Thursday, December 4, 2014

Yale's John Hayden, Keith Allain talk World Junior Championships

Few things get Yale coach Keith Allain to light up with excitement more than the World Junior Championships. John Hayden, a sophomore forward, was named to the U.S. roster earlier this week. There are still seven cuts looming after the team convenes in Boston Dec. 16, but Allain, a three-time head coach of the U.S. entry, thinks Hayden is well positioned to make the final roster.

"I think he’s got a really good chance," Allain said. "They’ve got a role for him, and they understand what he’s going to be, and they know him as a player really well."

Hayden didn't make the preliminary roster last December after being invited to the team's summer training camp. He's determined to make the final roster.

"This has been a goal of mine a long time, to make this team," Hayden said. "Summer camp went well, I had good chemistry with those guys, and I'm looking forward to Boston. Hearing my name is on that roster is very special to me. I want to prove I belong on that team."

Allain has coached in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Olympics, the IIHF World Championships, the World Cup of Hockey and the NCAA playoffs. He says none compare to the World Junior Championships, which he calls the "greatest hockey tournament in the world." That the event is essentially a week-long national holiday in Canada only adds to the atmosphere. And Allain is every bit as excited as Hayden at the opportunity to play in front of sold-out crowds in the NHL arenas of Montreal and Toronto, if that's possible.

"I'd like nothing more for him than to have that experience. I was thrilled Dan Muse was an assistant the last two teams. I talked to him before the first year, and I said I can’t describe it to you, but I’m telling you…because you're immersed in it and you’re with this group of 30 people and you become a family in like two days and you’re doing everything together and everything is about the tournament and the team and its just really unique." 

A few other notes from Yale as it prepares for RPI on Friday and Union on Saturday, a meeting of the past two NCAA champions.

** Scoring goals hasn't been an issue since Allain took over at Yale. So the 2.11 goals-per game through nine games is concerning. Allain feels the Bulldogs are vastly improved since a flat loss to St. Lawrence on Nov. 15. "I think, really, from my perspective, if we field passes a little cleaner that'll give us the split second we need to get a better shot off. I just think our precision passing is getting better but its not as good as it needs to be to score goals."


** Scoring is down across the ECAC. Yale, at 2.11 goals-per game, is scoring less than it did during a 5-25-2 season of 2004-05 (2.19). Still, it ranks sixth in the league in scoring offense, better than Cornell, Clarkson, RPI, Princeton, Brown, all under two goals-per game. "I think our record right now, you can't be upset with how we're doing," Yale forward Carson Cooper said. "You always want to be doing better, you want to score more. But the way our defense is coming around, that's something to be proud of. Hopefully we can get the scoring coming, but we have been scoring and winning games."

** Indeed, team defense and goaltending is as strong as ever. The start to Alex Lyon's sophomore campaign has been brilliant. Patrick Spano, in his first start of the season, shut out RIT. Having multiple, extremely capable goaltenders presents some challenges. "Making sure everyone feels valuable and are contributing to the team," Allain said. "And keeping guys fresh so when you need them they are able to perform. Those are challenges. But the benefits certainly outweigh any challenges it may present."

** The main challenges for Yale have been dealing with injuries. Anthony Day, Nico Weberg and Tim Bonner have missed multiple games. Allain doesn't get into specifics, but acknowledged there are a couple of players who won't be back any time soon. Dealing with adversity is part of the game. "Everyone has to deal with stuff, and that's why we don't talk about it much," Allain said. "Whether it's guys banged up or the ref makes a bad call or our goalie lets in a bad goal. Whatever the situation may be, that's the way it's supposed to be. Figure it out."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quinnipiac auction on Friday night will benefit Rett Syndrome

Quinnipiac Men's Ice Hockey To Auction Game Worn Jerseys To Benefit Rett Syndrome Research

HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey has announced a partnership with RettSyndrome.org to auction game-worn jerseys to raise awareness and benefit research into Rett Syndrome. The Bobcats will wear limited edition jerseys for its game against the University of Massachusetts on Nov. 28, 2014 at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Fans interested in bidding on the jerseys can do so in the lobby of the TD Bank Sports Center or by visiting the online auction site at http://rettauction.org/. Tickets to Friday night's game can be purchased by calling the TD Bank Sports Center Ticket Office at 203-582-3905 or log on to QuinnipiacBobcats.com to purchase online.
"We're extremely proud to have partnered with so many great charitable organizations in the 21 years that I've been here," head coach Rand Pecknold said. "This year I am truly looking forward to raising awareness and support for Rett Syndrome and the families who are impacted by this terrible disorder. Our guys are excited for the opportunity to be a part of something that is so meaningful to so many people and we look forward to a great event."
Rettsyndrome.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing thorough and accurate information about Rett syndrome, empowering families, and stimulating research. Rettsyndrome.org has funded over $34M in high-quality, peer-reviewed research grants and programs to date making it the world's leading private funder of Rett syndrome research.
 "It isn't every day that we are able to partner with an institute like Quinnipiac University and their Men's Hockey Team for such an inspiring event," Rettsyndrome.org COO Shannon Starkey-Taylor said. "Our hope is that the awareness and fundraising that is produced from this partnership will further our mission to fund research, and support the children and their families affected by Rett syndrome."
In addition to the game-worn Quinnipiac jerseys to be auctioned off, the Boston Bruins have also donated a team-autographed  jersey for auction.
Rettsyndrome.org is the most comprehensive nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and family empowerment while accelerating research of treatments and a cure for Rett syndrome and related disorders.  As the world's leading private funder of basic, translational and clinical Rett syndrome research, Rettsyndrome.org has funded over $34M in high-quality, peer-reviewed research grants and programs to date. The organization hosts the largest global gathering of Rett researchers and clinicians to establish research direction for the future.  Rettsyndrome.org, a 501(c)3 organization,  has earned Charity Navigator's most prestigious 4 star rating year after year.  To learn more about our work and Rett syndrome, visit  www.rettsyndrome.org or call us at 1-800-818-7388(RETT).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Inaugural Tim Taylor Cup at stake Saturday



Another outstanding memorial for an outstanding man.

Press release:

Inaugural Tim Taylor Cup To be Presented Saturday After Harvard-Yale Hockey Game
Most Outstanding Player of Annual Contest To Receive Award In Memory of Revered Coach
Friends and peers of the late Tim Taylor have created an award that honors the former Harvard, Yale and USA Hockey coach. The Tim Taylor Cup will be presented to the most outstanding player of the annual Harvard-Yale men’s hockey game played in Boston. The first presentation takes place this Saturday at the conclusion of the game at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Center. Game time is 7:00 p.m.

“Timmy was a very special person to so many of us in the hockey community,” said Joe Bertagna, a former Harvard goaltender who played for and coached with Taylor. “He was a teacher who always had time for fellow coaches and so many players along the way. Given his association with both institutions, we felt that this was a proper way to honor his contributions to our game.”

Taylor was a member of the Harvard Class of 1963, serving as captain of the 1962-63 squad that captured the ECAC Championship. He later returned to his alma mater as freshman coach and assistant varsity coach to Bill Cleary. He was named Yale’s head coach in 1978 and enjoyed a remarkable 28-year run in New Haven, winning 337 games for the Bulldogs.

In addition to his work at the college level, Tim was active with USA Hockey in a number of roles. He was an assistant coach to Lou Vairo for the 1984 Olympic Games. In 1991, he served as acting head coach for Team USA in the Canada Cup Tournament, leading the team to a silver medal when head coach Bob Johnson suffered a stroke just prior to the start of the tournament. In 1994, he served as head coach and general manager of the U.S. Olympic Team in Lillehammer, Norway. As recently as 2013, he was a key advisor to the U.S. Junior National Team that won gold at the World Championships at Ufa, Russia.

