Big Ten ignites firestorm of controversy in NCAA hockey

Ryan Kennedy
Future Oiler Andrew Miller (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

It’s the hottest and most controversial argument buzzing around college hockey right now: the Big Ten proposal to bring down the age limit of incoming freshmen, something pundits and opposing coaches believe would hurt them, while helping that one power conference. Simply put, the legislation put forth to the NCAA could change the college hockey world and will certainly confront the community to examine what it wants to be.

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Prospect Need to Know: Jack LaFontaine is a hidden draft gem in net

Jack LaFontaine (photo courtesy of the NAHL)

The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau released its latest Watch List today for the 2016 draft and there have been a bunch of movers. This is not surprising, since the early September edition was largely speculative and now the prospects actually have a good sample size of games under their belts, but it is interesting to monitor nonetheless. Also, as I first reported the other day, top 2016 prospect Auston Matthews will return to the ice for Zurich tomorrow in a Swiss Cup game against Ambri-Piotta. Here’s a look at what else is going on in the prospect world:

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North Dakota finally gets new nickname after more than three years

Jared Clinton
Connor Gaarder of Univeristy of North Dakota celebrates a goal at the Frozen Four. (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The University of North Dakota nickname saga has finally come to an end. After three years without an official team name, more than one year of work by committees and multiple public votes, the school has officially adopted the moniker ‘Fighting Hawks.’

UND president Robert Kelley announced the new team name Wednesday in a press conference, which was the culmination of a public vote that saw more than 27,000 votes cast in order to select the Fighting Hawks nickname. With 57 percent of the vote, the name beat out the alternative, Roughriders, in the final of three public votes.

When asked about the nickname, men’s hockey coach Brad Berry said he doesn’t want it to impact the culture that has been built by the team over the past several seasons. “I know we’re North Dakota, now we’re the Fighting Hawks,” Berry told the Grand Forks Herald. “We want to make sure nothing changes in our group. That’s about winning games and trying to hang banners. We want to make sure that remains in tact.” Read more

Prospect Need to Know: Julien Gauthier gets us pumped up

Julien Gauthier  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Can you sense it, folks? It’s almost world juniors time. Sure, the tournament is a month and a half away, but players need to be making impressions on national team brass all the time and for Canadian hopefuls, the CHL-Russia Super Series can be a big boost – just as Lawson Crouse, who caught eyes last year and turned his efforts into gold.

So far, Russia has been blanked, losing all four games to the WHL and OHL. Now it’s the QMJHL’s turn to defend home turf. One player honored with that duty is in our spotlight today. Let’s take a whirl around the world of prospects.

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Prospect Need to Know: Chad Krys has been golden for Team USA

Chad Krys at the All-American Prospects Game (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)

It’s a busy time in the prospect world with several events wrapping up and others just beginning. In this week’s Prospect Need to Know wrap, I’ll shed the spotlight on players from the World Under-17 Challenge, the Five Nations under-18 tourney and Four Nations under-20 showdown. So we’re getting into all the age brackets today. Also, the CHL-Russia Super Series kicked off, with the WHL taking Game 1 for the major junior side. That’s a series to watch for the next 10 days, as Canada’s world junior scouts will be grading carefully.


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Prospect Need to Know: Carter Hart makes his crease case for 2016

Everett's Carter Hart  (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

It’s been a controversial week in the prospect world, as the CHL-NCAA talent war reached DEFCON 1. First, Toronto pick Jeremy Bracco departed Boston College for OHL Kitchener, then days later Carolina prospect Warren Foegele jetted from New Hampshire for OHL Kingston. This didn’t sit well with social media’s college boosters, but in the end it’s up to the players. As for Kingston, the Frontenacs just traded for Maple Leafs pick Stephen Desrocher, who won a Memorial Cup with Oshawa last year. He’ll add size and a big shot to the blueline of a team clearly going for it all. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the world of prospects right now.


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Exclusive: Leafs pick Jeremy Bracco on leaving Boston College

Ryan Kennedy
Brendan Shananan welcomes Jeremy Bracco (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The talent battle between the NCAA and CHL has another lightning rod, as right winger Jeremy Bracco has left Boston College to play for the Ontario League’s Kitchener Rangers. Bracco, a small but ultra-skilled Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, was drafted in the second round this summer by the Buds and had just begun his freshman campaign with the NCAA’s Eagles.

So why did he jump to the Rangers?

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Goaltender Ryan Ruck makes insane blocker save in second career NCAA game

Jared Clinton
Ryan Ruck catches a one-timer with his blocker. (via CJZero/YouTube)

Before the season began, there were some netminders who were obvious potential candidates for save of the year. For instance, one could have expected the Canadiens’ Carey Price, Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and Predators’ Pekka Rinne to make more than a few marvellous saves this campaign.

One name who wouldn’t have been considered, though, is Northeastern University netminder Ryan Ruck. But it just so happens Ruck has put his name squarely in the conversation for the best stop of the season. Honestly, the stop is so good it could easily beat out some of the best stops from the NHL this season.

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