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NCAA Update

Boston College coach York ties record for wins

Saturday, 12.01.2012 / 10:02 PM / NCAA Update

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Two years after becoming coach at Boston College, Jerry York attended a university function at Fenway Park's 400 Club.

More than a decade past winning the 1984 NCAA title with Bowling Green, he was rebuilding a program in the midst of six straight losing seasons that had gone almost half a century since its last national championship. Rival Boston University, on the other hand, had recently won a historic fourth national title.

So when the Boston Bruins were considering giving their vacant head coaching job to BU boss Jack Parker, a BC alum asked York if he was eager to see Parker leave college hockey.

"Jerry, in a very respectful way said, 'No, I want him to stay. I want to see if we can measure up to BU,'" said Mike Cavanaugh, York's assistant coach at BC since 1995. "At the time, they were the program to emulate. And they happened to be our rival."

So it seemed all too appropriate that, roughly 15 years since that Fenway function, York made hockey history against Parker and Boston University.

A 5-2 BC victory over BU on Saturday night gave York 924 career wins, tying Ron Mason's all-time collegiate record.

Pegula's vision for Penn State comes into focus

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 9:00 AM / NCAA Update

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

One night in the fall of 2005, Penn State alumnus Terry Pegula reached out to Joe Battista, the longtime coach of the university's club-level men's hockey team.

Pegula was eager to know what was preventing his alma mater -- a seven-time national champion at the club level -- from competing at the NCAA Division I level.

Battista had fielded this question too many times. Since arriving on campus as a student in 1978, the former team captain and passionate advocate of the "Penn State Icers" program had seen more than a dozen formal proposals fail to get the wheels in motion on a new arena project.

The generosity of Buffalo Sabres' owner Terry Pegula has forever changed hockey for the Nittany Lions, who are competing at the Division I level this season. (Photo: Penn State Athletic Communications)

"I explained to [Pegula] that we don't have a facility, we don't have the budget, there were Title IX issues and it would take a significant amount of money," Battista told NHL.com. "[Pegula] said, 'Look, I'm in town. I want to meet you for dinner.'"

Seven years later, as Penn State opens its inaugural Division I men's ice hockey season Friday against American International at 32-year-old Greenberg Ice Pavilion, Battista could not be more thankful he accepted that unexpected dinner invitation.

Pegula's generosity has forever changed hockey at Penn State.

"Terry asked me [that night], 'What's it going to cost to make this happen?' I said we have to build a building, finance the scholarships -- minimum $50 million," Battista told NHL.com. "I figured that would end the conversation. He paused, rubbed his chin and said, 'I think I can do that.' I just about fell out of my chair."

Penn State kicks off inaugural D-I season

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 9:00 AM / NCAA Update

Michael Blinn - NHL.com Staff Writer

On Sept. 17, 2010, Terry Pegula helped make college hockey history. The Buffalo Sabres’ owner joined a press conference at his alma mater to announce his $88 million donation to Penn State, building the school a new ice arena and creating the 59th Division I men's ice hockey program.

From there, the figurative ball began to roll and the buzz began to grow.

On April 24, 2011, the school named Guy Gadowsky, who coached Princeton to two NCAA tournament appearances, the team's first coach. He wasted no time in getting his first Nittany Lions team together, getting to pick from one of the nation's top club teams on his own campus.

The Penn State men's hockey team opened its inaugural D-I season Friday with a 3-2 overtime loss to American International. The teams squared off again Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, where PSU earned a 4-3 overtime win -- its first of the season. (Photo: Penn State Athletic Communications)

In early September, Gadowsky named his first recruiting class, five sophomore transfers who will be the de facto team leaders for the new coach.

Former Mercyhurt forward Taylor Holstrom was the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year in 2011, and fellow ex-Laker Nate Jensen's father, David, played for the U.S. Olympic team in 1984 before playing with the Minnesota North Stars.

"It's huge for us to have those five individuals with Division I experience," Gadowsky said. "[Holstrom], along with the other four guys, are going to be extremely important in helping our program make the transition from club hockey to Division I."

