Coast To Coast: Shiny New Things

Coast To Coast: Shiny New Things

The NHL All-Star Weekend highlights the start of February with a pair of new events, and FloHockey dives into other ‘shiny new things’ happening this year.

Feb 11, 2023 by Jacob Messing
Coast To Coast: Shiny New Things

Coast To Coast is FloHockey’s monthly, cohesive news on North American hockey and livestreaming partnerships.

As the 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend highlights the beginning of February with a pair of new events, FloHockey dives into other ‘shiny new things’ happening in the 2022-2023 season.

Catch all the glimmer, twinkle and shine all season, live on FloHockey.

Atlantic Hockey Achievements And Announcements

The Sacred Heart Pioneers officially have opened Martire Family Arena, a luxurious catch-all facility for the men’s and women’s programs and sports-based majors.

The Pioneers are second in Atlantic Hockey and sit 1-2-1-1 in their new complex.

Sitting nine points above the Pioneers, No. 18 RIT is chasing program history and the Atlantic Hockey record book with a 14-1-1-4 conference record.  

The Tigers’ lone conference loss in regulation is impressive, to say the least, and their February schedule is in their favor to add to the history.

As 2023 progresses, there’s already one Atlantic Hokey program looking ahead to next season – Robert Morris.

The Colonials will return to the conference for the first time since the program’s abrupt forfeiture following the 2019-2020 season, citing the onset of the pandemic as a primary cause.

With the prior announcement of Bob DeGregorio stepping down as commissioner for Atlantic Hockey, the conference announced Michelle Morgan as the heir. Morgan will also oversee the College Hockey America women’s conference.

“In Michelle Morgan, College Hockey America and Atlantic Hockey have found a prepared and proven leader who will provide a strategic vision for our future,” CHA Board Chairman Jamie Mullin told College Hockey News.

In honor of his 20 years at the helm of Atlantic Hockey, the regular season championship trophy was renamed after DeGregorio beginning this season.

CCHA Come-Up

As seven programs left the WCHA to recreate and revamp the CCHA, they welcomed St. Thomas into Division I hockey for the first time during the 2021-2022 season.

St. Thomas has taken promising steps during for this year, the team’s second at this level.

And, as we’ve seen with Sacred Heart, rewards can follow.

St. Thomas announced a new $175 million arena, expected to break ground in 2024 and have construction completed for its hockey and basketball programs in 2025.

The facility also is being designed to house commencement ceremonies, career fairs, guest speakers and more.

“This is about more than just hockey and basketball games – this is a gift that will be transformative for our entire St. Paul campus, enhance the experience of our students and raise visibility for the university as a whole,” St. Thomas President Rob Vischer said. “It also creates a new community and economic asset for the Twin Cities, the state of Minnesota and the region.”

The 2025-2026 season also will welcome Augustana University to the CCHA full-time, following a transitional schedule that begins in the fall for the 2023-2024 campaign. The Vikings will be the first varsity hockey program in the state of South Dakota.

The Vikings’ own arena is under construction. It’s an estimated $40 million project, expected to seat 3,000.

“Augustana’s program is the first of its kind in the state and one of only 61 men’s hockey programs competing at the Division I level in the country,” leading donor T. Denny Sanford said. “Sioux Falls needs a great college hockey program, and under the leadership of president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Augustana is the place to make it happen.”

Minor League Expansion

The Savannah Ghost Pirates’ inaugural season as an affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights is not mimicking the path the Knights took in 2018 as the Stanley Cup runners-up.

The Savannah, Georgia-based club’s 13-23 record isn’t as agreeable as their hockey stick-wielding, pirate-hat-donning ghost logo, but Vegas’ willingness to ship off prospects for win-now pieces is indicative of such a record.

It’s directly related to AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights’ 16-27-0-4 record that pits them with the second-worst record in the AHL.

The Silver Knights are just two years removed from a division title in their inaugural season, but the aforementioned trades by the parent team have hindered progress and consistency for their AHL farm program.

Meanwhile in the AHL, the inaugural season of the Coachella Valley Firebirds is off to a scorching start.

The Firebirds lead the AHL with a .780 win percentage. They sit second in the league with a 30-7-3-1 record, with three games in hand on first-place divisional opponent, Calgary.

The Seattle Kraken affiliate is coached by 2009 Stanley Cup champion Dan Bylsma and supported by two top-10 scorers in the league and four in the top 20.

NHL Polishing Up At The Deadline

One big name is off the board, as Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat was traded to the New York Islanders for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected 2023 first-round draft pick.

The rebuilt and return-to-contention New York Rangers traded forward Sammy Blais, prospect Hunter Skinner, a conditional 2023 first-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for sniper Vladimir Tarasenko (50% salary retention) and prospect Niko Mikkola.

They are the first of many anticipated deals as the NHL’s trade deadline approaches in March.

Players including, but hardly limited to, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Erik Karlsson, Dylan Larkin and Brock Boeser also could find themselves sporting new threads come March. The rumors never quit.

Players aside, a disappointing 2021-2022 inaugural season for the Seattle Kraken – thanks to the Vegas Golden Knights’ rewritten expectations on expansion teams in 2018 – is far behind them.

Seattle is among teams likely looking to buy at the deadline, with a 29-16-5 record placing them atop the Pacific Division and 10th in the NHL.

The Kraken have arrived, and rookie-of-the-year candidate, center Matty Beniers, has been an integral part. He’s the shiny new thing’s shiny new thing.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.