Following the end of last season, the ECAC’s member institutions announced that they had indeed completed the move that many had anticipated for many years. They formed their own hockey league, one that is administratively independent from the much larger intercollegiate athletic organization that governs more than 200 schools up and down the eastern seabord.
With a new emphasis exclusively on hockey, this league will have few outward changes to the fans. Except below the surface, the changes are great. The hockey league has moved from the ECAC’s corporate headquarters in Centerville, Mass. to new office space inside the Pepsi Arena in Albany. Steve Hagwell, who had served as the associate commissioner in charge of hockey for the ECAC serves as the acting commissioner of this new league. And former Cornell director of athletic communications Laura Stange is the assistant commissioner charged with supervising the biggest part of this new, separate league — marketing and communications.
Vermont Takes a Bow
When Vermont announced midway through last season that this year would be its last as a member of the ECAC, few were surprised. Vermont just doesn’t fit the profile of the typical ECAC team. Of the 12 teams in the league this year, six are Ivy League members, four are Division III schools. Then there’s Colgate, which fits pretty closely with the profile of the Ivies. And then there’s Vermont, which is a large state school that shares a basketball conference with most members of the Hockey East Conference. The move makes sense. Next year’s addition of Quinnipiac to the ECACHL, however, is a head-scratcher.
Ride the Coaching Carousel
Several ECACHL hockey teams and Ivy League basketball teams enter the 2004-05 season with a new man at the helm. Some of these changes were high-profile, while others slid under the radar. Still, it will be quite interesting to see how it all plays out.
Princeton was struck most by the winds of change. After winning the Ivy League title last year in basketball, John Thompson III packed it up and took the head coaching job at Georgetown, where his father roamed the sidelines so long with so much success. He was replaced by another alum in former Air Force coach Joe Scott.
On the ice, the Tigers replaced Thompson’s classmate Len Quesnelle with Guy Gadowsky. Harvard alum and former NHL star Ted Donato also makes his return to the ECACHL this season as the new head coach at his alma mater. Donato was widely popular as the captain of the 1991 NCAA champion Crimson, but has no coaching experience on any level. This will surely be a year of adjustment for Donato and his charges.
At Dartmouth, Terry Dunn was hired on May 13 to replace Dave Faucher after 13 years as men’s basketball head coach. Several dismal seasons sealed Faucher’s fate and ended the longest tenure of any coach in Dartmouth history.
The coaching change that got the most attention, though, was the one that didn’t happen. During the summer, Penn basketball coach Fran Dunphy had a lengthy — and ultimately fruitless — flirtation with his alma mater LaSalle. However, he did opt to stay at Penn, which made for many happy people in West Philadelphia.
There’s the coaches’ polls, the media polls, and now, for the first time, there’s a fan poll. In the inaugural ECACHL fan poll, the Cornell men and Harvard women were picked to finish first. No surprise there — those are the most dominant teams in their respective leagues.
Archived article by Sun Staff