Monday, September 22, 2014

UNH Freshman Dylan Chanter Brings Physicality to the Blue Line

UNH Freshman Defenseman
Dylan Chanter (Photo:

This time last year, 6'3", 230 lbs defenseman Dylan Chanter was a player on a mission. In his first year of eligibility for the NHL Draft, Chanter (DOB: 9/17/1995) left the familiar environs of British Columbia to play for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League.

Chanter, a native of Armstrong, British Columbia, had played two seasons with the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League. In his rookie season (2011-12), Chanter was one of only three 16-year-old defensemen to play the entire year in the BCHL. He had already grown to 6'3" and his potential as a NHL draft pick was obvious. Cents' Head Coach Luke Pierce described Chanter as:
"A physical specimen who plays with overpowering aggressiveness. Will be a draft pick."
In his second season with Merritt, he lead all Cents' defensemen in goal scoring with 9 goals, including 3 power play goals. Among all BCHL defensemen, Chanter was tied for 3rd in goal scoring.

When I interviewed Dylan last year about his decision to play for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States, he said:
"The primary reasons behind my decision were development, change, and continuing to push the envelope. I felt that Dubuque was going to be a good place to further develop myself as a hockey player with NHL calibre coaching with Matt Shaw as well as a winning attitude. I also thought it was time for a change. As much as I enjoyed my last 2 seasons in Merritt, I didn't think a third season there was a smart decision. Lastly, pushing the envelope played the primary role in my decision to play in Dubuque. I felt that this was my best option to prepare myself for UNH and eventually professional hockey. All in all it was a family decision and we felt that this was the best step in continuing my hockey career."
Historically, more players are drafted into the NHL from the USHL than the Canadian Junior A Leagues. For example, in the 2013 NHL Draft, 32 USHLers were drafted while 7 players were drafted out of the BCHL. Chanter's move to the USHL provided more exposure to NHL scouts and had the potential to improve his chances of being drafted in the 2014 NHL Draft. Ironically, a tragic incident involving Chanter early in the USHL season brought him unprecedented recognition throughout the hockey community and beyond.

The Incident

On Saturday October 12, 2013, in only his second game in a Dubuque Fighting Saints uniform (#4), Dylan Chanter dropped the gloves and squared off against Corey Petrash of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. As they exchanged punches, Chanter's helmet flew off an instant before he fell backwards, hitting his unprotected head on the ice. I've ended the video clip without showing the horrifying sight of Dylan Chanter lying on the ice having a full body seizure.

After regaining consciousness, Chanter was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation, then airlifted to Iowa City Hospital for a neurological exam. He was released later that night and returned to the home of his billet family in Dubuque. By the following morning, news of Chanter's injury and calls to ban fighting in the USHL appeared in newspapers all over North America. In an article in The New York Times, Dr. Michael J. Stuart, chief medical officer for USA Hockey, said "The time to stop fighting in junior hockey is now.” ***

Thankfully, Chanter recuperated and prepared for his return within a few weeks. In a feature article in USA Today the day before his first game back, Chanter said:
"Fighting needs to be part of the game. I'm not going to approach the game any differently. I'm not going to be scared out there. That's just the way it was that night. I don't know how soon. If it happens, it happens. I'm not going to go out there looking for a fight. … (But) if the opportunity presents itself and tempers flare, it will happen. I'm not a guy that typically relied on fighting. But I have size, so I'm not going to shy away from it. But it is not a huge part of my game. I'm rugged and physical, and I expect it to happen."
The following night, November 8, 2013, Dubuque faced the Lumberjacks in Muskegon. Early in the third period, Dylan Chanter got in a fight with Myles McGurty (see first clip in highlight reel below). Neither were injured.

Return Home to British Columbia

Dylan Chanter #24 Vernon Vipers
(Photo: Lisa VanderVelde/Black Press)
Chanter continued playing for Dubuque until mid-December but his move to the USHL was not working out. Over the Christmas holidays, he decided to return to the BCHL to play for the Vernon Vipers:
“I want to go to college next year and be ready, and I didn’t feel I was going to be ready if I stayed for the rest of the season there (in the USHL). It’s my hometown team (Vernon Vipers), essentially. It’s been a lifelong thing to play here, and growing up watching them I never thought I would get the chance to. Now I’ve got that chance and I’m going to make the most of it.”
It took a while for Chanter to regain the form that he had displayed in his prior two BCHL seasons with the Merritt Centennials. He did not score during the remaining 19 games of the Vipers' regular season. However, come playoff time, Chanter cranked up his production scoring 4 goals and 3 assists. He was a key factor in Vernon's advance to the finals of the Fred Page Cup.

Chanter began the 2013-24 season hoping to advance his prospects for selection in the 2014 NHL Draft. Following the scary incident early in the season, Chanter wanted to be recognized as more than that guy who had a seizure on the ice during a hockey fight. As it turned out, his return to Vernon and outstanding play in the BCHL playoffs earned him what he had sought all along. When the NHL Central Scouting Service released it's 2014 Final Rankings in early April, Dylan Chanter was on the list for the first time. He was rated as the 164th North American skater (on a list of 210 skaters).

