Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Two New Assistant Coaches

UAA has got it's two new Assistant Coaches in the fold. They announced the Damon Whitten hiring on their website yesterday. And I learned on USCHO today that USHR (subscription only website) has reported that Campbell Blair (current Maine Assistant) will be hired for the other opening.

Campbell Blair will bring an interesting and probably very useful resume' to UAA. Maine's website has all the details but in summary he started there in November of 2001; he has worked exclusively with their defense which allowed 2.33 g/gm in 02-03, 1.56 g/gm in 03-04, and 1.98 g/gm in 04-05. Maine's penalty kill in 04-05 was ranked 2nd. He was also the Head Coach and General Manager with the BCHL's Victoria Salsa and is that organizations winningest all-time coach. But lest we think Campbell is all about stifling defense ... the guy put up 247 points in the BCHL during his junior career. The Maine website says that number along with a couple of other nice offensive stats are still BCHL records. So he can teach kids how to keep the puck out of the net and he knows how to move the puck out of the zone to contribute offensively. Apparently, (I don't have a subscription) USHR is reporting that Campbell is hiring on as the "top" assistant. It's not a designation that UAA fans will have seen before at the school since all of our assistants over the past decade or so have all basically been at or near the beginning of their careers. Dave Shyiak was an Associate Head Coach at NMU so he's well aware of how those sorts of professional/heirarchical coaching relationships should work. So to me it feels like Campbell will probably be responsible for UAA's defense as well. It's been his specialty and if UAA is going to name him as "top" or whatever designation they prefer then it would make sense for him to continue those efforts. He is a good get and a definite upgrade in terms of skill set. His BCHL experience is also great news for UAA as that's perhaps the most important recruiting region for the Seawolves.

Damon Whitten was the name that came originally from the now apparently defunct Northern Hockey Blog. Damon is a Michigan native that played 4 seasons at Michigan State. He had a misspent youth playing goalie but converted to forward when he played Juniors. The last two seasons he spent as an assistant at Wayne State and the year before he was a volunteer assistant at MSU under Rick Comely. Commentary I've read all overwhelmingly describe him as very hard working and its seems that Comely probably suggested Whitten's name to Shyiak. Damon's work ethic will be a definite asset at UAA.

Shyiak can be commended for both of these hires. 06-07 is shaping up to be perhaps a very very challenging season for UAA so all I have to say at this point is welcome to Campbell and Damon. Now please get to work.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Billy Smith to transfer from UAA as of two days ago.

Anonymous said...

Old news buddy. We already knew that.

Anonymous said...

I heard Andreas Nodl at SCSU is signing an AHL contract. I heard that Crazy Legs Hirsch at UofM is back in the looney bin. I heard that JD Corbin at DU is quitting hockey to take up knitting (a wise choice). I also heard that Paukovich cries before every game.

Anonymous said...

Hamilton,Walsky,Felde and now Billy Smith. Why is Billy Smith leaving. The ship is sinking

Anonymous said...

Walsky isn't coming because he couldn't pass his SAT.

Too bad about the others, but it's their loss.

Donald said...

Interloping poachers may have made a dent. But they haven't put any holes in the UAA ship. Ballast has been offloaded.

Donald said...

You meant Felde ... and it isn't exactly clear why he won't be coming except to say that at least in his case it has nothing to do with tampering.

Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry, yes I did mean Felde. And that's the word around town, that he is not eligible. As you said before, players not cutting it in the classroom is a distraction.

Anonymous said...

What is with these players leaving or Felde going major junior. A big dent in the roster.

Donald said...

Players recruited by the old coach often don't adapt to the new coach very well. Sometimes the old coach appears to them in a dream and offers them a spot on the team he's coaching now. Or the new coach's regimen is too tough for the old coach's players. Or the players are simply too selfish to stick it out with the team that brought them to the dance. Or there's tampering/poaching. Or the new coach just doesn't think they're "his" sort of player.

So what do ya do? Go with the horses that are in your barn. The ones that bolted didn't like your barn. Forget em ... unless of course someone that shouldn't have influenced them did so. And if that turns out to be the case then "go after" them through the NCAA.

Anonymous said...

My wife has a crush on Billy Smith, so good riddance!

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