Massachusetts hockey fans can begin to map out their fall and winter weekends as the 2016-17 schedule was released earlier this week. With the UMass Athletics website temporarily in transition the schedule is only available in Tweet form:
This seems like a solid schedule for the team this year. There will be a lot of new faces on the squad, not to mention a brand new coaching staff, and it’s said that long road trips sometimes helps teams bond. Well the Minutemen will have a couple of those with a trip across the Atlantic to play in the Friendship Four in Belfast, Ireland in November and then will head west to Minnesota for the Mariucci Classic the following month.
UMass will host a couple western teams as well. They’ll kick off the season again against Colorado College, but this time at home. And then in December they host college hockey’s newest program, Arizona State, for two games. They’ll also host AIC and Army in non-conference games. They’ll take on a couple ECAC foes on the road with Princeton and Quinnipiac.
UMass does give up a home game due to the Frozen Fenway matchup against Boston University on January 7th. Home games are front loaded in this schedule with 7 of the first 9 games being played at the Mullins Center. Unfortunately just 6 of the 16 games played after winter break will be played at home. Another annoying part of the schedule is the fact that there’s not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE games are played on Tuesdays. Have you always wanted to see UMass play in Princeton’s historic Hobey Baker Rink? Well have fun driving to New Jersey on a Tuesday. Three of the six home games after the New Year fall on a Tuesday. That’s pretty ridiculous, frankly, and should never happen.
I think how the schedule is set up, in terms of timing of the trips, home games versus away games, etc., will probably have a great impact on the team’s record than the actual strength of the opponents. Hockey East is Hockey East and the non-conference slate doesn’t seem overwhelming. Overall a decent schedule outside of the few annoying quirks.
Ivan Chukarov made a good impression at Buffalo Sabres development camp recently. Before camp started the Sabres had this story on their site about Chukarov wanting to make an impact during his second summer with the team that drafted him. Mission accomplished as Chukarov was presented with the Craig Ramsay Award for being the hardest working player at camp.
William Lagesson talked about some of his experience at Edmonton Oilers camp:
Henry Dill, who parted ways with UMass this Spring will play in net for Utica College.
And it has also been reported that former UMass forward Keith Burchett will be transferring to Lowell.
Maddison Smiley reportedly will be playing at a school in his native Alberta next season.
The conference carousel keeps on turning with Minnesota State trying to move from the WCHA to the NCHC.
Lastly, in may be the middle of Summer but people in Amherst are already fired up about the coming season of UMass hockey! “3:01 a.m. – Police spoke to people carrying a large billboard advertising UMass hockey on North Pleasant Street. The billboard was returned to its owner.”