In early May, a month before the NHL Draft in Philadelphia, the International Scouting Service published this assessment of Dylan Chanter:
"Shutdown defenceman … smart … quick to react in his own end … strong skater … moves the puck well … keeps things simple in defensive zone … can separate puck carrier from the puck."
Although, Chanter was not drafted by an NHL team in June, it's safe to say that he has attracted the attention of some in the scouting community. Obviously, a successful career at UNH will only help him to reach his dream of playing in the NHL.

2013-14 Highlight Reel

Coach's Report

Dylan Chanter worked with the coaching staff of the Vernon Vipers throughout the second half of the regular season and BCHL playoffs. In May, Vernon also hosted the 2014 RBC Cup - Canada's National Junior A Championship. The Vipers advanced to the semifinals but lost to eventual champion Yorkton Terriers. I had an opportunity to interview Vernon Vipers' Associate Coach Kris Mallette and Assistant Coach David Robinson regarding Dylan Chanter's strengths and readiness for NCAA hockey:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): What are Dylan's strengths and how did he develop during the second half of the season with the Vipers?
Coach Kris Mallette: I think once Dylan was finally able to get into a steady rhythm of games he progressed well. He battled injuries for most of the first half and by the time playoffs came he was able to work himself into a top 4 rotation. He is a big body who is physically strong and plays well defensively.
Coach David Robinson: Chants was a big, solid defenceman for us. He was not only very physical for us, but he was able to make plays with the puck that really showed his natural abilities. He has a pro shot already that could be utilized in offensive situations.

Mike Lowry: What kind of adjustments will Dylan need to make as he begins his NCAA career?
Coach Mallette: I think his foot speed will need to improve and his decisions will need to be quicker but I'm confident once he becomes comfortable he will be a good defensive defenceman at the college level.
Coach Robinson: With his physical attributes and natural abilities he has the potential to turn into a solid all around defenceman. Obviously making that jump to the NCAA level he will have to get used to the speed of the game. He's a hard working kid, on and off the ice, that will just have to trust his instincts and not think too much out there on the ice.

Career Statistics

Player Season Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
Dylan Chanter  (D) 2013-14 Vernon Vipers BCHL 19 0 0 0 16
Playoffs BCHL 19 4 3 7 18
Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 14 1 1 2 21
2012-13 Merritt Centennials BCHL 56 9 11 20 31
Playoffs BCHL 5 1 0 1 8
2011-12 Merritt Centennials BCHL 53 2 11 13 47
Playoffs BCHL 9 1 1 2 0
2010-11 Pursuit of Excellence 16U Midget Minor 56 4 18 22 38

*** In early June, 2014, USA Hockey changed the rule on fighting in the USHL and NAHL. Starting this season, any fighting major penalty (5 minutes) will be accompanied by an additional 10 minute misconduct penalty. Any player penalized for "major" fighting will have to sit in the penalty box for 15 minutes. Who knows - maybe this rule will come to be known as the "Chanter Rule".

Monday, September 08, 2014

UNH Freshman Goalie Adam Clark

Adam Clark: UNH Freshman Goalie

Preparation of this profile on Adam Clark began in early August. At the time, the 6'5" goalie from Sherwood Park, Alberta was expected to come to UNH and serve as the backup to senior netminder Casey DeSmith. DeSmith had been the #1 goalie for the Wildcats since early December of his freshman year when he took over for then senior Matt DiGirolamo. DeSmith was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team and in his junior year, he was named a Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star.

Events which reportedly occurred early Sunday morning, August 31st, have jeopordized Casey DeSmith's hockey future at UNH. DeSmith was arrested by Durham Police and charged with domestic assault and resisting arrest. The University subsequently suspended DeSmith from the UNH hockey team pending further investigation.

With Casey DeSmith's immediate playing future in doubt, speculation and discussion over who will become the starting UNH goalie when the 2014-15 regular season begins on October 11th have heated up. As of today, there are two goalies on the UNH active roster. In addition to Adam Clark, there is junior netminder Jamie Regan. Regan has only played in one NCAA game - the final 6:38 minutes of a game against UMass last November.

For the past two seasons, Adam Clark has been one of the top goalies in the British Columbia Hockey League. The BCHL has 16 teams and is considered among the top Junior A leagues in Canadian junior hockey. Clark has played for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks. In the 2012-13 season, Clark had the 5th best save percentage (.914) among BCHL goalies who had played at least 30 games (the BCHL plays a 58-game regular season).

When the NHL Central Scouting Service posted it's Preliminary Rankings in November, 2012, Adam Clark was listed as a "C" candidate. The CSS saw Clark as a potential 4th-6th Round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. In January 2013, when the NHL CSS Mid-Term Rankings were released, Clark was listed as the #32 North American goalie. Although Clark finished the remainder of 2012-13 regular season with a respectable run of 6 wins and 5 loses and posted an overall record of 18 wins, 16 loses, and a tie (see Career Statistics below), he was not drafted in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Last season, Clark nearly duplicated his performance from the 2012-13 season. He compiled a record of 14 wins, 14 loses, and 1 tie, and his Goals Against Average (2.87) and Save Percentage (.911) were almost identical to the previous season. Clark missed games near the end of the Salmon Arm season due to injury. Following off season training at First Line Training in Sherwood Park, he has fully recovered and is ready for the 2014-15 season at UNH.

