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UNH Hockey 2023 Off Season Thread Turn and Face the Strange

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  • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
    Thanks for the informative post, 'Watcher. I remember well, reading about all of the incoming UNH recruits "as they happened" through the old Foster's Daily Democrat (RIP) daily sports section back in the day. A lot of that, of course, was in the pre-Internet days (at least for me, and I was on relatively early) and that was the lifeblood of information regarding ham-and-egg UNH fans like us and our friends, as was the run-up to the construction of The Whitt. In many ways, you can draw a line between pre-Internet UNH Hockey right down the middle of the year-plus it took to build the new arena - last days of Snively (late pre-Internet), and first days of The Whitt (early Internet).

    Regardless, the amount of reporting on UNH Hockey back in those days was relatively staggering, and those "media booths" that still exist at The Whitt were standing room only for many years after. We are fortunate as UNH fans - as are college hockey fans in general - that you've been "The Man" on D-1 recruiting on both sides of the Snively-Whitt Era "chasm". Continuity hasn't been a common trait in traversing that gap.

    Without betraying confidences ... not too long ago, I had a brief Internet exchange with one of those UNH stars of yore who you named in your latest post, just checking in and wishing him well. As a throwaway line at the end, I mentioned how great it would be if someone like him were to come in and resuscitate the UNH Hockey program. His response was verbatim, "I'm ready when they are". So that gives me a lot of hope.



    Wow ... talk about another event that's fallen completely off the map ... the UNH Hockey Banquet. I think we attended once or twice (we did a lot when the kids were young), especially if autographs and player interaction was on the table, and back then it was HUGE - thanks Friends of UNH Hockey (again RIP)!! There are so many disconnected but historically wonderful past touchpoints that a new coach with even a passing familiarity with the program could resurrect to rebuild the old connections and enthusiasm the 'Cats used to enjoy. As it stands, they could've had this year's banquet in the drive-thru lane of the Effingwoods Wendy's, and STILL have room for more guests.

    I also think I know who your "Coach Thick" is, and while my BFF Luce could easily fit that description as well, all I will say is that some guys are luckier than others, but the ones who find themselves on 3rd base at the start of their career, and somehow convince themselves they've "hit a triple" to get there ... well, those are the worst. Coach Holt started pretty much from scratch. Coach Umile at least started from the base that Holt had set for the program, and Kullen had put in motion on the recruiting front. Whether that's a first base or second base head start is up for debate, but I still hold to the idea that Umile left the place in better shape than when he arrived.

    Lastly, as a postscript on what has turned out to be a rough week for late-stage Dead Wings alums ... after the passing of Petr Klima, we now learn that Gerard "Spudsy" Gallant has been given his walking papers by Chris Drury and the Rangers. Maybe the stars ARE aligning for Spuds to eventually get to the top with his old linemate/captain in Motown later this decade? Coached two of the best Rangers' teams in recent years, but with a first round collapse against the cross-Hudson rivals, it's another short term entry on the Gallant CV:

    Rangers part ways with Gerard Gallant after disappointing season (nypost.com)
    Agree with most everything here except for two items (do not know how to highlight on iPhone):
    1) “Coach Holt started pretty much from scratch.”
    2) “…….the idea that Umile left the place in better shape than when he arrived.”

    1) In Coach Rube Bjorkman’s four short years, he saw the team move from ECAC-2 to ECAC-1 and play its first full season in Snively Arena with all inherited players and a 11-12-0 record in the 1965/66 season to recruiting much better players from Minnesota, Quebec, and Ontario the next three seasons with 18-7-0, 22-7-0, and 22-6-1 records. On Bjorkman’s sudden departure for North Dakota after the 1968/69 season, he left Charlie Holt with a good roster that included incoming players Louis Frigon from Quebec, Guy Smith from Ontario, John Gray, Bill Munroe, and none other than Dick Umile from Melrose, along with holdovers Mike McShane, Alan Clark, Ryan Brandt, Pete Stoutenburg, Gary Jaquith, and Bob Davis, which Charlie took to a 18-10-2 record in his first 1969/70 season.

