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View From Section U: The Gameworns

I have a lot of jerseys. Being a UMass fan for as long as I have I’ve gathered a bunch over the years as the styles have changed and I wanted a replica to go with whatever the team was wearing on the ice. It actually took me years after becoming a fan to procure my first jersey however. I think I actually ordered my first replica home triangle during the short time I was living in Michigan sometime around 2000. Since that time I also picked up a black/alternate “Massachusetts” variation they wore a few years back (one of the shine ones, before they switched to the matted look). I also have this odd ball maroon jersey with the block UMass logo right after they retired the loopy u logo. What makes it oddball is that the UMass logo is also maroon and the team never actually wore a maroon logo on top of the maroon material.

Somewhere along the way though I thought I it’d be cool to pick up a gameworn UMass jersey as well. For those that don’t know the gameworn jersey hobby is a huge part of the collecting business. eBay is filled with them and there are even regular trade shows where collectors and dealers show off and hock their wares.  I once went to one of these shows and was able to see the jerseys that Ray Bourque wore the night of the Phil Espisito retirement ceremony, both the #7 and the #77 that he exposed in a moment area hockey fans have seen thousands of times.

The first UMass gameworn jersey I was able to get my hands on was this Chris Capraro sweater from the 03-04 season:

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It has some great wear and tear to it, including this stick mark across the logo:

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Well after that I was hooked and looked for opportunities to get other gameworns of UMass players. At a trade show a couple years later I was able to purchase my one and only triangle gameworn. It’s the jersey of Warren Norris, UMass’ third leading scorer all-time, and you can see I’ve put it to use in helping to decorate the blog. Judging from all the rips and stitching, he must have worn it all four years.

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At the Pond Club golf tournament a couple years ago I not only had the chance to win a Brett Watson gameworn at the auction that accompanies the golf, but Brett was in attendance and nice enough to sign it and pose for a picture:

With a couple UMass jerseys in my possession starting with the Capraro and Norris I began to keep an eye out for all UMass player jerseys, even in the pros. So over the years I’ve also grabbed some unique post-UMass gameworns. The first was this Brad Norton jersey from when he was an LA King:

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I’d love to find a Red Wings Norton jersey, perhaps with the Yzerman retirement patch, but that would be a tough one to locate and then afford.

I was able to get this Greg Mauldin practice jersey from when he was with his draft team, the Columbus Bluejackets, for fairly cheap.

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Next up are a couple of Springfield Falcon jerseys. First one from one of my favorite UMass players and Springfield native Rob Bonneau:

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There have been a few former Minutemen to suit up for the local pro team, and one was defenseman Nick Kuiper:

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The most recent jersey I acquired was  a unique gift from my wife. Dusty Demianiuk was featured on the NESN reality show “Be A Bruin” and ended up winning a spot on the Bruins preseason training camp roster that season. Here is one of the jerseys he wore during camp:

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Which leads me to the pride of the collection. This one came the longest distance as well, all the way from Italy. Thomas Pöck’s Team Austria jersey worn during the Salt Lake Olympics:

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Over the years I’ve even branched out from UMass hockey and even added a UMass football gameworn (which made the trip all the way down to Chattanooga in 2006) and a Colorado football gameworn.  I don’t look to procure UMass gameworns nearly as much as I used to, mostly because it’s damn expensive and I don’t wear jerseys to games that often as I used to.  But I still do keep my eye open for opportunities to add one to the collection and almost added a Mike Johnson triangle over the summer (damn you Wardy).  The two I’d most love to find, my “grails” as it’s called within the hobby, would be a Rob Bonneau triangle and a very rare Thomas Pöck triangle, as he only wore it for his first season.  So far I’ve found digital evidence of it, but that’s it.

Anyway, that’s it for my collection.  For a while it was a bit of an expensive obsession, but overall I find it fun to have such unique pieces of of the team I follow so closely.  In the end they’ll look great on the walls of my future beer snob/sports bar I open in the Amherst area after I win the lottery.

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Media Day Coverage; NHL Training Camp Updates

Today was Hockey East media day and, while I won’t be able to provide coverage as last year when I was actually able to attend, I’ll do my best to relay what came out of it.  As regular readers know I’ve been doing previews of the Hockey East in the past week and recently revealed my pick for UMass to finish 6th (though my true team preview will come later on).  The Hockey East coaches disagree and have UMass coming in 7th in the league.

That got me thinking, just how good have the coaching minds of the conference been at predicting UMass’ final standing.

