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Up To The Minute ▲ Bamford Comments On Micheletto Decision, Coaching Search

We are one day into the Massachusetts hockey coaching search and I’ve done my best to consolidate all the information that is out there regarding the firing of former coach John Micheletto and the ongoing search.  Athletic Director Ryan Bamford had a conference call with the media today and I think UMass hockey fans should be very happy to hear what he has to say about a wide range of topics.  One piece of news that I reported yesterday is that assistant coach Ryan Miller was named interim head coach during the search process and will continue to handle a lot of the administrative tasks and continue to work with the players in the meantime.

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View From Section U ▲ Potential Coaching Replacements

Ever since I wrote my piece stating that UMass needs to making a coaching change at the end of the season I’ve had many people ask who would be my potential candidates to lead the program to success.  There are a few prospects that immediately come to mind.  There are a few that I wish they had looked at the last time around when the coaching position was open in 2012 and either they weren’t interested, then Athletic Director John McCutcheon didn’t consider them, or the timing just wasn’t right for either side.  I’ve already heard a lot of suggestions from readers and fans on who should be considered and I’ve done my best to take them into account.

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News From Other Rinks

I’m taking a break from my weekly View From Section U to, frankly, think of my next topic.  As we turn the corner to August and the end of Summer I want to start to focus on next season.  However, I’m really hoping the online roster gets updated soon so I know exactly what we’re looking at come October and so I can properly preview the team to be.  I fully expect some players will not be returning from next year and I’ve already heard rumors of freshmen not making it to campus this fall due to unforeseen circumstances.  However, we’ll know all that eventually.

There’s really no UMass hockey news to pass along that I know of.  Toot has his slightly reformulated staff in place and is likely on the road recruiting.  Those that follow the current and incoming players on Twitter know that they’re hard at work training.  It’s always nice to see hashtags like #legsfeedthewolf coming from some of the soon to be freshmen.

But while things are quiet, for now, surrounding the UMass hockey program, there are some tidbits to pass along from the world of college hockey.

In alumni news, Jon Quick was highlighted as one of the top shootout goaltenders in the NHL.  It’s fitting that the only game I’ve seen of Quick in the pros was a shootout win against the Bruins in the season before last.

After lounging all summer and losing some prize players and recruits Northeastern has finally realized that they just may need to hire a new coach for the coming season.  The Husky program turns to Jim Madigan to continue to success they saw under Greg Cronin, but without the potential NCAA violations.  If I were a Northeastern fan this hire would scare the hell out of me.  Don’t get me wrong, I always love to see alums take over at their alma mater and Madigan’s history of scout shows he can judge talent.  But the guy has never been a head coach at any level and was last an assistant coach almost 20 years ago.  The Northeastern program scratched their way into the realm of relevance for Boston area hockey.  It’ll be interesting to see where they find themselves in a few years with this hire.  College Hockey News’ Joe Meloni has an interesting read on the hire.

Niagara, Canisius, Robert Morris, and Mercyhurst have had discussions with the CCHA about leaving Atlantic Hockey for the Midwest based conference.  I think this is a great idea.  These schools, especially Niagara, have shown sustained interest in putting more resources into their program but because of the rules of Atlantic Hockey are unable to offer the full allotment of scholarship allowed the NCAA.  The AHA just recently voted down the prospect of raising the scholarship limit this past spring.  I think some or all of this group jumping to the CCHA will do a good job of aligning like minded schools in regards to the goals for their hockey programs.

Former UMass grad assistant Darren Yopyk has taken a job as a scout for the Minnesota Wild.  Yopyk, who was also an assistant for Merrimack, has been coaching the Westside Warriors of the BCHL.  He coach incoming goaltenders Kevin Boyle there last season.

Recruit/News Update

Shane Walsh and his Dubuque Saints have make the USHL finals.  They’ll play Green Bay (Justin Braun’s former team) for the Clark Cup in a best of five series starting Friday.

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
39 GP / 20-16-1 / 3.02 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle’s team was eliminated in the second round of the BCHL playoffs after he got injured. He did pretty well in the playoffs going 6-6-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

Mike Busillo – D – Hartford Jr Wolfpack (AtlJHL)
41 GP / 8 G / 19 A / 27 Pts / 97 PIM
Busillo’s season is over as his Wolfpack were eliminated by Walpole in the first round of the AtlJHL playoffs. He had a goal in three playoff games.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
49 GP / 13 G / 42 A / 55 Pts / 76 PIM
Gillespie’s season is over after Shattuck won the Tier-I Under 18 National Championship earlier this month in Simsbury, CT. Gillespie was the 12th leading scorer in the tournament, netting two goals and three assists in the six games.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
50 GP / 33 G / 36 A / 69 Pts / 26 PIM
LaRue’s season has come to a close as his Waxers lost in the first round of the playoffs. He had a goal and four assists in five playoff games, including a game winner and a shorthanded goal.

Joseph Manno – South Kent Cardinal (NE Prep)
24 GP / 16 G / 27 A / 43 Pts
South Kent was upset in the prep playoffs despite being the top seed.

Steve Mastalerz – G – Kimball Union Wildcats (NE Prep)
35 GP / 24-7-4 / 1.63 GAA / .923 sv%
Mastalerz’s season is over after KUA lost in the first playoff game 4-3 in overtime.

Andrew Tegeler – F – Junior Bruins (EJHL)
44 GP / 19 G / 21 A / 40 Pts / 38 PIM
Tegeler’s Bruins were eliminated in the EJHL playoffs.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
49 GP / 9 G / 7 A / 16 Pts / 14 PIM
Walsh went scoreless in his two games this week. His Saints beat Sioux Falls in four games.

Oleg Yevenko -D – Fargo Force (USHL)
52 GP / 4 G / 4 A / 8 Pts / 197 PIM
Yevenko had 4 PIM and no points in his three playoff games. His Force were eliminated in the USHL playoffs by Walsh’s Saints.

A couple former coaching staff members are in the news.

The IIHF has an interesting article on former Minuteman assistant coach Bill Gilligan, now the head coach of the Austrian National Team.

According to College Hockey News, Princeton was reportedly interested in talking to former UMass grad assistant Darren Yopyk for their head coaching vacancy, but he ended up running into visa problems.  Yopyk has a graduate degree from UMass and most recently was the head coach for incoming goaltender Kevin Boyle with the Westside Warriors in the BCHL.

UMass has a new marching band director.  Hopefully the topic of creating a long overdue hockey pep band is brought up to him soon.  No, I take that back.  Hopefully the task was put forth as a necessity before he was even hired.

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