    One reason I would argue that Charlie overstayed his welcome was his recruiting tanked (see ‘watcher’s post) over his last few years leading to 16-26-1 and 5-29-3 records in the 1984/85 and 1985/86 seasons (the latter was the record that MS7 was on track to beat until the January miracle this past season), leaving Coach Kullen with pretty much an empty cupboard and 8-27-3, 7-20-3, 12-22-0, and 17-17-5 records the next four seasons, with Kullen getting sick with cancer and missing the 1987/88 season when his assistant Dave O’Connor became head coach and Charlie came out of retirement to assist for the year. The next two years Dick Umile became assistant, along with assistants Sean Coady in 1988/89 and Dave Lasonde in 1989/90, and helped get the recruiting back on track for Kullen. Then Kullen died. But, things were already looking up on the recruiting front when Umile became head coach and notched a 22-11-2 record for the 1990/91 season.

    2) I would argue that like Holt before him, Umile overstayed his welcome as recruiting tanked leading to losing records his last three seasons, 11-20-6 in 2015/16, 15-20-5 in 2016/17, and 10-20-6 in 2017/18. However, unlike the positive turn-around following the Charlie Holt era, we have witnessed the opposite following the Dick Umile era, watching a depleted player cupboard becoming even more bare through poor recruiting, all largely self-inflicted by the bizarre MS7 succession plan, thanks to BS+infinity.
    Last edited by Snively65; 05-08-2023, 08:22 AM.

    Comment


    • Great post, Snives. We can agree to disagree on the relative quality of starting and ending points for both guys, but your insight into the Bjorkman-to-Holt transition is rare and valued. Not that I ever pondered the issue that closely, but until today I never realized that Richie Umile was a Bjorkman recruit, and not a Holt recruit.

      One of the fun topics we used to encounter fairly often in older versions of this board was the concept of the "College Hockey Dark Ages" (CHDA) and we all probably have our own versions of when that started/ended. But I suspect for all of us on here, anything pre-Snively is UNH's CHDA, and it's great to get into some of those details at this time of the year.

      I'd also love to see a site somewhere that has a collection of all of the great vintage video moments of UNH Hockey history. It's just another one of those little things UNH could do SO much better with a little effort, and one of many examples of why Friends of UNH Hockey's forced departure has hurt the program AND especially the fans of the program.

      JMHO ...
      Last edited by Chuck Murray; 05-08-2023, 10:37 AM.
      Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
      Montreal Expos Forever ...

      Comment


      • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post

        The women's team had their banquet today...I really enjoyed the ones we went to..a nice family affair. I somehow doubt FOH will return...maybe?

        On another note...those freaking Panthers!! Also..found out today I'm going to be a grandmother!!!!
        That is very cool Ref. 2 years into retirement you now enter the “new zone”, it is indeed wonderful with the only winter time difference that you will notice is game attendance. It will now be much easier to forgo the away game you always went to for some version of your new love responsibilities. Perhaps even a home game, heaven forbid, but thus it goes. Welcome aboard!

        Comment


        • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post

          The women's team had their banquet today...I really enjoyed the ones we went to..a nice family affair. I somehow doubt FOH will return...maybe?

          On another note...those freaking Panthers!! Also..found out today I'm going to be a grandmother!!!!
          Congratulations!!! :-)
          UNH

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
            Great post, Snives. We can agree to disagree on the relative quality of starting and ending points for both guys, but your insight into the Bjorkman-to-Holt transition is rare and valued. Not that I ever pondered the issue that closely, but until today I never realized that Richie Umile was a Bjorkman recruit, and not a Holt recruit.

            One of the fun topics we used to encounter fairly often in older versions of this board was the concept of the "College Hockey Dark Ages" (CHDA) and we all probably have our own versions of when that started/ended. But I suspect for all of us on here, anything pre-Snively is UNH's CHDA, and it's great to get into some of those details at this time of the year.

