There are 18 days until the college hockey season kicks off. For the most part, the offseason was kind of uneventful. Except for the head coaching change at North Dakota, news stories were few and far between. Nothing has happened.
Slow news summer aside, here’s three emerging story lines that emerged over the summer. A couple of them could dominate the college hockey world.
Dave Hakstol Named Flyers Head Coach
On May 18, 2015, UND head coach Dave Hakstol resigned his coaching position to become the 19th head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Almost immediately, associate head coach Brad Berry was promoted to head coaching position later in the day. Berry returned to UND following the 2011-12 season.
Counting graduation and early departures, UND lost 45% of their scoring from last season’s team that went 29-10-3. If UND is going to make a return to the Frozen Four, someone on UND’s roster is going to have to step up and fill the void.
Coach Berry’s first year should be a test as he starts the season with 10 freshmen and without an experienced goaltender. UND’s schedule during the first month includes one team that had a winning record last season and has a cumulative record of 70-134-19 (.354).
Arizona State University Begins Division I Era
The Arizona State University Sun Devils will embark on this first Division I college hockey season October 3, 2015, when they take the ice against the University of Arizona Wild Cats in an exhibition game.
During their inaugural season, ASU will play in approximately 25 Division I hockey games.
The following weekend, on October 9-10, 2015, ASU travels to Anchorage Alaska to play in the Kendall Hockey Classic. ASU’s first official hockey game will be against the UAA Seawolves. The following night, ASU takes on the University Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks.
ASU has yet to pick a conference, but it would appear that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference or the Big Ten Hockey Conference would be the best fit for the Sun Devils. First things first, getting a Division I caliber arena will be the first major hurdle for the Sun Devils.
Coach on the Hot Seat
Last season, the University of Wisconsin Badgers had a horrible season; the Badgers went 4-26-5 and finished last in the Big Ten Hockey Conference. Wisconsin fans were unhappy with the way the Badgers season transpired. Badgers fans wanted blood and they wanted coach Mike Eaves fired yesterday. Last season’s record was the worst in their team’s history.
In the last 46 seasons, no Badgers hockey team has lost 26 games. This season, if Eaves’ team loses 20+ games again, he could be out of a job.
On April 7, 2015, coach Eaves fired his two assistant coaches Gary Shuchuk and Matt Walsh. Coach Eaves had made his assistants coaches the scapegoats.
“This falls under the category of taking extreme measures to make sure that we get out of this and get the program back where it needs to be,” coach Eaves told the Wisconsin State Journal.
The question many in Madison want to know, will the Badgers recover during the 2015-16 season? If not, will coach Eaves be the next coaching causality? Another season like last year could seal coach Eaves’ fate.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.