announcement, we’re glad to see former Robert Morris University Head Coach Paul Colontino land a new job in Hockey. Colontino was recently hired as Vice President of Hockey Operations and U19 Girls Head Coach at Selects Academy. You can read more on Colontiino’s delima to move to Selects HERE.

Sifters

RMU Update… Speaking of Paul Colontino and the Robert Morris program, it seems the RMU administration has put the brakes on a reboot of the program until the 2022-2023 season, if at all. Tim Benz of Trib Live gives an update on where things stand with both the women’s and men’s program. You can read that HERE.

North Dakota Women’s Program Lawsuit Gets A Boost… 11 former University of North Dakota women’s hockey team members sued The University of North Dakota System for shutting down the women’s hockey program back in March of 2017. Well, they got some good news last week. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has reversed a 2019 decision by the North Dakota District Court which originally dismissed the case for what it called ‘a failure to state a claim’. The Eighth Circuit stated, “Ultimately, we conclude that the district court’s primary reasons for dismissing the complaint rested on an incorrect view of the law,”… “But given a level playing field, or in this case, a properly smoothed ice rink, the athletes may be able to state an actionable Title IX claim.”

Shortly after the University of North Dakota women’s hockey was shut down, a group of 11 former UND women’s hockey players sought legal action by filing a discrimination lawsuit against the University of North Dakota System and asked to reinstate the program on the grounds the decision was in violation of Title IX.

You can read more on this story HERE with an article that appeared in the Grand Forks Herald written by Brad Elliott Schlossman. Brad used to cover the women’s team during its existence.

2021 World Championships Get Underway… The IIHF officially announced the tournament is a go. 1,047 PCR tests were conducted in the Calgary bubble since teams arrived and all were negative.

Pre-Tournament games begin today, you can find today’s schedule HERE. Team USA takes on Russia at 2pm EST and Canada plays Finland at 6pm EST. Both games will be broadcast LIVE on the NHL Network. Get the full NHL Network Women’s World Championship telecast schedule HERE. It looks like all US and Canadian games will be broadcast live.

While official team rosters won’t be announced until tomorrow, IIHF.com did post a list of 250 players who came with each country to Calgary. You can find that list HERE. By our count, there are a total of 31 players who are listed on NCAA rosters, 1 U Sports player (U Sports is Canada’s version of the NCAA), and 5 players still in high school.

D-III Update… With D-I programs starting their seasons in a matter of days, the D-III season isn’t far behind. NCAA rules don’t allow D-III coaches to get on the ice with their teams until October 15th but you can bet teams will be getting organised well before that with Captains practices, strength & conditioning workouts, and plenty of team building, etc.

  • New this year for the NESCAC is the ability to begin practice when the Oct. 15th hits. It has been customary for NESCAC teams to begin practice Nov. 1.
  • We are hearing rumors that InStat, a video analytics company, has signed a few deals with D-III conferences for this coming season. InStat provides game video breakdown and scouting services to a bulk of the NCAA D-I and D-III women’s and men’s teams. This will make pre-scouting your opponent much easier as well as adding a level of player development. We can remember the days of VHS tape to tape recordings that had to be done and then Fed-Exed out to your next opponent. How times have changed.
  • Mike O’Grady, Head Coach at Chatham University announced the hiring of Lila Toczek as his new Assistant Coach.

Tweet of The Week… Kelly Rider, Head Coach at Curry College, had one of the more interesting Tweets from college coaches this past week. Given WCH.org’s mission – which is in part to help educate parents, players, and coaches, her post seems very appropriate. Please take a look and click on the photo to expand. We’re not sure where she got the list from – but we’d love to know!

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.