As a former member of the Collegiate Roller Hockey League, I thought it would be cool to put out some rankings for the 2000-2001 season. These rankings which are based upon the records or last years season, and the upcoming season, will also be based upon how teams did at the CRHL Nationals which were held last spring in Ellenton, Florida. After attending the superb National hockey tournament, I spoke with many team captains, and representatives who were from the Midwest Region. Not only will rankings be based upon records from that season and from Nationals, but will also be based upon who will be returning and what key players were lost from certain teams.
Furthermore, if anyone who reads this cite and article feels that some team should be ranked higher or lower, please feel free to write you're own rankings, but please be sure to explain you're reasoning. I am in no way trying to put any team down and if you feel that is the case, i do apologize, but some ranking is probably better than normal. i guess i am just trying to get people to chat about current views and statistics. So the following are the Top Ten rankings for the Midwest Region Collegiate Roller Hockey League for the upcoming 2000-2001 season:
1. Michigan State University- (24-0-0) The Spartans look to make another
impressive run at the title, considering they barely sneaked by last year
however, they will be missing many key individuals from last years squad.
On the contrary, they will be returning 1999 rookie of the year sensation
Dante Damiani and sniper Mike Mackert to the line up! Not only will they be the team to beat again this year with the possession style game, but
with many people lost to graduation, will and can they be beat? We'll just
have to find out now won't we?
2. Purdue- (18-5-1) The Boilermakers will be looking for yet another year of
duck-duck-goose behind Michigan State and hopefully be passing them up They will be returning many key players including the 1999-2000 rookie of
the year Zak Lalonde and upcoming superstar Matt Muncy who is
outstoundingly a scoring machine. Furthermore, last season they had the
highest goals for average among all division I teams and will continue to do
so with speed skater and Pavel Bure type sniper in Kurt Wampach and
graduate student Doug Eschbeck. They will also be flying high in
leadership with their three amigo's in Kasprzyk, Vilmur, and Sherman.
So if they can magically shut down the offense of opposing teams, they
will again be a powerhouse in the Midwest Region.
3. University of Michigan- (16-5-3) The mighty blue and gold will be back in the
action this year with key performers and co-captains like Wells and Aho.
They definitely made their mark at Nationals this year showing great
composure and talent which was due to a large and in-charge group of kids.
Although they don't have any outstanding superstar goal scores like the
talented Jagr, they will definitely be a team to watch out for.
Furthermore,with the combined deep bench of "A" and "B" teams, they can have
any player come in at any moment and step it up a notch to fulfill any role?
Just like Purdue, they will again be in strong contention for the MCRHL
4. Eastern Michigan University- (17-8-0) This year, EMU will be looking to
continue their quest for the cup possibly with leading goal scorer Biff
Griese who was a scoring phenomenon against all the top teams. On the
contrary has anyone seen Biff lately, and the question is, will he be in
action for upcoming tournaments? On the other hand, EMU not only
could put the puck in the net but also had the lowest goals against average
at 4.8. With junior defensive specialist Alan Hanna and their ability to
rush and control the puck under senior forward Dan Bedner, they will
again be making a name for themselves too as they were only an
expansion team a few seasons ago. Grab those binoculars and sit back
because Eastern Michigan is out to give everyone a run for their money!
5. Elgin Commnunity College- (10-13-1) The Spartans may have a deceiving
record; however, they did finish second at the CRHL Nationals in Florida.
Furthermore just in order to make it to Nationals, they had to forfeit five
games against sub .500 teams which would have put them over the top.
They will be returning all 6 players and will again be looking to lead the
league in shots on goal (27.7). With an aggressive style of play,
offensive threats and key performers like Richard Cline, captain Tony
Borrico, and David Canon, they too will be looking to discourage teams.
On the other hand, their poor defensive skills and the fact that they love
to take retarded penalties could in fact hurt them again. If they can add
a few more players and a stay home defense, they could definitely hold
their own with all the Division I contenders.
6. Ohio State University- (10-13-1) The blazing Buckeyes look this season for
coaching help in superstar alumni Jason Votruba who was a scoring
sensation last year at the CRHL Nationals. Not only did the Buckeyes
prove to everyone that they could hang with the big boys, but by
making it to the quarterfinals. There they put up a fight against
1999 runner-up University of California Santa Barbara in the CRHL
nationals, but beat up on teams like ECRHL powerhouse Penn State,
and University of Colorado. They will however, be returning superstar
puck handler and goal scorer Jeff Nolan who will be leading the pack
year against all the quality teams. Even though they had a so-so
record last year, hard work and determination will benefit them highly.
7. Illinois State University- (12-11-1) Although the Redbirds were barely over
.500, they did come up with a few big wins and they will definitely have
a huge test this weekend against teams like Michigan State and Michigan.
But they will have spectacular Chris Harej back in the pipes for yet
another season. On the contrary they have lost scoring sensation Tom Kelly hand his brother, they will be looking forward to the return of their
solid veteran lineup of mainly Junior "A" and "B" ice hockey players who
will be interesting to watch. However, if they don't show up to all the
tournaments like last year, they will be again around the .500 mark, but
if not, they too will be looking to better their record?
8. University of Illinois- (10-12-2) Unlike some schools, the Fighting Illiani
did not loose a few good men last year to graduation, but instead
they will again be looking for leadership in quality veteran goalie Seweryn
Mekarski and defensive goal scorer Jon Shedden. Mekarski and Shedden
along with their deep bench will hopefully give them the added support and talent to improve their record from below .500. On the contrary
they will be in fact keeping many young players like Andre the Giant,
Lance Hinkle who is an all star, stay at home defenseman, and Gretzky,
play-making style passing expert graduate Kevin Smith who in fact will
help the Saluki's stay in the fight. Furthermore, if they can
add a good coach and maybe a superstar goal scorer, they too will be in
contention with teams like Ohio State and Illinois State.
9. Western Illinois University- (10-15-0) If the Bulldogys can come out with a
full head of steam and can get their financial support through sponsors,
they too will be a team looking to better their record. Last year, they
had a few shaky players but are looking to get better with the master of
moves Zack Aufman and one half of the dynamic duo of Paul
Badilamente. Among those two superstars, they will be looking for
help in the area of goaltending and defense which can only get better
with all the incoming freshman. Hopefully if they can get back into the
swing of things, they will be interesting to watch.
10. Southern Illinois University- (5-18-1) Although the mighty Saluki's are
definitely looking to rebound from last years disappointing performance,
they will be looking for leadership support from the Headhunter himself,
big Joel Hanson. He will be raring to go with his superb passing ability,
and his physical presence on the floor, but watch out because his next
accomplice of Jeremy Beilat will be bringing up the back. He too has
great motivation and stamina which will be a great asset to the
Saluki's. Furthermore, if they can increase their goals for which happened
to be third among all division I teams, and to stay number one in
lowest penalty minutes, they will only get better.