The top 10 schools that should join Arizona State in going D1

Penn State has been an early D1 success (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times/MCT via Getty Images)

Ever since Arizona State announced that its successful ACHA club team would be making the leap to Division 1 hockey, coach Greg Powers has been fighting a war against his inbox. See, every time the Sun Devils bench boss finishes reading an email, five or six more pop up. Powers has received about 600 emails in the past day from potential recruits, family advisors (ie agents) and other ACHA coaches who want to know how his school did it.

“We expected it was going to be big news,” Powers said. “I’ve been pushing Arizona State as the most unique college hockey experience in the country for four years.”

Arizona State has national name recognition thanks to it affiliation in other sports with the Pac-12 conference, it’s a huge school (80,000 students) and it has that great Southwestern climate to boast. The Sun Devils also had a nice model in Penn State, a similar school (minus the weather) that went from the ACHA to Division 1 just a few years ago and is already thriving in the newly-formed Big Ten conference.

“Penn State is awesome,” Powers said. “Their blueprint for success has worked. It’s real, you can do it. We did it.”

In fact, when the Nittany Lions were in their transition season, they hosted Powers’ Arizona State team and the Sun Devils came away with a win. The victory put the school on the map and that’s when the rumblings began in the greater Phoenix area.

So if other club-level schools are calling Powers, we may not be done yet with college expansion in the near future. But which schools would bring the most buzz with them? Here’s a top 10 based on national prominence, geographical uniqueness (so if your state already has a team, too bad) and conference links, if any. As a bonus, I’ve included young local players from each area.

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Tim Bozon’s fight back from meningitis to get back on the ice

Tim Bozon

By Marty Hastings

Like any NHL prospect, Tim Bozon spent his off-season training hard for 2014-15. This summer, however, the road to a new season has been particularly long for the 20-year-old third-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens.

After all, it wasn’t until June that he skated for the first time since falling ill in March and losing nearly a quarter of his bodyweight. His mother, Hélène, brought an iPad to the rink to film his return to the ice. “If you think about three months ago, when he was laying down like a dead boy,” she said, “if someone told you he could be on the ice in June, probably I would not believe them.” Read more

Stop the hypocrisy. Connor McDavid fighting is exactly what we want

Jason Kay
Connor McDavid (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The hypocrites have taken over the asylum.

Connor McDavid gets hurt in a fight and there’s a groundswell of finger-waving, tongue-cluckers wondering why the most talented player in junior hockey is trading knuckle sandwiches with someone he should be battling on NHL 15.

Seriously? This is exactly what we want. Minus the broken/fractured/bruised metacarpal, of course.

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Junior phenom Connor McDavid injured in a fight that’s indefensible

Adam Proteau
Connor McDavid (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Everyone with a cognitive apparatus in reasonable working condition should know by now that anyone who tells you nobody gets hurt in a hockey fight is not telling the truth. The latest example proving those people to be liars came Tuesday night when OHL superstar Connor McDavid suffered an apparent right hand injury in the first real fight of his burgeoning career.

McDavid’s Erie Otters were taking on the Mississauga Steelheads when, after the whistle, McDavid and Steelheads center Bryson Cianfrone decided to fight. By the end of it, McDavid was the worse for wear, leaving the ice holding his right hand gingerly in his left and subsequently heading to the hospital for x-rays. Read more

Riley Dunda out to prove everyone wrong on road to recovery

The Hockey News
Riley Dunda (Glen Cuthbert)

By Glen Cuthbert

When Riley Dunda received a tweet from his favorite hockey player, naturally he was excited. He just wished it were under better circumstances.

The tweet was a message of support from Mike Richards of the Los Angeles Kings, wishing him a speedy recovery and letting him know that Richards and the rest of the Kings were thinking of him. Riley, an 19-year-old Jr. A forward with the Hamilton Red Wings, is recovering from a stroke he suffered in early May, one that set in motion a chain of events that left his family marvelling at the amount of support from the hockey community. Read more

11-year-old Japanese hockey star will put your hands to shame

Jared Clinton
Aito Iguchi

Before they were stars, the likes of Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, and, now, Connor McDavid were all labeled the same way. They were prodigies, waiting to explode onto the scene.

It was somewhat expected, however. North American kids excelling at a largely North American game isn’t too shocking. But this is.

Take a look at Iguchi Aito, the 11-year-old Japanese hockey prodigy, who plays like a man ten years his senior: Read more