The countdown is on. I know most sites would count down to the first regular season matchup, but that would create a lot of work in those last few days before the first game when I’ll be trying to focus posts on other topics. Plus, it’s really the exhibition that will give fans the first real glimpse of the team to understand the full capabilities of this squad. So when we countdown we ain’t talking about a game, not talking about a game, we’re talking about 37 days until practice. Practice. Not talking ‘bout a game, talkin’ ‘bout practice.
37 days until this Minuteman hockey team takes the ice for the first time against the Dalhousie Tigers of the CIS. 37 is also the jersey number of incoming freshman William Lagesson. Lagesson is a 6’2” defenseman from Göteberg, Sweden. He was picked by the Edmonton Oilers in the 4th round (91st overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. This past winter he represented his country at the World Junior Championships and is likely to do so again this year (which may result in him missing a game or two for UMass). He would become just the second Minuteman to play in the WJC with Stephen Werner being the other back in 2004. Last season he played for Dubuque of the USHL, his first taste of North American hockey, where he had 2 goals, 14 assists, and 79 PIM, in 52 games for the Fighting Saints. A physical, defense-first defensemen Lagesson plays with an edge that UMass has been lacking in recent years and will be looked on to help to shore up a defensive corps that struggled last season.
photo by Associated Press
So the countdown is on. As we cross the days off the calendar until the exhibition game I’ll highlight each Minuteman on the roster. In the coming weeks I’m also planning a pretty robust preview of the coming season including team by team capsules for all of Hockey East, in-depth looks at the freshmen, and of course a detailed look at this UMass squad and their prospects this year. So keep checking back.
Most if not all of the players are now back in Amherst preparing for the upcoming semester and likely taking part in captain’s practices at the Mullins Practice Rink. But before the players landed back at UMass the athletics website had this profile of how sophomore Dominic Trento spent part of his summer, volunteering with the New York Special Olympics.
UMass hockey broadcaster Adam Frenier spent his summer landing a new job. Frenier is now staffing the Berkshire Bureau of New England Public Radio. Frenier will continue to cover both hockey and UMass football even with this new position. While nothing has been formally announced it is expected that the broadcast team of Frenier, Cody Chrusciel, and Brock Hines will return to WHMP to air UMass hockey this coming season.
Former Minuteman Adam Phillips has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo K-Wings in his native Michigan. Little known fact about the K-Wings: I’ve attended a K-Wing game.
Former UMass captain Dean Stork, who was released as coach of the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors despite having a successful five years there, has been named as the first head coach for the University of Jamestown’s club hockey team. UJ is a small school in North Dakota. I find this story, frankly, baffling.
Conor Sheary will be part of the Penguins team in the rookie tournament taking place in London, Ontario against the rookie squads of Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.
Exhibition games are starting in junior hockey so FTT Recruit Updates are coming soon!
Dick Umile will be behind the bench for New Hampshire for another three years after he recently signed a contract extension (and he didn’t even have to threaten to bolt to Amherst to get it). After that newly hired assistant Mike Souza is expected to take over for the Wildcats. For a long time Umile had UNH as constant contenders both in Hockey East and nationally (though a national championship always eluded him). But the ‘Cats have found themselves in the unfamiliar position of being in the bottom of the league standings in recent years. It’ll be interesting to see how he finishes his career in Durham.
Despite all the hand-wringing about poor attendance at the NCAA regionals in recent years, that’s the format college hockey is sticking with for the time being.