Coast To Coast: Changes And Challenges

Coast To Coast: Changes And Challenges

Coaches out. Challenges in. Changes along the way. Catch up on the early spring action across some of North America’s most exciting hockey leagues.

May 4, 2023 by Jacob Messing
Coast To Coast: Changes And Challenges

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

Coaches out. Challenges in. Changes along the way. Catch up on the early spring action across some of North America’s most exciting hockey leagues.

Atlantic Hockey

Bentley Falcons coach Ryan Soderquist announced his departure from the program after 21 seasons.

He holds numerous scoring records with the Falcons and guided them to some hit and miss seasons during his time with the program.

The Falcons have not announced a timeline in their search for a new head coach.

Welcome back Robert Morris.

The Colonials return to college hockey and Atlantic Hockey for the first time since the 2020-2021 season.

A May 2021 cutting of both the men’s and women’s hockey programs was reversed just seven months later, but the damage was done. Players transferred and dispersed.

Now, Derek Schooley returns behind the bench, and his program already has landed goaltender Chad Veltri – who earned the win against the Colonials in their final game.

The Colonials have added seven other players from the transfer portal this spring.

As parity grows in Atlantic Hockey, and the top programs from the 2022-2023 campaign face significant roster turnover, the Colonials will be challenged with hitting the ground running and carving out space in the eight-team conference tournament come 2024.


Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings also has departed from his program.

Hastings built and guided the Mavericks to eight regular-season conference titles, five conference tournament titles, seven trips to the national tournament and a loss to Denver in the title game in 2022.

A three-time NCAA Coach of the Year and four-time conference coach of the year, Hastings has opted to bring his expertise to the University of Wisconsin, ending a contract with four years remaining.

Augustana will officially begin its transition as the ninth member of the CCHA, slated for a series against each current program in 2023-2024 and 2024-2025, ahead of full immersion for the 2025-2026 season.


The Toledo Walleye entered their first-round series with two options in net 1A and 1A, a pair of equally capable netminders in John Lethemon and Red Wings prized prospect Sebastian Cossa.

Lethemon was named the 2023 ECHL Goaltender of the Year.

Cossa turned a rocky start to his first pro season into a scorching end of the year, earning Goaltender of the Month honors in March.

Each goalie earned a pair of wins in the sweep.

The Walleye now will face Cincinnati, which defeated Fort Wayne on Wednesday in Game 7 of their series.

Running away with the regular-season title, the Idaho Steelheads took six games to oust the Utah Grizzlies, including winning four consecutive overtime games after a 2-0 series deficit.

They will face the Allen Americans in the Mountain Division Finals.

The Newfoundland Growlers will face the Reading Royals in the North Division Finals.

Newfoundland defeated the Adirondack Thunder in five games, while the Royals took six games to defeat the Maine Mariners.

The defending champion Florida Everblades upset the South Carolina Stingrays in six games and will face the Jacksonville Icemen, who defeated Greenville in six games.

Don’t miss a second of ECHL action. Catch every game and series live, right here on FloHockey.


The NHL Playoffs kicked off without Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby for the first time since 2005-2006, and similar changes have continued in 2023.

With the first round officially wrapped up, the second round is in new territory.

After winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021, and losing in the final in 2022, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason has come to an end in the first round.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are responsible for the inevitable new team coming out of the East. With their first playoff series win since 2004, they’re hoping that momentum means its them.

There is a mix of relief and increased expectation in Toronto, but that potential path to the Stanley Cup Final remains tough.

In the second NHL season, and first trip to the playoffs, the Seattle Kraken ousted the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in seven games.

Injuries and a lack of depth relative to 2022 saw the Avalanche struggle to maintain the Kraken’s own depth and drive, with every game bringing program firsts.

One thing that hasn’t changed, is the “Presidents’ Trophy curse.”

The last team to turn a regular-season title into a Stanley Cup title was the 2012-2013 Chicago Blackhawks.

In the midst of a history-making regular season, the Boston Bruins’ 3-1 series lead saw a complete collapse to the Florida Panthers with three straight losses, including two on home ice, to send the Panthers on the second round.

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