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CC players acquainted with coaching uncertainty

April 9, 2014 Updated: April 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm
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photo - Colorado College Tigers right defense Gustav Olofsson (13) takes the puck down the ice during a match up between the Colorado College Tigers and the New Hampshire Wildcats at World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday, November 29, 2013. (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette)
Colorado College Tigers right defense Gustav Olofsson (13) takes the puck down the ice during a match up between the Colorado College Tigers and the New Hampshire Wildcats at World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday, November 29, 2013. (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette) 

Players are in wait-and-see mode as the search for a coach gets underway at Colorado College.

Many will take it in stride because they experienced this uncertainty while playing junior hockey.

"I went through the same situation in Des Moines," Tigers junior defenseman Peter Stoykewych said. "All you can do is focus on working hard this offseason and getting yourself ready for next season."

Whether the coaching change leads to player departures remains to be seen, although team MVP and 2012 Carolina draft pick Jaccob Slavin said he is focused on getting ready for next season at CC.

Freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson left for the Minnesota Wild organization in late March. CC athletic director Ken Ralph does not expect more will leave early.

"We don't have any flight risks among the kids," Ralph said. "We have guys who chose the school for the right reasons. That is why Scott's (Owens) graduation rate was so good. People can rest easy and expect to see these guys back next season."

All seven CC seniors, including student assistant Dakota Eveland, are scheduled to graduate in May. Only defenseman Eamonn McDermott has signed with a professional team this offseason.

CC assistants Joe Bonnett and Eric Rud will continue to work with players and incoming commits this offseason after Owens resigned over the weekend following 15 years at his alma mater.

The next NCAA signing period for hockey starts April 16 and lasts through Aug. 1, when recent commits Jordan Berger, a 17-year-old left wing, and goalie Chase Perry, 18, are expected to sign a national letter of intent to join the program this fall.

Those likely to come to Colorado Springs in a few months include defenseman Teemu Kivihalme, a 2013 Nashville fifth-round draft pick, forward Daniel Labosky and blue-liners Garrett Cecere and Duggie Lagrone. All are age 18.

Seniors leaving the program advised the remaining players to work hard this offseason regardless.

"They will have to stay focused on getting better for next season," goalie Josh Thorimbert, who is considering becoming a firefighter or pursuing a pro hockey career.

"There isn't anything they can do about it," center Jeff Collett said. "If they stay positive and work hard, they have a chance to be very good next season."

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