Scoreboard is up

The Minnesota Duluth website posted an updated photo Tuesday of the inside of Amsoil Arena showing the recently-installed scoreboard. That entry is below and here.

Also preseason conference polls are being released and two were reviewed by U.S. College Hockey Online on Tuesday. Yale was listed as the favorite in the Eastern College Athletic Conference by coaches and media here.

The Atlantic Hockey coaches poll, favoring Rochester Institute of Technology, is here.

Clarkson, which is home against Minnesota Duluth on Jan. 3-4, is ranked last in the ECAC.

UMD radio play-by-play voice Bruce Ciskie provides his Western Collegiate Hockey Association preseason ballot here.

And writer Eric Sromgren of the Bemidji Pioneer has his ballot here.

From the UMD website:

The grand opening of the the new 6,732-seat AMSOIL Arena is just three months away and one of the most prominent features of the new downtown Duluth facility is a $1 million scoreboard, which was recently installed.

The Bulldog men will officially christen their new hockey home on Dec. 30 with a non-conference clash against the University of North Dakota. Priority seating selection for AMSOIL Arena begins on Sept. 30 and runs through November.

Here is what the interior of AMSOIL looked like on Sept. 21, 2010

New DECC: Another Viewing

     Rink and Run stopped by the DECC on Monday on another matter, and got a quick look at Amsoil Arena, as Bob Hom of the DECC put on a hard hat, goggles and reflective vest and took me inside. My last viewing was in March.

     A beautiful decorative Terrazzo floor is being installed by the artist in the main lobby, while 93 LED pennant lights were put in the lobby last week and will glow blue, I was told.

     Heavy equipment was allowed back on the main floor after a recent pouring of what will be the ice surface. For college games, the visiting team will go from its dressing room and onto the ice through the penalty box. However, opposing coaches and support personnel will have to walk across the ice to get to their bench, which is side-by-side with Minnesota Duluth’s bench. The Bulldogs will enter the ice through their bench area.

     The UMD men and women teams will each have player lounges, locker rooms, trainer areas, and a separate room to hang up their street clothes. Those areas are identical in size for each team. The teams will share the weight room and the area where two large tubs are located. The tubs, and they are HUGE, will be for hydrotherapy and one has an underwater treadmill.

      Coaches from each team will have permanent offices at Amsoil Arena and will no longer be on campus, I am told. The official signage: AMSOIL ARENA, has yet to be placed on the outside of the building, which is why open spots are visible.

        Spectator seats will start to be installed Aug. 2.

        An initial view from the print media section of the press box looks to put journalists even closer to the ice than at the present DECC, although not quite at center ice (well, you can’t have everything). The DECC rink will continue to be used through the first half of the 2010-11 season with the first game at Amsoil Arena on Dec. 30 against North Dakota.

       All 15 private suites have been sold for 2010-11 and liquor, I’m told, will be available in those areas and the Bulldog Club, but not in the rink’s general seating areas.


     Red Rock Radio Corporation named Bruce Ciskie its sports director, the company announced Monday.

     Ciskie, a Superior native who lives in Proctor, replaces Mark Fleischer, who recently was named operations manager at Midwest Communications.

     Ciskie will oversee sports programming on eight area radio stations as well as remain the play-by-play voice of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey broadcasts. He also will host a sports talk show from noon to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on KQDS-AM 1490 and contribute to the KQDS-FM 94.9 morning show with Jason Manning and Frank Befera.

     Ciskie was chosen from 50 applicants from across the country, according to a news release.

     “Bruce has already hosted two sports call-in shows in the Twin Ports and, in our opinion, is one of the brightest hockey play-by-play broadcasters in the country," Tom Roubik, Red Rock operations manager, said in a news release. "We are very pleased he accepted the offer.”

     Ciskie begins his position Aug. 3.

     "I am very excited to be making a full-time return to the airwaves after almost two years. Hopefully, we can continue to keep sports fans entertained and informed every day," Ciskie said in a news release. "Bulldog hockey will be a treat this winter, thanks to what should be a very good team and (with) the much-anticipated opening of Amsoil Arena."

North Dakota’s Gleason Sidelined

     Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald is reporting that North Dakota will likely be without defenseman Joe Gleason for Thursday’s WCHA Final Five play-in game against Minnesota Duluth. He’s listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Gleason, who leads all WCHA rookie defensemen in plus-minus, appeared to be shaken up after blocking a shot Sunday at home against Minnesota.

     UMD is reporting no injuries. The Bulldogs practice at the DECC on Wednesday morning then head to St. Paul. It’s expected UMD will start the same lineup used the past four games in going 3-1.

     Also, for those wondering where UMD radio play-by-play voice Bruce Ciskie was on Sunday night at the DECC…he became ill late in the afternoon and was a scratch. In the bullpen was Mark Fleischer, the sports director at KQDS, 1490 AM. He had spent the week doing the Minnesota high school tournament and was ready for a quiet night of grilled food and relaxation. Ciskie says he expects to be back in the saddle for the Final Five.

