2017-18 signing class announced

UAH announced eight signees for the 2017-18 season on Tuesday. Here are some tidbits about these new Chargers:

Josh Astorino (G, 6-2, 175): Astorino committed to UAH last month as one of two goaltenders in this year’s signing class. Astorino was the Ontario Junior Hockey League goaltender of the year with a 1.93 goals against average and .936 save percentage.

Andrew Dodson (F, 5-9, 180): Dodson played the last four seasons with the Carleton Place Canadians of the CCHL. Dodson, who committed to UAH last winter, is the Canadians’ captain and leads the team with 64 points (24 goals, 40 assists) last season.

Connor Merkley (F, 6-1, 190): Merkley was an alternate captain at Carleton Place last season, announcing his commitment to UAH in May. He was named to the CCHL Second All-Star Team last season with 66 points (29 goals) in 61 games.

Dodson and Merkley will reunite with UAH forward Jordan Larson, who played for Carleton Place from 2014-16.

Christian Rajic (F, 5-10, 165): Rajic played the last four seasons with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL, committing to UAH in 2016. He scored 124 points the last two seasons.

Ted Rotenberger (D, 5-11, 180): The eighth Huntsville native to play at UAH, Rotenberger comes home after a year with the NAHL’s Shreveport Mudbugs, who are coached by Charger alum Karlis Zirnis. With Josh Kestner, this will be the third time UAH will have two Huntsville natives on the roster. Rotenberger committed to UAH back in 2013 when he played for another UAH alum, Nathan Bowen, with the TPH Thunder AAA midget program.

Mark Sinclair (G, 5-11, 170): Sinclair had 2.59 goals against average and a .910 save percentage in 45 regular-season games last season with Chilliwack of the BCHL. In the postseason, he had a 2.22 GAA and .923 save percentage in 23 games.

Connor Wood (F, 5-8, 180): Wood will be the fifth native of the state of Georgia to play for the Chargers, hailing from Buford (current UAH forward Adam Wilcox is from Alpharetta). Wood committed to UAH in 2014, and was also a product of TPH Thunder. He had 20 points in 48 games with Odessa of the NAHL last season.

Levi Wunder (F, 5-9, 165): Wunder was a teammate of Wood’s at Odessa last season, with six goals and 13 points in 35 games. He also scored eight points in 22 games with Lone Star.

The current UAH roster features 15 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders. In addition to the eight freshmen, there are five sophomores, seven juniors, and seven seniors.

The 2017-18 season begins Oct. 6 at Notre Dame.

Hoof Beats: Summer news and notes

Some news and notes regarding current and former Chargers this past month:

Saulnier in Canadiens camp: Senior forward Brennan Saulnier spent the first week of July in the Montreal Canadiens development camp. On the third day, Saulnier had a nice assist.

He also mixed it up with a familiar WCHA opponent: Alaska’s Nikolas Koberstein:

Saulnier’s comment:

Guerriero signs with South Carolina: Goaltender Carmine Guerriero will begin his professional hockey career with the South Carolina Stingrays, the ECHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals.

Guerriero played in nine games, starting seven, in his senior season at UAH, posting a 3.77 goals against average and a .872 save percentage. In his Charger career (77 games with 72 starts), he had a .910 save percentage, which was the second highest in UAH’s modern Division I history and fourth all-time. His 3.19 career goals against average was fourth in UAH’s modern Division I history and seventh overall.

Wolitski named Alumnus of Achievement: Former Charger defenseman Sheldon Wolitski was named a UAH’s Alumnus of Achievement. He was to be honored by the UAH Alumni Association on Tuesday, August 1.

Wolitski is the founder and owner of The Select Group, which unites top companies with highly skilled candidates for managed services and contingent staffing and provides specialized IT services. Wolitski, who was on the 1996 NCAA Division II national championship team and is UAH’s all-time leading scorer for defensemen with 113 career points, announced a donation of $500,000 to the program in January.

West named head coach in Fairbanks: UAH alumnus Lance West was promoted to head coach at Alaska after Dallas Ferguson left to lead the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.

West was the assistant coach for the Nanooks for the past nine seasons. Before going to Fairbanks, West was an assistant coach for Doug Ross from 2000-07. Last season, Alaska was 12-20-4 overall and 11-13-4 in the WCHA, finishing 6th in the conference. Alaska went 2-1-1 against the Chargers.

West had 113 points (45 goals and 68 assists) in 108 games for the Chargers from 1991-95.

New commitments: The Chargers got two commitments in July.

