UMD hockey moves to My9

Minnesota Duluth receives a significant television upgrade this season in signing a two-year agreement with the Northland’s NewsCenter to air 14 men’s home hockey games and four women’s home games in the digital widescreen format on the My9 Sports Network.

Terms of the deal were not released, but financial considerations will be borne by UMD and the Northland’s NewsCenter, said David Jensch, vice president and station manager for the Northland’s NewsCenter.

My9, carrying all UMD home football games this season, reaches about 174,000 households in the Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin viewing market, said Jensch, and is available on nearly all cable systems. The signal isn’t available on the Dish Network or DirecTV satellite systems, but digital reception of My9 is available over the air with the use of an outdoor or indoor antenna.

Charter Communications had televised UMD men’s hockey the past three years, including seven regular-season home games in 2009-10. Previously, UMD men’s hockey had various TV homes including KBJR-TV (now the Northland’s NewsCenter) and WDIO-TV, Channels 10 & 13 through 2006-07.

“UMD hockey continues to be the premier event in this market and we have a commitment to quality local programming,” said Jensch. “We’ve had a growing number of sports on My9, we’ve developed a niche, and we thought it was time to add UMD hockey.”

The agreement coincides with UMD men’s and women’s hockey moving to the new $80 million Amsoil Arena at midseason, starting with a men’s game against North Dakota on Dec. 30. Amsoil Arena’s infrastructure includes a $170,000 in-house video broadcasting system that facilitates the televising of games, says Jeff Stark, the DECC’s technology and hockey operations director.

My9 (KBJR DT 6.2 and KRII DT 11.9) begins its hockey schedule Nov. 12 from the DECC as the UMD men face Michigan Tech. After moving into Amsoil Arena, all UMD home games will be televised.

“This is a very comprehensive package that will provide great exposure for our school and for a number of our sports, and we have a broadcast partner that we are going to be able to grow with,” said UMD athletic director and football coach Bob Nielson.

Northland’s NewsCenter sports director Tom Hansen will do the television play-by-play, while former UMD forward Judd Medak will provide commentary. Hansen, 47, is doing UMD football play-by-play on My9 and has been the radio play-by-play voice of UMD women’s hockey the past 10 years. Medak, 31, played for the Bulldogs from 1998-2002.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase two great teams and the opening of a new rink,” said Hansen, in his 23rd year of working with UMD sports on radio and television. “My9 has grown slowly but surely the last few years and adding college hockey is the next step in our development.”

My9 began showing weekly high school hockey games last season and will continue that schedule in 2010-11. UMD football is in the second year on the station and has three televised home games remaining Oct. 9 against Winona State, Oct. 16 against the University of Mary and Oct. 30 against St. Cloud State.

My9 also will carry Wisconsin high school state tournaments in football, boys and girls basketball, and boys and girls hockey. The Duluth East versus Duluth Central football game at 6 p.m. on Oct 8 will also be shown from Public Schools Stadium.

The only UMD men’s hockey road game scheduled for My9 this season is Nov. 20 at Wisconsin, although there’s the potential of adding more road games, said Jensch.

UMD games on the Northland’s NewsCenter My9 in 2010-11:

Men, All at 7:07 p.m.

Nov. 12-13 – Michigan Tech at UMD

Nov. 20 – UMD at Wisconsin

Dec. 3-4 – Denver at UMD

Dec. 30 – North Dakota at UMD

Jan. 8 – USA Under-18 at UMD

Jan. 14-15 – Wisconsin at UMD

Feb. 4-5 – Minnesota at UMD

Feb. 11-12 – St. Cloud State at UMD

March 4-5 – Nebraska-Omaha at UMD

Women, All at 7:07 p.m.

Jan. 21-22 – Wisconsin at UMD

Jan. 28-29 – Bemidji State at UMD

UMD voted No. 2 by WCHA media, No. 3 by coaches

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association media poll, handed from Todd Milewski of Madison to Bruce Ciskie of Duluth this year, shows North Dakota No. 1, Minnesota Duluth No. 2 and St. Cloud State No. 3 in results released Wednesday. Ciskie is now sports director for Red Rock Radio Corp. in Duluth and 94.1 FM which will air UMD games.

