Season 3 Episode 20 of the Chasing Macnaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; Mayor of Warroad. This week, Tim Braun, Rob Gilreath and Matt Cavender were joined by Jess Myers, hockey writer The Rink Live and inForm News. In this episode, the guys discussed Jess’s perception of Tech this year, talked about past years Frozen Fours, discussed ongoing issues with Michigan, and previewed the possible CCHA “megasweep” for Tech.
Perceptions of Michigan Tech
The conversation started with Tim asking Jess for his perceptions of Michigan Tech and the disparity in Tech’s ranking between pairwise and the polls. Jess talked about Tech getting harder and harder to ignore in the polls and added that Tech is fun to watch. Tim thought that the expectations for Tech are different now than in the past when he would enjoy travelling to watch Tech lose. Jess then told a story about his first time travelling to Houghton, which was for the winter carnival game more than 30 years ago.
University of Michigan drama
The guys then spent some time talking about the ongoing situation with the University of Michigan hockey program. Jess talked about knowing Mel Pearson well and how he tried to get Mel to talk to him before the GLI games were played. Jess said he wanted to give Mel a chance to get his story out and that initially Mel agreed, but then backed out. Jess said he was a little shocked at the story and how long it traced back. He talked about how the World Juniors and GLI are not a new thing and he wasn’t sure why this year was any different than years past. The guys then talked about minimum number of player rules for a bit. Matt shared his thought that this series of events called into question the integrity of the game. Rob then added the recent example of Minnesota-Duluth playing Northern Michigan shorthanded and getting swept to show that other teams are not ducking games. The guys then talked about the recent MLive story about a law firm conducting an investigation into allegations of COVID-19 deception and toxic workplace environment within the Michigan hockey program . Jess thought that this was not a Mel Pearson witch hunt and that this could cost Mel his job if the allegations are true.
Great Lakes Invitational and fan interest
The guys then talked about some of the history of the GLI and the shift in popularity it has been facing in recent years. Jess talked about an old article he saw in the Ann Arbor News where the writer posed the idea of asking Tech to leave the GLI. Tim then talked about the guys’ recent chat with Michigan Tech AD Dr. Suzanne Sanregret and how she very politely said that Michigan and Michigan State should win their GLI games if they didn’t want to play in the 3rd place game. The guys then discussed that there is the perception that Michigan and Michigan State fans don’t care about the GLI anymore. Rob speculated that part of the issue may be tied to the creation of the Duel in the D, which also takes place at the Little Caesar’s Arena, and how that may take away from the specialness of playing in the NHL stadium. The guys then discussed their travels to NCAA regional sites in the past and how much they enjoyed watching the games, even if Tech wasn’t playing in them.
Thoughts on CCHA launch
Tim asked Jess about his thoughts of the CCHA conference launch. Jess thought that by and large, things didn’t seem that different. He said Minnesota State dominating was nothing new and also thought that St. Thomas would be competitive before long. Ultimately Jess said that he thought the CCHA was a good, but not great, conference. Matt talked about understanding Jess’s perspective then shared some of the things that an outside observer might not notice, mostly relating to the quality of the broadcasts. Jess then ranted about college hockey fans complaining about not being able to find streams of the games, despite how highly they hold their education from their alma mater.
Jess then talked about some of the regional sites that have hosted in the past and shared which ones he thought did a good job. The guys then discussed the possibility of Arizona hosting a regional and speculated why Detroit no longer bids as a host site.
Preview of the possible Mega Sweep
The guys then did a short preview of the possible upcoming “megasweep.” All of the guys agreed that it was good to be able to get the games in and all of them were happy that St. Thomas was the team sandwiched between the Northern Michigan games. Matt thought that having the Northern series split up takes away from the emotional side of the rivalry, but added that it will help the teams not dwell on the score or the night before.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 37 minutes long. The guys talked about travelling to watch Minnesota high school hockey. They discussed the lack of ticket sales that happen at some sites and how some events can be turned into big events to draw more fans. They guys talked about the trinkets they collect from the areas they visit, and why KBC’s Widowmaker is a great beer. Jess talked about some of the other hockey writers around the country who he thinks are the good. The guys discussed going to regional weekend and Jess told a story about Denver kicking Michigan out of their own locker room at Yost. Matt and Jess talk about Grand Rapids and one building that is now closed down. The guys discussed the Misfits and their rushed cheers. They also discussed the Joe Shawhan Hour and Matt shared some information on the playing time that Jake Crespi and Nick Nardella had this past weekend. The last segment was the guys talking about Michigan Tech’s powerplay stats and the fact they don’t reflect where the pollsters have been ranking Tech.
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