 

Year Coaches’ Pick Actual Finish
10-11 9th 8th
09-10 7th T-6th
08-09 6th 7th
07-08 T-5th 8th
06-07 7th 4th
05-06 7th 8th
04-05 6th 8th

 

What does this mean?  Not much.  You can see the data is kinda all over the place.  Although the last two years the trend is for UMass to finish one place ahead of the coaches’ picks, so I’m feeling good with picking them 6th.  Obviously I’ll put my thoughts on the actual predictions themselves into my previews which will continue this week.

Danny Hobbs was interviewed by the Hockey East media staff at today’s events.  Hobbs has his eyes focused on getting to the Garden in his final season in maroon and white.

Coach Cahoon’s interview starts at 6:18 of this video.  Yep.  Goaltending spot up for grabs, as we knew.

UMass was picked 8th in the informal media poll.

Dick Baker says a lot is expected out of the sophomores.  Captain T.J. Syner states UMass is striving for much more than 7th place.  He also mentions that the power play has looked good so far in practice, which is absolute music to the ears.

Speaking of T.J., if you’re in the Forest Park area of Springfield, please keep an eye out for his dog Bauer.

A couple other previews to share.  First comes from the College Hockey Blog where UMass is picked to finish 8th.  The blog is written by Fetch, who is one of the more entertaining people in the college hockey realm of Twitter.

The Maine Daily Campus doesn’t pick the order of finish, but does say the Minutemen will surprise this year.

Paul Dainton, not surprisingly, was sent down to Springfield by the BlueJackets today.  There he’ll battle with RPI’s Allen York for playing time.  He’s also reunited with former teammate Obi Aduba who is in camp with the Falcons.

Looking around at the rest of of the NHL training camps, Mike Kostka has survived a few round of cuts and is still with the Florida Panthers.  Greg Mauldin was sent down to Lake Erie by the Avalanche.  Both Justin Braun and Matt Irwin are still in camp with the Sharks.  As is Matt Anderson with the Devils.

Marv Degon has signed with the Reading Royals of the ECHL.

Former captain turned coach Dean Stork brought success to the Greenville Road Warriors of the ECHL using a lot of college players.  Brandon Wong, Dov Grumet-Morris, Cam Talbot; these are familiar names to college hockey fans.

Media Day didn’t necessarily bring news regarding conference expansion, but did bring some insight thanks to Mike McMahon who has been all over the realignment story in regards to Hockey East.  McMahon also said on Twitter that if Notre Dame is added to the fold that people he talked to thought RPI would be the most likely candidate to become the conference’s 12th team.  Although I’m still not convinced that Hockey East needs to change their footprint enough to include Notre Dame, I do think RPI would be the best choice to round out the number of teams.  It’s a school with a ton of tradition (one of my favorite Bruins, Joe Juneau, played there).  Houston Field House is one of the great barns of college hockey.  And from Amherst to the Capital Region is equal to, if not a little closer, than a trip to Boston.

Monday Links; Dainton To Suit Up For Bluejackets

Dick Baker has the first of what will likely be many “Who’s in net for UMass?” articles.  This article centers on Jeff Teglia who hopes to build off last season and stay injury free to earn the spot in the crease.   He also spoke with redshirt freshman Steve Guzzo who missed all last season with a knee injury.

In alumni news, great to see Paul Dainton will be one of two goaltenders to dress for tomorrow’s preseason opener for the Columbus Bluejackets.

Greg Mauldin had a couple goals in an Avalanche intrasquad scrimmage.

Baker catches up with James Marcou who was unable to participate in Sharks camp as he is still recovering from a concussion dating back to last season.  I’m told he is pretty close to 100% though and hopefully will be cleared for full contact soon.

I did get an update on Alex Berry who was released by the Tampa Bay Lightning this spring.  He has gotten interest from other NHL teams but as of yet is still unsigned.  It is expected that he’ll catch on with an AHL training camp when they open.

Saturday Links

I wanted to share a few links before I pack up the car and head west to the football home opener.  Should be a good game as the Minutemen take on Rhode Island for perhaps the last time ever.  There’s few things I enjoy more than a fall afternoon spent at McGuirk hanging with the other UMass fans, grilling, drinking good beer, and watching football.

Dick Baker of the Republican has a couple good stories from the official first day of practice.  Toot Cahoon likes the depth he has on his team in the first one.  And then he has a feature on the towering Oleg Yevenko.  I had hoped to swing by the practice rink today while I’m out in Amherst to see how the players look but unfortunately there’s no practices scheduled today.

