In our August 11th edition of College Hockey Southwest Weekly, we (Scott & I) were lucky enough to have Sean Hogan, the director of Education for College hockey Inc., on to discuss the role of the organization in promoting college hockey.
If you haven’t heard it yet and are not familiar with the organization, it was started about ten years ago and is charged with making people aware of the advantages to be had with taking the college hockey route. Both players & schools.
While it is Sean’s role to deal with students & convince them that college is the best path to the NHL (1/3 of its players have NCAA ties), he is obviously in the know about what has been going on, as pre-pandemic if schools were planning to add men’s hockey to their athletic menu. During the show he mentioned the “open secret” that Illinois was going to be the eighth team to playing in the Big 10. If you follow our podcasts, you know I wanted to eat my microphone. Been hearing this for a long time. I say that, mostly in jest, but just do it already.
That being said, one of the positives that has been hanging around during the battle with the virus is, that building of hockey arenas continues through it all. Both at the NHL level (see the new homes for the New York Islanders & the expansion Seattle Kraken) as well as on college campuses. As my cohost Scott saw first-hand, it has not stopped things at Colorado College, and as far as we know it hasn’t stopped moving forward at Arizona State, either. The fact that these buildings have continued during the pandemic is something to hang our hats on.
While we do not always know what is going on behind the scenes, if there was going to be a delay in the building schedule at ASU, the hockey community is small, somehow we would at least hear rumors. We have not. We also know that the school looks at this as a positive for the university and the community. Getting people back to work and developing a space will both serve the community (especially the second ice sheet) and bring in always needed revenue to the school/program. That’s still the word from everyone we know. And we have not talked about St. Thomas, which knows it needs to get things together for a building.
As far as this year is concerned…we still don’t know. Earlier this week, the Pac-12 (as well as the Big10) pushed all fall sports back to attempt to play in the spring. This puts ASU hockey in a weird spot. They are a Pac12 school but an independent in the sport. The conference structure in hockey is different than any of the other sports. That is the wild card in all of this. At the same time, in a recent interview, Minnesota head coach Bob Motzko was quoted as saying basically, we (the coaches and the college hockey community) are looking into everything possible to play a full season, even if it the start gets pushed back. For now, I’ll take that as a positive in this crazy world.