The 2008-09 college hockey year is upon us and this season looks like it can be a very interesting one. Boston College, the defending National Champion, are once again one of the favorites to get back into the Frozen Four, and Notre Dame will look to sustain the momentum they gained from last year’s Frozen Four appearance.
Let’s first take a look at the defending national champions:
Jerry York, one of the greatest coaches in college hockey, is back for another season. The legend at BC brings 803 victories to the table (from Clarkson, BC, and Bowling Green), along with eight career Frozen Four appearances (seven with BC, one with Bowling Green), and three national championships (two BC, one BG).
This year, even without Nathan Gerbe, a Hobey Baker Finalist from 2007-08, the Eagles are reloading. Boston College returns 15 letter-winners from last year.
“Our first goal I think is to win the Hockey East regular season,” York said about the 2008-09 campaign, which is one of many goals that the Eagles will try to achieve. “It’s been awhile since we’ve done that so that’s been our main goal.”
Hockey East is one goal, however, the Eagles have a target on them, as they are the defending champs, and the number one team in the country. Keep an eye out for John Muse, sophomore goaltender, who proved his ability in that nine game stretch from the Northeastern game (the last regular season game of 2007-08) to the national championship game.
“We expect him to keep on getting better and keep improving,” York said about Muse, who enters the season a year older.
One of the biggest returning players however, was injured for the majority of the 2007-08 season; Brock Bradford. The Burnaby, British Columbia native is eager to get back on the ice as the captain.
“It’s great to have Brock back,” York said about Bradford. “He missed almost all of last year with the injury and I’m sure he wants to get back. I’m sure he feels pretty good about his health and he should be a very good player for us.”
“It’s definitely an honor being named captain,” Bradford emphasized. “I feel like I’ve been privileged of seeing guys like Mike Brennan and Peter Harrold in the past, and also Ryan Shannon.
“I’ve seen previous guys come in as captain and bring their old ways and hopefully I can lead the team to be as good as we can and do as well as were capable of being.”
Bradford’s has been heeling from an arm injury, and is ready to perform in 2008-09.
The captain of the squad has had great numbers in the past and this year, but this year he will look to lead his team back to the promise land.
“The arm feels good,” Bradford pointed out. “I made sure everything was healed up in the summer time, I did some training during the summer and I am just excited about the season starting and I am excited to play.”
Now a glance at the national runner-up:
Notre Dame Head coach Jeff Jackson did it again. The mastermind built a team from the ground up at Lake Superior and won two national titles there in 1992 and 1994. Now he looks to take another team from the ground up (when he first took over) and build that into a dynasty.
“We recovered from a tough sprawl in January and February,” said Jackson when reviewing the 2007-08 season. “We hit a confidence wall during that time, and then we saw some real positive things from March on.”
In other sports, such as pro football, the losing team gets some sort of hangover the next year. Jackson hasn’t seen it yet in this team, and thinks the team will improve after the loss to BC.
“I haven’t seen a hangover yet,” Jackson noted, “Losing the National Championship game is a tough pill to swallow, however, it might help us look past it and move on to this year.”
In his tenth season as a coach, Jackson has a record of 254-94-36. Six times he has won 30 or more games, and only once did he have fewer than 20 victories, that was back in 2005-06, his first season with the Irish. After seeing strides the next two years, Jackson thinks that they can turn this into a program on the national level every year.
“We have made great strides the previous two years,” Jackson stated. “Our goal is to make the Joe Louis Arena every year, and make it far in the NCAA tournament.
“We have a lot of positive things going for us. It is exciting for the program.”
“The Holy War on Ice” will be played on November 7, but for now here is a look at the Inside Hockey top 10.
1. Boston College
3. Notre Dame
4. North Dakota
5. Colorado College
6. New Hampshire
8. Miami (Ohio)
t-10. Boston University