Commitment to UNH

Adam Clark
DOB: 3-23-1993 Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alberta
Goalie, 6'5", 210 lbs. Catches Left
Commit to UNH: September 28, 2012
"It has always been an aspiration of mine to be a part of an elite Division 1 NCAA program and as of this year when UNH approached me things just fell right into place. With a great hockey and academic program UNH couldn’t have been a better fit for me and I am extremely excited to be a part of such a prestigious program. I had talked to a couple of other schools, but none for myself or my family were as clear of a choice as UNH." from "Adam Clark: UNH's Goalie of the Future", The UNH Men's Hockey Blog

Career Statistics

Player Season Team League W L T GAA SV%
Adam Clark  (G) 2013-14 Salmon Arm SilverBacks BCHL 14 14 1 2.87 .911
2012-13 Salmon Arm SilverBacks BCHL 18 16 1 2.89 .914
Playoffs BCHL 0 2 0 5.40 .827
2011-12 Salmon Arm SilverBacks BCHL 5 13 0 4.43 .885
2010-11 Sherwood Park Kings AMHL 11 6 2 2.74 .909
Playoffs AMHL 4 3 0 3.01 .893
2009-10 Sherwood Park Kings AMHL 9 5 4 3.94 .879
Playoffs AMHL 2 2 0 3.66 .916
2008-09 Sherwood Park Kings AMHL 7 1 2 2.80 .906
2007-08 Sherwood Park Flyers AMBHL 11 3 1 2.04 .922
Playoffs AMBHL 6 2 0 3.78 .868

2013-14 Highlight Reel

Coach's Report

Over the last two years, Adam Clark has worked extensively with goalie coaches Mike Valley and Pasco Valana of Elite Goalies. Coach Valley is the Goaltending Coach of the Dallas Stars and the founder of Elite Goalies. Coach Valana is the Assistant and Goaltending Coach of the University of British Columbia's hockey team. I interviewed both coaches regarding Adam Clark's goaltending style and strengths:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): How would you describe Adam's goalie style and what are his strengths?
Coach Mike Valley: Adam is a big goaltender that is learning to play with a combination of blocking (using his big frame to his advantage) and athleticism (learning to trust and use his pure athletic base when the opportunity calls for it). He’s a hard working goalie that put a lot of pride in his development.
Coach Pasco Valana: Adam is a goaltender that plays mid crease and approaches the game with efficiency. With the game changing to a more efficient style eliminating additional and possibly unnecessary movements, Adam chooses to play between the pipes or as we call it - "He plays the game within the frame".
Goaltenders in the previous years have challenged areas that maybe they did not have to which, in turn, opened up areas of net space for the next most dangerous option. Adam's approach would enable him to cover the net space and prep for potential plays.

Mike Lowry: Does Adam remind you of any current NHL goalies?
Coach Valley: The one goaltender that he reminds me a little of is Mike Smith (goalie for the Arizona Coyotes). Again using his big body to his advantage and using the less is more approach...letting the game come to him.
Coach Valana: Adam reminds me most of Mike Smith. A large goaltender, calm, emotionally controlled and positional. His responsible approach to the game will provide his defensemen with the confidence needed to take the chances that you sometimes need to take when playing at the NCAA level. That freedom will earn the respect from his D-men and forwards and begin the 4-year relationship needed for success at the NCAA level and to amplify the coach's message.

Lowry: In Adam's time working with Elite Goalies, what have been his main areas of improvement?
Coach Valley: His understanding of the game has improved a lot and his decision making abilities (where and when to stand and why). His skating abilities have improved a lot as well which will help him recover to get to the right spot when there are rebounds, etc.
Coach Valana: The transition from Junior A hockey to the 3 times greater speed of the NCAA, the game becomes much more intelligent, the players are more accurate, deceiving and creative. Over the course of the past 2 seasons, we have been working to refine Adam's game to best occupy the netspace, control rebounds, and place them into non-populated areas, and adopting a game that encourages a 6-inch movement in net regardless of the shot.
The second area, and one that he will always be working on, will be his skating both on his skates and on his pads. Goaltender power-skating along with puck skills and playing the puck has been at the corner stone of Adam's training over the past 700 days.
In closing, Adam is honoured to be given the opportunity to play with his new team, talented players and driven coaches. He understands that playing well is his thank you back to the staff for committing to him. He intends to contribute in any way that he can to the team.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

For UNH Freshman Shane Eiserman, NHL Dream Comes Into Focus

Ottawa Senators Draft Shane Eiserman
(Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

"Eiserman is a stud; top 4 round NHL pick." Josh Ciocco, December 19, 2011

Eiserman at Cushing Academy 2011-12
A little over two and 1/2 years ago, I asked Josh Ciocco, former Captain of the 2006-07 UNH Hockey Team, what he thought of UNH recruit Shane Eiserman. At the time, Josh was wearing three hats: Hockey East Analyst for NESN, Scout/Writer for U.S. Hockey Report, and Assistant Coach at Milton Academy. Eiserman had committed to UNH in August, 2011 and was playing for Cushing Academy in the New England Prep Hockey League.

I had seen Eiserman play a couple times after he committed to UNH. In my player observation log, I wrote that "Eiserman is always working hard on his shifts. He finishes his checks, skates hard up and down his wing, shows speed carrying the puck through center ice and into the offensive zone, and hangs/bangs around the front of the net when needed." Eiserman was only 16 but he struck me as a special talent.

Turns out that Josh Ciocco - who is now the Assistant Coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage - was exactly right about Shane Eiserman. In June, he was selected in the 4th Round of the NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators with the 100th overall pick.

