Monday, September 13, 2010

Summer Capsule

We're Back and Ready for a New Season

Now that it is time to buckle down for many, we too at the HighHorse are getting the musings and news from the summer finally into print. I will go over some of the releases and events leading to this new school year at the University of Minnesota – Duluth in chronological order.

Steve Rohlik leaves UMD for OSU – The first summer departure may prove to be the costliest. Rohlik was assistant coach of the Bulldogs, but it was obvious that he held a lot of sway and responsibility on the team, and rightfully so. Rohlik was at UMD for ten years and was often seen coaching players during games, adjusting their game on the fly to help UMD chances in that game. Further, it was Rohlik who had the white board most timeouts drawing up the plays. This guy was more than an assistant, and that is why it is the costliest loss, but also the one we should have seen coming.

His replacement is former UMD standout Derek Plante. Plante will need to get on board and moving quickly to help this team. If there is one piece of advice for Derek I have is too not follow what Grant Potulny did in his assistant coach role last year for the Gophers. Whatever Potulny did, we will not know because he blended into the wall well.

Brady Hjelle leaves UMD – In a surprising move to the program, fans, and his roommate Kenny Reiter, Hjelle packed it up and left the program in mid May bound for his second stint in the USHL. The heir apparent for the starting job going into last season, Hjelle was hot and cold in 2009-2010 splitting time and becoming backup to that surprised roommate, Reiter. The move seems short sighted as Hjelle has plenty of his game to work on to become a solid #1 in the WCHA. My take is that something must not have jived with the coaching staff to prompt this move. I think that because I don’t want to think that Brady has hurt feelings about splitting time or being backup to Reiter.

I am confident that Retier will do well this year, but he will need a backup to come in and play some of the games. According to the coaches and Reiter, sophomore Aaron Crandall was right with the Hjelle/Reiter combo in practices last year. If the same thing should happen to Reiter this year that happened to Hjelle last year, we have to hope that Reiter doesn’t pack it up in mid-May and leave the program…

The Bulldogs move to 94X, keep the network – In yet another move on the Duluth airwaves, the Bulldogs have a new home on the radio this season. The best news is the nothing new part with the network. KQ translators out of Grand Rapids (105.5) and Babbitt (106.7) will continue to carry the games. It is great to be able to travel the Arrowhead and still be able to keep up on hockey.

Hockey HighHorse plans rebranding – We are still planning to have a new home for the Hockey HighHorse before the end of the month. We will always be available at the current link, but plans are moving forward for purchasing a domain. There are still two obstacles: finding a new name that incorporates college hockey and HighHorse (yeah, we believe we have to stick with the original name for better or worse), and finding that new name available for a domain.  Comments and ideas are gladly welcomed!

So let’s drop the puck on this season and get the hot stove going in preparation for the impending college hockey season!

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