Apr 172014
 
Kestner

Joshua Kestner with his family after signing his letter of intent to play for the Chargers. (WHNT, click the image for story and video)

The regular signing period began Wednesday, meaning UAH’s newest players can sign letters of intent to play for the Chargers next season.

Huntsville native Joshua Kestner was the first, signing his letter at the Municipal Ice Complex in Huntsville on Wednesday. WHNT has the story.

The Huntsville High graduate had an outstanding offensive season for the Sarnia Legionnaires of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, leading the team with 40 goals and 70 points in the 2013-14 regular season.  He had six goals in seven playoff games.

Kestner will be the seventh Huntsville native and eighth Alabama native to play varsity hockey at UAH. The previous six Huntsvillians are Tacoma Kapustka (1988-90), Blake Anderson (1989-90), Matt Parker (1994-98), Blake Thompson (2001-02), Jared Ross (2001-05), and Troy Maney (2003-07). Joey Fjeldstad (1989-90) came from Hueytown.

Signing on Thursday was Richard Buri, who will be the first Slovakian to play for the Chargers. The native of Nitra was a defenseman for the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League, scoring four goals and seven assists in 46 games.

We’ll have more signing news as they come in. The regular signing period runs through August 1, and UAH has 10 commitments in its 2014-15 class. Forward Max McHugh signed last November during the early signing period.

More information on the recruits can be found on our commitments page.

Frenchy Open ready for registration: The Chargers’ premier summer fundraising event is set. The “Frenchy Open” golf tournament, sponsored by SportsMed, will take place at Hampton Cove Golf Course on Saturday, June 7, at 1 p.m.

The tournament is named for the late Jean-Marc Plante, who played for the Chargers from 1988-1992.

Many great raffle and door prizes are available, including two fabulous golf trips to Pebble Beach and St. Andrews for those who score a hole-in-one. Sponsorships are also available.

Registration is $150 per player and $600 per team. You can register online, or contact UAH director of hockey operations Nick Laurila at 256-824-2485 for more information. For complete details, visit uahchargers.com.

I got mine!

I got mine!

Get your jerseys: As we’ve noted last week, Charger hockey replica gray jerseys are available for purchase. They are $79 now, but go up to $99 starting May 1.

When I did my editorial on the home jerseys last month, I didn’t give my opinion on these alternates, which were worn during the final home series of the season. While I prefer traditional designs on home whites and road blues, I don’t mind a “third” jersey being a little alternative. And as thirds go, this has really grown on me, so I was eager to buy one. Gray is interesting because it was the program’s first accent color, and it’s the only non blue-and-white color in the UAH Chargers logo, so I think it fits for a school whose official colors are only blue and white. And the shape of Alabama with the star on Huntsville on the shoulders is a GREAT touch!

And it’s still got a lot of blue on it, which as you might expect is a good thing in my book.

So what are you waiting for? Call 256-UAH-PUCK or email william.brophy@uah.edu today!

Banquet wrap: The Chargers held their season-ending banquet two weeks ago. Here are the team awards, as voted on by the players:

  • Defensive player of the year: Ben Reinhardt
  • Freshman of the year: Matt Salhany
  • Charger Award (spirit of the program): Ben Reinhardt
  • Most Valuable Player(s): Matt Larose and Carmine Guerriero

The silent auction raised $2,200 for the program.

For more on the banquet, including interviews with coach Mike Corbett and outgoing senior Brice Geoffrion, check out this recap by Penalty Box Radio.

Apr 082014
 

One of the questions that we field frequently is, “Where can I buy a jersey?”  The answer is now: “The Athletics department is selling them directly!”  In fact, when you reach out to buy one, you will be contacting our AD, Dr. E. J. Brophy, directly.

Matt Larose in the 2013-14 grey jersey Stephen McKenna in the 2013-14 grey jersey.

These replica jerseys will come without numbers and nameplates, and they’re available for sizes up through adult XXL.  The price will be $79 through April 30th; the price moves to $99 starting May 1st.

If you want to buy a jersey, please call 256-UAH-PUCK (256-824-7825) or email william.brophy@uah.edu.

These jerseys are sharp.  The one detail that you can’t easily see in these shots is that there’s a blue block outline of Alabama with a white star at the location of Huntsville.  You’ve seen this mark around the program over the course of the season, and it’s great to see it in the jerseys.

Mar 212014
 

banquet_promo

From Nick Laurila, UAH Directory of Hockey Operations:

UAH Hockey would like to invite you to our year end banquet celebrating our first year in the WCHA! We will have the banquet on April 3rd at Spragins Hall at 7pm. Cost is $25 per person and you will have the opportunity to host a player at the banquet for $25. There will be several silent auction items at the event. We would ask that you RSVP by clicking here or if you have any other questions you can email Nick Laurila at nick.laurila@uah.edu.

We look forward to seeing you!

The event is a lot of fun and a great way to end the season and send off our seniors. It’s your chance to meet players, coaches, and staff, or support the program by bidding on great items. We hope you’ll attend!

Mar 172014
 

Despite the record, this 2013-14 season was good in terms of exposure. Promotions, sponsorships, and marketing have helped us get the highest average attendance in five seasons. But this first season in the WCHA was also a learning experience on and off the ice.

However, I have some suggestions.

I’m not going to talk about things I’d like to see in terms of players and coaching — I’m certainly not qualified beyond the obvious. We need to score more goals. ANALYSIS!

