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Jeff Cox seems to think it'll be Eric Lang from AIC. I love this if true, dude has worked miracles at AIC, back to back 20 win seasons with one of college puck's historically worst programs, leaves no stone unturned w/r/t recruiting (really heavily recruited in Europe). Slight VT connection as he played for (and was a grad assistant to) UVM alum/former Rice coach/Burly native Gary Wright at AIC

Agree. Would be a very strong hire...would be interested to hear who the other 2 finalists were if that manages to get out somewhere. Hopefully Schulman can bring this across the finish line soon. Would be super shitty to have this info get out, be wrong, and then there is a stumbling block, which is why I'd really want to know a backup plan because this sounds like a strong option A.
 

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Well, now some reporting is coming out. Per College Hockey News it's Eric Lang, Providence Assistant/former Buffalo Sabres head coach Ron Rolston and former UVM assistant/Brown head coach current USA Hockey exec Roger Grillo


Said they asked St. Louis, he said no, recommended Grillo (which he did the last time around in 2003, and got mad when they didn't) or Eric Perrin, who has no coaching experience. I know Marty loves his boys, but it seems Marty isn't too in touch with what the program needs at the moment. Brown is a shitty job for hockey but Grillo did not do well there at all and even if working in USA Hockey has allowed him to get some new connections, that just...not gonna move the needle. That's the too comfortable, too conservative and at the same time too risky hire because it's just admitting that you're holding onto old days or something. Wouldn't be a fan.

Rolston has great credentials with a long and impressive resume but has never done it at the head coaching level in college, Lang has shown he can turn around a dumpster fire program. One knock someone told me about Lang is he has only won 1 non-conference game in last 3 years. That's true, but also Atlantic Hockey plays 28 conference games while all other east coast conferences play 22-24...so less chances and they are playing generally very good nationally ranked teams. But when you only get 6 chances a year vs. UVM getting 10, you're limited in who you can schedule. Can't stick a terrible ECAC team or even recent era bad UVM teams on the schedule.

Others listed but supposedly not in the running anymore: Rick Bennett (Union head coach), Dom Ducharme (Canadiens assistant/UVM alum), Mark Dennehy (former Merrimack head coach), Rico Blasi (former Miami head coach), Cam Ellsworth (Norwich head coach)
 

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Well, now some reporting is coming out. Per College Hockey News it's Eric Lang, Providence Assistant/former Buffalo Sabres head coach Ron Rolston and former UVM assistant/Brown head coach current USA Hockey exec Roger Grillo


Said they asked St. Louis, he said no, recommended Grillo (which he did the last time around in 2003, and got mad when they didn't) or Eric Perrin, who has no coaching experience. I know Marty loves his boys, but it seems Marty isn't too in touch with what the program needs at the moment. Brown is a shitty job for hockey but Grillo did not do well there at all and even if working in USA Hockey has allowed him to get some new connections, that just...not gonna move the needle. That's the too comfortable, too conservative and at the same time too risky hire because it's just admitting that you're holding onto old days or something. Wouldn't be a fan.

Rolston has great credentials with a long and impressive resume but has never done it at the head coaching level in college, Lang has shown he can turn around a dumpster fire program. One knock someone told me about Lang is he has only won 1 non-conference game in last 3 years. That's true, but also Atlantic Hockey plays 28 conference games while all other east coast conferences play 22-24...so less chances and they are playing generally very good nationally ranked teams. But when you only get 6 chances a year vs. UVM getting 10, you're limited in who you can schedule. Can't stick a terrible ECAC team or even recent era bad UVM teams on the schedule.

Others listed but supposedly not in the running anymore: Rick Bennett (Union head coach), Dom Ducharme (Canadiens assistant/UVM alum), Mark Dennehy (former Merrimack head coach), Rico Blasi (former Miami head coach), Cam Ellsworth (Norwich head coach)
a Lang HC/Perrin AC/some experienced guy as the third AC would be ideal, I feel. Lang gives you a guy who turned around a perennial punching bag, is excellent at finding diamonds in the rough w/ recruiting, and has a defined style of play (that is personally my preferred style, a European-esque puck possession style; AIC does not like dump & chase which is what we've had to put up with lately even though many of UVM's better 2010s teams were puck possession squads), and Perrin would have an opportunity to learn the coaching ropes and his link would give the new regime an instant boost w/ donors. Perrin strikes me as the sort of cerebral player who would make a fantastic coach but he's obvs in need of seasoning.

w/r/t AIC's OOC struggle...yeah, but realistically speaking AHA is always a one bid league and they dominated in league play, and their two OOC wins in the last 3 years were a NCAAT game against top-ranked St. Cloud and a road win at Penn State, and they're at least competing in these OOC games, they're not getting clobbered in the shot counts and their OOC SOS is strong as hell.