Getting on NHL Scouts' Radar

In the three years leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft, Shane Eiserman steadily elevated his performance and advanced to the top rungs of the junior hockey ladder. As a sophomore at Cushing Academy, Shane Eiserman scored 18 goals and 26 assists in 29 games and was the Penguins' second leading scorer.

At the June 2012 USA Hockey Selects 17 Camp, Eiserman's impressive play earned him a spot on the U.S. National Team Development Program's Under-18 team. In 21 games against NCAA teams, he scored 3 goals and 3 assists for Team USA. In the team's 22 games against United State Hockey League competition, he added 5 goals and 6 assists. Eiserman may well have been ready to make the jump to NCAA hockey at UNH for the 2013-14 season but he was entering his senior year in high school. So he moved on to the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL for his last season of junior hockey.

Even before the 2013-14 USHL season began, Eiserman had earned favorable reviews by NHL scouts. In September 2013, the NHL Central Scouting Service identified Eiserman as a potential 2nd or 3rd round draft pick. Shortly after, Eiserman gave credence to the NHL scouts assessment by excelling in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game (see video highlights above).

In their January Mid-Term Rankings, the NHL CSS listed Shane Eiserman as the #39 North American Skater. At that point in the season, Eiserman had scored 8 goals and 10 assists for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and had a +/- rating of +11. By the end of the USHL season, Eiserman had scored 40 points in 53 regular season games and his +/- rating was +18. He added 2 more assists in the Fighting Saints' seven playoff games. When the NHL CSS Final Rankings came out in April, Eiserman ranking remained steady as the #45 North American Skater.

2014 NHL Draft

Shane Eiserman and his family made the long drive from West Newbury, Massachusetts to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. 30 players were drafted in the First Round on Friday, June 27th. Shane heard his name called early in the Fourth Round on Saturday. The Ottawa Senators selected Eiserman with the 100th overall pick in the draft. In an interview on draft day, the Senators' Amateur Scout Bob Janecyk described what they liked about Eiserman's game:
"He's a big, strong kid going to UNH. He's a better winger than center...who gets up and down the ice, shoots the puck and competes. A big, strong power forward at UNH hopefully for 2 or 3 years."

2014 Ottawa Senators Development Camp

Less than a week after the draft in Philadelphia, Eiserman was off to Ottawa, Canada for the Senators Annual Development Camp. From July 1 to July 7, 23 draft picks, including Eiserman, and 11 free agents participated in rigorous on-ice and off-ice training sessions.

In an interview with the Daily News of Newburyport, Shane described what the development camp was like:
"On ice I’ve haven’t experienced anything like it. You had to play well every second, so it was fun. Getting to play with all those guys, they’re high-end guys, the pace was up, you really had to be focused in because if you make a mistake out there, you stand out. It was tough, but it was a great experience with where I’m at with my development.”
I had an opportunity to interview Shane, via email, about his quest to play in the NHL, his experiences at the Ottawa Senators' camp, and his goals for this season at UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Looking back over your junior career, when did you become aware that NHL scouts were coming to watch you play? Which skills/attributes do you think got you noticed as a potential professional hockey player?
Shane Eiserman: I started really understanding the whole process when I went to the National Team. My whole team was draft eligible and it was very cool to see what they were going through. The skills I worked on were becoming more of a well-rounded power forward - driving the puck wide, making the simple plays, and playing the body.

Mike Lowry: Your cousin and personal trainer Eddie Hill knows from experience what it takes to succeed at the NHL level. He was drafted 61st overall in the 1999 NHL Draft and played 8 seasons in the AHL and ECHL. What’s the best advice he’s given you, so far, to prepare for an NHL career?
Shane Eiserman: He has just said "enjoy the ride". Take everyday as a gift and work hard to where you want to get. Not to focus on the things you can’t control and just the things you can.

Lowry: You recently completed your first, week-long Prospects Development Camp with the Ottawa Senators’ organization. The camp included three first-round draft picks, over a dozen experienced AHL players, and three more with NHL experience. How would you compare your performance with these top players both on the ice and in off-ice strength and conditioning.
Eiserman: It was an awesome experience where I could see where I am at in my development. It was fast paced but something that will definitely benefit me throughout the upcoming season. I was on pace and really surprised myself out there.

Lowry: What personal goals have you set for your freshman season at UNH?
Eiserman: I want to be a contributor to the team and help win a National Championship by playing my hard, power forward type of game. I also want to learn new things from the coaching staff and older players.

Lowry: In past interviews, you’ve talked about growing up as a UNH hockey fan and how your godmother would give you UNH game tickets for Christmas. Are there any former (or current) UNH forwards who played a style similar to yours?
Eiserman: I'm not sure I can name someone that I play like but I know I can play the UNH hockey type of game. Strong, fast, and hard.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Eventful Offseason for UNH Recruit Nick Nonis

UNH Recruit Nick Nonis

The prep school hockey career of 18-year-old Nick Nonis (DOB: 12/19/95) ended on a bit of a down note in late February. The 2013-14, regular season record of Governor's Academy, located Byfield, Massachusetts, was 4-23-0. Nonis, a 6'3", 190 lbs. defenseman, was the team's captain in his senior year and he posted 6 goals and an assist in 27 games. Despite the team's losing record, the Boston Globe named Nonis an All Star in the Independent School League, a conference of 16 prep schools in the greater Boston area.