94X WCHA MEDIA POLL

1. North Dakota (28 first-place votes) 347 points

2. Minnesota Duluth 300

3. St. Cloud State (1) 295

4. Denver 242

5. Wisconsin 218

6. Minnesota 203

7. Colorado College 182

8. Bemidji State 156

9. Nebraska-Omaha 125

10. Minnesota State-Mankato 97

11. Alaska Anchorage 51

12. Michigan Tech 46

Preseason Player of the Year

Chay Genoway, North Dakota (10); Garrett Roe, St. Cloud State (5); Justin Fontaine, Minnesota Duluth (4); Jack Connolly, Minnesota Duluth (3); Jason Gregoire, North Dakota (2); Mike Connolly, Minnesota Duluth (1); Matt Read, Bemidji State (1); Evan Trupp, North Dakota (1)

Preseason Rookie of the Year

Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College (10); Derek Forbort, North Dakota (6); Beau Bennett, Denver (4); Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (2); Tyler Barnes, Wisconsin (1); J.T. Brown, Minnesota Duluth (1); Rob Gunderson, Alaska-Anchorage (1); Radoslav Illo, Bemidji State (1); Jason Zucker, Denver (1)

40th Grand Forks Herald Coaches Poll

The 40th Grand Forks Herald poll lists North Dakota as the favorite with St. Cloud State No. 2 and UMD No. 3. UMD’s Jack Connolly is the preseason player of the year and Colorado College freshman Jaden Schwartz is the preseason rookie of the year. The coaches have correctly picked the winner in three of the last five years, including Denver last season.

1. North Dakota (10) 120

2. St. Cloud State (2) 105
3. Minnesota Duluth 100
4. Denver 88
5. Minnesota 82
6. Colorado College 67
7. Wisconsin 64
8. Nebraska-Omaha 55
9. Bemidji State 46
10. MSU-Mankato 41
11. Alaska-Anchorage 19
12. Michigan Tech 15

Player of the year: Jack Connolly, UMD (5), Chay Genoway, North Dakota (4), Garrett Roe, St. Cloud State (3)
Rookie of the year: Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College (9), Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (1), Tyler Barnes, Wisconsin (1), Matt White, Nebraska-Omaha (1)

UMD women No. 1, again

The Minnesota Duluth women are ranked No. 1 in the USA Today-USA Hockey preseason Division I poll, posted below, (a day after being picked No. 1 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll).

Also, former UMD player and U.S. Olympian Jenny Potter of Edina, Minn., and former UMD assistant coach Julie Chu have been named to the American team for the Four Nation’s Cup from Nov. 9-13 in St. John’s, New Foundland. A USA Hockey release is here.

USA Today-USA Hockey Women’s Preseason Poll

1 Minnesota Duluth
2 Cornell
3 Mercyhurst
4 Boston University
5 Wisconsin
6 Minnesota
7 Clarkson
8 Boston College
9 Harvard
10 Ohio State

Others Receiving Votes: New Hampshire, Providence, North Dakota, St. Lawrence, Syracuse.

NHL moves; UMD forwards ranked best; Jessica Koizumi

From weekend NHL transactions, these former Minnesota Duluth players are headed to the American Hockey League: defenseman Neil Petruic from Montreal to Hamilton, defenseman Evan Oberg from Vancouver to Manitoba, forward MacGregor Sharp from Anaheim to Syracuse and goalie Alex Stalock from San Jose to Worcester. Also, Duluthian Zach Fitzgerald, a defenseman, from Carolina to Charlotte.

Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey continues his position-by-position look by team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and puts UMD right at the top of the forwards category here.

Also, former UMD women’s assistant coach Joakim Flygh, in his first season as head women’s coach at Yale, has hired former UMD foward Jessica Koizumi as an assistant coach. Yale, in New Haven, Conn., has a press release here.

Minnesota Hockey Hub has an Elite League profile of Team North forward Judd Peterson of Duluth Marshall here.

UMD No. 9 in USA Today poll

The Minnesota Duluth men are No. 9 in the USA Today-USA Hockey preseason poll released Monday. Defending Division I champion Boston College is No. 1 and North Dakota No. 2. St. Cloud State is No. 6.

USA Today-USA Hockey Division I Men

1 Boston College
2 North Dakota
3 Miami of Ohio
4 Michigan
5 Yale
6 St. Cloud State
7 Maine
8 New Hampshire
9 Minnesota Duluth
10 Cornell
11 Denver
12 Alaska Fairbanks
13 Wisconsin
14 Boston University
15 Minnesota

Others Receiving Votes: Notre Dame, Rochester Institute of Technology, Bemidji State, Ferris State, Union, Vermont, Michigan State, Northern Michigan, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Colorado College, Northeastern, Nebraska-Omaha, Merrimack.

UMD women No. 1 in Division I

U.S. College Hockey Online released its first Division I women’s poll for 2010-11 on Monday, with defending NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth at No. 1. Here’s the poll:

(First Place)   Record   Pts  Last Year
1. Minnesota Duluth    (14)  31- 8-2   148     2
2. Cornell                                21- 9-6   121     6
3. Mercyhurst                       30- 3-3   115     1
4. Minnesota                 ( 1)  26- 9-5    98     3
5. Wisconsin                          18-15-3    87    NR
6. Boston University            17- 9-12   86     8
7. Clarkson                            23-12-5    51     5
8. Harvard                            20- 8-5    35     4
9. Boston College                   8-17-10   32    NR
10. New Hampshire            19- 9-5    18     7
10 Providence                     15-11-9    18    NR

Others Receiving Votes: Ohio State 9, North Dakota 4,
St. Lawrence 2, Quinnipiac 1.

