Monday, July 30, 2007

Round-The-Clock Tiger Hockey

Welcome to the Gazette's Colorado College hockey blog!

It's the off-season, but CC hockey news never stops.

In that spirit, I hope this blog provides CC's ardent hockey fans and even fans from around the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with quick updates from practices and games, notes that didn't make the paper due to space limitations, recruiting news and an inside look at the Tigers at home and on the road.

You can expect Q&A's with players, information on former Tigers and extra statistics.

Also, feel free to offer your suggestions through your comments or to my email,

Here's a first entry:

The story line entering last season was the rash of early departures that depleted the WCHA of some of its best talent.

Although the league did not lose nearly as many underclassmen as some were predicting in April, there have been a few surprises.

Today, Denver announced that defenseman Keith Seabrook, a rising sophomore, signed with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. For those who are unfamiliar with the WHL, one of Canada's major-junior hockey leagues, once Seabrook signed that contract, he forfeited his remaining three years of college eligibility. Seabrook's departure shows that the NCAA still faces competition from the WHL as well as the NHL and its minor leagues.

I interviewed Seabrook for a story on WCHA and CC recruiting that ran in March. It's interesting to read his quotes now.

I have kept a running list of early departures, found below. Please let me know if I missed someone. Their 2006-07 grade is listed in parentheses.

Alaska-Anchorage (2)

Jay Beagle (sophomore)
Signed with Idaho Steelheads (ECHL)

Nathan Lawson (junior)
Pursuing spot with Phoenix RoadRunners (ECHL)

Minnesota-Duluth (2)

Mason Raymond (sophomore)
Signed with Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

Matt Niskanen (sophomore)
Signed with Dallas Stars (NHL)

Minnesota State (1)

Steve Wagner (junior)
Signed with St. Louis Blues (NHL)

Wisconsin (2)

Jack Skille (sophomore)
Signed with Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)

Joe Piskula (junior)
Signed with Los Angeles Kings (NHL)

Colorado College (1)

James Brannigan (junior)
Plans to pursue a spot with the Augusta Lynx (ECHL)

Denver (3)

Ryan Dingle (junior)
Signed with Anaheim Mighty Ducks (NHL)

Keith Seabrook (freshman)
Signed with Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

Greg Paukovich (junior)
Signed with Edmonton Oilers (NHL)

St. Cloud State (1)

Andrew Gordon (junior)
Signed with Washington Capitals (NHL)

North Dakota (2)

Jonathan Toews (sophomore)
Signed with Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)

Brian Lee (sophomore)
Signed with Ottawa Senators (NHL)

Minnesota (3)

Erik Johnson (freshman)
Signed with St. Louis Blues (NHL)

Alex Goligoski (junior)
Signed with Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

Jim O'Brien (freshman)
Signed with Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

Total early departures in the 2007 off-season: 17 (ties a WCHA record)
Total early departures in the 2006 off-season: 17