Ramsey: CC's next hockey coach must bring intensity to team

April 9, 2014 Updated: April 10, 2014 at 7:46 am
photo - Minnesota Gopher hockey assistant coach Mike Guentzel Id Gazette columnist David Ramsey's top choice to fill the Colorado College head coaching vacancy.  Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune
Minnesota Gopher hockey assistant coach Mike Guentzel Id Gazette columnist David Ramsey's top choice to fill the Colorado College head coaching vacancy. Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune  

Colorado College needs to consider Serratore for its vacant coaching job.

I'm not talking about Frank Serratore, who's announced he's happy at Air Force. I'm talking about his brother Tom, who led Bemidji State to the 2009 Frozen Four along with three other rides to the NCAA Tournament.

So there. Tom Serratore joins a growing list of possible candidates to replace Scott Owens as Tigers coach. CC athletic director Ken Ralph says he will not comment on any coach on his list of possible candidates. This explains why Ralph said former Denver coach George Gwozdecky is not "a good fit" for the Tigers.

But Ralph is paying attention to all the names being thrown around. Providence coach Nate Leaman. Minnesota assistant Mike Guentzel. UMass-Lowell coach Norm Bazin. CC assistants Eric Rud and Joe Bonnett. Penn State coach (and CC alum) Guy Gadowsky. And that's the short list.

"There are a lot of names thrown around and it's healthy for our program," Ralph said Wednesday morning. "One of the enjoyable parts of the search is to see those names."

Most CC fans and observers have a favorite name on the list. Mine is Guentzel's.

Rud and Bonnett would be tough to sell to CC fans after a hideous 7-24-6 season, and the head coaches on the list, and this includes Tom Serratore, would be difficult to pry away from their current jobs.

The Tigers require an injection of intensity, and Guentzel could certainly do this injecting. During the 2007-2008 season, Guentzel served as a CC assistant and often worked on the second row of the pressbox at World Arena. He sat directly behind me, and I heard his pained shouts.

I wondered if guests at The Broadmoor could hear him, too.

"Well, you know what?" Guentzel said in a phone call Wednesday morning. "I try to get the most out of the kids."

Guentzel, 51, is busy preparing the Golden Gophers for the Frozen Four. He's aware the CC job is open, but that's the extent of his awareness.

"I read the papers like anybody else," Guentzel said, "but I haven't given it a whole lot of thought. I haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about this."

He should start thinking about the vacancy. And Ralph should start thinking about Guentzel as his lead candidate.

Guentzel understands CC's academic demands. His son, Gabe, is a CC alum who played for Owens. At some schools the college part of college hockey is an afterthought. At CC, the college part - studying diligently, attending classes regularly - is at the forefront.

To succeed at CC, a coach must find real students who double as legit hockey players. No one could accuse Owens of misplaced priorities. He demanded his players graduate. Guentzel will make the same demands. He worked alongside Owens and he currently assists former CC coach Don Lucia at Minnesota.

Guentzel understands the rigors of filling out a roster at an expensive private institution. Developing depth is a challenge at CC, where tuition costs cause parents to gasp in agony.

And Guentzel understands hockey is a violent, emotional game that requires a complex blend of courage and wisdom. He's not a restrained man. That's good.

Hockey is not a game that rewards restraint.


Twitter: @davidlukeramsey

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