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Back From A2; Keeping An Eye On Mike Weaver; Catching Up On News

Well, there are no moral wins, but how about pride-filled losses?  I know I certainly left Michigan Stadium proud to be a UMass fan following such a valiant effort against college football’s all time winningest program.  Hats off to the players and coaches for being prepared, playing hard, and not giving up against Shoelace, the Wolverines, and 110,000 of their closest friends.  I don’t want to go too far off topic since this is a hockey blog and there is so much involved with this particular subject, but it is completely and utterly ridiculous that UMass does not play FBS football.

Also with a courageous and powerful performance on Saturday was the UMass Marching Band, playing without their leader George N Parks.  It may just be one of their best performances especially considering the circumstances.  As I said to one of my friends afterwards, “We were all bandos today.”  One of the Michigan Stadium event staff came up to me afterwards and said, “We may have the better football team today, but you guys have the better band”.  Considering the caliber of the Michigan band, I don’t think there’s a much better compliment than that.  All in all the hospitality in Ann Arbor was amazing.  From the people on the streets to the season ticket holders in the row in front of us they were all extremely friendly and welcoming.  Or pretty much exactly the opposite of how I remember the town when I lived there 10 years ago.  Go figure.

I’m very happy to report that I was able to right a past wrong and get into Yost Ice Arena during a public skate session on Friday.  All I can say is, wow!  I can only imagine what the place is like filled with close to 7,000 fans in there (it actually feels smaller) and “Victors” bouncing off the old field house’s slanted roof.

And finally, since I continue to meld this hockey blog with my love of a pre-game beer or two, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the great brews I had while in the land of the maize and blue.  I had not fully explored the beer snob aspects of my personality when I lived in A2 so really this was my first introduction to the town’s hoppy underside.  First to be visited was Arbor Brewing Company where my wife and I lined up ourselves with a pull of each of their 10 offerings.  Overall very good beers, with a an organic, natural theme (ditto for their food menu).  I liked their Best Bitter and Milestone Cask Porter but they may just have the best alt ever (and I love my alts).  Next was the star of the brew pubs, Jolly Pumpkin.  In addition to a great atmosphere and an extremely engaging and knowledgable staff, their beer was amazing.  I would say it was very high-end, almost experimental stuff, kind of like Pretty Things made here locally in Mass.  The Bam Biere and La Parcela were my favorites but I bet they could’ve even made their dishwater worth tasting.  Following that I met friends at the Blue Tractor Brewpub.  While they had a couple decent brews what was memorable about the place was their frost bar to keep your beer cold.  The last brewpub visited was Grizzly Peak, with the Bear Paw Porter as the standout there.  Of course, when I was anywhere else during the weekend I was pretty much drinking Bell’s Brewing the whole time, a brewery I completely took advantage of when I regularly visited Kalamazoo and now pine for continuously since they don’t distribute to the northeast.  Easily one of my top 10 brewers in the country.  Perhaps top 5.  I’m not going to name my favorites because quite frankly, they’re all good.

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Now that I’ve returned (and sobered) it’s time to catch up on some UMass hockey news.

The top story in my absence was Paul Dainton being named team captain.  When I thought about prospective captains since last season Dainton never came to mind because, well, he’s a goalie.  But this makes complete sense.  As the most important cog returning from last year’s team and someone who has played with poise since becoming the starting goaltender his freshman year there is probably no one better to lead this team.  He becomes the first goaltender captain for UMass since Brian Regan and just may need some Regan-likes stand on your head performances given the youth of this year’s squad.  Assisting Dainton will be T.J. Syner, Danny Hobbs, and Mike Marcou while Kevin Moore will also have some leadership responsibilities.  The pick of Hobbs is interesting.  Hopefully the added title of assistant captain will help spur him on to consistently perform like the type of player he was pegged as coming into UMass and has shown flashes of in the past.  The assistants will be important as Dainton cannot actually serve as on-ice captain due to rules (thanks to my friend Wardy for reminding me of this over the weekend), but will be the goto guy in the locker room.

The Republican’s Dick Baker has been doing some short blogs about the hockey team, including this one on Kevin Moore’s “XO” role rewarded due to his high work ethic.

Baker also has a good post about Toot Cahoon’s contract extension, echoing a lot of the thoughts (down to the headline) I wrote about a couple weeks ago.

He has another one confirming what I reported earlier in the summer that the compressor at the Bill has been upgraded and should lead to better ice this season.

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USHR is reporting that UMass is looking at Junior Bruin Mike Weaver, a 6’1″ 185lb wing.  Weaver is playing in the Empire League this year and currently has 2 goals in 5 games.  Weaver would likely be a 2013 recruit and is also being looked at by UNH and Northeastern.

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UMass alum Andrew Merritt had an interesting look at the subject of early departures for the New England Hockey Journal, featuring a lot of insight from Coach Cahoon.

And finally, Penn State made it official and will be playing DI hockey two years from now.

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6 Comments

  1. Wardy

     /  September 20, 2010

    So Coach how about a future hockey weekend in Ann Arbor and East Lansing? Or Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo? Or Ann Arbor and Bowling Green? I’m game for a return trip.

    Like

    • Or even Kalamazoo/South Bend.

      All the combos sound good to me…as long as one of the legs isn’t Marquette. That would be tough.

      Like

  2. paul

     /  September 21, 2010

    Braun ,Irwin and Marcou and Wellman All signed NHL contacts

    Like

  3. Puck Pagan

     /  September 21, 2010

    So far the ice in the practice rink still sucks. My understanding is the compressor was replaced with a like system as the one they had before. The only addition was a dehumidification system for the Bill on the big sheet. We had practice with my son’s youth team last week and the ice never froze it was still wet for the whole hour.

    Like

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