Long Distance Thoughts 04.16.2021

Okay, so UMass’ win over St. Cloud State in the championship game was anticlimactic. If you think about it, all championship games are. You get all pumped up, you get into the game and when the high of the post-game ceremony is over. That’s it. You instinctively look for the next games on the schedule, when you realize…damn, that’s it. No more games. Not until the next season starts. This year is no different. The “high of the season” is extended a bit more this year by the “extended season” thanks to the combination of what is now the rule in NCAA, a one time, penalty free transfer to another school & this year’s pandemic rules, giving players a free year of eligibility. Still, it’s not the same. It’s fun to watch the chaos, but it is not games.

Whether you are an ASU fan or UMass or a Denver fan, the game is the thing. And we don’t get any more of those until October. 

It was such a crazy season. ESPN’s John Buccigross hit the nail right on the head when he started the telecast of the national championship game by saying “We can all breathe now. We made it.” On the podcasts we made “fun” of the fact that there were games every day as opposed to only weekends, but while I actually did like it, I will be glad when it goes “back to normal”. Watch this space though, because I know come the start of next season that I’m going to comment at least once on how I miss the NCHC pod.

So now we wait for the summer drip, drip, drip of information. Granted this summer with the crazy goings on in the transfer portal, there will be a bit more of it, but still. 

Will this be the summer we find out where & when ASU finds a league home? Will Alaska-Anchorage be able to save their program, much like Alabama-Huntsville did a year ago? Will UAH be able to find a new league to play in, they and the Alaska schools were left out in the cold the seven teams now in the “new” CCHA, that were the majority of the now defunct WCHA. Will Atlantic Hockey admit LIU? There are other questions, but I don’t think you guys want me to list all of those questions. 

And we won’t have to wait for the drip to start, because the names from the transfer portal have been going all over the place already. ASU has already announced their in-coming recruiting class, even though they have not yet publicly found a back-up goalie, as Evan DeBrouwer has gone to Bentley & Justin Robbins is also in the transfer portal.

The University of St. Thomas has hired its first D1coach in long time Miami of Ohio University bench boss, Rico Blasi. And you have started to see players announce they are going there.Expect to see some sort of matchup between The Tommies & Sun Devils this fall. Schedules being released are always a fun part of the summer. 

Speaking of schedules, you will likely see another name on schedules this summer. Lindenwood. I know, I know, you’re saying, what the heck is a Lindenwood? Well, they are a school in St. Louis, that has been a ACHA men’s power for a long time. They are coached by former NHLer, Rick Zombo & they have been quietly setting up for a jump to the NCAA in the 22-23 season (when by the way, Alaska Anchorage is aiming to come back). The school, which is hosting the 2022 ACHA championship is reportedly going to play a hybrid schedule in the upcoming season, which will comprise of ACHA opponents at home & NCAA opponents on the road. So, I can’t wait to geek out on those things. Lindenwood’s jump will of course, add to the annual realignment conversation, which of course, is always fun. The Lions, are already a member of College Hockey America, which is one of the conferences for NCAA D1 women’s hockey. A league which is home for the women’s teams at Penn State & Syracuse. No, that’s not a typo. Syracuse University does sponsor D1 women’s hockey.

Now comes the hard part. Podcast hours. I know I said last year that I have no idea how we will fill those hours weekly, but we did. Now we have to replicate it. I just don’t know how.