It's still the preseason, so it's early. But observations and interviews suggest that the intensity has been ramped up more than a little bit at All Seasons Arena with new coach Mike Hastings at the helm. I wrote about that for my regular Wednesday Free Press column, which is available here. There certainly seems to be a new-sheriff-in-town attitude right now, which is understandable, considering Hastings needs to establish his identity as a coach right away and players want to make a good first impression on the new guy.
Currently, the Minnesota State men's players are locked out of their All Seasons Arena locker room and using one of the high school rooms there while their space undergoes some renovations. While MSU awaits upgrades to take place at the Verizon Wireless Center, it's trying to make its current facility as up to date as possible. Since the day he was hired, Hastings has talked about trying to take care of the players — with the idea that the better they're treated the more that can be asked of them.
The Mavericks will open the regular season on Oct. 12-13 with a nonconference series at Alabama Huntsville. Minnesota State is the only Division I program that is playing the Chargers in Huntsville (their other home games are against club teams and Division III programs) which were bound for extinction a year ago, in Huntsville. On Wednesday, UAH announced that coach Chris Luongo has resigned and Kurt Kleinendorst was hired to take his place. No details have emerged regarding Luongo's resignation, but the timing sure seems odd considering we're a little more than a week before the season's set to kick off.
I poked some fun at the team party situations that caused some problems at North Dakota and Minnesota last week. But the situation at North Dakota, which has led to the suspension of several players, appears to be no laughing matter. Good reporting here by the Grand Forks Herald.
The NCHC got its not-so-lucrative TV deal with the CBS Sports Network for next year, but, this year, that network is ignoring most of the teams that will be in the conference it's partnering with. The network unveiled its 18-game college-hockey schedule for this season, and no current WCHA teams — yes, even the ones forming the NCHC next season — will be shown. If it wasn't obvious that Notre Dame was the real prize the NCHC missed out on (the Irish will go to Hockey East next year), just look at the schedule. The Irish will be shown six times in addition to the two nationally televised games they'll get on NBC Sports Network, with whom they have a TV contract to show all home games starting next year.
To be fair, we're still waiting on the WCHA to make some big decisions regarding its future, whether its the league's championship location or media deal, if it has one, for 2013-14 and beyond.