POTSDAM A renovation project at SUNY Potsdams Maxcy Hall Ice Arena has some members of the SUNY Potsdam mens hockey team reliving old times on the ice.
The mens team is conducting practices this season at Clarkson Universitys Cheel Arena, a building that holds fond memories for Bears coach Chris Bernard, a former Clarkson goalie who graduated in 1998.
Its a little surreal, said Bernard, who was a backup for the Golden Knights. It really hit me at a practice last Saturday. I dont think Ive skated on this ice very often since Ive graduated, let alone on a Saturday. It was a (Clarkson) game day. It had special feel, I think, for me. I was the first guy on the ice skating around, just kind of taking it all in. There were some memories flooding back.
Another member of the program who can reminisce about his new practice site is freshman goalie Jon Hall, a Dexter native who was a key factor in Thousand Islands winning the Section 10 Division II championship there in 2008.
Its a lot of fun to be in Cheel, Hall said. Its a great arena and I remember playing here in the Section 10 championship a few years back.
SUNY Potsdam, which is coming off an 8-16-2 overall record and a 6-10 record in the SUNYAC, may be practicing at Cheel Arena, but the Bears games will take place at the Massena Arena.
Some coaches might look at traveling 20-to-30 minutes by bus to every home game as an inconvenience, but Bernard sees an opportunity.
It gives us a chance to cultivate a potential new fan base by being (Massenas) adopted hometown team for one year, Bernard said. I think it gives us a chance to connect with them in the hopes that when our renovation program is done we have a new audience that comes to Maxcy Hall.
The memories of Massena Arena arent as good for Hall, who squared off against Massenas Division I state championship team in 2008.
They were always a good team, Hall said. We took quite a few beatings up there. Its a great barn. They always had good fans up there. Hopefully we can get some fan support.
The one-year inconvenience is tempered by the fact that Bernard has a new place to sell to recruits.
Were really blessed to think were going to have an opportunity to play in a building that is really second-to-none in (NCAA) Division III, Bernard said of Potsdams new facility. Its not only the ice surface, and the locker rooms, and the state-of-the-art nature those are going to be, but couple it with the Maxcy Hall facility. Its a showpiece that we are starting to see pay dividends now, with recruits from this class, and classes that continue in the future.
The Bears were picked to finish sixth out of nine teams in the SUNYAC preseason poll.
Preseason polls dont mean a whole lot, Bernard said. Its an indication that people have a degree of respect for us and arent going to take us lightly. Being positioned where we are gives us a chance to have motivation to say we think were capable of a whole lot more. Last year, we were competitive with everybody. We had a couple of one-goal games with (SUNY) Plattsburgh and (SUNY) Oswego. We narrowed the gap.
PREVIEW: DIVISION III COLLEGE HOCKEY
SUNY Potsdam Bears
Coach: Chris Bernard (4th year).
2011-12 records: 8-16-2 overall (6-10 SUNYAC).
Roster: Jon Hall (Fr. G), Kevin OConnor (So. D), Max Fogel (So. D), Kevin Carpenter (Jr. D), Nick Avgerinos (Jr. D), Ryan Miller (So. F), Matt Viola (Sr. F), Adam Place (Jr. F), Billy Pascalli (Fr. F), Ken Simon (So. F), Dan McCarney (So. D), Jake Rivera (Fr. F), Mike Arnold (Jr. F), Matt Thompson (Fr. F), Zach Blake (So. F), Brad Campagna (Fr. D), Mike Riley (Fr. F), Brett Waters (Sr. D), Vinny Buttitta (So. F), Todd Thomas (Fr. F), Erick Ware (So. D), Austin Keiser (Fr. G), Andy Groulx (Sr. G), Shane Talarico (Jr. G), Trevor Cope (So. F).
SUNY Canton Kangaroos
Coach: Carl Michaelson (first year).
2011-12 record: 29-2-3.
Outlook: SUNY Canton is beginning its transition to the NCAA Division III level this year and will play mostly NCAA teams this season after playing against mostly club teams in the past. The Kangaroos have 17 games against NCAA competition, two against NAIA teams and seven against club squads. SUNY Canton also has a new coach in Carl Michaelson, who was hired shortly before the season began. SUNY Canton returns five of its top 10 scorers from last year, six defensemen and two regular goalies.
Roster: Cory Giczewski (Jr. D), Matthew Stewart (Fr. D), J.R. Lafferty (So. D), Kristian Leach (Fr. F), Nils Semionovs (Fr. F), Vance Bridgman (Fr. F), Trevor Wight (So. F), Eric Richard (Jr. F), Joe Casale (Fr. F), Dave Schneider (So. F), Dave Ferris (S. D), James Kane (So. F), Greg Kmiotek (So. D), Bill Ousey (So. F), Corey Frizelle (Sr. F), Jordan Grimsley (Fr. F), Sean Gallagher (So. D), George Curry (Fr. F), Chris Giczewski (Sr. F), Shaun Foster (Fr. D), Brad Wilson (Sr. D), Austin Root (So. F), John Payne (Sr. F), Jake Ranahan (Fr. F), Michael Pittman (Jr. G), Morgan Barr (So. G), Luis Puig (Fr. G), Saylor Preston (Fr. F), Taylor Pickering (Fr. D).
SUNY Potsdam Bears
Coach: Jay Green (6th year).
2011-12 record: 12-10-3 overall (7-8-3 ECAC West).
Outlook: The Bears won their first playoff game in the short history of their program last year. SUNY Potsdam lost several of its top scorers, however, including two Annmarie Lewis and Breanna Roy who rank near the top in career points. Jenn Crawford, who scored 10 goals with 11 assists, is the top returning forward for the Bears. One of the newcomers at forward is Clarkson transfer Amanda Lucky and her sister, Brittany, a defenseman, is a team captain.
Roster: Jen Conophy (Sr. G), Heather Silcott (Fr. D), Sarah Nelson (Fr. F), Kakia Ashley (Fr. F), Katie Komsa (Sr. D), Brittany Lucky (Jr. D), Amanda Lucky (Jr. F), Emilee Hazelden (So. F), Brittany Westlake (Sr. D), Nadine Cunningham (Sr. D), Katie Marsman (Fr. D), Alexandra Holowka (So. F), Izzy Fayerman (So. F), Kristen Domanski (Fr. D), Rachel Grefke (Fr. F), Sally Mooney (Fr. F), Natasha Allen (Fr. F), Jenn Crawford (Jr. F), Dawna Salvarinas (Jr. G).
SUNY Canton Kangaroos
Coach: Melissa Lomanto (first year).
2011-12 record: Club team.
Outlook: The Kangaroos begin their initial season with a small roster, but a roster that includes several area athletes. Five of the Kangaroos are former Northern Athletic Conference athletes and another, Keri Dempsey, is a transfer from SUNY Potsdam.
Roster: Victoria Taylor (Fr. G), Gracy Lyon (Fr. F), Caty Darling (Jr. D), Keri Dempsey (Fr. D), Isreal Tyler (Fr. F/D), Stephanie Hyde (Fr. D), Heather Richards (So. D), Devyn Hutcheson (So. F), Steph Kushnir (Fr. F), Alyssa Altschuler (Fr. G), Robyn Carroll (Fr. F), Karley Cree (Fr. F).