Monday, September 10, 2012

Three Stars: September 3-9

The student section will now be located right here in Section A.

3. 2013 Draft Hopeful Thomas Welsh Decommits From Penn State
(The Hockey Writers)

I'm not going to linger on Thomas Welsh too much (after this, I'll probably only mention his future plans, when known, in this space, then move on), but here's a take on his decommitment.

Also, North Dakota fans are now going after our leftovers. The balance of power already shifting! All hail the era of college hockey domination by schools that...aren't North Dakota!

2. Meet #33 Madison Smiddy

The women's team continued their jersey-number-based countdown of "meet" videos last week with Smiddy (selected to lead this entry for her Lady Icer status), Brooke Meyer and Celine Whitlinger.

If I'm doing my math (well, counting) correctly, expect to see Katie Murphy, Taylor Gross, Birdie Shaw, Jenna Welch, Sarah Wilkie and Emily Laurenzi here next week.

1. Student Men's Hockey Tickets to Go on Sale Wednesday, Sept. 12

The basics: Student tickets will go on sale at the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Each student will only be allowed to purchase one five-game package (for $20) at that time. Should tickets remain after Wednesday, students can then purchase additional packages on Thursday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

There wasn't really an ideal way to deal with the space crunch at the Ice Pavilion, so I respect what administration is attempting here. Essentially, instead of (an estimated) 250 students with full-season plans, there will be (an estimated) 750 students with five-game plans. The fact is, in growing a fan base, the die-hards sometimes have to give way for the sake of numbers, and that's the call being made this case. The plans, as with the grown-up plans, are sliced up equitably - one includes the opener, while the other two include a game against Air Force, the only NCAA tournament team from last season to visit.

If you're a student and reading this, other than from your phone while camped at the BJC...what are you doing? Go. Now. Don't even bother with the rest of the post.

Best of the Rest

There was totally room for both of them on there...wait, got something in my eye, be right back.


The women's team, as remarkably cohesive as it already is despite 19 newcomers, is not without drama. Consider the battle being waged primarily between junior forward Taylor Gross and assistant coach Casey McCullion over whether Titanic will be played on the bus to Vermont for the season-opening series October 6th and 7th.

Gross: Titanic on DVD combo pack coming out on Monday!!! #bustrip

McCullion: We are not watching a movie about a sinking ship on the way to VT #AssistantCoachesVeto

Gross: Casey!!!!! Coach already cleared it! It is a great movie and a tear jerker. #it'shappening

At last check, Gross was continuing to push for it, while also insisting (in the linked tweet) that if she has to, she'll watch it on her computer, but that it's definitely getting watched. While it's hardly my place to bag on a movie that made $84 billion and has like 38 Academy Awards along with naked Kate Winslet, I'm not sure that I want the captain of the women's team crying on the way to the first NCAA DI game in program history either.

Positives to Titanic? Well, you'd only need to pack one movie for the trip I guess, since it's like 10 hours long and has like 10 more hours of bonus features on the newly-released combo pack.

2012-13 College Hockey America Women's Hockey Preview
(Bleacher Report)

The Nittany Lions are picked sixth of six here, which is admittedly hard to argue as one of the two new-to-DI programs in the league (the other, RIT, was the DIII national champ last year). But in a moment of unintentional comedy only Bleacher Report can provide, their logic for the slotting was, uhhh...
From a roster standpoint, there are only two Canadians on the squad, and that will add to the obstacles of an inaugural season.
So, yeah, no pressure, Katie Zinn and Nicole Paniccia, but you'd better be freaking awesome. I mean, you have to beat the nineteen Canadians on first-place pick Robert Morris. By yourselves, since Americans suck at hockey.

Sorry Angela, you were good, just not Canadian good.

Above the 49: NCAA hockey on the horizon in Canada?
(The Sports Network)

In a story surprising only for how quickly it came up - and maybe not even for that - officials at Burnaby, BC's Simon Fraser University are "openly pondering the possibility of the school competing in NCAA Division I hockey sometime in the near future." I don't know how openly they're pondering, since this column doesn't produce any quotes from school officials, but that's what it says.

SFU, of course, recently became the first school outside of the U.S. to gain admission to the NCAA, although it does not presently sponsor varsity hockey.