            I'd also love to see a site somewhere that has a collection of all of the great vintage video moments of UNH Hockey history. It's just another one of those little things UNH could do SO much better with a little effort, and one of many examples of why Friends of UNH Hockey's forced departure has hurt the program AND especially the fans of the program.

            JMHO ...
            CHDA! Love it!!

            In my forum profile, I note collecting hockey pucks in the spring with a friend when we were in grade school as the pucks melted out of the snow surrounding the old outdoor Batchelder Rink, which had a footprint that underlies in part the Whitt now. I do not think that I have told this CHDA story on here until now, but one cold winter day someone dared my friend’s younger sister to touch the metal fencing near the entrance to the rink with her tongue (we were there for free skating offered to the townspeople), and the obvious happened. Fortunately, Whoop Snively who was nearby came to her rescue with a cup of hot tea to free her tongue intact. Whoop was always da Man!

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            • Hey Snives, can you fill us in on the backstory of the arrow in the Snively Arena rafter?
              UNH Hockey: From "Why Not Us' to "Woe is Us"

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post
                1) In Coach Rube Bjorkman’s four short years, he saw the team move from ECAC-2 to ECAC-1 and play its first full season in Snively Arena with all inherited players and a 11-12-0 record in the 1965/66 season to recruiting much better players from Minnesota, Quebec, and Ontario the next three seasons with 18-7-0, 22-7-0, and 22-6-1 records. On Bjorkman’s sudden departure for North Dakota after the 1968/69 season, he left Charlie Holt with a good roster that included incoming players Louis Frigon from Quebec, Guy Smith from Ontario, John Gray, Bill Munroe, and none other than Dick Umile from Melrose, along with holdovers Mike McShane, Alan Clark, Ryan Brandt, Pete Stoutenburg, Gary Jaquith, and Bob Davis, which Charlie took to a 18-10-2 record in his first 1969/70 season.
                Are you sure about the seasons? CHN and the older UNH media guidews I have show Coach Bjorkman was at UNH from 1964-65 through 1967-68:
                1964-65, 6-14-0, ECAC II
                1965-66, 11-12-0, ECAC II
                1966-67, 18-7-0, ECAC
                1967-68, 22-7-0, ECAC
                and then Coach Holt took over for 1968-69 and guided the Wildcats to a 22-6-1 record

                Originally posted by Snively65 View Post
                with Kullen getting sick with cancer and missing the 1987/88 season when his assistant Dave O’Connor became head coach and Charlie came out of retirement to assist for the year.
                Coach Kullen missed the 1987-88 season because he was recovering from a heart transplant. Unfortunately he had more issues in 1990 which led him to step back from coaching a second time, before passing away shortly after the season started. I donated $25 to the Friends of UNH Hockey in his name/honor after his death, the only time I've donated to another team.

                Sean

                Women's Hockey East Champions 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010
                Men's NCAA Champions 2009, 1995, 1978, 1972, 1971

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                • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post

                  Congrats, Ref!
                  Congrats Ref, looks like you need to find some tiny Cat's clothes soon.

                  Comment


                  • In others news, I will most likely be taking the short trip to Durham later this week for a sit-down with MS7 to discuss the program and all things college hockey. If anyone has questions, thoughts, or ideas to bring up I am willing to make them part of the discussion.

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                    • Non conference opponents would be nice

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                      • Originally posted by Sean Pickett View Post
                        Are you sure about the seasons? CHN and the older UNH media guidews I have show Coach Bjorkman was at UNH from 1964-65 through 1967-68:
                        1964-65, 6-14-0, ECAC II
                        1965-66, 11-12-0, ECAC II
                        1966-67, 18-7-0, ECAC
                        1967-68, 22-7-0, ECAC
                        and then Coach Holt took over for 1968-69 and guided the Wildcats to a 22-6-1 record

                        Coach Kullen missed the 1987-88 season because he was recovering from a heart transplant. Unfortunately he had more issues in 1990 which led him to step back from coaching a second time, before passing away shortly after the season started. I donated $25 to the Friends of UNH Hockey in his name/honor after his death, the only time I've donated to another team.