Defenseman Nonis Captained Governor's Academy
Nonis played four years at Governor's Academy under the tutelage of Coach Leon Hayward. He scored 7 goals and 8 assists in 84 varsity games. Back in June, 2013, when Nonis verbally committed to UNH, Coach Hayward offered these observations:
"Nick is a hardworking defenseman that has grown leaps and bounds during his time at Governor's. He played JV as a ninth grader, was our fifth defenseman as a sophomore and played a big role as our number two or three defenseman as an 11th grader...He was about five-feet-nine as a ninth grader and is now six-feet-three-inches. By the time he gets to UNH he could be a monster at about 220lbs...He has strong skating ability who will be a strong puck moving defenseman in college. He can defend and he'll have some offensive upside. Think Adam McQuaid, or Mark White for UNH fans."
In late May, a few days after Nonis graduated from Governor's Academy, the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League announced that he had committed to play for them in the 2014-15 season. Nick's hometown is Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. His Dad is Dave Nonis, the Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The elder Nonis, a native of Burnaby, British Columbia, worked for the Vancouver Canucks from 1998 to 2008, rising to the position of General Manager. Nick's familiarity with British Columbia was a factor in his decision to play for Powell River in the BCHL:
"I used to live out west when I was younger playing minor hockey in Delta, so I was familiar with the BCHL and the area and had heard of the Kings before. Then a former team mate of mine (at Governor's Academy), Ryan Scarfo played here last year and had nothing but good things to say about the team, the coaching staff and the town…he basically made my decision for me based on what he said about Powell River.”
Nick Nonis was eligible for the NHL Draft for the first time this June. Though he wasn't selected at the 2014 draft in Philadephia, he was invited by the Anaheim Ducks to participate in their Prospect Development Camp in early July. A highlight for Nonis came early in the scrimmage on the final day of camp. He knocked in a rebound for his squad's first goal of the game.

I had an opportunity to interview Nick, via email, about his experience at the Anaheim Ducks' camp, his background, and his commitment to UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): In early July, you were one of 13 free agents, along with 19 NHL draft picks, to participate in the Anaheim Ducks' Prospect Camp. What was it like to receive the invitation to an NHL camp?
Nick Nonis: It was incredible to have gotten an invitation like that. It felt rewarding to have so much hard work pay off. I was actually caught off guard at first when I got the call but it was very exciting.

Mike Lowry: In an interview at the Chicago Blackhawks' Prospect Camp, former UNH All-American defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk said: "It has been good to see where I am compared to the other guys who are entry-levels too. It is a measuring stick we can look to as the week goes on." How did your skills and performance at the Ducks' camp compare with the other prospects?
Nick Nonis: I think I held my own out there. It was definitely a huge jump in strength, speed and skill compared to prep hockey but I think I was able to adjust quickly and keep up with the other guys out there.

Lowry: You scored a goal in a scrimmage on the final day of camp. How would you describe the scoring play and goal?
Nonis: It was an odd man rush and I jumped in late. I saw a rebound pop out and I just tried to get it back at the net and it ended up going in.

Lowry: Last spring, you graduated from Governor's Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts and finished up a four-year career playing for Coach Leon Hayward. What did you learn from Coach Hayward?
Nonis: I learned a lot from Coach Hayward. From the time he started coaching me my sophomore year, he taught me to hold myself to a higher standard. He expected hard work above anything else. He didn’t only coach me to become a better hockey player, but to become a better all around person. Coach Hayward and Coach McDonnell helped me become a leader as captain my senior year.

Lowry: You recently announced your intention to play for the Powell River Kings in the BCHL next season. Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?
Nonis: As of now we haven’t agreed on a date. If not the 2015-16 season then the year after.

Lowry: What are the main reasons you chose to commit to UNH? What other college programs did you consider?
Nonis: There were a few reasons I chose UNH. I think the biggest reason was I like the big rural campus compared to one in a city or urban area. After seeing a few games at the Whit, I think I knew that's where I wanted to play college hockey. I had a few other options in Hockey East but it really came down to UNH or Northeastern.

Last weekend, Nick Nonis headed off to Powell River for the Kings' training camp. Fans can follow his progress all season long on The UNH Men's Hockey Blog.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Glenn Stewart and the Associate Coach Job at UNH

Glenn Stewart Seen Here as the Merrimack
College Associate Coach (Photo: The Mack Report)

U.S. Hockey Report has just tweeted that:
"Word around the rinks indicates Merrimack assoc. head coach Glenn Stewart will be taking the vacant UNH position. Stewart is a '94 UNH grad."
Glenn Stewart was the UNH Alternate Captain in the 1993-94 season. The UNH Associate Head Coach position recently became available when Jim Tortorella decided to leave behind (at least for now) a long and distinguished coaching career. Tortorella spent 9 years coaching high school hockey in Maine and was the Head Coach of Colby College for 10 years before coming to UNH for the 2011-12 season. He will become the COO at the Foundation House in Portland, Maine, an extended care program for individuals with alcohol and/or drug addiction.