Greg Mauldin is one of 9 players who have to have a good training camp to make the Avalanche.

Unfortunately James Marcou is still trying to recover from the concussion that put him out of commission last season and wasn’t able to participate in Sharks training camp.

Fear The Fin expects Justin Braun to be last man out on the Sharks defensive corps and start the season in Worcester.

Mike Kostka is in Panthers training camp.

The USHL has started its pre-season schedule, so look for news on UMass’ two recruits, Kenny Gillespie and Shane Walsh, out there soon.

Fenway Tickets On Sale Tomorrow

If you’re interested in getting a seat at Fenway where you can actually see your favorite UMass players over the dashers, I suggest making some time around noon tomorrow to grab tickets for Frozen Fenway 2012. If the pre-sale that was made available to season ticket holders, UMass Alumni Association members and similar groups from the other schools is any indication sales seem to be going well. After waiting a couple days exploring other options, I had a very tough time finding decent seats in the grandstand or high loge of the UMass section for groups or 3 or 4 during the presale, indicating brisk sales.

Look for the the start time of the 11/11 game against Holy Cross to be moved up from it’s original 7pm start so it can be included in a doubleheader that will include the hoops team opening their season against Elon at the Cage immediately after.

Thanks to the reader who posted this mock 2012 draft which shows recruit Kenny Gillespie going to the New Jersey Devils in the second round.

The San Jose Sharks have a dilemma at defense.

Training camp rosters are becoming available. Greg Mauldin will be at camp for the Avalanche. Paul Dainton, who is currently in Traverse City with Columbus’ other rookies, will attend camp with the Blue Jackets. I assume Casey Wellman will be in Wild camp but they didn’t post a roster. I think we can say the same for Jon Quick. James Marcou is part of the Sharks rookie contingent in Penticton, BC. Glad to see he’s back on the ice after losing a lot of last season to a concussion. Adam Phillips’ brother Brad, who played at Notre Dame, will be attending Flyers camp.

MacDonald Joins UMass Coaching Staff

With Red Gendron officially joining Yale over the weekend, it didn’t take long for his replacement to become official.  The university announced today that former Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald will be joining the Minutemen as an assistant coach.  As readers know, both moves have been in the works for a while since first being reported by USHR last month.

Let me repeat what I wrote when this was all originally reported,  and that’s to thank Coach Gendron for his contributions to UMass hockey.  If there has been one aspect of the program that I’ve thought has consistently been good year in and year out it has been recruiting, and Red has been a big part of that.  He has also been a great ambassador of the program and friendly and approachable towards all who follow the program.  I wish him well in the future, however considering he possesses two Stanley Cup rings and an NCAA championship it’s clear that success will seek him out.

Dick Baker has a good post covering both Gendron moving on and MacDonald’s hiring where Red cites Yale’s quality program, his longtime relationship with Bulldog coach Keith Allain, and the opportunity to be an associate head coach as his reasons for leaving.  Also likely a motivation is the job security that comes with a coaching job in the Ivy League (*coughdonatocough*) compared to the situation here at UMass where it’s likely Toot Cahoon will be retiring sometime in the next few years.  Still, Coach Gendron will be missed.

Regarding the hiring of MacDonald, I think it’s a good move.  You don’t often get the chance to add someone with extensive head coaching experience to staff.  Frankly, I wasn’t surprised that his tenure at Lowell ended this spring after a number of seasons where his teams underperformed.  However, throughout his time at Lowell I always admired the job he did recruiting.  Despite not always having the best facilities or even much support from school administration at times he consistently brought in quality classes.  I would argue his recruiting classes were as good, if not better, than UMass’ in the last few years.  The program shouldn’t lose anything by putting him in the lead assistant role.

So MacDonald is obviously well-qualified for this position.  The only reservation I have is whether this would’ve been a good opportunity to bring in a  dynamic young assistant to groom for when Toot retires.  Would such a thing be plausible however?  Perhaps not.  Maybe it would be better for such future candidates to gain deeper head coaching experience at other levels of hockey.  I guess just as long as we truly get an open and aggressive search when it does come time to fill the head coaching position, versus taking the easy route to just hand it off to someone familiar, I’ll be happy.

It’ll be interesting to see if UMass picks up any commitments in the next few weeks of recruits who maybe were preparing to commit to Lowell before the made their coaching change.

Obi Aduba has resigned with Quad City Mallards of the CHL (who barely escaped death this offseason).  He’ll also be attending training camp for the Springfield Falcons this fall.

