Well, aside from the freshmen arriving on campus and the ice to actually be laid down in the Mullins and practice rink, the final pieces are falling into place for the upcoming hockey season. Today it was announced that Massachusetts hockey can be found on WHMP next season. WHMP, which carried hockey previously, can be found on the valley on 96.9 FM out of Williamsburg, 1400 AM Northampton, and 1240 AM Greenfield. Here’s a map from their website that shows their coverage area. On Twitter, Brock Hines mentioned that the 1600 AM station in Longmeadow is a daytime station only, so will not be used for broadcasts. Games will be streamed live on WHMP.com.
As of right now there is no ability to stream the station through iPhones (and therefore I’m assuming other smart phones), though a friend mentioned that the company that provides WHMP’s streaming service, Liquid Compass, does have an app for iPhone and Android. However WHMP would have to opt-in to that service in order to become available on it. Hopefully this is something the Athletic Department is addressing as part of the agreement. But besides that the deal seems like good news for the program, though it’s a little worrisome that it appears to be just a one year contract versus the five year contract the school signed with other area stations. It’s also a little disappointing the broadcasts will not be available to the entire valley, as Springfield is out of range and they would have to stream as well. One thing to note is that the release says not only will coaches shows be available via podcast as they were before, but the games will be as well. I’ve already been in contact with Brock Hines to suggest he set up some kind of cross-promotion with this show that airs weekly on the station.
With today’s release and the season approaching I think we can finally put this tumultuous offseason behind us. As FTT reader “George” noted earlier today, “Amazing how the lack of a release 2+ months ago changed the UMass hockey landscape”, citing the news that WEEI Springfield was becoming the Flagship home for UMass Sports, as long as those sports were football and basketball. Things got ugly quickly immediately following, but no matter now. The boys are on campus, the staff is in place, and for those who cannot get out to the Mullins for every game, you can now follow the Minutemen from afar.
A name UMass hockey fans should keep an eye on, or at least one I will be keeping an eye on, is Dennis Kravchenko. Kravchenko decommitted from Vermont yesterday citing the turnover in coaching staff as his primary reason. This blog post from the Burlington Free Press mentions he established close ties with new UMass assistant Joey Gasparini during the recruiting process. Kravchenko is a former teammate of current Minuteman Steve Mastalerz when they played at Kimball Union, where he also would’ve played with 2014 recruit Casey Miller. Kravchenko, a California native, is due to play for Sioux Falls in the USHL this coming season. At the time he committed to Vermont he was also being recruited by Denver, Maine, Northeastern, RPI, and St Cloud.
As I mentioned yesterday, Providence will be undertaking a significant renovation of Schneider Arena (renderings start around 2:15):