Welcome to the new and improved Fear The Triangle. Well, new in appearance at least. Improved? I can only hope. At the very least welcome to the new and what I hope is the continually reliable Fear The Triangle? As I mentioned in my last post I’ll be covering my fourth season of UMass hockey via this blog this winter and my 19th total as a UMass hockey fan. FTT has certainly evolved and developed over its three years of existence and I knew at the end of last season I wanted to do something to spruce up the place before the start of this season. In the end it seems fitting to re-image the blog at the same time Massachusetts Hockey is entering a new era with a new coach to hopefully lead them to a consistently successful future in Hockey East. So anyway, I hope you enjoy the new digs.
All these changes come at the time that I’ll be kicking off my preview of the coming season. I was looking back at some notes I had made of topics I hoped to write about during the offseason. There were a number of interesting topics like an in-depth analysis of the freshman class and their contributions compared to previous first year classes at UMass. I thought about writing about what I saw as the high water mark of the UMass hockey program and how it all went downhill from there. I had hoped to continue my Where Are They Now series and still may try to get in touch with another alumni or two before the season. One topic that popped up after some popular discussion was whether Jon Quick’s #29 should hang from the Mullins Center rafters. Anyway, I had a lot of plans for offseason writing that was thrown out the window the second the school and Toot Cahoon decided to part ways. What followed was the busiest time in the blog’s history between the fallout from Cahoon’s departure and the, uh, interesting coaching search that lasted throughout the height of the summer resulted in all those planned topics being shelved. I spent a ton of time trying to be on top of the coaching situation and doing my best to keep the FTT readers informed. By the time it ended I was physically and especially mentally exhausted and there was little chance I was going to be able to address the topics I had originally wanted to address in these months. But maybe I’ll revisit them at some point in the future.
Regardless, it’s time to move on from 2011-12 or even 2006-07 seasons and start thinking about 2012-13. Most of the players are back on campus and judging from the conversations I’ve had with a few people lately we can expect ALL returning players to be back in uniform this season. From what I can tell there will be no roster turnover whatsoever, which is amazing considering all that went on during the summer as well as the fact that there are a number of hotly contested spots in the lineup, most prominently at goaltender. But the return of all players will help give UMass an advantage in terms of depth and experience over other teams in Hockey East. That hopefully will help them in a variety of ways, especially considering they’ll have to get used to a new coach and will be opening the schedule against some very challenging opponents early on.
So for the blog, here is some of the content you can look forward to in the coming weeks leading up to October:
- Introduction to the incoming freshmen
- Projected lines for the coming season (once the updated roster is made public)
- Incoming freshmen comparison to past Minutemen
- Team-by-Team preview of Hockey East opponents
- FTT Newcomer Of The Year pick
- In-depth UMass season preview
This is still meant to be a blog for the fans, by a fan though so if there’s any other topics you’re interested in reading about, please let me know by commenting or emailing. In between all that I’ll be sure to keep you informed of any news that pops up or anything else related to UMass hockey. Is it October yet?
UMass did make official the hiring of Joey Gasparini from Vermont as the second assistant coach under Coach Micheletto. No mention of John Gobeil as Director of Hockey Operations. We’ll have to keep an eye on that.
Jon Quick is rated the third best goaltender in EA Sports’ NHL 13.
Lastly, I’ve been working to confirm the destinations of UMass’ future recruits for this coming season.
It appears that Mike Iovanna will be heading back to Malden Catholic for another season. Iovanna has been spending this week playing at the Beantown Classic, a showcase for amateur players. Iovanna is playing on a team with future teammate Casey Miller, who I’m assuming will be returning to Kimball Union but I need to confirm that. Coach Micheletto has also been in attendance in Marlboro watching the recruits and perhaps some other future Minutemen.
Defenseman Mark Hamilton is also heading back to his prep school this fall, Salisbury School in Connecticut. Kenny Gillespie will be back out at the USHL this season playing for Omaha. The Lancers were very talented and deep last year and it’s expected he’ll play a much larger role for the team in his second season in Omaha this year.
I would assume Willy Smith will be staying local and playing for the Springfield Pics again this season, likely full-time for the EJHL club rather than splitting time with in the Empire league. But I am working to confirm that.