From The Desk Of Joe Bertagna - April 2019

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

Another season of college hockey memories are behind us all. It started on September 22, believe it or not, when the Penn State women beat Ryerson, 4-0, in an exhibition game. It ended 204 days later with Minnesota Duluth dominating a very good UMass team, 3-0, on April 13 in Buffalo, N.Y. In between, thousands of us experienced memorable games, great goals, incredible saves and the assorted highs and lows that made up the 2018-19 college hockey season.

Since my paycheck is signed by Hockey East, I went to Buffalo looking for UMass or Providence to bring home a title. But I am a longtime Scott Sandelin fan, and watching his team in Buffalo, I gained even more respect for what he did. Three straight championship games and two titles. Look up the names of the coaches who took their teams to three straight finals—Scott has joined a very unique club.

Lots of talk about empty seats in Buffalo, especially Thursday. No one had a single answer. Even more talk about the delays the fans — and participants — had to endure. With every goal reviewed, along with potential five-minute majors, and 18-minute intermissions and two-minute media timeouts, the flow of the game does get compromised.

Of all of the above factors, the use of video replay is likely to be the one that garners the most post-season scrutiny. Many coaches will embrace the position that if we are going to have access to constantly improving technology, we ought to take advantage of it "to get it right." On the other side will be those who feel that the technology has become an intrusion. Review goals, specifically if the puck entered the net legally. And leave it at that. No goalie interference reviews. No offsides reviews. No face-off location reviews. And so on. Or, at the least, make coaches use a challenge, as opposed to every such situation being looked at. And if you need to give a coach an extra timeout and allow video on the bench for this to happen, do it.

Personally, I've become somewhat agnostic on this. I do know that there is an uncomfortable feeling in post-season games when a goal is scored. You find yourself unable to celebrate the moment, knowing the play is being reviewed, and then you anticipate the referee coming out and making one signal or the other. It is one of the simple joys of watching a Division III game: if a goal is scored, it counts.

The AHCA once again hosted a luncheon on Frozen Four Friday, this time recognizing the recipients of the Lou Lamoriello Award and the John Mariucci Award. Former Clarkson player John "Jocko" McLennan received the Lamoriello Award while longtime Williamsviille North (N.Y.) high school coach Bob Rosen, who played at Canisius, received the Mariucci Award. Both were gracious in accepting their honor, giving ample credit to coaches for whom they played, particularly McLennan who spoke eloquently on the late Lenny Ceglarski, his coach at Clarkson.

– 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.