While none of us could probably find an actual hockey game or a sporting event on television, there’s a lot of college hockey news unfolding.
For most, hockey has probably been the last thing on our minds lately. Today, my 12-year-old told me, “dad life is boring without sports.” Yes, it is. The things that come out of our kid’s mouths.
Most of us have had our world turned upside down since the COVID-19 outbreak in the US. Instead of worrying about sports, we’re worried about when our lives are going to return to normal. With my real-life job, I am going to be very busy, very soon when the Red River starts rising out of its banks. The Coronavirus will make things even more difficult.
Honestly, what a horrible way to end the 2019-20 college hockey season. UND hockey fans will not be able to watch their favorite team make another run at an NCAA title. There will be no winners or losers. No agony of defeat. When it’s all said and done, the Coronavirus won. There will be no finality. Just a season cut short.
No, No, No!
Last week, I saw UMD and SCSU fans grumbling on Twitter about an article that Brad Schlossman wrote for the Grand Forks Herald. First, I would say those two fanbases weren’t his intended audience. Second, they did have a point.
Honestly, I hope the only banner that hangs from the rafters will be a white banner honoring the 2020 Penrose Cup champs. Nothing else. Please God, no.
Make no mistake about it, the 2019-20 UND hockey team was something special. Their 26-5-4, 17-4-3 NCHC record was impressive, but I don’t think that UND should cheapen its memory with this. Article aside, Brad E. Schlossman is an awesome beat writer, he’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. He never misses a story, and it’s fun watching the UMD fans hang on his every word. I always wondered if he slept with the UND hockey media guide under his pillow. With that said, this is a bad idea.
What’s the answer?
Hang a banner. But make this one black.
For starters, it rightly distinguishes itself from the other eight green banners. It also rightly recognizes this team as the nation’s No. 1 when the season ended and avoids unfairly characterizing this team as one that didn’t win a national title when, in fact, it was the top-ranked team but never had the chance.
The color of the banner also provides more significance.
Here’s the question? How do we honor them? Please no banners other than a white one. There are no participation banners in the UND hockey world. No matter what the UMD fans say they’re not worthy of a banner, either. Yes, your team is the defending champs, albeit due to the Coronavirus, but the core of your team will be gone when the season starts next fall. UND could be in the same boat, too.
When it’s was all said and done, UND had a 17-4-3 record in one of the toughest conferences in all of college hockey. They weren’t a paper tiger as some had suggested. We’ll never know how this could’ve shaken out.
2020 Hobey Baker Award Finalists
Here’s the list of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalists. Six forwards, two d-men and two goalies make up the 2020 Hobey finalists.
Jordan Kawaguchi, jr, forward, North Dakota
Scott Perunovich, jr, defenseman, Minnesota Duluth
John Leonard, jr, forward, UMass
Jason Cotton, sr, forward, Sacred Heart
Jack Dugan, so, forward, Providence
Morgan Barron, jr, forward, Cornell
David Farrance, jr, defenseman, Boston University
Dryden McKay, so, goaltender, MSU-Mankato
Jeremy Swayman, jr, goaltender, Maine
Brad Berry USCHO Coach of the Year
The headline reads – North Dakota’s Berry tabbed USCHO Coach of the Year. Last season, after UND was bounced from the NCHC playoffs, a vocal minority of UND fans called for Berry’s firing. For the fans that questioned Berry’s mettle, this season was a great reminder that he’s a good hockey coach. Earlier in the season, when asked if his team was back?
“Here’s the deal, everybody asks that,” Berry said. “I don’t think we left. Last year, we had trouble scoring goals. We haven’t changed the way we played in five years here. Now, we’re starting to get some goal production from guys and that’s a big deal. I don’t think it’s a surprise, and I don’t think we were ever gone. I don’t think we’re back. I think we’re a good team that’s going to keep building.”
And build they did. I never doubted him for a moment.
Peter Thome named NCHC goaltender champion
Last fall, entering the 2019-20 season, Peter Thome was listed as the third-string goalie coming out of training camp. Instead of pouting, Thome went to work and listened to his goaltending coach. He sat on the bench and waited for his opportunity. Thome didn’t see the net till the second half of the season in early January. When he finally took the net he had great success. After a shutout win against C.C., Thome briefed the media on how his season had unfolded. Thome gave a lot of credit to Karl Goehring.
“It’s pretty special in college you get then chance to work with an NHL level goalie coach (Karl Goehring). Not just once, or twice a week, it’s every day he’s at the rink. He spends all day here, and he’s always available to chat if I have questions. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s always pushing me never let me be satisfied.
“During that stretch in the first half where I didn’t play, we had a few conversations where you know frustration might have been getting to me a little bit, and he said, ‘hey, no, absolutely not’. You got to be a man. You’ve got to put the work boots on every day and prepare for your opportunity because one’s going to come. That’s just kind of the reality. If you don’t prepare for it, and it comes and you’re not ready, you might not get another one. I can’t say enough good things (about him).”
Thome (7-1-2, 1.37 GAA and a .935 save percentage) went from being a backup goalie waiting for an opportunity to being the NCHC’s Goaltending Champion.
Cole Smith Signs with the Predators
Senior forward Cole Smith has signed a one-year, two-way, entry-level deal with the Nashville Predators. According to CapFriendly, Smith will be paid $792,500 if he plays in the NHL and $70,000 if he plays in the AHL.