In their final season as a club team, Kirchhevel (57 points) and Holstrom (40 points) ranked among the national scoring leaders as Penn State went 30-3-0 en route to a top seed in the postseason tournament before losing in the semifinals.

Their success left a big impression on the coach.

Hockey East to add UConn men for 2014-15

Thursday, 06.21.2012 / 6:29 PM / NCAA Update

NHL.com

Hockey East added another member on Thursday when the University of Connecticut's men's team accepted an invitation to join for the 2014-15 season.

Connecticut’s membership increases the conference to 12 teams for 2014-15; the 10 current teams -- Boston College, Boston University, Maine, Merrimack, UMass-Lowell, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Providence and Vermont -- will be joined by Notre Dame in 2013-14.

The Huskies men's team will continue to compete in the Atlantic Hockey Conference for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons before making the move. UConn's women's team is already part of Hockey East's eight-member women's league.

Ferris State's Daniels named Coach of the Year

Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 5:11 PM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

Ferris State coach Bob Daniels has been named the 2012 Spencer Penrose Award as Division I Men's Ice Hockey flexxCOACH/AHCA National Coach of the Year.

Daniels led the Bulldogs to a first-ever Frozen Four appearance last weekend, downing Union 3-1 in the semifinal before losing 4-1 to Boston College in the championship game.

This marks Daniels' second Penrose Award in his 20-year career; his peers honored him in 2003, following the school's only other NCAA Tournament appearance. The award will be presented April 28 during the American Hockey Coaches Association annual convention in Naples, Fla.

NCAA team, individual honors from Frozen Four

Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 12:19 PM / NCAA Update

NHL.com's Top 10

1. Boston College 33-10-1
2. Ferris State 26-12-5
3. Union 26-8-7
4. Minnesota 28-14-1
5. North Dakota 26-13-3
6. Minnesota-Duluth 25-10-6
7. Michigan 24-13-4
8. Miami 24-15-2
9. Mass.-Lowell 24-13-1
10. Cornell 19-9-7

Fans trekked from Miami to Maine, New Orleans to North Dakota for Saturday night's NCAA championship game that saw Boston College defeat Ferris State University 4-1 to claim the title.

Here are some of the notable team and individual honors to come out of Frozen Four weekend:

The Frozen Four All-Tournament Team:

BC Forwards Steven Whitney (Reading, Mass.) and Paul Carey (Weymouth, Mass.), Ferris State forward Kyle Bonis (Lindsay, ON.), BC defenseman Brian Dumoulin (Biddeford, Maine) and Ferris State defenseman Chad Billins (Marysville, Mich.), along with BC goaltender Parker Milner, who was also voted the Most Outstanding Player for the 2012 Frozen Four.

2011-2012 NCAA Division I First All-American Teams:

From the East: Goaltender Troy Grosenick, Union College (Brookfield, WI); Defensemen Danny Biega, Harvard University (Montreal) and Brian Dumoulin, Boston College (Biddeford, ME); Forwards Spencer Abbott; University of Maine (Hamilton, ON), Alex Killorn, Harvard University (Montreal), Austin Smith, Colgate University (Dallas, TX)

Minnesota-Duluth's Connolly wins Hobey Baker Award

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 7:13 PM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation selected Minnesota-Duluth senior forward and Duluth native Jack Connolly for the 2012 Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s highest annual award for its top player.

The Hobey Hat Trick finalists also included senior forwards Spencer Abbott from the University of Maine and Austin Smith from Colgate University. The 23-member Selection Committee and an additional round of online fan balloting determine the annual winner. The criteria include outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.

Yale’s Hughes honored with Humanitarian Award

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 5:30 PM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- The 2012 Hockey Humanitarian Award for college hockey's finest citizen, sponsored by BNY Mellon Wealth Management, was presented Friday afternoon to Yale senior captain Aleca Hughes, a native of Westwood, Mass.

Since its inception in 1996, the Humanitarian Award recognizes the college hockey student-athlete, Division I, II or III, male or female, who gives back to their communities in the true humanitarian spirit.