Instead, I want to focus on what I’d like to see in the coming years, things that will make UAH hockey look better. And looking better can help us become better. Consider this friendly advice from a longtime fan, supporter, and alum.

Home jerseys with more blue

Craig Pierce

To paraphrase a 1980s Wendy’s commercial, “Where’s the blue?!” (Photo by Jazzmine Jordan)

I recently had lunch with a close friend of mine, and the topic turned to UAH hockey. She’s not what you’d call a sports fanatic, but she was at a game in January when they were handing out blue-and-white pom-poms. During the game, she found it very odd that she was waving a blue pom-pom when it seemed the only blue was being worn by the other team (Lake Superior State).

I don’t want to be too down on whoever designed the home jerseys this season, because I’m sure they are proud of their creation. However, the first line of our fight song is “We are the Chargers who wear blue and white,” but you wouldn’t know by looking at them. The problem: Too much black. I don’t mind a little black for the accent (over our history we’ve had silver, light blue, and red as accent colors), but the primary color of The University of Alabama in Huntsville is royal blue, and that color was marginalized in our own building.

These jerseys have pride in their blue and white. (Photo by Gemini Athletic Wear)

These jerseys have pride in their blue and white. (Photo by Gemini Athletic Wear)

In contrast, our road jerseys were beautiful. They are a bright royal blue, both bold and traditional. It seemed every where the Chargers went, the opposing team’s beat writers or announcers heaped praise on the road blues. When The Hockey News showcased UAH in January, the photo was of the road blue, not the home white. Uni Watch mentioned the road jersey when I submitted it for their hockey news ticker, but I did not see a repeat for the home. Maybe they were as underwhelmed as I was.

So why not tweak the home jerseys to match better with what the boys wear on the road? Here’s what I suggest:

uah_home_jersey_design_MNThese aren’t as different from this year’s home jerseys as you might think. There are only three changes:

1. The “UAH” is block to match the “Alabama Huntsville” font on the road jerseys. (It could also say “Alabama Huntsville” or “Chargers.” I kind of like “UAH” at home and “Alabama Huntsville” on the road, mostly because folks in Huntsville say “UAH,” while people outside of Huntsville call us “Alabama Huntsville.”)

2. The horse logo is replaced with the jersey number, just like the road jerseys.

3. Except for the shoulder horseshoe, the blue and the black are inverted, so that blue is the main color and black is the accent.

I think these would look so much better. Heck, even if only No. 3 happened to the current design, I think it would be an improvement.

Geof thinks using the official school logo on the front would be a cool idea:

uah_home_jersey_design_newlogo_MNI think I prefer the block lettering, but I am not opposed to this (it is slick). Either way, as the final line of our fight song says, let’s “have pride in your BLUE and white!”

More banners from the rafters, er, wall

I study UAH hockey history. For uahhockey.com I’ve done look-backs on the 1983 and 1998 national championships, and retrospectives on our histories with Bemidji State and the Alaska teams. I researched and expanded the record book when I worked in the sports information office back in the ’90s and on the side have been helping the sports information department expand the record book even more (it’s like 1995 all over again).

Quite simply, our history is under-represented at the VBC.

UAH's current banners at Propst Arena.

UAH’s current banners at Propst Arena.

Currently, the UAH corner of Propst Arena has three banners: The 1996 and 1998 NCAA Division II championships, and 25-year head coach Doug Ross. But we tend to say UAH five national championships when you count the three club championships of the 1980s. Those were important, because without them we don’t have the three banners we have now.

Then there are the accomplishments we’ve had since 1998, during our modern Division I era. We’ve won two College Hockey America regular season titles (2001 and 2003), plus two CHA tournament titles (2007 and 2010) and the NCAA tournament berths that came with them. They have banners at Spragins Hall, but not at the VBC.

So let’s fix this, and honor the teams that have done great things for UAH hockey and remind everyone what this program is capable of. (And show recruits, too!)

I propose we spruce up the UAH corner of the arena:

uah_banners_mock

A mockup of a proposed UAH wall of hockey honors. More championships means more banners. Those section markers are in the way — why are they so high? (Michael Napier)

On the left, there’s a WCHA banner with all the team logos. It seems every team in the league has something like this except us. It doesn’t have to be one big banner like I have in the photo, but it would be nice to have something. There was a time while we were in the CHA where there were placards with each team’s logo underneath one of the scoreboards — maybe that would be easier.

As for the Charger banners, this mockup goes for smaller banners than the ones we currently have so we can fit more. (Each Propst Arena tenant has its own corner to hang things, so we can’t decorate the whole place.) We have one for each national championship, conference regular season championship, and tournament championship (plus the Doug Ross banner).

If cost is an issue, we could combine the 2001 and 2003 banners, as well as the 2007 and 2010 banners. They don’t have to be pointed at the bottom, and they don’t need colored borders — these were just to make the mockups as cool as possible. Whatever works to expand our presence in the arena. We could auction off the original banners. And I’m willing to chip in on this in addition to my regular Blue Line Club dues. (I’m not kidding.)

I hope the powers that be can read this and take my advice under consideration. Even if my suggestions are completely ignored, I can’t wait for October. I’m looking forward to watching this program rise.

But seriously, MORE BLUE, LESS BLACK.

Michael Napier ’97