The Inagural CN Cyclone Hockey Report

Welcome to the first ever edition of the Cyclone Hockey report on CycloneNation.com. It is my pleasure to bring you all of the news and happenings in the world of Cyclone Hockey from now until the end of the season. This is where you can find all of the inside info about what's happening on and off the ice. So let's get to it.

There is a common misconception floating around about Iowa State's varsity hockey program that needs to be set straight. Iowa State Cyclone Hockey is not a club team. It is no longer sponsored by ISU's Government of the Student Body (GSB). The team is now under control of the university itself, but does not fall under the Athletics Department. This is legitimate college hockey, played by legitimate and esteemed players.

 

While the team is not a member of the NCAA, it falls under another governing body which is rapidly growing on a national level. The Cyclones belong to the American Collegiate Hockey Association. It is comprised of three tiers that have teams at nearly every major university without a hockey team in the NCAA. The Cyclones are and have always been in Division 1. There are just over 50 teams at this level with hundreds more in the Division 2 and 3 levels.

 

Really the only difference between the ACHA and the NCAA is that ACHA schools are not allowed to award scholarships to its players, much like the schools in the Ivy League. So if you wanted to call it anything, you should probably call it non-scholarship college hockey.

 

Most of the players in the league have played junior hockey, which is typically what players do when their high school careers have ended. Most NCAA teams will not even look at players until they have played at least two years of junior hockey. If you've ever seen a Des Moines Buccaneers, Waterloo Black Hawks, or Cedar Rapids Rough Riders game, then you've seen a game at the highest level of junior hockey.

 

Almost the entire Cyclone hockey team is made up of former junior players. Some even played in the highly touted USHL that boasts the Bucs, Black Hawks, and Rough Riders. In fact, Brent Cornelius, a freshman from Fairbanks, Alaska was part of the Cedar Rapids team that won the Clark Cup (USHL Championship) in 2004. Roch Naert , a freshman from Urbandale was part of last year's champion Des Moines Buccaneers. Both now call Ames/ISU Ice Arena home.

 

Just to give you a gauge on how good the competition in the USHL is, you can look to last year's NHL draft and see that the 7th pick was Des Moines Buccaneer, now New York Islander prospect, Kyle Okposo; and his teammate, Trevor Lewis now belongs to the Los Angeles Kings as the 17th overall pick.

 

Not all of the Cyclones come from the USHL, but many come from leagues just like it. The team has had players from all over the world don the Cardinal and Gold sweater, this year bringing in Christian Johannson all the way from Goteberg, Sweden. Not to mention all of the U.S. wide talent. There are players from Minnesota, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, and even Kansas for goodness sake.

 

They are led by Dr. Alan Murdoch, who has been the coach for 38 years now compiling nearly 900 victories, tops in the ACHA. The end of season trophy awarded to the winner of the ACHA National Tournament is called the Murdoch Cup which the team won in 1992. The Cyclones also have one of the longest streaks of consecutive national tournament bids going right now. So the program is ripe with tradition; a winning tradition that has seemed to elude some of our other athletic programs.

 

Last season the team finished with a record of 34-9-2 and recorded a 6th place finish at nationals. Currently they are 5-1 and gaining momentum as the Cyclones are now ranked fifth nationally. After recruiting heavily and bringing in one of the most talented freshman classes ever, the team is soaring. They are making huge steps towards becoming a major player in the Iowa State sports world.

 

The team currently has its own TV show on ISUtv, all of their games broadcasted over the web for free, and a steadily rising attendance rate. Not bad for a team that is not officially a part of the Iowa State Athletic Department. It's only a matter of time before Cyclone Hockey explodes to an all new level. As Coach Murdoch would say, "Man Alive! It's a great time to be a Cyclone Hockey fan!"

 

Coming up next week: Who are these kids? The team, the coaches, and staff that bring exciting hockey action to Ames. Also, results from next weekend's series at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

 

 

 

 


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