Hughes' compassion, tenacity and leadership inspired by teammate Mandi Schwartz's courageous battle with leukemia forged the committee's decision-making in selecting her.

"If you do what you do with heart and passion, it becomes infectious and motivates others."
-- Yale senior captain Aleca Hughes

Hughes, who skated on the same line with Schwartz to begin her freshman season in 2008-09, became immediately involved with her junior teammate's challenges when diagnosed that December; Schwartz would not rejoin the team until the following season.

That dedicated return and will to fight the disease inspired Hughes to create initiatives toward a cure for her teammate.

For the past two years, Hughes organized the "White Out for Mandi" fundraisers at Yale's Ingalls Rink. The first event raised over $20,000 to assist the Schwartz family in medical expenses.

Unfortunately, Schwartz lost her battle with cancer in April 2011.

She was the sister of former Wisconsin star Jaden Schwartz, who recently signed an entry-level contract with St. Louis and scored the game-winning goal in his NHL debut March 17 against the Lightning.

This past year, Hughes led her teammates for a second White Out, raising over $30,000 to establish the Mandi Schwartz Foundation dedicated to both helping current cancer and to fund cancer research.

Raising money, however, was only one of Hughes' efforts to assist Mandi and the Schwartz family. She also took time-intensive research to find a bone-marrow match for Mandi. While unsuccessful at the time, it led to increased awareness for a national bone-marrow registry. Taking the next step, Hughes and teammates hosted three "Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drives" in New Haven, Conn.

These increased the national registrants by more than 2500 additional names. Six matches resulted to save six lives.

Hughes' compassion, tenacity and leadership inspired by teammate Mandi Schwartz's battle with leukemia forged the committee's decision-making in selecting her. (Photo: Yale University)

Chuck Long, a senior director at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, said: "BNY Mellon encourages all of its employees to work for the common good, and we are proud to support an award honoring the community service of athletes like Aleca."

"What signifies true greatness lives within Aleca," said Mandi's mother, Carol Schwartz. "Our family will forever be grateful for the tremendous efforts she put forth to save Mandi's life. What better attribute can define the quality of a human being?"

Hughes' fight against cancer goes deeper still. She spearheaded many other charitable initiatives, including the Bulldog Buddies program, which has connected Yale athletic teams with young brain tumor patients.

One is 10-year-old Giana with whom the Lady Bulldogs continue to spend time as their adopted teammate after her recent brain cancer surgery.

"Aleca has really been there for me," Giana said. "It's awesome to have her take the time to hang with me, especially when I'm feeling sick, scared or sad."

"Losing Mandi was devastating," Hughes said. "Yet the magnitude of her life has been larger than life. I think she would be humbled by the profound impact her story continues to have through fundraising and marrow drives."

What are Hughes' hopes for these efforts and the Humanitarian Award?

"If you do what you do with heart and passion, it becomes infectious and motivates others," she said.

BC rolls over Minnesota to make NCAA final

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 12:11 AM / NCAA Update

Peter Pupello - NHL.com Correspondent

The top-ranked Boston College Eagles rolled into the NCAA championship game by routing Minnesota 6-1 Thursday night in the Frozen Four at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Paul Carey scored twice as the Eagles (32-10-1) won their 18th straight game. BC will try for its fifth NCAA championship when it faces Ferris State in the championship game. The Bulldogs beat Union 3-1 in the first semifinal.

Ferris State beats Union, advances to NCAA title game

Thursday, 04.05.2012 / 7:32 PM / NCAA Update

Peter Pupello - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Kyle Bonis and the Ferris State Bulldogs had their day at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday.

Come Saturday, they'll get another one.

Bonis scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, and senior goaltender Taylor Nelson made 27 saves as Ferris State earned its first trip to the NCAA championship game by beating Union College 3-1 in the first Frozen Four matchup.

The Bulldogs, making their first appearance in the Frozen Four after winning the regular season championship in the CCHA, will meet the winner of the second semifinal between Boston College and the Minnesota in Saturday's national championship game.
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