Bamford Introduced As UMass AD; Recruit Update: Leonard Named ESPN Boston’s “Mr. Hockey”

“I am enthused to get back on campus after four years of being away from college hockey.  Hockey East is arguably the best conference in the country.  And that’s something that I want to help [with].  I want to help be the best hockey program we can be.  And football.  And basketball.  And I think we can get there.”

That was a quote from Ryan Bamford today as he was introduced to the fans and media as the new UMass Athletic Director.  Certainly actions and ultimately results will speak louder than words but I think just hearing the new AD talk about the hockey program in such a way should give UMass hockey fans hope.  His introduction seemed to be well regarded by those who attended or listened.  Today Bamford hopefully began the process of wiping clean a culture of disengagement and failure.  As a source close to the hockey program told me shortly after those word were uttered, “In thirty minutes [Bamford] surpassed his predecessor of a full decade in vision and ‘charm’.”  Amen to that.

It’s time to be optimistic.  There’s been a lot of pessimism for the last seven years as the hockey program, mishandled by the athletic department, has slid steadily into its current position in the Hockey East cellar.  Bamford is a chance to hit the reset button.  It may not be immediate, it may not be easy, but hopefully through his leadership the hockey program and department in general can get back to winning.

There’s a lot of coverage of Bamford’s press conference and hiring.  Here are just a few of the main ones:

Matt Vautour of the Gazette covers the press conference.

The Herald has their press conference story.

Dan Malone of Masslive talked to the Chancellor about the process and selection.

UMass hockey had good representation at the press conference judging by this photo tweeted out:

Jake McCarthy – D – South Shore Kings (USPHL) – 2015 or 2016
10 GP / 0 G /2 A / 2 Pts / 11 PIM
McCarthy had a tough season, held out of the lineup for most of the year due to injuries.  I have to assume that his arrival in Amherst will be pushed back to 2016

Kurt Keats – C – Powell River Kings (BCHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
52 GP / 31 G / 34 A / 65 Pts / 79 PIM
Keats finished the regular season 9th in the league in goals and 11th in points.  Keats had a hell of a series in the second round of the BCHL playoffs, grabbing seven points in the seven game series.  For that he was named the BCHL Player of the Week.  But unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep his team alive as Powell River ultimately fell.  He finished the playoffs with four goals and six assists in 13 games.

Austin Plevy – C – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
56 GP / 29 G / 63 A / 92 Pts / 93 PIM
Plevy finished the regular season as the league scoring champion and was 3rd in goals.  He’s taken up right where he left off in the playoffs, leading the league in goals with 6 and points with 16.  His Brooks team is onto the conference finals after dispacthing Okotoks (and future teammate Nic Renyard) in the last round.

Nic Renyard – G – Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) – 2015
30-8-3 / .924 save % / 2.19 GAA / 5 shutouts
Renyard finished the year first in the league in wins and third in both save percentage and goals against average.  Unfortunately the regular season MVP had a tough playoffs where he was 3-4-0 with a .868 save percentage and 3.97 goals against average.  His Oilers were swept by the Brooks Bandits in the second round.  He was named his team’s MVP in addition to the league awards he won.

Ivan Chukarov – D – Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) – 2015
52 GP / 10 G / 31 A / 41 Pts / 51 PIM / +35
Chukarov had a goal and an assist in his last four games.  His goal was an OT game-winner that was also featured as one of the NAHL’s Plays of the Week (1:00 mark).

William Lagesson – D – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) – 2015
45 GP / 1 G / 12 A / 13 Pts / 77 PIM/ +14
Lagesson was scoreless this past week.  The USHL regular season continues through mid-April.

Joe Widmar – RW – Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) – 2015
53 GP / 18 G / 21 A / 39 Pts / 44 PIM/ -3
Widmar had a goal this past week.

Shane Bear – D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016
60 GP / 8 G / 35 A / 43 Pts / 77 PIM
Bear has two goals and seven assists in seven playoffs game and is the third leading scorer on Brooks in the playoffs.

Troy Conzo – RW – Wenatchee Wild (NAHL) – 2016 or 2017
3 GP / 0 G / 0 A /0 Pts / 0 PIM / –2  Des Moines (USHL)
41 GP/ 4 G/ 5 A / 9 Pts /  20PIM / -3 Wenatchee (NAHL)
Conzo was scoreless this past week.

Kyler Nachtigall – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016
60 GP / 13 G / 12 A / 25 Pts / 67 PIM
Nachtigall has three goals and three assists in seven playoff games so far for Brooks.

Jake Massie – D – Kimball Union Academy (NE Prep) – 2016
34 GP / 5 G / 15 A / 20 Pts
There’s a very good the Quebec native will be drafted in this upcoming June’s NHL Draft as he’s ranked as the 81st best North American skater by Central Scouting.

Ty Pelton-Byce – C – Team Wisconsin U18 (Elite)/Madison Memorial (WI HS) – 2016 (NLI signed)
21 GP / 12 G / 12 A / 24 Pts / 8 PIM  Team Wisconsin U18
24 GP /35 G / 39 A /74 pts  Madison Memorial
Pelton-Byce’s season ended with a state tournament semifinal loss.  He was held to only two assists in the two state tournament games.  He was named his conference’s Player of the Year.  He was also named first team All-State.

John Leonard – F – Springfield Rifles (Mass Selects)/Springfield Cathedral (MA HS) – 2017
14 GP / 21 G / 11 A / 32 Pts  Springfield Rifles
23 GP / 43 G / 27 A /70 Pts  Springfield Cathedral
Leonard’s season is over as Cathedral was upset in the Super Eight semifinals.  Leonard did have two goals in that game though.  SB Nation College Hockey named him their High School Player of the Year.  They also named him to their All-State team.  ESPN Boston named him their “Mr. Hockey”.

Brian Scoville – D – Cushing Academy (NE Prep) – 2018
33 GP / 0 G / 1 A / 1 Pts
Cushing bowed out of the prep playoffs in the quarterfinals.

In the final edition of his blog Troy Power talks about the five overtime game and having to watch his final two games of his UMass career from the stands with due to injury.



  1. Mel

     /  March 24, 2015

    Couple of things:

    Truly looking forward to the Ryan Bamford era.

    With both Montour and Vatrano gone, does that mean a couple of the 2016 recruits will move to 2015, or will Mick and staff be out beating the bushes to find a couple of guys to come in and play next season?

    Go, U!


    • The Montour and Vatrano departures were unlikely to be big surprises for them so they had time to prepare. As it currently stands the team is losing 5 forwards, 3 defensemen, and a goalie. Already lined up are 3 forwards, 2 or 3 defensemen (depending on McCarthy), and a goalie. So they probably need a couple of forwards and a defenseman.

      Honestly I don’t see them pulling anyone early. Conzo doesn’t seem ready. Maybe Nachtigall could come this fall. Bear seems too young. I would guess you’ll see some commits in the next few months to shore up next fall’s class.


  2. RDW

     /  March 25, 2015

    A real head coach would have a plan. Not Mick E. Mouse, all he has is excuses.#NotALLRight


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