Friday, April 22, 2011

Around the rinks

Earlier this week I checked in with North Mankato native Tyler Bruggeman, who just wrapped up his third season of junior hockey. The goaltender played for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL and saw his playing time drop a bit from last season when he was with the NAHL's St. Louis Bandits. Bruggeman, 20, says he plans to return to the Bucs for a final season of junior hockey in hopes of landing a college opportunity somewhere. You can see Bruggeman's career numbers here.


Unfortunately, this was kept on the downlow and was publicized after the fact, but before country-music star Dierks Bentley's show in Mankato Thursday night, he skated over at All Seasons Arena with members of the MSU men's and women's hockey teams and a few others. Bentley, who plays rec-league hockey in Nashville, told Paul Allan that he keeps his hockey gear on his tour bus just in case he gets a chance to skate during his tour.


This has been one of the busiest offseasons in terms of coaching changes. So far, six teams are in the process of making changes, and that could grow depending on how those jobs get filled.

A few weeks ago, Michigan State hired CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos as its new coach, and this week, UMass-Lowell hired alum and former Colorado College assistant Norm Bazin to take the reins. That leaves Michigan Tech, Providence, Clarkson and Penn State still open.

Tech is an interesting, as it appeared to be was close to hiring alum and longtime Michigan assistant Mel Pearson, only to have Pearson turn down the job. Now, some reports are coming out that Nebraska-Omaha assistant Mike Hastings might be interviewing in Houghton.

Penn State, which is looking to make a big splash with its first coach, has/is in the process of interviewing Minnesota Duluth's Scott Sandelin. Sandelin has a career record of 192-200-52 in 11 seasons at UMD, but this month's national championship certainly makes him a hot prospect. Adding intrigue to the story is the fact that Sandelin's wife is a Penn State graduate.

Meanwhile, Providence might be in the process of poaching national coach of the year Nate Leaman away from Union.


Even the women's hockey world is seeking coaches, as Ohio State's Jackie Barto announced that she is stepping down after 12 seasons with the Buckeyes and 27 years overall.


The Minnesota Wild have been busy signing some college starts, inking North Dakota's Chay Genoway and Minnesota Duluth's Justin Fontaine. Both players' seasons ended at the Xcel Energy Center a couple of weeks ago, with Fontaine winning the national title, and Genoway making it to the national semifinals.


The Minnesota State women's hockey team announced its postseason awards this week. They were:

• Most Valuable Player — Lauren Smith, so. F
• Most Improved Player — Kari Lundberg, fr. F
• Rookie of the Year — Kathleen Rogan, fr. F
• Tiffany Searles Award (all-around student-athlete) — Jenna Peterson, jr. F/D
• Maverick Pride Award — Ariel Mackley, jr. D
• Daniel Mundahl Service Award — Emmi Leinonen, jr. F


News broke Friday morning that Kurt Davis' dad, MSU alum Carl Davis, has stepped down as Wayzata High School coach. In 16 years, Davis had a record of 247-146-24, five conference titles and two state-tournament appearances.

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