Home games against Union College, Niagara University and Bentley College are among the highlights of the University of Maine men’s hockey teams’ nonleague schedule for the 2008-09 season.
The schedule also includes trips to Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Fairbanks, Alaska, a Portland date with the United States National Team Development Program’s Under-18 team, and the annual appearance in the Florida College Classic.
The games against the University of New Brunswick and the U.S. Under-18 team are exhibition contests.
Maine will play an intra-squad Blue-White game Oct. 4 and, the following Saturday, will visit New Brunswick to take on the Varsity Reds, who lost to the University of Alberta 3-2 last season in the Canadian Universities national championship game. UNB finished up 43-4-1 overall, including a 2-1 win at Maine.
Oct. 17-18, the Bears visit Fairbanks for the inaugural Goal Rush Tournament where they will face Alaska-Anchorage and host Alaska-Fairbanks. UAF went 9-21-5 last season and tied for ninth in the CCHA while Alaska-Anchorage wound up 7-21-8 and finished last in the WCHA. Former Maine defenseman and assistant coach Campbell Blair is the associate head coach at Alaska-Anchorage.
Northeastern University’s Huskies invade Orono for Maine’s Hockey East-opening series Oct. 24-25.
Niagara (N.Y.), an NCAA Tournament team last year after winning the College Hockey America championship, visits Orono Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The Purple Eagles were 22-11-4 last season.
After eight consecutive league games, Maine hosts Union College on Dec. 12-13. Former Maine assistant Nate Leaman is the head coach at Union and the Dutchmen went 15-14-6 last season and tied for fourth in the ECAC Hockey League. Leaman was also an assistant coach at Old Town High School.
The Florida College Classic is next on the agenda Dec. 27-28 in Estero, Fla., with Colgate (18-18-6, 8th place in the ECAC) being the first-round opponent and either Cornell (19-14-3, tied 4th in ECAC) or St. Cloud State (19-16-5, tied 4th in WCHA) in the next round.
Maine faces the U.S. Under-18 team Jan. 2 at the Cumberland County Civic Center and a first-ever meeting against Bentley (Mass.), which was 9-21-6 and finished eighth in Atlantic Hockey, will conclude the nonleague portion of the schedule on Jan. 16.
The Bentley game will enable Maine to play a game between a Jan. 10 game at Boston University and a Jan. 18 home contest against Providence.
“We start with a couple of great road trips. It’s a great opportunity for a young team to get to know each other. More than two-thirds of our team is going to be freshmen and sophomores,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “And there are a lot of new looks on the schedule for us … teams we haven’t seen in a long time.”
He said the game with New Brunswick will help recruiting in the Maritimes and “it’s a great opportunity for our fans in the northern part of the state to go across the border and watch our team play.”
Although there aren’t any marquee teams on next year’s schedule, Whitehead pointed out they will have Michigan State visiting Orono for a pair in 2009-2010 and the Bears will also play NCAA tournament team Clarkson.
UMaine receives diversity award
The UMaine athletic department has been recognized with a Diversity in Athletics Award for Gender Diversity, it was announced Monday.
UMaine was among 12 Division I schools nationwide honored by the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M University, in collaboration with the NCAA, in the Gender Diversity category.
The LDS conducts independent research about diversity in collegiate athletics. Departments are recognized in eight categories: Diversity strategy, gender diversity of department employees, racial diversity of department employees, value and attitudinal diversity of department employees, graduation of black male student-athletes, graduation of black female student-athletes, gender equity compliance (substantial proportionality), and overall excellence in diversity.
Data was collected from all NCAA Division I athletic departments. It was collected using questionnaires and through archival data sources.
Among the examples listed by the LDS in regard to Gender Diversity are its assertions that, for example, “women oftentimes do now receive the participation opportunities or funding to which they are entitled under federal guidelines (Title IX). Women are also underrepresented as athletic coaches and in administrative positions.”
Other schools recognized for Gender Diversity were Central Connecticut, Dartmouth, DePaul, East Tennessee State, Hawaii, Long Beach State, Nevada, Rutgers, San Francisco, Tennessee State and Texas-El Paso.
UM’s Harper is award nominee
Laura Harper of UMaine has been has been selected as the school’s nominee for 2008 America East Woman of the Year.
Harper, a four-year soccer standout for the Black Bears, is among 10 conference student-athletes recognized for exemplifying a commitment to service, leadership, athletics and academics during their careers.
The two-time All-America East first-team selection, who captained the UMaine team, also earned regional accolades. In the classroom, Harper, of Nepean, Ontario, was the 2008 winner of the M Club’s Dean Smith Award as UMaine’s top student-athlete and is a three-time league all-academic pick.
America East will narrow the list to three finalists June 11 before announcing the America East Woman of the Year on June 18. The winner will be eligible for NCAA Woman of the Year consideration.