by Paul Hornstein
As sports fans, we relish the games. We root hard for our teams, we get both financially and emotionally invested. And yes, we do get financially invested. Do you buy merchandise? Do you buy tickets, then yes, then you do get financially invested.
The emotional part is easy. If you are reading this, then there is no doubt that you live and breathe every puck drop, every pass and everything involved both on and off the ice with Sun Devil Hockey.
Well, as much having everything on the ice cancelled sucks, there is still plenty going on with ASU’s team off the ice.
First and foremost, The Board of Regents will at some point approve the plan for the new arena…the building, which will house wrestling and gymnastics, but feature Coach Powers’ team as its main tenant, will seat about 5,000 and have two sheets of ice. The second sheet will obviously be where the team practices, and I’m sure that it will get plenty of use by the local youth teams and more. No public sheets of ice ever get underused. This will undoubtedly just make recruiting easier, as the school with the fifth ranked recruiting class will have a building, and soon a league, whatever it ends up being. It was supposed to be on the April agenda, but there were understandably other issues for them to discuss. However, since the reports say that the construction will begin in November, there is plenty of time. I don’t know more than anyone else, but there is no way that the Athletic Department would have advanced it to the BOR, if it were not a done deal. It would not make any sense to do it otherwise.
In this past few weeks, ASU added Wisconsin transfer, Sean Dhooge, who averaged a half point a game over his three seasons at the Big Ten school. Should he be immediately eligible to play, he will add to what will already be a loaded forward roster. They will be adding Dhooge, BC transfer Chris Grando (from Long Island…had to throw that in there), two four star + recruits to a roster that will be returning it’s top six scoring forwards from last year. Playing time will most definitely be earned.
In addition, for the second straight season, Coach Greg Powers was named a finalist for the national coach of the year award. He did not win. What it means, though, is that the job he has done is being noticed. Certainly by the coaching community, if nothing else. And if I know anything about the coach, that peer recognition is as important as it gets. And you can’t blame him for that…don’t we all want to be recognized by our peers. Who else knows the job better than someone who does it? Congratulations, Coach.
Congratulations to forward Johnny Walker for being named second team All American, by College Hockey News. Pending how you look at it, Walker, may or may not have been the team’s best player, but he is the most dangerous. Walker has 60 goals in three seasons, and continues to be the focus of the defenses’ attention when he is on the ice. I doubt that that will change much during his senior season.
Finally, defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk became the second ASU player to sign an NHL contract. It came as zero surprise that it was with the San Jose Sharks, as he was invited to its last two development camps, and having some insight to the person he is. In is meeting with the media after his signing, he acknowledges that the “loyalty & communications” with the Sharks organization meant a lot to him. In fact had it been anyone else but the Sharks, it would have been stunning. Even though one of the teams that the Sun Devils captain said he was in talks with were my New York Islanders. I await that day that I see a Sun Devil go from Maroon & Gold to Islanders’ Blue & Orange. I will have to wait a bit longer.