Stewart's Coaching Experience

44-year-old Glenn Stewart (DOB: 7/30/1970), a native of Scarborough, Ontario, has been the Associate Coach, under Mark Dennehy, at Merrimack College for the last 5 years. The major highlight of Stewart's stint with Merrimack was the 2010-11 season. The Warriors advanced to the Hockey East Championship Game, where they lost by 2 to Boston College, and earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time since they joined Hockey East in 1989. Merrimack lost in overtime to Notre Dame in the opening round of the Northeast Regionals.

The 2010-11 Merrimack squad (Overall Record: 25-10-4) was lead by the scoring of future NHLer Stephane Da Costa and the goaltending of Joe Cannata. Just prior to the NCAA Tournament game, Head Coach Mark Dennehy praised Glenn Stewart, along with Assistant Coach Phil Roy, for their level of commitment to recruiting and coaching:
"(Recruiting's) a huge sacrific. My first thanks need to go to Phil’s wife Sonia and Glenn’s wife Bridget. It can put a lot of strain on a relationship and they both have young kids. It’s not easy. As a coach, it’s in your blood to want to get better and as a recruiter you want to be on the road recruiting the best talent you can. They probably don’t travel as much as they would like because I like to have them here for our games. Our commitment is always to the guys we have here. The level of commitment both of these guys have for our program … we wouldn’t be where we are now without them, I can tell you that.”
In his 5 seasons at Merrimack, Stewart worked primarily with the forwards. During his first 3 seasons, he also coached the Warriors penalty kill. He has been in charge of the power play for the last 2 seasons.

In the late summer of 2009, Stewart left his assistant coaching position at the University of Connecticut to join Coach Dennehy at Merrimack College. Stewart worked with Huskies' Head Coach Bruce Marshall for 5 years beginning in the 2004-05 season. At the time, UConn was still in the Atlantic Hockey Conference - they join Hockey East this season. Stewart was the recruiting coordinator during his last three years.

Stewart began his college coaching career at American International College which also is in the AHC. He was an Assistant Coach under Head Coach Gary Wright for one season (2003-04). Stewart was the recruiting coordinator and goalie coach.

Stewart's Playing Career

Long-time UNH fans fondly remember Glenn Stewart's playing days at UNH. Stewart played four full seasons which coincided with the last four years the Wildcats played at beloved Snively Arena. He played for Coach Dick Umile who had become the Head Coach at the beginning of the 1989-90 season. As a sophomore in the 1991-92 season, Stewart scored 15 goals and 11 assists in 37 games and earned the Most Improved Player Award. UNH advanced to the Hockey East Championship game that season but lost to Maine.

In his senior season at UNH (1993-94), Stewart was the Alternate Captain and boosted his scoring totals with 14 goals and 18 assists in 40 games. His UNH career totals of 51 goals and 51 assists earned him a place in the UNH Century Club.

Stewart a Prolific Scorer in Minor Pro Hockey
(Photo: Jeff Cook/Quad City Times)
Glenn Stewart's reputation as a prolific scorer was solidified during his 9-year professional career. In his first two years after UNH, he scored 74 goals with two different teams in the East Coast Hockey League.

In 1996, Stewart began a triumphant 4-year run with the Quad City Mallards in the old United Hockey League (UHL). "Stewie" - as the fans on the Iowa-Illinois border area called him - lead the Mallards to the UHL Championship in 1997 and 1998. They finished runner-up in 1999 and 2000.

In 251 games over four seasons with Quad City, Stewart posted an astonishing 218 goals and 211 assists. In January, 2013, the Mallards' organization invited Stewart to the iWireless Center on the bank of the Mississippi River to retire his #18 to the rafters.

Stewart was called up to the American Hockey League for 10 games in the 2000-01 season and 2 games in the 2001-02 campaign. He scored a couple goals and assists but his AHL career was short-lived. Interestingly, in his next-to-last season, Stewart was the Player Assistant Coach with the New Haven Knights. Stewart played his final season in 2002-03 with the Elmira Jackals of the UHL. In 7 UHL seasons, he compiled 312 goals and 338 assists in 428 games.

One last bit of trivia - From 1996 through 1999, Glenn Stewart played professionally in the Roller Hockey International League. He glided on inline skates in arenas from Anaheim to Vancouver to Long Island to Oklahoma and points in between. And yes, he was proficient at finding the back of the roller hockey net.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Meet Eric Esposito: UNH's Newest Recruit

15-year-old Eric Esposito

For the third time in as many months, a talented young player from a Connecticut prep school has verbally committed to the University of New Hampshire. 15-year-old Eric Esposito (DOB: 8/24/1998), a 5'11", 170 lbs. forward from West Haven, CT., has announced his commitment to UNH. Esposito recently completed a successful, freshman season at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT. In April, forward Joey Cipollone and defenseman Jake Ryczek of the South Kent School and Selects Hockey Academy also committed to play for the Wildcats.

Esposito posted some solid numbers in his first season at Loomis Chaffee. In 28 games, he scored 5 goals and added 6 assists. Among all freshmen in New England Prep School Hockey, he was tied for 7th in scoring. Loomis Chaffee won the 2014 New England Large Prep School Tournament Championship in early March. Eric's older brother Alex, a University of Vermont commit, was the team's second leading scorer.

