Friday, May 20, 2011

Academic accolades for Galiardi

Minnesota State's 2010-11 captain Rylan Galiardi has received some nice postseason accolades for his work in the classroom at MSU. Galiardi graduated earlier this month with a degree in sports management and left college with a 3.81 GPA.

On Thursday, MSU announced that Galiardi was selected as a member of the Capital One Academic All-District Second Team. Earlier this month, he was presented with Minnesota State's Don Buchanan Award as one of the university's top male student-athlete and was named Second-Team Academic All-District by the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA).

Galiardi gave a touching speech at the Maverick Achievement Awards, which you can see here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

USHL finals underway

Green Bay Press-Gazette photo
The Clark Cup finals — the United States Hockey League's championship series — got underway this weekend, and the Green Bay Gamblers and the Dubuque Fighting Saints split their first two games in Green Bay, Wis.

Green Bay has two Minnesota State connections, with forward Jean-Paul LaFontaine and defenseman Brett Stern. LaFontaine (pictured) scored the opening goal in Friday's series opener. LaFontaine has two goals and two assists in nine playoff games. Stern has not played in the playoffs.

The series is a best-of-five series, with Games 3 and 4 scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Dubuque, Iowa. If necessary, Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, in Green Bay.

By the way, here's a list of all of the college commits in this series:

Green Bay's college list: Alex Broadhurst (Nebraska-Omaha), Austin Czarnick (Miami), Robert Francis (Western Michigan), Aaron Harstad (Colorado College), Max Hartner (Air Force), Sam Herr (Notre Dame), Ludwig Karlsson (Northeastern), William Kessel (Western Michigan), Jean-Paul LaFontaine (Minnesota State), Nolan LaPorte (Western Michigan), Markus Lauridsen (St. Cloud State), Travis Lynch (Michigan), Ryan McKay (Miami), Brian O'Rourke (Nebraska-Omaha), Brett Stern (Minnesota State), Matt Stewart (Western Michigan), Andy Welinski (Minnesota-Duluth), Adam Wilcox (Minnesota).

Dubuque's college list: Luke Curadi (Rensselaer), Jordan DiGiando (Colorado College), Derek Docken (Alaska-Anchorage), John Gaudreau (Northeastern), Zemgus Girgensons (Vermont), Eric Johnson (Notre Dame), Tony Larson (Alaska-Anchorage), Nick Luukko (Vermont), Matt Morris (Maine), Joakim Ryan (Cornell), Vinny Saponari (Northeastern), T.J. Schlueter (Ferris State), Shane Walsh (UMass), Scott Wamsganz (Colorado College).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Derek Boogaard, RIP

Derek Boogaard (left) died Friday night at age 28.
Sad news in the NHL community with the passing of ex-Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard. I met him once — when the Wild made a 2007 Summer Caravan stop through Mankato. You can read my story on that day here.

When covering those stories, it's hard to truly get to know a guy. You basically spend most of your time talking to fans waiting in line in the parking lot. And when you get a chance to interview one of the players, you just toss out a few questions while those fans are getting things signed, posing for pictures and trying to ask their own questions. Basically, if you're a reporter at one these things, you're in the way.

One thing that was obvious that day, though, was to see just how popular Boogaard was with the Wild fans. "He's a fan favorite," one fan said that day. "He epitomizes the Minnesota mentality: Fight to the end, keep going and work hard." Do you have a favorite Derek Boogaard memory? If so, post it in the comments section below.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Boe's season still going

Minnesota State defenseman Channing Boe is still playing hockey. After playing 38 games for the Mavericks this past season — his senior year — Boe has played 19 games for the Wheeling Nailers, including 11 in the playoffs. The Nailers will try to keep their season going tonight when they play the Kalamzoo Wings in the Eastern Conference finals. The Wings lead the series 3-2.

I talked to Boe on Monday for a column that appeared in Tuesday's edition of The Free Press (read that story here). Boe missed a few playoff games in order to return to Mankato for final exams. He said that his new team and coaches were very supportive of his need to finish his course work, as were his professors at MSU of his opportunity to start his professional hockey career.

"I've been playing a lot," Boe said. "It's been fun. It's been a great experience, getting to the next step and seeing what pro hockey is all about. It's definitely different."

Boe was one of two MSU seniors to sign after the season. Rylan Galiardi played 10 games for the AHL's San Antonio Rampage. He had two assists.

As for the other seniors, little word on their professional future. I ran into Ben Youds the other day, and he said he was hoping to agree to a minor league deal with an NHL team. I know he and Kurt Davis are also considering Europe. Andrew Sackrison is a St. Louis Blues draft pick.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tech (finally) gets its man

Michigan Tech announced on Friday that it hired alum and longtime Michigan assistant Mel Pearson as its new hockey coach. Pearson actually turned down the job 2 1/2 weeks ago before reconsidering and accepting the position. Pearson, 52, is a Vancouver native but grew up in Minnesota and played hockey at Edina. He played at Tech from 1977 to 1981 and was a professional for 15 seasons after that. Pearson has spent the last 23 years as an assistant coach at Michigan under legendary coach Red Berenson.

Monday, May 2, 2011

McKelvie hired at Lake Forest

Former Minnesota State hockey player Ryan McKelvie has been hired as the head coach at Division III Lake Forest College in Illinois. McKelvie spent the last season as an assistant at Alaska-Anchorage. Before that, he was the associate head coach for the Wenatchee Wild junior team in the North American Hockey League for two years and a graduate assistant at Bemidji State prior to that.

McKelvie was at Minnesota State from 2002 to 2006 and was a three-year assistant captain.

He takes over a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2005-06. The Foresters went 5-21-1 last season, playing in the MCHA with Adrian, Concordia (Wis.), Finlandia, Lawrence, Marian, Milwaukee School of Engineering and Northland.

While with the Seawolves, McKelvie helped UAA to one of its best seasons in several years and its second trip to the WCHA Final Five.

"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to lead the Lake Forest College men's hockey program," McKelvie said in a school press release (read the entire release here). "It was clear throughout the interview process and during my visit to campus that my coaching goals align with those of the college. Recent enhancements to the rink and other athletic facilities at the college also strengthen my believe that Forester hockey has the potential to be very successful."

Alaska-Anchorage also had a release about McKelvie's departure. Said coach Dave Shyiak: "Ryan has been an integral part of our success this year. He has worked very hard in his responsibilities and recruiting efforts. This is a great opportunity for him at Lake Forest College and we wish him all the best and thank him for all he has done."

For more, check out Doyle Woody's blog.