Friday, July 21, 2017

New coach for Nanooks

Lance West, an assistant coach for Alaska the last nine years, was promoted to head coach of the Nanooks on Wednesday, replacing Dallas Ferguson, who stepped down earlier this month to become the coach of the major junior-level Calgary Hitmen.

West, who played at Alabama-Huntsville, was an assistant for Ferguson's entire head coaching stint in Alaska.

Alaska's press release says nothing about West being an interim coach, although the release about Ferguson leaving mentions that the school would be seeking an interim coach. Also, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story refers to West as an interim coach.

Alaska's is the third coaching change in the WCHA this offseason as Northern Michigan fired Walt Kyle and hired Grant Potulny and Michigan Tech's Mel Pearson left for Michigan and was replaced by Joe Shawhan.

Here's what season each WCHA head coach is going into:

Bob Daniels, Ferris State, 26th
Tom Serratore, Bemidji State, 17th
Chris Bergeron, Bowling Green, 8th
Mike Hastings, Minnesota State, 6th
Matt Thomas, Alaska Anchorage, 5th
Mike Corbett, Alabama Huntsville, 5th
Damon Whitten, Lake Superior State, 4th
Grant Potulny, Northern Michigan, 1st
Joe Shawhan, Michigan Tech, 1st
Lance West, Alaska, 1st

Thursday, July 20, 2017

WCHA women seek crowdsourcing funds

Despite the loss of a major program, North Dakota, this offseason, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association women's conference is alive and well, commissioner Katie Million says.

However, with belt-tightening around the league's seven remaining programs, which includes Minnesota State, the conference is looking for creative ways to help cover certain conference costs, including operations, its postseason championship tournament and postgraduate scholarships.

"We wanted to do something that eases the pain to each of our schools," Million said.

On Thursday, the WCHA announced a crowdfunding campaign through the website RallyMe to solicit donations to cover various costs "aimed at enhancing the student-athlete experience," according to a press release.

The league hopes to raise more than $140,000 by mid-March. Goals include $50,000 for league operations, $25,000 for the Final Faceoff tournament and $7,500 for its postseason scholarship.

"The conference is not in a state of desperation," Million said in a phone interview. "But we were looking for innovative, creative and, even more so, progressive moves to help the overall league."

The league is also seeking funding for its postseason awards banquet (goal: $25,000), regular-season and postseason championship trophies ($5,000 each), monthly and weekly player awards ($6,000) and television production ($20,000).

Since the WCHA is a nonprofit organization, donations through the RallyMe site are tax-deductible. RallyMe is a site used by several athletes, teams and organizations — including governing bodies such as USA Hockey — to raise funds for sports endeavors and causes. The league's RallyMe page is wcha.rallyme.com.

Read more about the WCHA's campaign in The Free Press here.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mavericks to play on Hockey Day Minnesota

Minnesota State will be featured on Hockey Day Minnesota, playing a televised game at St. Cloud State on Saturday, Jan. 20.

Fox Sports North, in conjunction with the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Hockey and St. Cloud's organizing committee, announced the schedule for the 12th annual event on Wednesday.

The lineup includes high school and women's college games outdoors on Lake George, followed by the Mavericks and the Huskies from the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center at 5 p.m. and then the Wild vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Minnesota State's game, which will air on FSN-Plus, will be the second of the season against St. Cloud State. The rivals also will meet in Mankato on Oct. 7 to kick off the season.

Following is the Wells Fargo Hockey Day Minnesota schedule:

10 a.m. St. Cloud vs. St. Cloud Cathedral (high school boys), Lake George, St. Cloud

1 p.m. St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota Duluth (college women), Lake George, St. Cloud

4:30 p.m. Moorhead vs Centennial (high school boys), Lake George, St. Cloud

5 p.m. Minnesota State vs. St. Cloud State (college men), Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, St. Cloud

8 p.m. Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul