In this lull between actual games, there are still a few things worth mentioning.
A couple of Bills come due
In a community as small as our college hockey crowd, one never really leaves completely — even after one is completely gone.
Recently, I’ve heard from former CCHA commissioner Bill Beagan and former Western Michigan and Wayne State head coach, Bill Wilksinson — two of my favorite Williams, without question.
A book about Bill Beagan written by Paul White, Shooting for the Moon: The Bill Beagan Story, is available online. Beagan’s personal story is iconic. Born in Parry Sound, Ontario, Beagan dropped out of high school and made his way into the world via the Canadian Army. His eventual life of hockey included his career as an NHL referee. As CCHA commissioner (1985-1998), Beagan was a genuine innovator, pushing for wider media coverage and exposure of the sport we love.
Beagan and his wife, Barb, spend their summers in Parry Sound and their winters in Hilton Head. I am lucky enough to receive regular emails from the Old Commish — as he is fond of calling himself — and can report that he’s doing very well. Matt Mackinder caught up with Beagan, too, in September.
Another Bill who’s found himself in a great place post-college hockey is Bill Wilkinson, who is the head coach of C.H. Jaca, a team currently in third place in the Spanish League. (Yes, the Spanish league.)
Wilkinson skippered the team to two Spanish championships (2010, 2011) and has kept me updated on his life in Europe. He’s still struggling with Spanish and he and his wife, Mary, are loving the travel opportunities. The league is currently on holiday break and the Wilkinsons are heading to Paris and Dubai. Rough gig.
Wilkinson is also the coach of the Spanish national team. In case you missed it, Matt Mackinder also chatted with Wilkinson at the start of the season.
You should definitely check out Jaca’s stunning city arena. Who knew that a little city near the Pyrenees could build an arena that puts most of what we’ve seen here to shame?
What are you doin’ New Year’s Eve?
If you don’t have any plans, you could watch Notre Dame host Boston University followed by a “Onward to Victory — Notre Dame Hockey,” a documentary produced by the Emmy-winning NASCAR Media Group. VERSUS is airing the doc after the game, the network’s first of the season.
According to the press release, the documentary traces ND hockey’s 44-year history and talks about the move into the new Compton Family Ice Arena. It was filmed so recently that it features footage from the Comp’s dedication game, a 3-2 overtime Irish victory over Boston College.
The BU-ND game begins at 7:05 p.m. The hour-long documentary shouldn’t interfere with any midnight plans.
If you prefer to view a documentary about a hockey program with a slightly longer and more storied history, you can check out “Blue Ice: The Story of Michigan Hockey,” another hour-long production. It aired in December, but you can purchase it if you need a hockey doc fix.
Poor Justin Vaive. The former Miami RedHawks’ standout had the misfortune of appearing in my Twitter feed just as this blog was being finalized.
Vaive is one of several players, including NCAA alumni, fined and/or suspended by the ECHL for incidents in a few recent games. Vaive’s fine — no suspension — stems from a kneeing incident in game between Chicago and Cincinnati Dec. 22. Vaive has a goal and seven assists in 18 games for the Cincinnati Cyclones.