Eric Esposito at Youngstown Phantoms' Tryout Camp
For Eric Esposito, helping Loomis Chaffee win its first hockey championship in school history was the first in a series of big events. In early May, the Youngstown Phantoms selected Esposito in the 16th Round of the Phase II USHL Draft. During the second week of June, he participated in the Phantoms' Tryout Camp in Youngstown, Ohio. While Esposito did not make Youngstown's 30-player roster, he was added to its Affiliate List. According to USHL rules, Youngstown retains the rights to Esposito and he could potentially "be added to (the) team’s active roster, play a limited number of games in a call-up situation, or will be looked upon to make the roster in future seasons."

Then, just last week, Eric competed in the USA Hockey Select 16 Player Development Camp outside of Buffalo. In 5 games, Esposito posted 2 goals and an assist. Jeff Cox, who covered the camp for SB Nation College Hockey, ranked Esposito as the 25th forward at the camp and provided this assessment:
"The recent Wildcat commit didn't have the greatest week statistically, but it's evident why Dick Umile and his staff like his potential. He has terrific patience waiting for the right time to pass and letting the play develop to his advantage. He sees the ice well and has nice speed. He occasionally tries to do too much with the puck, but that will improve as he continues to develop."
Last summer, Esposito participated in the Select 15 Player Development Camp and scored 2 goals and 5 assists in 5 games. Of the nearly 200 players at the camp, he finished tied for 6th in scoring.

Eric Esposito grew up playing youth hockey with the Connecticut Wolf Pack organization based in Cromwell, CT. In the 2012-13 season, the Wolf Pack Bantam Major team was ranked 11th in the country and competed in the USA Hockey Tier I 14U National Championship Tournament. Esposito was the team's second leading scorer with 41 goals and 31 assists in 76 games. Wolf Pack Coach Peter Alden provided this assessment of Esposito:
“Eric is a gifted puck-handler and really drives his team’s puck possession. He is a pure goal scorer and he has a very high upside as he continues to grow and mature. He has an excellent work ethic and in addition to his hockey ability, he is a really great kid.”
U.S. Hockey Report had this to say about Eric Esposito late in the 2012-13 season:
"Skilled forward will join his older brother at Loomis next season. The West Haven, Conn. native is very good with the puck on his stick; makes a lot of plays. Certainly has to get bigger, stronger, and faster in order to make an impact next season, but the skill level is certainly there."
Last fall, prior to the start of the NE Prep School season, Esposito played for the CT Wolf Pack U16 Midget Minor team. He posted 6 goals and 3 assists in 24 games.

Esposito began playing for the Wolf Pack as a Pee Wee. In early 2011, when he was 12 years old, he was selected to a Pee Wee All-Star team drawn from Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania. As the New York Pee Wee Rangers, the team travelled to Quebec City to compete in the Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament. It was coached by Doug Messier, father of Mark Messier. In the Championship Game against the Detroit Red Wings Pee Wee team, Eric scored the Pee Wee Rangers' second goal. The Pee Wee Rangers went on to win the Title Game 4-2. Of note, one of Esposito's teammates was recent UNH recruit Jake Ryczek.

I had an opportunity to interview Eric, via email, about his background, commitment to UNH, and future plans:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH?
Eric Esposito: Thank you. UNH was an easy pick for me. I was really intrigued by the coaching staff running the team at UNH. It seems they handle their business very professionally. Also the tradition of the school supporting the hockey team and getting a lot of peers at the games to cheer the players on. Also the past players to come out of the UNH program impressed me greatly.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering?
Eric Esposito: I was considering a couple other schools besides UNH including the University of Vermont and the University of Connecticut.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?
Esposito: A certain date for my incoming freshman year hasn't been determined exactly. Either 17' or 18' are both options the coaches and I have discussed, all depending on my development with in the next few years. Hopefully I can be there as son as possible.

Lowry: You recently completed a solid freshman season with the Loomis Chaffee School. Your 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) put you in a tie for 7th in scoring among all freshmen in New England Prep Hockey. At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?
Esposito: After my first season in the prep league, I definitely found some of the strengths of my game and other areas that I need to work on. I think I used my strength and speed pretty well while playing with some high end players throughout the season. Areas that I need to improve on would be my taking time and space away from the opposing players in angling and forechecking.

Lowry: Do you plan on returning to Loomis Chaffee to play next season?
Esposito: I will be returning to Loomis Chaffee next season for sure.

Lowry: After being drafted by the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL in May, you participated in their tryout camp last month and made the team's affiliate list. Do you think you'll be ready to make the jump to the USHL in the 2015-16 season?
Esposito: As for the following season, I will hopefully be ready to jump into the USHL. I'm preparing for the higher pace and level of intensity but can't say for sure where I will be that far ahead just yet.

Lowry: I noticed that you were a teammate of recent UNH recruit Jake Ryczek on the New York Pee Wee Rangers team that won the 2011 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. What was that experience like?
Esposito: I did play a pretty memorable tournament with Jake. I can honestly say that's my favorite memory growing up, winning a tournament that big at such a young age was crazy. All those fans, playing on that big of a stage was like nothing else.

