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View From Section U: Massachusetts Hockey; Bay State to the Sunshine State

So I was looking at some old UMass rosters on HockeyDB tonight and got wondering to where UMass has gotten the majority of its players since the program was restarted.  How much does the program emulate University of Minnesota which primarily draws its talent from in-state?  What amount of Canadians have wore the maroon and white?  Has there been an influx of Sun Belt hockey players in recent years?  Well some copying and pasting and some excel magic and I had my answers.  Here are, with a few exceptions where the data wasn’t present, a breakdown of the home states all UMass hockey players since 1993.  Now please keep in mind this is only as good as the data on HockeyDB and I honestly have no idea where they get their data from.  It doesn’t necessarily matchup with the players’ hometowns when the played for UMass.  Case in point, it currently lists Paul Dainton as being from Nova Scotia.  Now when he got to UMass his was listed as being from British Columbia and then during his senior year changed to Nunavut when his family moved there.  He also played junior hockey in Ontario and Alberta for a while. I have no idea where Nova Scotia comes from.  So that being said, here’s the breakdown of the 173 players they have data for:

Massachusetts – 70
Ontario – 16
New York – 12
Connecticut – 10
Minnesota – 6
Alberta – 5
British Columbia – 5
Quebec – 5
Rhode Island – 5
Illinois – 4
Michigan – 4
California – 3
Finland – 3
New Jersey – 3
Pennsylvania – 3
Maine – 2
New Hampshire – 2
Saskatchewan – 2
Alaska – 1
Austria – 1
Belarus – 1
England – 1
Florida – 1
Latvia – 1
Manitoba – 1
Maryland – 1
Newfoundland – 1
Nova Scotia – 1
Sweden – 1
Utah – 1
Vermont – 1

There you have it.  Some interesting things to note.  40% of all the UMass players come from in-state.  21% of players have come from Canada.  Eight players have come from outside of North America, including Matt Smith who was born in England and played for the Minutemen in the late 90s.  UMass has had incredible success recruiting players from Finland as all three made a big impact on the program.  Markus Helanen is still seen as one of the top goaltenders in the program’s history, Toni Soderholm was a captain and great defenseman, and Sami Jalkanen was a solid defenseman for UMass for three seasons before leaving to play professionally back in Helsinki.  But UMass has had mixed success in the other countries, picking up All-American Thomas Pöck from Austria and current Minuteman Oleg Yevenko from Belarus but at the same time adding the very forgettable Dmitri Vasiliev from Latvia and Anders Lusth from Sweden.  North of the border UMass didn’t have any players from Quebec in the 90s but most who have played since then (Nick Kuiper, Martin Nolet, Mike Lecomte, Danny Hobbs, and Eric Filiou) have made significant contributions to the program.

It’s interesting to see that UMass has had as many players from Rhode Island as Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont combined.  Even more interesting is that three of them were named Shaw.   UMass hasn’t had a ton of players from non-traditional hockey states, only five combined coming from California, Florida, and Maryland, but those players have for the most part been very good.  Casey Wellman and Troy Power both come from California while Stephen Werner is the lone player from Maryland.  Kenny Gillespie who joins the team will add a new state to the list, North Carolina.

When looking at just Massachusetts, the team has gotten the most players from Framingham, five total, with the best being Will Ortiz.  Four Minutemen have hailed from Medford, including Chris Capraro.  UMass has done well recruiting in the valley, with four players really good players coming from Springfield in Tom O’Connor, Rob Bonneau, P.J. Fenton, and T.J. Syner.  Add to that total Kevin “Holyoke” Czepiel, goaltender Rich Moriarty from Wilbraham, Mike Waidlich from Miller Falls, and transfers John Luszcz and Dominic Torretti from Ludlow and Western Mass is pretty much covered.  Recruit Willy Smith will add to that local list in 2014

Speaking of Paul Dainton, in the goaltender shuffling that occurs in the minors to try to get guys playing time it appears he’s been assigned to the Reading Royals of the ECHL.  Spending time between the pipes in Reading isn’t a bad thing however.  It worked out quite well for former Royal Jon Quick.

UMass is moving up in the College Hockey News Power Rankings.

Lastly, Doyle Somerby who has been offered by UMass and I wrote about last week, is reportedly close to making a decision according to USHR.  They report that he has also been offered by Maine, New Hampshire, St Lawrence and is due to visit Boston University tomorrow.

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