Brad Elliott Schlossman
Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.
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DENVER -- UND officials say they have never seen this kind of demand for NCAA Frozen Four tickets. In fact, not even the school's athletic director has one. Steve Brekke, who is serving as the interim athletic director, will arrive in Denver today with Fighting Sioux Club director Josh Morton without tickets in hand. They gave away UND's entire allotment and plan to buy tickets on the street outside of the Pepsi Center. "We figured we might as well take care of our fans first," Morton said. "Steve and I will be looking to get one (today).
The NCAA tournament has undergone changes throughout the years, but there seems to be one constant. No matter how many teams are in the field or what method is used to choose it, Michigan will be there. Coach Red Berenson took over a struggling program in 1984 and has turned it into an annual force. The Wolverines have made the tournament for 18 straight seasons, an all-time record. Making the tournament can be a measuring stick for many programs.
When Jeff Jackson took over a 5-27-6 Notre Dame program in 2005 -- one whose leading goal scorer only put the puck in the net six times the year before -- he hoped he could lead the Irish to respectability in five years. It took far less time than that. In just his third season in South Bend, Ind., Jackson has already set several program records. He has led the Irish to a pair of NCAA tournaments, which surpasses the previous record of one.
DENVER -- So here we are again, in a new city, a new arena with a new set of circumstances. But it's the same old path to the NCAA title game. UND vs. Boston College, is there any other way? "When we blow the whistle in October, our goal is to get to the national tournament at the end of the year and try to win a national title," Boston College coach Jerry York said. "We have the full understanding that somewhere along the line, we're going to play North Dakota." The teams have met in the NCAA tournament in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Jerry York is an easy-going, laid back 62-year-old coach who always has time to talk about college hockey. Well, unless you bring up the fact that last weekend he became just the second coach in NCAA hockey history to pass the 800-win mark. "After the season, we'll sit down and talk about victories," York said. "Now, it's all about the national tournament. We have laser-vision about getting prepared and trying to bring a national title back to Boston College. "I dodged that question pretty good, didn't I?" There's no need to talk about wins with York.
DENVER -- The path to Denver on Tuesday was simple. UND took a midmorning charter flight out of Grand Forks, landed at Denver International Airport two hours later and had the rest of the day to skate at a local rink, unload gear in the Pepsi Center and eat a hearty team meal. The path to the Frozen Four can't quite be summed up that easily. The Sioux hit bumps on the road, had ugly wins, thrilling victories and, along the way, each of them played an important role. At the sudden-death, one-and-done NCAA tournament, UND put those experiences to use while grabbing the final spot at college
Everyone knows the basics about Dave Hakstol. His UND men's hockey team probably is going to be around .500 at Christmas. It will go on a big run in the second half and likely wind up at the NCAA Frozen Four. Hakstol typically finds a hot goaltender down the stretch and typically does not show emotion on the bench. This much, you already know. Before leaving for Denver and his fourth consecutive Frozen Four, Hakstol sat down with the Herald and answered some questions about things you may not know. Q. What's on Dave Hakstol's iPod? A.
UND has the most luxurious arena in college hockey, but that's not where the team is preparing for the NCAA Frozen Four. The World Men's Curling Championship has taken over Ralph Engelstad Arena, leaving the Sioux without their usual home. So, earlier this week, the team packed up its gear and headed to a temporary home, Gambucci Arena. The Sioux will practice there until Tuesday, when they depart for Denver. "We're well taken care of," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "It's kind of like having two homes.
Evan Trupp is back at practice. And if the past two years are any indication, the UND rookie forward is a good bet to be in the lineup for the NCAA Frozen Four. Officially, nothing will be decided until next week. UND coach Dave Hakstol said Trupp has to prove that he's ready to play at a high level after missing the last month with a fracture near his ankle. But Trupp knows a few things about comebacks. Last season, Trupp suffered a ruptured appendix before playing in the final game of a British Columbia Hockey League semifinal playoff series.
UND won't have back-to-back Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners. The Hobey Hat Trick -- the top three finalists for college hockey's top individual award -- were announced Wednesday afternoon and Sioux goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux and forward T.J. Oshie were not on the list. Both Lamoureux and Oshie were among the initial 10 finalists named two weeks ago in St. Paul.