     Also the International Scouting Services has a list of the top 30 draft-eligible prospects for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft is here. Duluth defenseman Derek Forbort, with the USA Under-18 program in Ann Arbor, Mich., a North Dakota recruit, is No. 10.

     Also Adam Wodon of College Hockey News is reporting that Ohio State has decided not to renew the contract of head coach John Markell, sources have confirmed. Markell has coached Ohio State for the last 15 seasons, compiling a record of 280-267-56. Markell has brought the program to unforseen heights since taking over, reaching the NCAA tournament six times, including a Frozen Four appearance in 1998. OSU also won its only CCHA tournament championship in 2004.

Crunching the Numbers

     Minnesota Duluth radio play-by-play voice Bruce Ciskie has been crunching some numbers relating to home ice for the WCHA playoffs as six games remain in the regular season, starting with this weekend at North Dakota. His blog is here. His post is below.

Bruce Ciskie

The UMD men’s hockey team has a number of goals this season. However, one of those goals cannot be met without another. They’re sort of married in a way.

The Bulldogs are striving to win the WCHA regular season championship for the first time since 1993. To accomplish that, they first have to do something they haven’t done since 2004:

Earn home-ice advantage in the first round of the league playoffs.

UMD is very close to accomplishing this feat, giving the home fans playoff hockey for the first time in six seasons.

Heading into this weekend’s two-game series at North Dakota, the Bulldogs have an eight-point lead over the sixth-place Fighting Sioux. Each team has six league games left, for a total of 12 available points.

That means UMD’s "magic number" for home-ice advantage in the WCHA playoffs is six points. Any combination of six points accumulated by UMD or lost by North Dakota will give the Bulldogs a coveted home-ice position.

This could happen this weekend. UMD getting a win and a tie in Grand Forks would give them a ten-point lead on the Sioux with four games to go. It would be impossible for North Dakota to catch UMD, as they could only pick up eight points over the rest of the season.

If the Bulldogs just get a split, they would only need one win or two ties in their last four games to clinch home ice.

It’s not time to buy your playoff tickets yet, UMD fans, but we’re getting real close.

While it will be tough — if not virtually impossible — to win the league given the remaining schedules of the contending teams, the Bulldogs are in a good position to play at the DECC the weekend of March 12-13. Not only that, but they’re still in a good position to finish third or better, which would guarantee that the Bulldogs will avoid the play-in game at the Final Five, should they advance that far.

Ciskie, Again

     Here’s an official proclamation from Red Rock Radio Corp on something that was official last week:

Red Rock Radio of Duluth is proud to confirm that Bruce Ciskie will be the voice for UMD men’s hockey this season.  Ciskie was the voice of UMD Hockey for three seasons at Midwest Communications prior to signing with Red Rock Radio. 


“We’re very excited to have a man of his caliber on our team for the upcoming Bulldogs season.” said Shawn Skramstad, Red Rock Radio Vice-President and General Manager. 


“I’m thrilled to be here and be back in the booth, I’m very excited for the start of this hockey season.” said Bruce Ciskie.

More Red Rock Radio

     See what you think about this, a development from Tuesday’s play-by-play announcement:

Red Rock Radio Corp. said Wednesday that Tuesday’s news of a play-by-play hiring for Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey games was a bit premature.

Former UMD play-by-play voice Bruce Ciskie of Proctor did sign a contract and left it at the Red Rock offices on Lake Avenue South, yet vice-president and general manager Shawn Skramstad said Wednesday that no deal has been formally completed.

“We are still in talks with other individuals and will make an announcement soon,” Skramstad said.

UMD and Red Rock Radio agreed last month on a one-year contract moving football and men’s hockey to KQDS-AM 1490, The Fan. UMD men’s hockey had been with Midwest Communications, on KDAL-AM 610, or KHQG-FM 102.5 the past 49 years.

Ciskie, 32, was UMD’s radio play-by-play announcer for more than three years, before his position as Midwest Communications sports director was eliminated last November. He was replaced for the second half of the 2008-09 season by Jeff Papas of Cloquet.

Ciskie didn’t want to comment on the situation Wednesday but did write on his blog about his signing:

“I have indeed signed on to return as play-by-play announcer for UMD men’s hockey. I have to offer my unending gratitude to the folks at Red Rock for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to get to work.”

During Wednesday programming, The Fan ran a promotional advertisement for UMD hockey using some of Ciskie’s play-by-play clips.

UMD’s season opens Oct. 3 with a home exhibition game against the University of British Columbia.

UPDATED: Ciskie is Back

After spending a half season in the stands, Bruce Ciskie will be back in the press box when the Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey season opens with an exhibition game Oct. 3.

Ciskie, 32, from Proctor, signed a one-year contract with Red Rock Radio Corp., on Tuesday as play-by-play announcer on the new home for the Bulldogs, 1490 AM, KQDS, The Fan.

Red Rock reached an agreement with UMD last month to broadcast football and men’s hockey games for 2009-10. Men’s hockey had been with Midwest Communications, primarily on KDAL, 610 AM, for 49 years.