Rolston is a solid fallback if Lang doesn't work out.
 

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a Lang HC/Perrin AC/some experienced guy as the third AC would be ideal, I feel. Lang gives you a guy who turned around a perennial punching bag, is excellent at finding diamonds in the rough w/ recruiting, and has a defined style of play (that is personally my preferred style, a European-esque puck possession style; AIC does not like dump & chase which is what we've had to put up with lately even though many of UVM's better 2010s teams were puck possession squads), and Perrin would have an opportunity to learn the coaching ropes and his link would give the new regime an instant boost w/ donors. Perrin strikes me as the sort of cerebral player who would make a fantastic coach but he's obvs in need of seasoning.

w/r/t AIC's OOC struggle...yeah, but realistically speaking AHA is always a one bid league and they dominated in league play, and their two OOC wins in the last 3 years were a NCAAT game against top-ranked St. Cloud and a road win at Penn State, and they're at least competing in these OOC games, they're not getting clobbered in the shot counts and their OOC SOS is strong as hell.

Rolston is a solid fallback if Lang doesn't work out.
Agree, if Lang and Rolston are your final two you've done a good job. Different types of resumes but both ones I would easily get behind. The Grillo stuff honestly I hope is just to keep Marty happy...they should have just tried to bring him back as an assistant AD or something when Schulman bumped up and made him the sport admin for hockey so we wouldn't have this go around. If they do end up hiring Grillo, I think you'd get your wish with Perrin on staff, but man he'd really need to find someone else who can get talent in here because that just be mostly a repeat of the last 10 years. I'm sure Grillo is a great guy, but this is too important for the emotional pullings of your school's best player.

And I know goals for/against isn't always telling but one thing I do like to see is AIC has scored 100+ the last two seasons, and only allowed 75 on the year this past year.

Biggest thing is not just the guy hired but what's the assistant coaching budget going to be? They going to only go with 2 full time or have a 3rd spot that's full time but not active recruiting? How are they going to handle roster movement? No known transfers as of yet, and probably because some guys are waiting to see what happens. Can talk about incoming recruits but to me you maybe try and protect the best few, and the rest whatever, 75% of them are still like 16-17 and won't be on campus for another 3 years so doesn't matter.
 

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Two other candidates interviewed...Ben Barr an assistant from UMass and Jerry Keefe an assistant from Northeastern. Two programs that have been quite successful of late. Still put Lang and probably Rolston (better pedigree/resume diversity) over them, but would consider them better than Grillo. Have to assume this gets wrapped up either tomorrow if they know what they want, or by next week. Otherwise I'm gonna assume there are hiccups and that's not good.

Heard another player put their name in the portal too...didn't sound like it was any major loss but it'll be interesting to see how many are waiting to see who gets hired to determine what to do. Only a couple would have legit options in D1 though so in this environment they might all be looking to stay.
 

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AD is on the right track on this, IMO. I'd prefer no Grillo as a finalist but I understand at least saying he has a shot to keep key alumni happy, but Lang/Barr/Keefe/Rolston is a very strong last four. Tactics wise Lang is the best and his no-stone-unturned recruitment is nice for a small-state team trying to get back on its feet, but Barr/Keefe/Rolston have proven they can haul in talent (& Rolston has USAH connections that could potentially help out). Seems they understand how badly they need to get this right.
 

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I'm beginning to this this guy will report anything/is full of shit. Especially something that started on a message board (the Grillo/Perrin pairing) ends up being tweeted out there, as logical as it might be. Also, he's basically saying "I know they interviewed" which could mean anything from a very basic Skype/Zoom interview and then that's it. Last week it was all about three candidates. Now it's 7-8. When it doesn't take a whole lot to become a college hockey insider given the niche nature of the sport, I suppose guys like this can get a platform. We'll see. Just feels like all of a sudden it is as though the search just began, not wrapping up with the names being thrown out there. Have to wonder how much of this is media guys being played by those coaches to pump up their profile, or if they just have had it wrong from the start?
 