Looking at the WCHA

The Goon’s World blog has taken a look at a predicted finish for the top half of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for 2010-11. The team-by-team analysis is here and here.

Minnesota Duluth is picked to finish third, which may be a likely trend as WCHA polls by the coaches and media are released this week. Goon’s World lists North Dakota at No. 1 and St. Cloud State at No. 2.

Colton Mirko Goucher is here

On the way to the hospital Saturday morning, to deliver her first child, Kara Goucher texted her mother, Patty Wheeler in Duluth, saying she was in a bit of pain. Four hours later, in Portland, Ore., Goucher was all smiles while holding her son, Colton Mirko, who weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19½ inches long.

There was no indication if the newborn was wearing running shorts. His parents are professional runners and United States Olympians in track – Kara Goucher, 32, competed at 5,000 and 10,000 meters in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China, while Adam Goucher, 35, ran at 5,000 meters in 2000 in Sydney, Australia.

“There was a huge sigh of relief from all of us when we knew the baby had arrived and was healthy,” said Wheeler. “The birth was a challenge for her, because the baby was face up, but it sounded like Kara was strong during it all.”

The birth was five days before Goucher’s due date of Sept. 29 and was about two weeks after the Gouchers moved into a new home. Wheeler hopes to travel to Portland this week, while Kara’s older sister, Kelly Grgas Wheeler of Duluth, 34, expects to make a trip in three weeks.

The third of three sisters, Kendall Schoolmeester, 28, of Portland, was with the new mother shortly after the birth, said Patty Wheeler.

“Kara and Adam were able to get into their new house and get unpacked and settled, so the baby arriving now was perfect timing,” said Kelly Grgas Wheeler, a Minnesota Duluth assistant women’s soccer coach. “Kara was ready.”

The name Colton was a favorite of the parents, while Mirko is the first name of Kara Goucher’s late father, Mirko Grgas, who died in 1982 at age 34. Patty Wheeler now has two grandchildren, the first was Schoolmeester’s 2½-year-old daughter Sophie.

Kara Goucher, America’s top woman marathoner, hopes to make the United States team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She recently wrote on her Competitor.com blog that she expected to resume some training in November and be on a regular schedule in December, building to a volume of 70-plus miles per week. Serious workouts would begin in January with the idea of running some low-key indoor track races. A half-marathon in March would be followed by a spring marathon, possibly the Boston Marathon on April 18.

A week from the start of hockey practice

Minnesota Duluth is still a week away from the start of official practice on Oct. 2, but is already at the DECC for captain’s practices. Coach Scott Sandelin and volunteer assistant Bill Watson were on the ice for with the team for an hour Friday. Sandelin said he had a tender back after significant time sitting while scouting and driving.

Cameron Koopman, who had been working as an assistant equipment manager, has taken over that position as Chris Garner continues to recover from an Aug. 4 bone marrow transplant to combat a blood cell disorder. Garner, 32, is at his parents home in Rochester, Minn., and is being monitored in check ups at the Mayo Clinic.

A week ago, Garner posted on Facebook: “I’m starting to feel and eat better. Eating has been tough because everthing tastes like a copper pipe. Otherwise I feel like I’m turning the corner and hopefully on my way to packing some pounds back on.”

The University of Wisconsin is expected to build a 27.8 million practice facility for the men’s and women’s program on the west side of the Kohl Center. It could be ready in the fall of 2012 according to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal here.

Antti Niemi made his debut in goal Friday for the San Jose Sharks in a 5-4 preseason home loss to Anaheim. Goalie Harri Sateri also played for the Sharks, while Alex Stalock sat out. Forward MacGregor Sharp played 14 minutes for Anaheim. A game story from the San Jose Mercury News is  here.

Minnesota Duluth doesn’t see first-year league member Nebraska-Omaha until the final series of the 2010-11 season, but an update on Omaha’s goalie strength is in the Omaha World-Herald here.

Freshman Mike Taffe of Maple Grove, Minn., is in his freshman year with the Mavericks.

And, believe it or not, the college women’s season opened Friday in an exhibition as Bemidji State beat the Toronto Junior Aeros. The Bemidji Regional Events Center is not quite ready for its debut, so the game was played at the Neilson-Reise Arena. A report from the Bemidji Pioneer is here.