Division I college hockey in Ohio…"the celebration of a legacy."
The final year of the Central Collegiate Hockey Assocation (CCHA) is in full swing, and while the lockout has each of us primed for the game of hockey, this will be my attempt to bring you a weekly update on our area collegiate teams. Having spent the majority of my career involved in the collegiate game at Ohio State and Miami, one thing that transcends the action of the game are the people that are in charge.
I have been fortunate to have a personal touch with each of the coaches that head the respective programs today.
Mark Osiecki, Head Coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes
I spent some time with Mark’s dad while I was an assistant coach at Miami. His dad was the head coach of Burnsville High School and played a small part in recognizing and identifying area prospects in Minnesota for our program. One of those was his own son, Mark.
Mark went on to North Dakota to play collegiate hockey and then on to professional hockey circles as a stellar defenseman. Mark was a winner on every level, both as a player and a coach. He was named head coach of the Ohio State men's hockey program April 24, 2010. Osiecki was the top assistant at Wisconsin the prior six years, and prior to joining the Badgers, was the head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League for seven seasons.
Osiecki has been a part of NCAA (both as a player and coach) and is now in his third year as the mentor of the Buckeyes.
Enrico Blasi, Head Coach of Miami University
“Rico” and I go back to his collegiate career at Miami. As a player, Rico played for my successor George Gwozdecky. I watched him play his junior hockey and collegiate game, knowing he would be an excellent coach in his future years. As a professor at Miami and Rico as a student in the PHS department, he would spend hours in my office picking my brain about the game and the people that were involved in it.
We continue to have a great relationship as we embrace the Brotherhood of Miami today. Rico is in his 14th season at Miami. He is a four-time CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06. He stands 289-184-49 in 14 seasons at his alma mater, where he has led Miami to eight NCAA Tournaments, including two Frozen Four berths, a National Championship game appearance, a pair of CCHA regular-season titles and the school's first ever Mason Cup in 2011.
Blasi is the winningest coach in school history.
Chris Bergeron, Head Coach of Bowling Green State University
Chris was my last recruit as head coach of Miami University. He was an excellent junior player and an even better collegiate and pro player. He was destined to get into coaching. He played the game, studied the competitive spirit of what it takes to succeed and assisted in building the successful framework of the Miami program we see today.
Bergeron played at Miami from 1989-93 and was a two-year team captain, leading the team to its first CCHA Championship in program history as a senior. During that season, Bergeron scored a team-high 61 points on 21 goals and 40 assists. Along with his offensive achievements that year, the four-year letterwinner was named the CCHA's Best Defensive Forward as well as Miami's Most Outstanding Senior.
As categorized by then strength coach Dan Dalrymple (now the strength coach of the New Orleans Saints): “Chris was the best captain he has seen in Miami sports in his tenure.” In just two short years, the effects of Chris Bergeron’s presence has been felt across Falcons Hockey and the Bowling Green community.
He became the Falcons’ seventh head coach in program history on April 12, 2010 after Athletic Director Greg Christopher (another Miami University product and past MUTV play-by-play broadcaster) announced that Bergeron would take over the Falcons.
Next week, I'll break down some "Players to Watch" and two weekend series capsules: Miami at Michigan, and Ohio State at Bowling Green.