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Buccigross is saying it's Woodcroft. He's...interesting, I guess, wasn't on my radar. Coaching family, his brother Craig coaches Dinamo Minsk and his brother Jay coaches the Bakersfield Condors. Was a scout before going to WPG and a "Special Assignment Coach" for the Sweden team that won gold at the 2017 World Championships (& has also been on the coaching staffs for Belarus, Switzerland, and Canada)
 

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I gotta think bringing in a guy with massive NHL and international experience can only be a plus. The lack of college coaching experience which I know is a different animal but seems like the guy paid his dues and if he gets a good staff and is a dynamic personality that kids want to play for it can work. It cannot get any worse. I'm no expert on the game of hockey from a playing and coaching standpoint but my hockey friends have told me one reason Sneddon failed at the end was every kid going to play for him basically knew they'd never make it as a pro because he never changed his coaching to the pro game which trickled down to the college game. So, I think any guy with a modern approach is goinig to at least get kids to be more receptive about going here. Just have to wonder how he's going to interact with the junior/prep coaches and the parents/advisors...often the people who have the biggest egos in the game. Hopefully he has an idea of who is staff would be and it includes someone with heavy/good college hockey ties for one of the spots.
 

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I want to hear everyone's uneducated opinion on this. Here is mine: Not without risk, but seems like the unconventional could work. I already am confident in saying that in terms of actual on-ice coach this guy is an upgrade over Sneddon. That doesn't take much to be fair. Hope like hell it works.
 

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It'll be an upgrade in the fact that the head coach won't just be mailing it in. I suspect that the tangible upgrade will be from why bother to mediocrity at best.
 

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As someone who has very little hockey experience, someone explain why this would be a "bad" hire? Why wouldn't you want to hire an assistant coach from the best league in the world?
 

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As someone who has very little hockey experience, someone explain why this would be a "bad" hire? Why wouldn't you want to hire an assistant coach from the best league in the world?
I'm with you there. But "cawlidge hawkey" is an old boys club and hiring anyone who has never worked in the game gets people all flustered. Have to pay your dues and schmooze with the junior hockey and prep coaches for recruiting, which he hasn't done before. Those guys are just as boys club too. But, whose to say he can't build relationships with them and earn their trust and more importantly better hockey players to come here? Guy seems like he has a lot of passion and energy, which is hilarious given the fact he's 47, two years younger than Sneddon who acted like he was 10 years older and just mentally checked out the last 5 years on the job. There's really not much of a blueprint for this transition working, but then again we don't know if the other candidates with college hockey coaching experience would have worked either. It could have been a lot worse I think.
 

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Uneducated opinion? Here I am!

First things first, I think he'll be able to get more out of the guys who remain...whoever, or however many, that may be. This is important, because it might take him a little while to completely turn over the roster. But I don't think the on-ice coaching side of this is in doubt. In fact, probably the opposite. He'll make guys better, or just as importantly, he'll make guys as good as they actually are.

I'm sure he can identify talent. But does he know how to get the right players? Can he find the ones that not only fit his style, but are college eligible...and college interested...and are sold on UVM? And can he assemble a staff that will help him with this? The getting of players will be the tougher part, but it was going to be the tougher part for whoever they hired. College hockey (specifically Hockey East) is a competitive marketplace and UVM is a tough sell by comparison.

His less-traditional professional-only background is certainly the attention grabber. If you want to believe this is going to work, there is examples out there you can turn to. If you're skeptical and not confident he can make the transition, there are also examples out there you can turn to. It's a long way of saying: there's not a one-size fits all comparison, and it'll be his skill as a coach, and UVM's level of commitment to winning, that will determine his fate. I'm on record as having a more bearish than average opinion of UVM as a hockey school. All things being equal, I think we're a program that probably should live in the middle of Hockey East somewhere that for every 2 seasons where we make a surprisingly good run, there will be 3 that go way worse than we're happy with. So I have tempered expectations anyway. But at first blush, I think Woodcroft can at least get us back to that neighborhood I described.
 
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