Hockey lockout could freeze NBC's sports momentum
(Chicago Tribune)

A quick nugget buried in an article about how NBC Sports is sweating the NHL lockout:
"In the event of a labor stoppage, we are preparing a selection of replacement programming that includes soccer, boxing, original programming, and college football, basketball and hockey," [NBC Sports spokesperson Chris] McCloskey said.
If you're a Notre Dame fan, you have to be pumped about that. If you're not...meh.

Sabres owner sparks development in Buffalo
(The State Journal)

Since last week was pretty light, we'll hit Terry Pegula's coming ice rinks-retail-hotel colossus in Buffalo for a second Three Stars in a row. You'd be hard pressed to find an article more complimentary of TPegs than this one - I'm not even sure Joe Battista can top it.

Former BU defenseman Max Nicastro who, it should be said, had his charges dropped in June.

Report of the Men’s Ice Hockey Task Force

Last Wednesday, Boston University's Men's Ice Hockey Task Force, commissioned by the school in the aftermath of sexual assault charges to former Terriers Max Nicastro and Corey Trivino, released its report. The money line from the group's conclusions, in my opinion anyway, is:
Our assessment has shown that a culture of sexual entitlement exists among some players on the men’s ice hockey team, stemming in part from their elevated social status on campus. This culture of sexual entitlement, as evidenced by frequent sexual encounters with women absent an emotional relationship or on-going commitment, can also involve unprotected sex.
Hockey players enjoy an "elevated social status" and get laid a lot without dating, possibly at parties with alcohol? First time around a hockey team, guys?

Without getting into a whole thing about the role of sports in society, suffice it to say that the issue is not unique to BU or to hockey. Nor are the observations concerning preferential treatment in admissions, less-than-rigorous courseloads or insulation from the larger student body. It sincerely is not my intention to give BU a whitewash, but I do think it's a mistake to consider them a bad actor. They're an average actor, although one with the good sense to evaluate itself following a couple of incidents with similar fact patterns. Tip of the hat to those programs - and they are out there - who do better than average. Hopefully BU can join them at some point on the back of the task force's recommendations.

By the way, if you're not interested in the full report, here's the nuts-and-bolts news story from College Hockey News.

1 comment:

  1. Well known athletes can, if they want to, draw the attention of a lot of women. Hell, even not so well-known athletes can. Neither my high school or college were particularly successful in sports, and yet some (not all) of the jocks there still had a strong sense of entitlement, especially when it comes to women. So I don't think the fact that some of BU's hockey players have already been drafted really makes that much of a difference. There are entitled douchebags and girls who love EDBs at all levels of athletic achievement.

    I'm not blaming the victim, but the hard truth is that a certain kind of girl does make herself very available to guys like that. That feeds into their sense of entitlement - they're not used to being told no. Again, that's no excuse for them assaulting a woman when she does say no, of course.

    I suspect that the problem is especially difficult to overcome in hockey because elite hockey players tend to move away from home and focus almost entirely on hockey from a relatively young age. Their coaches do a lot of the job of a parent. They aren't spending time with a wide variety of kids their age. Many of them probably have very little experience interacting with girls as peers.

    I was a graduate student at BU in the late 1990s. My impression then - and I see no reason to think it's changed - is that the BU hockey players are even more isolated from their peers than at other schools because that's just how BU is. It wasn't a very friendly place, really. Not much of a greek scene and - although this has changed more recently - not even a lot of on-campus housing. Not really any on-campus social scene at all. Most students found their recreation off campus in the city and apart from anyone who wasn't just like them.

    So the problem of athletes living in their own world that we see in all parts of our society tends to be a bit worse there, I imagine.

    So all of that adds up to a situation in which a young guy really might not understand that he can't just put his hand down a girl's pants (as graphically described in the report). BU shouldn't have needed an investigation to find out that was happening, but it's good that they're at least going to try to address it.

    Guy Gadowsky has been very adamant that he wants Penn State players to be part of the larger community here and I think Penn State generally does a pretty good job of that anyway, but given our recent troubles and the scrutiny that will be on college hockey in general following this report, it's extremely important that he makes sure the players really understand that all the rules that apply to any student also apply to them.

    Part of that is going to be recruiting too. If a guy is a top recruit, but isn't mature enough to be a real student-athlete, than PSU shouldn't recruit him.