While working as sports director for Midwest Communications, Ciskie was UMD’s play-by-play voice for more than three seasons. But when his position was eliminated last November, he was also let go from his hockey duties, 14 games into 2008-09. He was replaced by Jeff Papas of Cloquet, contracted to do the remainder of the schedule as UMD advanced to the Division I quarterfinals.

Ciskie has had season tickets for UMD home games for six years and attended most games as a fan for the rest of last season, although he was a member of the media during the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five and NCAA West Regional, working for the Web site FanHouse.

“UMD hockey wasn’t something I could easily separate myself from,” Ciskie said Tuesday. “When I wasn’t doing those games [on radio], I missed it every day.

 “I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to a full-time radio job in the office, but it was pretty clear that if I was ever to get back in radio, this is wanted I wanted to do. When the opportunity presented itself, I looked into it.”

It’s believed Red Rock had eight to 10 inquiries about the play-by-play job, including Papas and Greg Harrington of St. Paul, the former voice of Nebraska-Omaha hockey.

“I was interested, but Red Rock didn’t pursue me,” said Papas, 44, a former Duluth TV sports and news reporter, who worked 29 UMD games in 2008-09. “I had a blast doing the one season and I wish Bruce the best. I know he has a great passion for the game.”

Ciskie, who will work 2009-10 on a per-game salary, is unsure if he’ll be joined in the radio booth by a game analyst. Since leaving Midwest Communications he’s been working as a contributing editor for FanHouse and in production for WDIO-TV, Chs. 10-13, and will remain in those jobs.

In addition to 1490 AM, UMD hockey games will be on affiliates in the Grand Rapids-Hibbing area on KBAJ-FM 105.5, and the Iron Range, on KAOD-FM 106.7 in Babbitt-Ely-Virginia.

The Bulldogs open practice in 10 days and face the University of  British Columbia in an Oct. 3 exhibition at the DECC.

r Charter Communications is expected to televise 13 UMD men’s hockey games in 2009-10 on its state-wide system, including Channel 15 in Duluth and Superior. Red Rock Radio sports director Mark Fleischer and former UMD player Judd Medak are likely to be the announce team for seven home games against Minnesota State-Mankato, North Dakota, Bemidji State and Wisconsin. For UMD road games, production will originate with the home team. The Mankato series at the DECC on Oct. 16-17 opens the Charter schedule.

Update: UMD to 1490 AM, KQDS

      After 49 years on the air with one company, Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey has a new radio home.

      The Bullldogs have moved to the Red Rock Radio group and KQDS, The Fan, 1490 AM starting in October. Also going along is UMD football. No other Bulldog sports are expected to be on commercial radio in 2009-10, UMD sports information director Bob Nygaard said Thursday.

     UMD hockey had been with KDAL, 610 AM, or KHQG, 102.5 FM, members of Midwest Communications, since the 1960-61 season, recognized as the longest radio relationship among Divsision I hockey schools.

     Red Rock Radio and UMD signed a two-year contract Wednesday. Midwest Communications began de-emphasizing sports within the past two years, which initiated UMD’s search for a new sports partner.

      "We knew the contract with Midwest was up and we put together a proposal for UMD," said Red Rock sports director Mark Fleischer, who worked for Midwest Communications for 22 years, through 2008, most recently as operations manager. "These are high-profile UMD sports and it’s exciting for us."

     Fleischer, 43, did UMD football play-by-play last season and will stay in that position, and may handle hockey play-by-play. Bruce Ciskie of Proctor was UMD’s hockey play-by-play voice for more than three years as sports director for Midwest Communications, but his position was eliminated last December and Jeff Papas of Cloquet was hired to finish the season.

     Fleischer noted that the Red Rock Radio signal should reach throughout Northeastern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin with affiliates in the Grand Rapids-Hibbing area on KBAJ, 105.5 FM, and the Iron Range, on KAOD, 106.7 in Babbitt.

     UMD women’s hockey and men’s and women’s basketball were also on Midwest last season, but will not be on the radio in 2009-10. Streaming video, without play-by-play, will be available for home games of men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, volleyball and football. Streaming video of home men’s and women’s hockey games will be on a per-per-view basis with B2 Networks.

      The Bulldogs also announced a continuing relationship with Charter Communications for 13 cable television games for men’s hockey.

     "We’re happy to get together with Red Rock Radio which is a first-class operation with a lot of energy, and it has a network that will get us out to more of our fans in the Northland," said Nygaard.

     "It’s a change for us after so many years with one company and we’d like to have more of our sports on the radio, and it’s not for a lack of trying, but with the present economy, it’s difficult."

     UMD football opens the season Aug. 29 at home at 6 p.m. against Concordia St. Paul. Men’s hockey has a home exhibition Oct. 3 with British Columbia and begins the regular season Oct. 9 at home with Lake Superior State.

     Red Rock Radio has recently added Minnesota Vikings games to its schedule on 1490 AM and broadcasts NHL Minnesota Wild games on 94X FM.

     A UMD release on the radio deal is here.