Men's Hockey Signs Defenseman

Officially the Providence hockey team inked one player during the recent signing period. This would be 6'3 215 pound defenseman Marc Fayne. Coach Tim Army was extremely pleased to land a defenseman of this caliber.

Fayne should be able to slot into the spot currently held by senior defenseman James Pemberton. Coach Army pointed to Fayne's size and mobility as qualities that will make him a defenseman who can play in every situation shortly after he acclimates himself to Division 1 hockey. Army also felt Fayne has "great athletic ability, good hockey mechanics and range". As evidenced by the fact he has been drafted (5th round) by the New Jersey Devils he plays a physical game. Currently Fayne is enrolled at Nobles and Greenough and is an excellent student and fits nicely into the type of character player Coach Army wishes to bring in. Providence had to beat out the University of Massachusetts and Boston University for his services.

Beyond talking about Fayne Coach Army was limited due to the rules regarding speaking about recruits before they sign National Letters of Intent. However in speaking in general terms Tim's goal is to have the class of 2010 in place by Christmas. In this day and age of internet news its fairly common knowledge PC got a verbal last spring from a forward named Greg Collins. Nothing Tim said would indicate he is moving toward a fallback plan so it's a safe bet this player will be at PC next fall. I'll explain the situation Collins most likely falls into below. Collins is doing a post graduate year at Salisbury Prep, which is a highly rated program. Before that he played for former Friar Larry Rooney at Thayer Academy and on the same line as current PC freshman Pierce Norton. Collins has good size for a forward whose strength is his quickness. It is the quickness which will make him most appealing to PC.

In discussing his general goals Army said his vision is to find players in this class who will make the team better in several areas, one of which is the quickness to execute his offensive system. Size and strength are another area. He also wants this class to be a symbol of the direction he is taking the program as he puts his stamp on the program.

There has been a recent flurry of recruiting activity as noted by those who attended the BU game and saw a bevy of recruits (5 by my count). Now that the Prep hockey season has begun and Tim and his assistants can get some game looks at several players. Once they have done that Coach Army said the pieces are expected to fall into place to fill out next year's class. The goal would be to add 5 players mostly likely shaping up as 3 forwards and 2 defensemen. Tim mentioned how his assistants (in particular he singled out Coach Moore) have spent considerable amounts of time watching the various Canadian junior leagues which have all been playing for a couple of months now. Therefore I would not be surprised to see us land at least one Canadian, most likely a quick forward.

I'll give a little primer on hockey recruiting as best as I understand it. A fully allocated program (which Hockey East requires its members on the men's side to be) has 18 scholarships to offer. In essence that does not even field a full team as 20 players dress for every game and it is common for teams to have 5 to 10 spare players. Therefore teams often times split scholarships. The most common appears to be where the player gets two years of athletic money. Tim actually spent time explaining this to me so that is why I feel a player like Greg Collins is in the fold. Not having children going to college I have not dealt with Fasfa's etc myself, but the general idea is that if a school is not going to give a player a full four year ride, the player customarily does not get the athletic money till his third and fourth years. The first two years they apply for financial aid to help offset the cost. The bottom line though is if a player who is only getting a partial signs a letter he loses the benefit of getting the financial aid money and the money he does get counts to the athletic scholarship totals. The result most likely is the program goes over it limits.

So in part a coach's philosophy on building a team will dictate how many full scholarships and how many partials he wants to hand out. Some coaches favor getting as many of the top players as possible then filling in with players on financial aid. Most likely these are state schools or schools you find having shorter rosters. The key, since over the course of a 37-45 game schedule a team will dip fairly deep into their roster, is that a clever coach will find sufficient players with enough talent where (in our case) the player fits into PC culture and the financial situation works for the family. When a coach is good at it the team is able to build depth.

Now a large part thus rests with a coach doing the digging for these players. I know the Ivy League example of financial aid from 1 school to another should be the same since it is based on the same need rules. Thus if I understand this situation correctly pretty much the financial aid packages between other schools should also be comparable. The difference is the cost of the school.

With Coach Army being able to divulge so little I will venture a few guesses on what to expect over the next couple of weeks. I'm guessing we have one more full scholarship to give and I suspect it is reserved for the best offensive threat we can find. The third forward we want I would suspect would be a big guy roughly of Nate Meyer's ability. Likewise I would think we would bring in a young defenseman who will have upside over the next couple of years but who is recruited because he has size. The will counter the two small defensemen in the present freshman class.

Beyond that work already has begun on getting recruits for the 2007-08 season. Again internet knowledge being what it is, it is already fairly common knowledge PC has landed a top flight goalie for this class. His name is Ryan Simpson and from what has been written he is one of the top goalies available. He has good size at 6'1 190 lbs. He is presently playing for the NH Monarchs and is expected to remain there next year. Based on the discussion I had with Tim regarding balancing classes and the financial situation I now believe he is going to be a member of the '07-08 recruiting class. This belief was also supported by the vote of confidence Army gave present freshman goalie Steve Ritter while we were talking about the current team.

In a large number of cases most hockey recruits are entering college at least one extra year removed from high school. Except for some small blackout times (for instance during the signing period) a coach can make contact with these players. Thus schools often are able to build a large portion of their recruiting class 2 years hence. The rule specifically is that as of July 1 following a player's junior year in high school recruitment can begin. So in Ryan Simpson's case he is presently a high school senior so even though he has decided to play another year of juniors he can be recruited now. Now the level that Tim would like to get PC to is so that players younger then the seniors want to visit PC on their own and then make early commitments before they can be openly recruited. Right now the BC program is at that level. For example Steve Rooney's son accelerated his studies so he never had a senior year in high school. He committed to BC before his junior season began. Another case in point is a recruit BC has lined up for the '07-08 class, Brian Gibbons. He committed this past spring while still a sophomore. Essentially he if off the market before another school can make its official pitch. I bring this case up because of several factors that would have made PC a possibility. Gibbons played on the U-17 team where Coach Berard was assistant, he played at Thayer coached by Larry Rooney, he was linemates with the aforementioned Greg Collins and present Friar Pierce Norton. His decision came before PC had hired Tim Army. What Coach Army feels is changing is that the word is out that Providence is a different place now, and like BC and UNH, Providence now has a system that is exciting to play in.

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