Anzalone Interviews; Pecknold Emerges As Candidate

FTT is hearing that former Lake Superior State coach Frank Anzalone has interviewed with John McCutcheon for the head coaching position.  Anzalone led the Lakers to the 1988 NCAA National Championship.  He actually had two stints in the Soo.  The first from 1982 to 1990 which was highlighted by that championship and multiple NCAA appearances.  He returned to Lake State in 2001 after multiple stops in the minors.  That second visit didn’t go so well as he failed to get to double digit wins in the four years there.  He has coached at many levels of pros from the AHL to the Central Hockey League where he most recently coached Obi Aduba and the Quad City Mallards.  It’s an interesting candidate but considering that the last time he led a college team to the NCAAs was three years before the rebirth of UMass hockey, he’s probably not a good fit.  Frankly, I’m shocked he’s being considered.

Meanwhile Matt Vautour reported that Quinnipiac’s Rand Pecknold has emerged as a candidate.  Pecknold has led Bobcat hockey from Division II to their current affiliation in the ECAC.  He’s 9th all-time in wins among active coaches.  However, he has only one NCAA appearance to his name and that came back when Quinnipiac was playing in the MAAC, Atlantic Hockey’s predecessor.  The Quinnipiac blog All Night Wong has some thoughts on Pecknold and the rumors.  Certainly he’s been the face of Quinnipiac hockey since they decided to make a real program out of it, but you have to cringe when you see things like “many locals have been wanting Rand to take a hike for a few years now, claiming he had taken the team as far as they’d go under his control” and “I am starting to question whether Rand is the guy to bring them to the mountain top” and wonder if he’s the right guy for the job.  After all, isn’t this what a lot of UMass fans have been saying about Toot Cahoon?

Dick Baker of the Republican makes the case for Gene Reilly, a Springfield native with assistant coaching experience at Maine, Northeastern, and Harvard.  He’s currently an assistant coach in the Austrian league.  He certainly has extensive experience and I like the local ties, but I wonder if the lack of head coaching experience would put him at a disadvantage.  Worthy of consideration however.

That’s the latest on the coaching front.  I’ve updated my Coaching Candidate page with some of the new names discussed.  I’ve also linked to their page so readers can quickly see for themselves their coaching careers.

The Collegian has a piece with player reactions to Cahoon stepping down.

The AP has this story on brothers Eddie and Tommy Olczyk attending Hurricanes Development Camp.

UConn had their official welcome into Hockey East today.  Coming out of the event College Hockey News’ Scott McLaughlin reported that Hockey East teams will play 20 conference games when Notre Dame joins in 2013-14 and then 22 conference games when the Huskies latch on in 2014-15.  The expansion of non-conference games in coming years with why you’ll start to see UMass play a lot more two game series, like the ones scheduled with Colgate this coming year and Michigan State in the following season.