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ECAC Brass Dispels Rumors

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, February 4, 2004

Atlantic Hockey commissioner Bob DeGregorio drew the ire of the ECAC with a comment he made about Union Collegeís future in the league.

In USCHO.comís Atlantic Hockey preview Friday, De-Gregorio was questioned about some of the teams in his league that may be considering joining other conferences. Holy Cross and Quinnipiac have been mentioned as possible replacements for Vermont in the ECAC. There also has been speculation about Quinnipiac joining College Hockey America.

DeGregorio addressed those issues, and then did some of his own speculating. He said Union might be kicked out of the ECAC after school president Roger Hull voted against Proposal 65-1 at last month NCAAís convention, and for Proposal 65.

Proposal 65-1 was the amendment to Proposal 65 that allowed eight Division III schools that play a Division I sport to keep athletic scholarships. Three ECAC schools - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson and St. Lawrence - were affected by the vote.

Without the amendment, Proposal 65 would have eliminated the scholarships. And that led DeGregorio to make his comment about Union.

"Union voted for the D-III legislation [Proposal 65]," De-Gregorio said. "There are schools in the ECAC that are upset at Union, and maybe those schools might vote to go from 11 to 10."

When ECAC commissioner Phil Buttafuoco was told of De-Gregorioís comment, he was irate. Buttafuoco said Unionís status in the ECAC is solid.

"That issue has never been discussed, and itís certainly not one we would contemplate, based on the presidentís decision on scholarships," Buttafuoco said. "It has nothing to do with his commitment to ice hockey. Thatís the more important thing, is that his commitment to hockey continues to be very high."

Buttafuoco spoke to De-Gregorio about the comment on Friday.

"He said he was having this discussion with a reporter, and he answered the question, probably speculating himself," Buttafuoco said. "I told him that he should have forwarded that type of question directly to me."

Union athletic director Val Belmonte, who knows DeGregorio well from their days at USA Hockey, chuckled at the comment.

"I think weíre a valuable member of the league, and I think the other institutions think weíre a valuable member," Belmonte said. "Rumors are rumors. You have to live with it. Itís just like in any other sports, where itís unfortunate that somebody reads into it that didnít have enough information, and probably should have referred to the commissioner of the league if he didnít know much about it."

DeGregorio, a former Hockey East commissioner, spoke about his comment Tuesday.

"[The reporter] asked me if I knew about some of the rumors he had heard," DeGregorio said. "I said I heard the same thing, that people were upset over the way the Union College president voted. But itís just like the rumor going around that [the ECAC] is going to throw Vermont out right away. I just told him that people may be upset, but you have institutional choices here."

Alumni Saturday

RPI and Union will be having more than just alumni games on Saturday. The schools will honor teams that made their hockey programs successful.

RPI will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its 1954 NCAA title. Coach Ned Harkness and 11 of his players will return for the ceremonies. The team will be honored before the Engineersí game against Clarkson. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m. The team will receive championship rings commemorating their achievement, which was RPIís first NCAA hockey title.

The players who are expected to attend are Bruce Baum, Lloyd Bauer, Frank Chiarelli, Bob Fox, Marty Karch, John Magadini, Bill Mouzavires, Gordie Peterkin, Jim Pope, Jim Shildneck and Harry Williams.

Union will recognize the 1983-84 team that reached the NCAA Division III Frozen Four championship game. The Dutchmen beat Rochester Institute of Technology in four overtimes in the semifinal before losing to Babson the next day.

Some of the players expected to return are Joe Caruso, Curt Cole, Gil Egan, Jamie Knight and Wayne McDougall.

Big Red Freakout

Saturday also marks the 27th edition of RPIís Big Red Freakout.

RPI is unbeaten in its last 13 Freakouts (9-0-4) and is 15-7-4 overall in the event. The Engineers won last yearís Freakout, 4-3, in overtime over Brown.

The last time the Engineers played Clarkson in the Freakout was two years ago. They produced one of the most stirring comebacks in the eventís history.

Trailing, 3-0, with under 13 minutes to play, the Engineers rallied for three goals to tie it and force overtime. RPI won it in the extra period on a Carson Butterwick goal.

MacDonald, Link honored

RPI sophomore forward Kirk MacDonald was named ECAC menís player of the week, while Brown junior forward and Clifton Park native Jessica Link earned ECAC womenís co-player of the week Monday.

MacDonald had five assists during the weekend, three in RPIís 4-3 loss to Dartmouth on Friday and two in the Engineersí 3-2 overtime win over Vermont on Saturday.

Link had four points in victories over Yale and Princeton. She scored a goal in the Bearsí 2-1 win over the Bulldogs, and then had a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory over the Tigers.

Closing in

RPI coach Dan Fridgen is closing in on a legend.

Fridgen earned his 176th career victory in Saturdayís triumph. He is one away from tying Harkness on RPIís all-time win list.

Mike Adessa is in first place with 186 victories.

Loving Dartmouth

Union goalie Kris Mayotte loves playing at Dartmouthís Thompson Arena.

Mayotte posted his second straight shutout against the Big Green there Saturday, helping the Dutchmen to a 7-0 victory. He made 35 saves.

On Jan. 24, 2003, Mayotte stopped 31 shots in a 2-0 win at Thompson.

"If I played for Dartmouth, I would be going to 'The Showí [NHL] next year," Mayotte said after Saturdayís game. "Our team plays well in this building. They take away all the second chances."

Mayotte protected his shutout with about two minutes left in the third period when he slid from left to right and stopped a one-timer by Nathan Szymanski.

"He played well, especially that save with two minutes to go in the game when he dove across," Union coach Nate Leaman said. "He competed."

In four games against Dartmouth, Mayotte is 2-1-1 with a 0.74 goals-against average and a.975 save percentage.

No radio

Union fans didnít get to hear the Dutchmenís win over Dartmouth on WTMM-AM (1300).

The broadcasting equipment of play-by-play announcer Matthew DuBrey and Will Geffe broke down one minute into the game.

Vaughan returning

Don Vaughan announced last Wednesday that he will return to coach Colgate next season.

Vaughan has been serving as the schoolís interim athletic director since September. He replaced Mark Murphy, who left to become athletic director at Northwestern.

Stan Moore has been the Raidersí interim head coach.

CHA gets Robert Morris

The CHA will remain a sixteam league after Robert Morris announced that it will join the conference next season.

The CHA is losing Findlay, which is dropping the sport after this season. Had the CHA not found a replacement, the league would have lost its NCAA tournament automatic bid.