Josh Astorino of the Georgetown Raiders is expected to join UAH for this season, giving the Chargers a third goaltender along with senior Jordan Uhelski and newcomer Mark Sinclair. Astorino was the Ontario Junior Hockey League goaltender of the year with a 1.93 goals against average and .936 save percentage.

Hank Sorensen, a defenseman of the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, will join the Chargers in 2018-19. He had four goals and 14 points in 41 regular-season games for Waterloo last season.

With the signing period ending Aug. 1, a formal release of signees for the 2017-18 season is expected soon.

Hoof Beats: Awards given at banquet; Frenchy Open set

Chad Brears

Chad Brears was this season’s Charger of the Year. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

On Thursday, the Chargers held their end-of-season banquet at Spragins Hall, honoring the 2015-16 squad and looking forward to next season.

The Chargers’ Most Valuable Player was Max McHugh. The sophomore led UAH in points for the second straight season, scoring 22 points on seven goals and 15 assists.

Senior Frank Misuraca was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second time. The alternate captain was second on the club with 63 blocked shots. He had an even plus-minus rating and scored one goal with four assists for five points.

The Freshman of the Year was Adam Wilcox. In 33 games played, Wilcox was tied for the team among freshmen with four goals, including one power play and one shorthanded tally. He finished with nine points on the season.

The Charger of the Year award, which goes to the player who exemplifies what it means to be a UAH Charger, went to Chad Brears. The senior and alternate captain from Cold Lake, Alberta led the Chargers in goals this season with nine, and was third on the team in assists (10) and second in points (19). He also led UAH in plus-minus (+6).

Sign up for the Frenchy Open: The 2016 UAH Hockey Frenchy Open will tee off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 25 at Hampton Cove Golf Course.

The golf tournament is the program’s biggest summer fundraising event. The tournament layout will be a four-player scramble with prizes going to the top three teams. Raffle and door prizes will be available.

Register online to reserve your spot. Registration per player is $150, which includes 18 holes of golf, a cart, a UAH Hockey shirt and hat, refreshments, and dinner. Full four-player teams can register for $600.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, can call 256-824-2485 or email Nick Laurila.

In addition, there will be an UAH alumni hockey game at the Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex in Huntsville on June 24 at 7 p.m.

“The Frenchy Open” is named after Charger left wing Jean-Marc Plante, who died in 2001. Also known as “Frenchy,” the Laval, Quebec, native played for UAH from 1988-92, scoring 16 goals and 19 assists in 94 games. Plante worked at the front office of the Florida Panthers and became the athletic marketing director at UAH. A memorial scholarship is awarded in his honor to the Charger hockey player who demonstrates leadership, sportsmanship, and team spirit, and who participates in community and university volunteer service.

Rappleyea commits: Sean Rappleyea of South Amboy, N.J. committed to the Chargers for the 2016-17 season last week. The defenseman was an alternate captain this past season for the Ottawa Jr. “A” Senators of the Central Canada Hockey League.

This past season, Rappleyea led the Senators in 35 assists in addition to three goals scored. The CCHL Defenseman of the Year was scored a goal and eight assists in 16 playoffs games as the Senators reached the CCHL championship series.

Hoof Beats: Four seniors to be honored in season finale

2015-16 Seniors

Jack Prince, Anderson White, Frank Misuraca, and Chad Brears finish their UAH careers this weekend. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

They committed to UAH when the hockey program was an independent with an uncertain future. This weekend, they will skate off the Von Braun Center ice one final time as Chargers, finishing their four-year odyssey.

Chad Brears, Frank Misuraca, Jack Prince, and Anderson White will be honored Saturday for Senior Night as the Chargers finish the 2015-16 season. UAH will host Bowling Green on Friday and Saturday, each game starting at 7:07 p.m.

Brears, an alternate captain from Cold Lake, Alberta, leads this year’s team with nine goals, and is tied for second with 17 points. In 124 career games at UAH, he has 19 goals and 25 assists for 44 points. A three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete and two-time WCHA All-Academic, Brears was the WCHA’s Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year for 2013-14.

Misuraca, another alternate captain from Clinton Township, Michigan, has a goal and four assists this season. The defenseman has 30 assists in 126 career games. Of his 11 UAH goals, the most memorable is his blast from the right point with four seconds left in overtime at Bowling Green in 2013, giving the Chargers their first WCHA victory. Two-time WCHA All-Academic Team.

