There are a few things to catch up on in the world of UMass hockey that took place while I was away on beercation to Northern California (more on that later this week).
Most important among the news was the fact that Coach Micheletto filled the remaining positions on his staff. With assistant Len Quesnelle already slated to return as assistant for his 9th year in Amherst, he’ll be joined behind the bench by Joey Gasparini who coached with Micheletto in Burlington. Gasparini played for the Catamounts, graduating in 2006. Following that he worked in the USHL as a scout and at Achieve Sports. He’s been at UVM since 2009. He comes from a hockey family as his father was the long time head coach at North Dakota and his brother Tony is a scout for the LA Kings.
What’s a little more surprising is that also heading south from Catamount country to join up at UMass is John Gobeil. It is reported that he’ll be in the same role at UMass as he was at UVM, which was Director of Hockey Operations. If UMass has decided to make its Director of Hockey Ops role a full-time position, this is a change from before (and one I suggested in my last post). Up until last year the role was part-time and was most recently performed (admirably) by Chris Hall, doing double duty with his grad assistant work. If it is the case that Gobeil will run the administrative side of the program full-time it’s an excellent sign of support from the athletic department. Gobeil is also a Vermont graduate, though did not play for the Catamounts.
Of course all this is still not official yet as the school has yet to put out any announcement. Here are the reports covering the hirings however:
Republican coverage (having some problems with the link)
Now as a few people have pointed out, Vermont fans on the USCHO boards do not seem to be too disappointed over losing their entire support staff to the hockey team. I can understand their frustration after two very disappointing years up in Burlington, but at the same time you can’t complain about the work done prior to that by these same people and that has to count for something. I can’t say I know enough about Gasparini, Gobeil, or to a certain degree even Micheletto to start worrying about who is hired as assistant coaches at this point. I’ll let the team’s performance help formulate my opinion.
The other big news while I was gone was the official announcement of this year’s schedule. Of course the opponents have been known since mid-season and most of the dates had been reported since then. Still, it’s nice to see it out there as it’s another sign that we’re that much closer to hockey. I already wrote my thoughts on the out of conference portion of the schedule months ago. As for how the schedule itself is laid out, I think it’s very beneficial for the team and Coach Mick. For a team learning a new staff and perhaps a new system having 11 of the first 15 games at home will minimize travel and allow the presence of a home crowd to take a bit of the edge off of some potential growing pains. Of course those games still have a number of challenges associated with them as the first five league games come against national champion Boston College (2), Boston University (2), and New Hampshire. Trial by fire for the new coach. The team will only have to play one home game during winter break without student support. Down the stretch will be interesting as the last three weekends of play will have the Minutemen hosting Maine for two, at UNH for a weekend series, and then a home and a home with Merrimack to close out the season.
With the schedule official the school can now work on getting season ticket renewals as in most years that information has been distributed much earlier in the summer.
Those were the major announcements recently. From what I hear things are progressing on a radio deal for the hockey broadcasts and news of that could potentially come soon.
Coach Micheletto has been making the media rounds since his hiring. Here’s an interview done with Chantel McCabe of Hockey East and Springfield’s Channel 40:
Micheletto also joined the guys on the Pipeline Show, a great radio show out of Canada covering amateur hockey, talking about his new position, his new players, and what UMass fans can expect from him and his teams. It’s a good listen, I recommend everyone take 15 minutes to get to know the coach better.
Jonathan Quick had his day with the Cup at the end of July. It included a number of events like an appearance at his goaltender camp, visiting around his hometown of Hamden, a trip to the beach, and then a celebration in Greenwich.
I’m sure there are a number of UMass fans disappointed that the greatest trophy in sport did not make an appearance in Amherst, but honestly I think to begin with there was a very small chance of happening. And that chance probably went out the door with Toot Cahoon earlier in the summer.
It’ll be tough to repeat what he accomplished this past year says Pro Hockey Talk.
Paul Dainton checks in on what he’s up to this summer, which he’s spending on the North Shore in Beverly, not far from where I spent many of my formative years. Hey Paul, I have four words of advice for you: Nick’s Famous Roast Beef.
Hockey East Commisioner Joe Bertagna will be around to complain about for a few more years.
Lastly I want to thank everyone who clicked on the logo over to the right to express their interest in getting a UMass license plate. Now it’s time to follow through. License plates are a go, sign up now! If you don’t I’m going to grown increasingly disgruntled and I promise the quality of FTT will suffer.