Greg Mauldin is one of the featured coaches for the Junior Bruins summer camp this year, his team before coming to UMass.  I believe that Colin Shea is also working at the camp.

Hockey Band Follow-up; Mauldin Re-signs.

Thanks to everyone who has co-signed my letter to Timothy Anderson in support of a band for the UMass hockey program.  As of this writing 21 fellow hockey fans have co-signed.  Dick Baker also addresses the subject in his most recent blog post on Masslive.

I’m happy to report that I received a positive response from Dr. Anderson to the letter/post.  He said that he recognizes the difference a band can have on the college hockey atmosphere and stated that the prospect of one at UMass will be looked at in the future.  No doubt his main focus at this time is just to make a smooth transition for the program as a whole, so I would not expect the idea of a band to be explored until after this coming season.  Still, I’m glad that with my post and the many who showed their support for it we’ve been able to bring the topic to his attention and that he’s willing to have an open mind to the idea.

Glad to see that the Colorado Avalanche have re-signed Greg Mauldin to a one year deal.   Mauldin had five goals and five assists in 29 games with the Avs and became a fan favorite in his short time up with the big club.

Correcting something I had reported earlier, it appears that T.J. Syner unfortunately will not be attending Washington’s prospect camp.

It appears that the rumored “super” conference in the West will become a reality.  Here is a good overview from College Hockey News.  Still waiting to see if Notre Dame heads east or west.

Red Leaving For Ivy Green?

Back from vacation means back to writing about UMass hockey.  I had a great trip down to the  mid-Atlantic area.  I got to visit three breweries (Dogfish Head, Ram’s Head/Fordham, Victory), see countless national treasures like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and hung out with a few of the original Section U inhabitants dating back to the triangle days.

So did anything happen hockey-wise in this area while I was gone?  Oh yeah, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup!!  What a run.  I’m definitely a college hockey fan first, as that’s how I first got into the game, but seeing the black and gold as the owners of Lord Stanley’s chalice is beyond thrilling.  New England is now the center of the hockey world, let’s hope that continues next fall when UMass and the rest of Hockey East return to the ice.

Of course there was some UMass news during last week as well.  USHR reported that Red Gendron will be leaving Amherst to take an assistant coaching position at Yale under Keith Allain.  Gendron does have a relationship already with Allain from when they previously coached for the US program.  From everything I’ve heard, this report appears to be true even though it’s not official yet.  I’ll be sorry to see Red go.  He’s done a lot for the program from recruiting many of the talented players on the ice to all the hard work he does for things like the annual golf outing.  He’s also been very friendly to fans and supporters of the program.  Whatever the future holds for him, I’ll be rooting for him (except of course when Yale comes to town this fall).

Also in the USHR report was the statement that they’re “hearing” that Red will be replaced by former Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald.  Besides being colleagues in the Hockey East coaching ranks, MacDonald and Toot Cahoon were also assistants together at BU.  First off, I have not been able to confirm that the report that MacDonald is about to be hired is true, but makes sense that he’d be in the mix.  Secondly, I’m not sure I like this news.  I have a lot of respect for the job that Blaise did at Lowell.  Against all of the challenges that surrounded that program, even when it was on the verge of getting mothballed by the Board of Trustees, he was able to consistently recruit some top talent in the league.  However, he was just fired from that job because he was never able to get that talent to its full potential.  At Lowell he had a history of his very best teams underperforming regularly and sometimes dramatically.  Problem is, in recent years UMass has also suffered from that same charge of underperforming compared to its potential.  If Toot is going to bring in someone new to the staff, I would rather the person have a record of addressing some of the team’s recent deficiencies.

My ideal replacement for Red?  Hire alum and current ECHL coach Dean Stork and groom him to replace Toot in a couple years when he likely retires.

In other Hockey East coaching news, remember how friend of FTT Ryan S. Clark reported a couple months ago that Greg Cronin was leaving Northeastern for the NHL and Cronin vehemently denied the report?  Well Cronin was hired today as an assistant coach for Toronto.  Maple Leafs or Northeastern?  Hmm…lateral move at best.  It should be interesting to see if any recruits or current Husky players look to leave with their coach on the move.

UMass has lost out to Providence for the services of South Kent defenseman Anthony Florentino.  Florentino is a talented defenseman who has participated in past US national development camps previously.  This one hurts a little because he has some close ties to the Minuteman program and from what I’ve read is highly regarded.

Congratulations to Conor Allen, Mike Lecomte, Kevin Moore, Colin Shea, and Jeff Teglia who were named to the Hockey East All-Academic Team for this past season.  Lecomte was named to the team for all four of his years at UMass.