Lowry: In your time at the Loomis Chaffee School, what have been your academic strengths?
Esposito: Loomis Chaffee was a huge change of pace academically. I'm challenged everyday with my studies but if there's a subject I believe I do best in it would have to be English. I hope to excel there more and more in next year as well.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Warren Foegele: NHL Prospect and Incoming UNH Freshman

Warren Foegele
DOB: 4-1-1996 Hometown: Markham, ON
Forward, 6'1", 182 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: 2-20-2013
"UNH has a very good and successful hockey program. Under Coach Umile’s direction the team has many achievements to its credit. The facilities are very modern and very functional. Hockey is very big at the school and also for the state of New Hampshire. It has always been an aspiration of mine to be a part of an elite Division 1 NCAA program and as of this year when UNH approached me things just fell right into place. With a great hockey and academic program, UNH couldn’t have been a better fit for me and I am extremely excited to be a part of such a prestigious program." from "UNH Recruit Profile: Warren Foegele", The UNH Men's Hockey Blog

Career Statistics

Player Season Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
Warren Foegele  (F) 2013-14 St. Andrew's College CISAA 14 17 6 23 15
Playoffs CISAA 5 5 4 9 10
St. Andrews College MPHL 13 12 17 29 14
Playoffs MPHL 3 6 5 11 2
2012-13 St. Andrew's College CISAA/MPHL 28 16 20 36 32
Playoffs CISAA/MPHL 8 5 7 12 10
2011-12 St. Andrew's College CISAA/MPHL 6 0 1 1 0
Playoffs MPHL 2 0 0 0 0
Markham Waxers ETAMinorMidget 28 10 8 18 38

2013-14 Highlight Reel

2014 NHL Draft

Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th.
Wells Fargo Center
Philadelphia, PA
NBC Sports/NHL Network

Early in the 2013-14 season, Warren Foegele had not been identified by NHL Central Scouting Service as a top draft prospect. However, by mid-season the CSS was so impressed by his play that Foegele was identified as the #62 ranked North American Skater.
~ September, 2013 - NHL CSS Preliminary Ones to Watch: Foegele not listed.
~ November, 2013 - NHL CSS Preliminary Players to Watch: Foegele not listed.
~ January, 2014 - NHL CSS Midterm Rankings: #62 North American Skater.
~ April, 2014 - NHL CSS Final Rankings: #66 North American Skater.

2014 NHL Combine:
119 of the top NHL prospects participated in the 2014 NHL Combine from May 26-31 in Toronto. The final day included over a dozen physical fitness tests.
Warren Foegele finished tied for 7th in Anaerobic Peak Power Output. Foegele also did very well in the jumping tests. He tied for 3rd in the Standing Long Jump, tied for 4th in Vertex Vertical Jump with No Pause, and tied for 6th in Vertex Vertical Jump with Pause.

Scouting Reports

"Some scouts have been buzzing about his (Warren Foegele) play of late, a fast-skating, hard-working, two-way left winger. Adding to the chatter is the fact he's one of those seeming 'come out of nowhere' kids who's playing at a level of hockey in Canada that doesn't usually attract many, if any, NHL scouts. Some scouts have wondered aloud whether Foegele may be this year's version of Mark Jankowski, the Calgary Flames' surprise first-round pick, 21st overall, in 2012 from Stanstead College in Quebec, who's now developing and playing well at Providence College." Bob McKenzie, TSN.
"A hard driving, good skating, get in the 'guts of the action' player who plays unselfishly and does the spade work for his team. Is just tapping into his potential and has great room to grow further and thus increase his impact." Craig Button, TSN Director of Scouting.
"It's easy to dismiss a good hockey player playing at a lower level as excelling because of inferior competition. But it's hard not to come away impressed with Warren Foegele of St. Andrews College. Passed over twice in the Ontario Hockey League draft, Foegele turned to the unlikely route of Ontario high school hockey. This late bloomer, who went from 5-8 as a minor midget to 6-1 today, is making some noise that will likely intensify as the draft nears. His impressive offensive numbers speak for themselves. But there's more to his game than numbers. He plays a full 200-foot game, working as hard defensively as offensively. Foegele has excellent speed with his long, strong stride. He has excellent puck skills and soft hands. His lower body strength is exceptional and he gets very low when he has the puck on his stick, making him tough to check. His grit/compete level is very high, and while he doesn't run players over, he does finish checks hard." Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report.
"He’s always been a talented player and I think that a couple of the attributes that come naturally to him, in terms of being really coachable and working hard, have served him well and he has improved a ton over the last couple of years. All of this is a credit to his determination and hard work and his coachability to continue to grow and learn to continue to be the best player he can be. He has been great to have as part of our program.” David Manning, Head Coach, St. Andrew's College.
"A smooth-skating offensive winger at the high school level. Able to use his speed and quickness to generate chances. Has soft hands and a strong shot, as well as solid vision and playmaking abilities. He’s the complete offensive threat. Thinks the game and reads the play well. Needs work on his shot release, and getting it off quicker and at different release points to continue success shooting at higher-level, more skilled puckstoppers. This kid makes you believe in him when you see him play as he works hard and is involved all over the ice. Not physical at all, turns away from the big hit and does not like the rough stuff too much.” Future Considerations Draft Guide.
"A strong bow legged skater, he boasts exceptional straight ahead speed and plays his wing with efficiency as he operates well playing a north-south game.. tenacious and aggressive in his puck pursuit, he is brash down low and hurls his body at the opposition .. offensive zone hockey sense and creativity come into question as he has a difficult time stick handling.. does a formidable job of getting pucks on goal at all times .. uses his speed to attack scoring lanes as he elects to go through players rather than around them .. shot is hard and heavy, with a better snap shot than slap shot .. defensive game is a work in progress, hustles to get back but effort level is sporadic.” McKeen's Draft Guide.

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