From The Desk Of Joe Bertagna - February 2019

Joe BertagnaThe following is an excerpt from Joe Bertagna's column in Stops and Starts:

The NHL All-Star Weekend is always a lot of fun and it has been one of the perks of commissioner-ship that the NCAA commissioners get invited each year. Few of us go every year but we were fairly well represented this year in San Jose.

College hockey was well represented with, by my count, seven alumni on hand. Cam Atkinson and Johnny Gaudreau represented Boston College (Gaudreau captured the puck-handling event), Jack Eichel and Clayton Keller represented Boston University, while Jimmy Howard of Maine, Joe Pavelski of Wisconsin and Blake Wheeler of Minnesota completed the list. But the college player who provided the most electric moment was former Northeastern star Kendall Coyne Schofield, who was tabbed to replace Colorado’s Nathan McKinnon in the fastest skater competition that launched the skills event on Friday.

She had the “honor” of being first to go and she was up to the challenge, finishing the one-lap course in just over 14 seconds. The San Jose crowd, including the male all-stars, roared in approval as she finished her loop.

At the end of the event, she finished seventh out of eight, edging Clayton Keller. Remarkably, the top speed reached by the athletes was 25 miles per hour, which was attained by Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, who won the event, and Buffalo’s Eichel, who finished second. The top speed for the other six skaters, including the diminutive Coyne, was 24 miles per hour. Amazing.

I had a chance to visit with former RPI and Air Force athletic director Colonel Jim Knowlton, now the AD at Cal-Berkeley. When asked if he could see the day that NCAA ice hockey comes to the Pacifi c coast, Knowlton offered that it was indeed possible. Judging from the passion of the San Jose fans on display throughout the weekend, I would agree.

Pretty good people-watching at the Fairmont Hotel. Former Habs forward Guy Carbonneau, former Caps (and UNH) defenseman Rod Langway and former Boston Bruins blueliner (and Norwich) Frank Simonetti were all Saturday morning sightings.

– Joe Bertagna

Joe's full column is available in each edition of Stops and Starts - The Official Publication of the American Hockey Coaches Association. Each AHCA Member has access to current and archived editions of Stops and Starts in our Member's Only Section and can read Joe's full column in each edition of Stops and Starts.