Stuff the ballot box!  Vote for Paul Dainton for UMass Play of the Year!

Speaking of voting, don’t forget to take the survey for which UMass license plate you like best.

With the Cup awarded, that means the NHL Draft is just around the corner.  Hockey’s Future has Mike Pereira as one of the top 10 draft eligible players in the NCAA.  Pereira will also be featured in a pre-draft article in the New England Hockey Journal that I’ll be sure to pass along when it’s published.

Dick Baker of the Republican caught up with Greg Mauldin and Justin Braun at last week’s Golf Outing.

Pereira and Manno On Final Draft Rankings; Minutemen In The Playoffs

Hope everyone enjoyed Saturday’s National Championship game.  A game winner in overtime, it certainly doesn’t get anymore exciting that that.  Congratulations to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for their victory!

The final rankings for the NHL Draft were released today by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.  The Minutemen had two players on the list with Mike Pereira ranked 114th among North American skaters and incoming freshman Joseph Manno ranked 145th.  Pereira’s rank improved from a mid-season rating of 135th while Manno was previously unranked.  Pereira was ranked 63rd in last year’s final rankings, but went undrafted come draft day.  I’ve heard a couple different reasons as to why he wasn’t picked; one that he was injured and had to limit his participation when he went to the NHL combine and the other that teams were concerned with his strength.  Whatever the reason, I really hope he gets to hear his named called this year.  As a freshman he put up numbers as good or even better than BU’s Charlie Coyle, a first rounder at last year’s draft.  I’ve also heard that Pereira has put a lot of time in at the weight room, which hopefully together with how he performed on the ice will make the difference for him this year.

Zack Phillips, who committed to UMass before jumping to the QMJHL, was rated as the 15th best North American forward and will likely go towards the end of the first round.

It’s playoff time in pro hockey and a few Minutemen will be key parts of their teams’ postseason success.  UMass’ two NHL representatives will actually be facing each other in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as Jon Quick and the L.A. Kings will be taking on Justin Braun and the San Jose Sharks.  This will be Quick’s second NHL playoff appearance when he takes the net for the seventh seeded Kings.

In the AHL Greg Mauldin will be a part of the first ever playoff team for the Lake Erie Monsters, the second seed in the North Division, who will be taking on the Manitoba Moose.  Casey Wellman and the Houston Aeros will be taking on the Peoria Rivermen in the first round.  Alex Berry and the Norfolk Admirals will look to upset the East Division’s top seeded Wilkes-Barre Penguins.  Also, I missed this last week but David Leaderer was loaned from the Albany Devils to the Milwaukee Admirals and could see time with them in the playoffs.

No UMass players in the ECHL made the playoffs, but former Minuteman captain turned coach Dean Stork already has his Greenville Road Warriors in the second round in that league.

With my actual posting becoming less frequent make sure to follow Fear The Triangle on Twitter as well as like the Fear The Triangle Facebook page to keep up to date on all things UMass hockey.  I’ll be sharing any UMass and general hockey news through those mediums that may not necessarily be worth a full blog post.

UMass Hockey Award Banquet News

I wasn’t able to make it to the team banquet yesterday, but luckily I got a first hand account from Brock Hines and Dick Baker has a nice writeup about the event, which included an emotional speech by Paul Dainton who received the team MVP award.

Here are the awards given out yesterday:

Team MVP – Paul Dainton
Rookie of the Year – Mike Pereira
Jack Canniff “Unsung Hero” – Doug Kublin & Chase Langeraap
Minuteman Spirit Award – Kevin Moore
Most Improved – Anthony Raiola

I can’t argue with any of those. Though personally I think Most Improved could have been shared between Raiola, who did a great job showing that he should be considered for an everyday spot on the blueline next season, and Danny Hobbs, whose production exploded this year.

Also announced at the banquet was that T.J. Syner and Hobbs will be co-captains for next year’s squad while Mike Marcou will keep his role as assistant captain.

Yesterday I mentioned that there’s a good chance UMass will be heading up to Canada to play regular exhibition opponent University of New Brunswick in a future year. Thanks to FTT reader Graham for bringing to my attention that the V-Reds, a powerhouse in the CIS, won the championship yet again. Graham also endeared himself to me by passing along beer suggestions, specifically Propeller Brewery in Halifax.

The Boston Herald has an article on ex-BU assistant coach David Quinn who is now coaching the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters where he names Greg Mauldin as one of the key leaders on the team.

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