Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mid-May news, notes

Minnesota State unveiled its 2013-14 schedule on Tuesday (you can see the full slate of games in this blog's right-hand column). After playing a TBA exhibition game at home during the first week, the Mavericks will open the season Oct. 11-12 at Providence. I'm guessing that will be a matchup of a couple of ranked team; should be a good one. Their home opener is the following week (Oct. 18-19) against Connecticut. MSU will begin the "new" WCHA season Nov. 1-2 at Bemidji State.

When the Mavericks take the ice at the Verizon Wireless Center in five months, expect to see some changes to the arena. The most significant change will be the size of the rink, which will go from Olympic-size (200x100) to one that is at or closer to the width of an NHL sheet (200x85). There also will be much-needed new boards and safer glass and a new floor and ice-making system. Preliminary work is underway but the main renovation is scheduled to begin sometime in June. Other changes officials hope to have in place by the start of the season include modernized concessions and new (purple) seats. For sure, the seating around the narrowed rink will need to be reconfigured.

Connecticut will come to Mankato with a new coach, having recently hired Boston College assistant Mike Cavanaugh. That's one of several coaching changes we've seen this spring, including Denver (Jim Montgomery) and Ohio State (Steve Rohlik). Maine and Alaska Anchorage are still searching for their new coaches, and the long wait (especially at the mess that is UAA right now, certainly gets one thinking about how well Minnesota State's search went 13 months ago.

At Anchorage, not only did the school suspend and then restart its coaching search process after interviewing four finalists following complaints from alumni and others in the hockey community, but now there is a report that recently fired coach Dave Shyiak has been accused of violently striking one of his players with a hockey stick during a practice.

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