                        Seanbuikd
                        Many thanks for the corrections, Sean! You are a real treasure of solid information and much appreciated on these boards! The UNH head coach listings in the Hockey DB site have Bjorkman’s four HC years incorrectly offset a year too late, and the UNH men’s hockey history blurb that can be found at the top of a google search also has Rube Bjorkman leaving after the 1967/68 season.

                        I also just noticed that the CHN site has Snively Arena listed for home ice during seasons previous to 1964/65, but of course Snively Arena did not open until 13 February 1965, in a game lost to Norwich 4-3 in which I saw UNH D-man Brad Houston score the first goal in Snively. I also was fortunate, as were many here, to see Eric Boguniecki score the last goal in Snively about 30 years later in a dramatic multi-OT win against BC.

                        Whoop Snively succeeded Horace “Pepper” Martin as head coach for the 1962/63 and 1963/64 seasons and died of a heart attack on 15 April 1964, on the very day that UNH had already planned their announcement to build an indoor ice arena to seat 3200 at a cost of $400k-$500k. Within a few days, UNH also announced that the arena would carry Whoop’s last name. One of these days I want to spend a few hours in the ice hockey special collection at the UNH Diamond Library in Durham.

                        That was really good of you to contribute to the Friends of UNH Hockey in honor of Bob Kullen all those years ago. Maybe you have read in our threads how bummed we are that our Athletic Department disbanded Friends of UNH Hockey a few years ago, just one of our many grievances. I was so moved by Travis Roy’s injury that I donated to his foundation every year until he passed on recently; what a wonderful legacy he left BU and all of us. R.I.P. Travis Roy.
                        Last edited by Snively65; 05-09-2023, 08:24 AM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Felger View Post
                          Hey Snives, can you fill us in on the backstory of the arrow in the Snively Arena rafter?
                          Wow, great question, Felger! There were multiple arrows in the Snively ceiling, and I used to know the origin. I will ask someone who might remember how they got there. I do remember that the maintenance crew had no interest in expending the time and resources to remove them. Greg Ambrose also might know the history.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by norbert View Post
                            In others news, I will most likely be taking the short trip to Durham later this week for a sit-down with MS7 to discuss the program and all things college hockey. If anyone has questions, thoughts, or ideas to bring up I am willing to make them part of the discussion.
                            How does he see the state of the program now vs. 2015 when he arrived.
                            How does he see the reputation of HE now vs. the 2000s (i.e., now #3 behind Big 10 and NCHC leagues) and how that affects recruiting.

                            edit: I don't expect you'll get real answers on either, but would love to hear his talking points as he dances around real issues.
                            Last edited by NCAA watcher; 05-09-2023, 08:10 AM.
                            The Souza record:
                            15-16 10th place
                            16-17 10th place
                            17-18 11th place
                            18-19 8th place
                            19-20 9th place
                            20-21 10th place
                            21-22 9th place
                            22-23 10th place

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post

                              How does he see the state of the program now vs. 2015 when he arrived.
                              How does he see the reputation of HE now vs. the 2000s (i.e., now #3 behind Big 10 and NCHC leagues) and how that affects recruiting.

                              edit: I don't expect you'll get real answers on either but would love to hear his talking points as he dances around real issues.
                              Noted. I don't know what to really expect but I was shocked to get a response and invite.

                              I am curious if he understands the disconnect between those across the street, STH, and reality when it comes to the program.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post

                                Wow, great question, Felger! There were multiple arrows in the Snively ceiling, and I used to know the origin. I will ask someone who might remember how they got there. I do remember that the maintenance crew had no interest in expending the time and resources to remove them. Greg Ambrose also might know the history.
                                In follow up to Felger’s question about how the arrows got embedded in the Snively ceiling, my Durham grade school friend reminded me that the UNH intramural archery practice was held on the field between the arena and New Hampshire Hall, as both of us collected stray arrows (some I still have) that got stuck high in nearby vines that the UNH students were unwilling to recover. Both of us had bows at the time and now wish that it had been one of us who had the brilliant idea to shoot the arrows into the Snively ceiling. :-)

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