The last article we put out made a lot of waves on the message boards, so let's see if we can't get some more debate going with this little piece. If anything, we might be able to answer some of your questions and concerns. The biggest question not addressed in the last article was our ability to recruit top athletes and be competitive in the NCAA.
A lot of folks are worried that if
we did in fact end up implementing hockey, would we be able to be competitive in
recruiting and on the ice. The answer is simply, yes. There are a lot of
excellent young hockey players and there are not enough Division 1 teams to go
The young boys who began their
hockey careers when hockey was considered the fastest growing sport in America
in the mid 1990's are now reaching college age and are ready to play. That,
coupled with a much improved developmental hockey programs in the
US make for a plethora of talent just
begging for a team to play with.
Most of our ability to obtain top
talent depends on the staff composed to recruit them. Our current staff has done
a splendid job getting the best young players available to play without
scholarships. Cyclone Hockey went from a team mostly comprised of straight out
of high school players just a few years ago to a team made up mostly of Tier 1
Junior or Junior B players and some elite high school
Think about throwing the
opportunity to play Division 1 hockey on a scholarship at one of the finest
schools in the Midwest. Also think about
selling the opportunity to be the cornerstones of a Division 1 hockey program.
Coach Mike Kemp of University of Nebraska-Omaha joked that when he began
recruiting, he was recruiting "smoke." ISU would have to do essentially the
UNO had no facilities and no
tradition to sell. They had no home rink or uniforms yet either. But Kemp was
able to put a team together that 12-18-3 including a sweep of national power
1997-98. Not too shabby for a team just starting out. They joined the CCHA, one
of the best conferences in the nation and within 2 years made it to their
conference tournament final. UNO has remained a contender in the conference and
have gained notoriety around the NCAA for their outstanding fan attendance and
Now if Nebraska-Omaha can recruit
top quality players including several who have made the jump to the AHL or NHL
(two of Kemp's former players are currently on the Iowa Stars roster),
State certainly could.
Iowa State is a Big 12 school with a rich
tradition scholastically and athletically. It's a big campus with a sound social
scene and a sports crazy student body. The school offers diverse majors and a
great college environment. It's why many of the players on the current roster
claim that they came to Iowa State over other
Division 1 College hockey is known
for its ability to produce players who are excellent students. That is mainly
because the majority of the coaches in the nation stress academics first. Almost
all share the philosophy that good, smart students make good, smart hockey
College hockey players are also
known for their community involvement. Coach Kemp stated that he is most proud
of the fact that a lot of the players from his first few years at UNO have
stayed in Omaha
post graduation and are active within the community and university. One of the
things Iowa State wants to focus on is keeping students within the
state of Iowa.
Wouldn't it be nice for some of their student athletes to lead the way in that
From a hockey standpoint,
State could make a name for
itself in the sport very quickly. A lot has to happen before Jamie Pollard will
consider such a move, but it is a move to be talked about. At my last count, the
Cyclone Nation message board had 45 posts…about hockey! People were weighing in
from all angles. There were supportive and negative posts. Good hearted and
spirited debate is what we need on this topic and that is what we are getting
Is Iowa ready for this? Is Iowa State ready for this? I think that the
answer is yes. Coach Kemp agrees and the junior hockey coaches around Iowa agree. Despite the
fact that Iowa State would be a competitor to both in recruiting and
attendance respectively, both parties want to see hockey at Iowa State.
The late Herb Brooks, former
coach and 1980 Olympic coach wanted to see it happen as well. Coach Al Murdoch
told me that Brooks was talking about us making the jump not long before his
untimely death just a few years ago. One could wonder what would have happened
had a big name like Brooks come in here and made his case.
In any event, the decision belongs
State. The administration,
the financial supporters, and the fans will all have to figure out if this is a
topic worthy of looking into further. Nonetheless, people are talking about
hockey, and that's all you can ask for.
Next Week: We look at the here and
now of Iowa
CYCLONE HOCKEY MID SEASON
The Cyclones currently sit at
17-6-1 overall and are ranked #6 in the nation.
In CSCHL Conference play, The
Cyclones are 5-4-1 and sit in 5th Place.
Jayson Peterson leads the team
with 20 goals and 12 assists for 32 Points
Jason Brown leads the team in
assists with 23, he has 30 points (2nd on team)
Peter Majkozak leads all rookies
with 27 points including 17 goals.