SHU announcement due: Late Sunday notes

Edit, 11:40 a.m.: here’s the official announcement. While we’re here, the Islanders also invited Colin Markison and Tanner Fritz to training camp.

The league spilled their beans about 10 days ago, but it’s expected that Sacred Heart will announce its men’s hockey move to Webster Bank Arena on Monday. The Pioneers are expected to have their own locker room and office space at the barn.

The Pios played games at the arena before, you may recall, earlier this decade in most cases attached to a Sound Tigers game. That’s not the plan this time around: They’re planning to stand on their own, for the most part, though there will be a few doubleheaders (sort of: The college games will apparently be in the early afternoon when the Sound Tigers play at night, which should mean much less chaos downstairs in between and much better ice for all involved). It sounds as if both the building and the school have very good intentions to get it right this time, focusing on groups and youth teams to build attendance (that’s a very familiar approach, isn’t it?) and emphasizing the close-to-home aspect for Fairfield County folks that might otherwise look to Quinnipiac or Yale.

Will it work? Tough call. Unlike the last time around, the arena will be SHU’s home now, not a five-a-year drop-in “home”; that should be good. The crowds weren’t good in the past incarnation — the one I thought drew a big crowd was against Yale, when the Pioneers won that miracle 7-6 game in 2011, but attendance that Tuesday night was just 754 — but if they think they can make it work, it’s worth a try. If you remember, that beans-spilling press release was mainly about Atlantic Hockey going to 18 scholarships; Sacred Heart hasn’t had a winning season since 2009-10, which hasn’t helped building a buzz, but perhaps the added scholarships raise the tide over the next few years. (The Pios have at least played .400 hockey the past two seasons.)

And selfishly and synergistically, not that I’ve discussed this for a moment with the boss or anything, but if Sacred Heart is practicing after the Sound Tigers some Tuesday, it’s a heck of a lot easier for me to hang around and write something on the Pioneers than it ever has been before.

So it’ll be something different. The major problem is that the planned home opener is Union (same day as the Sound Tigers’ home opener, apparently, Oct. 15) and, well, Union does pretty well at Harbor Yard. Tough scheduling. We’ll see how it all goes.


The World Cup was over super-quickly for the USA. OK, not really, but the Americans put themselves in a deep hole with a loss to Jim Miccio, Scott Boggs and Team Europe. (I was perhaps blessedly occupied with Sacred Heart football at the time.) The Young Americans did better for themselves and play Russia (0-1 after Alex Ovechkin couldn’t buy the game-tying goal Sunday afternoon) on Monday. The USA gets one more day to think about what it did before it meets Canada on Tuesday night.


And RIP, W.P. Kinsella.

Michael Fornabaio