The University of Massachusetts Hockey Team is one of the premier athletic teams for the Flagship University of the Commonwealth. As a member of the Hockey East Conference, recognized as one of the best leagues in all of college hockey, UMass enjoys playing some of the best competition in the country. We can trace our Hockey roots to 1908 competing against several opponents including many Ivy League schools. In fact, the earliest hockey games were played on the campus pond at the center of our modern day campus.
Our University is located just 20 minutes north of Springfield, Massachusetts in the western area of the state. We are a Research 1 university ($156 Million in research expenditures) with over 25,000 students studying here at the undergraduate and graduate levels. We are located in the community of Amherst, cited by MSN as the best college town in the United States, and home to two other institutions of higher education. We offer 88 undergraduate majors and numerous Master's and Doctoral Programs. The Isenberg School of Management, one of the top Business Schools in the nation, is considered by many to offer the finest graduate program in the field of Sports Management. Other programs in Computer Science, Artificial intelligence, Polymer Science, Psychology, and Philosophy are nationally and internationally ranked.
The Hockey East Conference is a 10-team league that includes Boston College, Boston University, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, UMass-Lowell, Providence, Northeastern, and Merrimack. Almost all of our home games are televised regionally on CBS 3, CBS College Sports, and NESN.
UMass also enjoys one of the finest and the largest venues in Hockey East with home games played in the 8,400-seat Mullins Center. Fans and visitors both agree that the Mullins Center can be one of the loudest, most exciting arenas in all of college hockey.
Typically, our average attendance is around the 5,000 fans and on game nights when we play our biggest Hockey East rivals, gate receipts range between 6,500 and a full sellout.
The Mullins Center houses not only the playing surface, but also the offices of the coaching staff, the team locker room and facilities for strength & conditioning, equipment and treatment. The Minutemen have a practice rink adjacent to the Mullins Center which is also used for public skating and other functions. The Mullins Center features the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame, the Massachusetts Room for special functions, and two huge video boards in the endzones.
We are a program that prides itself on developing student-athletes who excel both on and off the ice: All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, Hockey East Honorees, New England Hockey Writers Award Recipients. We have several former players currently playing professionally and we were honored to see Jonathan Quick represent our country as a member of Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Quick was an All-American and Hockey East All-Star goalie who helped lead UMass to the 2007 NCAA Tournament; he is now the star goalie for the Los Angeles Kings and is a finalist for the 2012 Vezina Trophy.
Also in the NHL & Professional ranks:
Justin Braun - An All-American, Hockey East Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 is a current member of the San Jose Sharks who completed his first full season in the NHL this year.
Casey Wellman - Signed after his sophomore season with the Minnesota Wild and has spent time in the NHL over the past three seasons. This February, was traded to the New York Rangers and helped the team's AHL affiliate, the Connecticut Whale, reach Eastern Conference Semifinal of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Numerous recent graduates are playing in the American Hockey League, the triple AAA hockey league that provides players to the NHL. Matt Anderson (Albany), Matt Irwin (Worcester), Mike Kostka (Norfolk), Mark Matheson (Chicago), Greg Mauldin (Lake Erie) and T.J. Syner (Hershey) were all great UMass players and are now one phone call from the NHL.
Our players are student-athletes in the truest sense. Last year we led the entire Hockey East Conference in the number of players who did Honors work throughout both semesters. We have led or been among the top performing teams in the classroom in each of the last six seasons.
The University's Commonwealth Honor's College has three recent graduates who have distinguished themselves in the classroom as well as on the ice. Brett Watson and Pat Dineen complemented their Honors College experience with degrees in Finance and Accounting. Peter Trovato was a Commonwealth College graduate with dual degrees in Political Science and Journalism. While on campus and playing for the Minutemen, Peter founded the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund raising a significant sum of money before graduating. Peter now manages this trust fund which is in the millions and has begun awarding scholarships to the children of fallen soldiers from our state. He was admitted to the Harvard Business School to pursue an MBA. He was also recently honored at the Massachusetts State House as the recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award.
Another outstanding recent graduate from the program is Scott Crowder. Scott combined his love of hockey with his UMass degree from the Isenberg School of Management and began the Pond Hockey Classic event which is now an annual event throughout New England. In 2010 he received the Lakes Region Association's Tourism Award after the inaugural event. This past winter, he expanded the PHC from one tournament to three different events in New Hampshire and Vermont.
In the community, our people have performed exceptionally well. Several of our players are currently, and for the last several years have been, "Big Brothers" to local youth served by the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program of Amherst. Through the work of former Captain Mike Kostka and our tremendous faculty mentor, Dr. Richard Halgin, our involvement with this worthy service group is now in its fourth year. Several of our players volunteer their time in local elementary school reading programs, while others volunteer their time and expertise with local youth hockey teams. Several of our players have been nominated for the Lowe's Senior Class Award and the Hockey Humanitarian Award, including Peter Trovato, Brett Watson, Mike Kostka, and Paul Dainton. One of our recent graduates, Alex Berry has been nominated for the AHL Man of the Year award for outstanding community service in Norfolk, VA.
As you can tell, the UMass Hockey Program is about developing well-rounded people who are proud of their experience with the University. More than that, we want our fans and the people close to our program to share the same sense of pride that we do as we work to develop these young men in both hockey and life.