Thursday, September 29, 2011

Irish Hockey No. 1 Entering 2011-2012 Season

Photo Credit: South Bend Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN

Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hockey Head Coach, has things cooking in South Bend. In his short tenure thus far he has already led Notre Dame to its first ever Frozen Four and national championship game, won a conference titlle and led them back to yet another Frozen Four.

Accolades keep piling up for the Irish skipper and his team as the domers enter the season ranked No.1 by USCHO and No. 2 by USA Hockey.

Despite the pre-season praise surrounding the program there were more exciting things covered on media day earlier this week, namely the newly constructed Compton Family Center.

Extensive coverage by Stars and Slights on the new home to the Fighting Irish hockey program has been seen since May of 2009. If it were laid out chronologically, coverage would look like this:
  1. May 2009 - Announcement of future home
  2. December 2009 - Mock drawings of arena released
  3. March 2010 - Construction begins
  4. October 2010 - Groundbreaking ceremony
  5. January 2011 - Construction update
Now, as September comes to a close the Irish will have to wait patiently before they skate in their first game at their new home. In fact, Notre Dame is scheduled to play its first two home games of the season at the Joyce Center against Ohio State before unveiling its new jewel on October 21 at 7:35p EST against Rensselaer.

One month later the Irish will drop the puck at their official dedication game on November 18 at 7:35p EST against long-time rival Boston College. That matchup falls on the same weekend that the Eagles' Football team will be in South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish Football team.

Before playing any games in the new rink, though, several finishing touches need to be made on the arena. Among other things, the ice needed to be laid and even painted. For an in-depth look at those tasks as well as viewing the first skate by the Irish squad in their new home follow this link.

Back to the team, Seniors Billy Maday and Sean Lorenz will serve as co-captains this season and sophomore Anders Lee will be an alternate. These leaders will play pivotal roles for the Irish but they are not the keys to success.

Ultimately, Notre Dame will rely on a combination of its bountiful underclassmen from its sophomore and freshmen classes to carry the load. Consistent goaltending from Junior Mike Johnson would also go a long way toward helping the Irish achieve their ultimate goal: the program's first national championship.

Stay tuned throughout the 2011-2012 season as we follow the Irish hockey program.

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