It’s midweek and we’re 29 days away from Bemidji State’s season opener against North Dakota at the Bemidji Regional Event Center.
There’s lots going on and most of it is hockey related, so let’s start with the biggest BSU hockey news item.
BSU games will be broadcast live in High-Definition on Lakeland’s main channel
BSU men’s hockey telecasts will be broadcast in High-Definition on the primary Lakeland channels (KAWE-Bemidji, KAWB-Brainerd) this season, according to an announcement made by the station in its newscast last night. While the signal will be in HD for those who get Lakeland over the air or cable, Lakeland News Director Dennis Weimann said the signal is not ready for satellite subscribers at this time.
Previously the games were set to air on Lakeland Plus and not in high definition until the midnight replay on the Lakeland networks. This announcement comes following Saturday’s news that the games will also be televised live on the Minnesota Plus channel, a non-cable channel that is free and broadcasts anywhere in Minnesota where a PBS signal can be reached. The Minnesota Plus channel is also viewable in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, northern Iowa and western Wisconsin through translator stations. I’ve compiled a Minnesota Plus station list, which you can find here.
BSU alumni notes
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has an interesting story on the influx of North American players into the Czech Republic Extraliga. BSU alum Tyler Scofield, who was the MVP of the 2009 Midwest Regional, is mentioned in the story. He was a member of league champion HC Plzen last season.
Chris McKelvie is participating in an NHL prospects camp with the New York Rangers in Traverse City, Mich. He took a penalty in the first game of Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild prospects, and it led to a Jarod Palmer goal. The Wild won that game 5-4. McKelvie had a fighting major in the 7-2 win over Dallas in the opening game. His stat line in four games was no points, 10 shots on goal and a minus-2 rating.
Former BSU goalie Matt Dalton, playing with the Boston Bruins organization, is looking to push Tukka Rask and Tim Thomas. He was featured in an article on the Bruins website. Here’s what he had to say:
“I feel a lot more comfortable compared to last year,” he said. “I know what to expect, and a year of experience goes a long way.”
“I expect [a lot] out of myself,” he said. “I’m just going to play as hard as I can and work hard and let it shake down the way it shakes down.“
BSU alum and Rapid City Rush player Riley Weselowski is going to run in the Rapid City, S.D. marathon to raise money for the Ryan Christian Love Fund. It will benefit Ryan Christian, recently diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer, is the daughter of Mississippi RiverKings forward Jeff Christian.
“While preparing for my first full marathon, I found that a lot of marathon relay teams will run in support of charities and other fundraisers,” said Weselowski. “So I figured, ‘Why not me?’ The Ryan Christian Love Fund seemed like the perfect fit, as I have followed her story online and she is an incredible inspiration. This really makes one realize how lucky athletes are to be able to play a sport they love for a living. I talked to Jeff briefly on the phone, and have heard he is a great person from players on our team and those that have played with him. That’s the thing about hockey players. You put on that jersey, and go to battle for your team, but at the end of the day, we are all the same. It’s great to be able to help out a fellow player and his family in any way that we can.”
New WCHA Logo
The WCHA slightly redesigned the logo in a nod to the addition to Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha for the upcoming season. Does this mean I can call the league ‘The W’ now?
Here’s the press release
MADISON, Wis. – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is pleased to release a new-look logo and campaign slogan for the upcoming men’s 2010-11 season.
Produced in conjunction with Adrenalin, Inc. of Denver, Colo., the WCHA logo features a more prominent ‘W’ to emphasize ‘Western’ as well as a new silver outline of the traditional black logo.
“As we enter into a new era in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, one that will feature new men’s member teams, new member team arenas, a new format for our Final Five, and the all-new WCHA.com, we are thrilled to also unveil this newly modernized version of the Association logo as well as an exciting campaign theme for 2010-11,” said Commissioner Bruce M. McLeod.
“Our slogan for the new season – ‘Just Got Tougher’ – is a reflection on how we feel about the addition of new league members Bemidji State University and University of Nebraska Omaha. Those two programs not only make us (WCHA) bigger and better but they also make us even more competitive. If you thought we were good at 10, just try 12.”
“In the rapidly changing landscape of college sports, the WCHA remains the premier college hockey league, so the need for a refined logo and positioning tag line was imperative,” said Dan Price, Principal/President of Adrenalin, Inc. “Our team analyzed the current logo and made modifications that are representative of the league’s direction. More emphasis was placed on the ‘W’ to pay homage to the league’s name, new colors were introduced to encapsulate the talent, toughness and power of the league’s teams, and the player graphic was refined for more clarity in all applications.”
The 12-team men’s WCHA consists of University of Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State University, Colorado College, University of Denver, Michigan Technological University, University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State University, University of Nebraska Omaha, University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University and University of Wisconsin.
Penn State reaction
The biggest news in the college hockey world this week came Sunday night when insidecollegehockey.com broke news of Penn State’s impending announcement to go Division I. Since then there’s been some reaction stories posted around the web. Obviously, there’s lots of speculating going on, especially about a possible Big 10 Hockey Conference that would cause the WCHA to lose Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Duluth News Tribune UMD beat writer Kevin Pates had a story with reaction from Gopher coach Don Lucia and UMD coach Scott Sandelin.
“The strength of the WCHA has been the commitment of member schools, and if Minnesota and Wisconsin were to leave, the league will still be a good, strong league. It will not be a drastic change,” Lucia said. “But right now this is all speculation. Will Penn State add hockey? Will the Big Ten schools want to form their own league? Will they be interested in adding affiliate members?”
“We’ve all heard the talk of a Big Ten Conference in hockey for the last four or five years, and it picked up more steam in the last year,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “If Penn State starts hockey, then the league looks like a good possibility.
“If that happens, the WCHA will survive. Bruce McLeod was already proactive, in a sense, by adding two teams this season.”
The Hockey News is reporting Penn State move to create a D-I program was spurred by an alumni donor who earmarked the funds for hockey.
Grand Forks Herald UND beat writer Brad E. Schlossman wrote why the Big Ten Hockey Conference isn’t necessarily a lock on his blog. He notes that scheduling would be a major issue for a six-team Big Ten Hockey Conference. Read his column here.