Prince, a forward from Leicester, England, has played 102 games for the Chargers, scoring 13 goals and 22 assists. He lead the 2013-14 squad with eight goals and 13 points, and last year was on Great Britain’s national team at the World Championships in the Netherlands. Named to the WCHA All-Academic Team for 2014-15.

White, a defenseman from Caledon, Ontario, has played in 72 games for UAH, scoring four assists. White was named a WCHA Scholar Athlete three times and was named to the WCHA All-Academic Team twice.

This week’s festivities: The final home series of the season is presented by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

On Friday, the first 500 fans receive the final set of UAH hockey trading cards. On Saturday, the first 500 fans get UAH hockey space capsules.

Kids 12 and under get free general admission, courtesy Huntsville International Airport.

The Blue Line Club lunch will take place Friday at noon at the Varsity Room of Spragins Hall. Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron and the UAH coaching staff will be there to talk about this week’s series. Lenny’s Subs will be catering.

Commit for ’17: The Chargers got a verbal commitment on Monday from Christian Rajic, a forward for the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

The Oakville, Ontario native will play for UAH starting in the 2017-18 season. Rajic has 61 points in 42 games this season with the Blades, good for 12th in the OJHL.

For more information on future Chargers, visit the Commitments page.

Hoof Beats: Newcomer notes

UAH revealed its signees for the 2015-16 season on August 3. Many of the forwards put up some prolific numbers for their junior teams last season, which will hopefully signal continued growth for the Charger offense. Here’s a summary of how they played in the 2014-15 season:

Team Pos GP G A Pts PIM
Hunter Anderson Langley (BCHL) F 58 11 19 30 64
Madison Dunn Brooks (AJHL) F 60 8 35 43 58
Hans Gorowsky Fairbanks (NAHL) F 60 23 33 56 38
Kurt Gosselin Alberni Valley (BCHL) D 32 12 31 43 32
Jetlan Houcher Fort McMurray (AJHL) F 60 39 32 71 57
Cam Knight Wichita Falls (NAHL) D 60 9 24 33 55
Tyler Poulsen* Topeka (NAHL) F 56 29 32 61 44
Brandon Salerno Pickering (OJHL) F 49 30 39 69 30
John Teets Fairbanks (NAHL) D 60 3 17 20 53
Adam Wilcox Fairbanks (NAHL) F 43 6 11 17 96

* 2013-14 statistics

Jetlan Houcher (Photo by Fort McMurray Oil Barons)

Jetlan Houcher (Photo by Fort McMurray Oil Barons)

Some other tidbits on this class:

  • Jetlan Houcher will reunite with UAH sophomore Brennan Saulnier, who was his teammate at Fort Murray in the 2013-14 season. John Teets and Adam Wilcox were also on that Oil Barons squad, which won 45 games and reached the AJHL Division Final.
  • Tyler Poulsen played with Cody Champagne with Topeka in the 2013-14 season. Poulsen led the Roadrunners in scoring that year while Champagne was the second-leading scorer among defensemen as they reached the NAHL semifinals.
  • Hunter Anderson and Hans Gorowsky will join Cody Marooney and Brandon Parker to make four native Minnesotans on the roster, the most UAH has had at one time in its history. Anderson and Gorowsky would make it 10 Minnesotans overall in 31 seasons. (By contrast, UAH has had seven native Huntsvillians.)
  • Wilcox will be the fourth player from the state of Georgia to play from the Chargers, following Neil Ruffini, Kyle Lysaght, and Craig Pierce.
  • Teets will be the second UAH player to come from the state of Alaska (Levi Hall, 1995-96).
  • Brandon Salerno will be eligible to play for the Chargers in the 2016-17 season.

Frozen Tide exhibition: UAH will host Alabama’s club team at the Wilcoxon Ice Complex on Oct. 17, the weekend after the Chargers open the season at the VBC against Connecticut.

The growing Frozen Tide program, coached by Charger alumnus Mike Quenneville (’89), will be playing its first season in American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I.

UAH and Alabama played two exhibition games to start the 2012-13 season, with the Chargers winning 12-1 and 10-0.

New WCHA.tv partner:  Stretch Internet will provide the online streaming for WCHA.tv in the 2015-16 season, the WCHA announced on Wednesday.

The new WCHA.tv will allow for multiple HD streams, including picture-in-picture and the ability to watch up to four games at once. The portal will integrate live stats and social media, and be available on tablet, mobile, and Smart TV devices.

Information on WCHA.tv subscription packages and pricing for the 2015-16 season (including full season, monthly, single day, team-specific and more) will be available in September.