“Timmy was passionate about the game his entire life,” added Ben Smith, who, played at Harvard, coached with Taylor at Yale and also works for USA Hockey. “He never tired of watching and studying the game and sharing his observations with others. He was very generous with his time and only had the best interests in growing the game both at home and on the international stage.”

Tim Taylor passed away on April 27, 2013, after a courageous four-year battle with cancer. Some 700 friends and colleagues filled Harvard’s Memorial Church on June 1 of that year to pay their respects. In addition to this award, the ECAC has named its Coach of the Year award after Tim and the Hockey Commissioners Association named its national Rookie of the Year award in his honor as well.

The first Tim Taylor Cup will be presented by a member of Tim’s family at the conclusion of this Saturday night’s game, the recipient to be chosen by representatives from the schools and the media attending the game.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No tickets left for UConn-Sacred Heart at Taft


UConn played before 8,000 at the XL Center last week. Its next in-state game will be a true sellout, just a bit smaller. All 950 seats at Watertown's Taft School have been sold for Friday night's game between UConn and Sacred Heart. The game serves as a benefit for the family of North Haven's Jason Pagni, a local hockey coach killed in a car accident in January. All proceeds from the night, which includes a raffle and silent auction, are being donated to Pagni's widow and two young children.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cornell's Mike Schafer suspended, issues apology

Cornell issued the following statement this evening:

Statements From Cornell Men's Hockey Mike Schafer, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Men’s Hockey at Cornell University, has issued the following statement following ECAC Hockey’s announcement that he has been suspended for the team’s next game.

“I’d like apologize for using profane language in my postgame comments on Saturday evening following our contest against Quinnipiac. My language was unnecessary, and I did not represent Cornell and our hockey program in a first-class manner.

“Cole Bardreau, who had previously suffered a serious neck injury, was run into the boards from behind in the game,” Schafer added. “Cole’s status continues to be evaluated, but the hit on Saturday may force him to miss future games. I was angry that there was no recognition of the seriousness of the play and let my emotions get the best of me after the contest. The safety of student-athletes is paramount to me. I have apologized to Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold for my comments.”

“I respect Coach Schafer’s passion and respect for the health of his student-athletes,” said Andy Noel, the Meakem*Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education. “He used inappropriate words to describe how he was understandably upset at the situation. The Cornell Department of Athletics and Physical Education understands ECAC Hockey’s decision to suspend Coach Schafer for this isolated incident.”

Cornell coach Mike Schafer has choice words for Rand Pecknold

Quinnipiac's 1-0 win over Cornell Saturday night featured a late game-winning goal, a handshake line scuffle and an angry Mike Schafer.

In a postgame interview with a Quinnipiac student reporter outside the visiting locker room at High Point Solutions Arena, Schafer railed against Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold in an expletive-filled tirade.

QBSN has the full audio.

But here's the money quote. And by money quote, we mean the line that should lead the ECAC (and Cornell) to suspend Schafer for a game or two. "I guess my first comment, and I want it to be loud and clear, I think what their coach did was a f***ing classless a**hole."

Schafer apparently overheard Pecknold asking referees for an embellishment call on Cole Bardreau after the Cornell player was head headfirst into the boards by Quinnipiac forward Matthew Peca. Peca was issued a 5-minute major for hitting from behind and game misconduct.

When the game was over, Schafer exchanged angry words with Pecknold on the ice. A handshake line scuffle between players followed. “You wonder why the guys were pissed at the end at center ice," Schafer says. "It’s not the kids. They take the lead from us, so yeah I contributed to it because I’m pissed off at their coach at the end of the game for being such an a**hole.”

The teams next play on Feb. 6 at Cornell's Lynah Rink.





Sunday, November 9, 2014

Video of Quinnipiac's late victory over Cornell