College Hockey Inc.
Notes: Mourning the loss of Paul Jerrard
UNO assistant, LSSU alum passed away Wednesday

UNO assistant coach Paul Jerrard played collegiately at Lake Superior State (Photo: UNO Athletics).

By Jayson Hajdu

The college hockey community is mourning the loss of Omaha assistant coach, Lake Superior State alum, and College Hockey Inc. Board member Paul Jerrard, who passed away Wednesday morning. He was 57.

Paul played four seasons at LSSU (1983-87) before embarking upon a 10-year professional career that included an NHL stint with the Minnesota North Stars. Following his retirement, Paul joined his alma mater as an assistant coach and began a distinguished coaching career that would also include stops in the NHL and AHL.

“Paul was a wonderful friend to College Hockey Inc.,” said College Hockey Inc. executive director Mike Snee. “In addition to serving on our Board of Directors, Paul attended several College Hockey Inc. events and passionately shared his experiences as a college hockey alum and coach.

“Our hearts go out to his family, friends and the UNO hockey community.”

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The More the Merrier:

College hockey is as compelling as ever in 2022-23, and fans have certainly taken notice. Attendance in NCAA Division I men’s hockey is up 15 percent nationwide from 2021-22 and a whopping 44 of 59 individual programs have experienced attendance gains from a year ago.

A small amount of that increase is a natural byproduct of the removal of COVID-related attendance restrictions that were still in place at some schools, primarily in the ECAC, last season. But much of the attendance boom can be credited to an abundance of on-ice intrigue:

  • All six conferences races are still up in the air entering the final weeks of the regular season.
  • More than 200 NHL draft picks – including a dozen first-rounders – dot NCAA rosters.
  • Sparkling new arenas opened at Arizona State, Sacred Heart, and UConn.
  • Alaska Anchorage returned to the DI scene, while Lindenwood and Stonehill joined the ranks.
  • Five different schools from three different conferences have taken a turn atop the national polls.

It’s clear that college hockey isn’t just experiencing a post-pandemic return to “normal.” At least seven schools have set new single-game attendance records this season. Minnesota broke its mark for a two-game series. Alaska is enjoying its best year at the gate since 2017-18. Rivalry matchups have packed NHL venues in Boston, Denver and Detroit.

“The large crowds and overflow of fan interest has been an intriguing story all season long,” said Snee.

ASU has seen the biggest jump in average number of fans per game, going from an average of 870 last season at Oceanside Ice Arena to 4,833 this year at the new Mullet Arena.

Largest Attendance Gains (Avg)*
1. Arizona State (+3,963)
2. Omaha (+1,967)
3. RPI (+1,936)
4. Sacred Heart (+1,808)
5. Boston College (+1,439)
6. Harvard (+1,329)
7. Denver (+1,319)
8. Minnesota (+1,067)
9. Yale (+1,022)
10. Cornell (+1,012)

The biggest percentage gains belong to RPI, one of a handful of ECAC schools that still had COVID-related restrictions in place last season. While limiting crowds to members of the campus community, the Engineers averaged 367 fans per game in 2021-22. This year, with those restrictions lifted, that number has risen to 2,303, an increase of 527 percent.

Largest gains (pct)*
1. RPI (+527%)
2. Sacred Heart (+482%)
3. Arizona State (+456%)
4. Yale (+130%)
5. Harvard (+111%)
6. Brown (+96%)
7. Long Island (+56%)
8. Princeton (+49%)
9. Lake Superior State (+48%)
10. Alaska (+45%)
        Northeastern (+45%)

Added Snee: “Beautiful new arenas, games in NHL buildings, games in large outdoor stadiums and traditional programs seeing noteworthy attendance increases all contribute to what has been a very compelling season so far.”

*Includes games through Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023.

Big Venue for Big Ten Battle:

Michigan and Ohio State will square off for a key Big Ten series this weekend, and they’ll conclude their two-game set on a grand stage.

Following their series opener tonight at OSU’s Value City Arena in Columbus, the two teams will shift to FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland – home of the Cleveland Browns – for their series finale Saturday. Dubbed Faceoff on the Lake, it will be the first-ever hockey game at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Beyond the spectacle, the matchup also carries significant conference implications: Michigan enters the night in second place in the Big Ten Standings, four points ahead of Ohio State, which is tied with Michigan State and Notre Dame for third place.

Saturday’s affair will mark the third outdoor game in NCAA Division I men’s hockey this season. Fenway Park, venerable home of the Boston Red Sox, hosted a pair of outdoor games (UConn vs. Northeastern, Boston College vs. UMass) in early January.

Richter Award Semifinalists:

The list of candidates for the 2023 Mike Richter Award, given to the best goalie in the country, has been narrowed down to nine.

The Hockey Commissioner’s Association (HCA) announced the nine semifinalists for the award Wednesday, paring it down from the initial “Watch List” of 41, including 2022 winner Devon Levi (Northeastern).

The other eight semifinalists include: Ryan Bischel (Notre Dame), Magnus Chrona (Denver), Justen Close (Minnesota), Jakub Dobeš (Ohio State), Mitchell Gibson (Harvard), Victor Ostman (Maine), Yaniv Perets (Quinnipiac) and Blake Pietila (Michigan Tech).

The winner will be announced in April at the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa.

You Can Quote Me On That:

“We learned that we can handle adversity by staying present with what’s currently happening, one day at a time. Sometimes you get to this point in the season, and teams will look to far ahead or too far in the rearview mirror. Our guys are living in the present.”

-- Canisius head coach Trevor Large after the Golden Griffins concluded their fourth road game in five days with a 4-1 win at Air Force on Tuesday. Canisius went 3-1 on the road trip. (source:

NHL Note of the Week:

NY Islanders LW Zach Parise (North Dakota, 2002-04) is on track to skate in his 1,200th NHL game Friday against Pittsburgh. He will join Ryan Suter, Phil Kessel and Joe Pavelski as active NCAA alumni to have reached that milestone and will become the 20th college hockey alum all-time to hit that milestone.

NHL Note of the Week II:

Parise’s 2003 NHL Draft classmate, Dallas D Ryan Suter (Wisconsin, 2003-04), is closing in on a games-played milestone of his own. Suter has logged 1,335 career NHL games, two behind Adam Oates (RPI, 1982-85) and the top five all-time by a college hockey alum. Chris Chelios (Wisconsin, 1981-83) is the all-time leader of that distinguished group with 1,651 career games.

Fries at the Bottom of the Bag:

Colgate junior F Alex Young (Calgary, Alberta) extended his nation’s-best point streak to 14 games with an assist both nights against Cornell last weekend … Bowling Green graduate F Chase Gresock (Powell, Ohio) collected his 100th collegiate point in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Michigan Tech. He’s the third Falcon (Alex Barber, Taylor Schneider) to reach that milestone this season … Minnesota freshman F Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn.) is the first Gopher freshman to score 40 points in a season since Kyle Rau in 2011-12 … Friday’s 3-2 win over Colgate was Cornell’s 600th win all-time at Lynah Rink, which opened prior to the 1957-58 season.

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Did you know? 92% of NCAA Division I men’s hockey players earn their degree!