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NCHC Notebook: Colorado College gives Mayotte an extension, some notable names are in the transfer portal

Also, there have been a few early pro signings, including the Tigers' Hunter McKown, North Dakota's Tyler Kleven, Western Michigan's Max Sasson and Denver's Carter Mazur

College hockey players and coaches in interviews
Colorado College head coach Kris Mayotte listens to questions from the media during NCHC Media Day on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Kris Mayotte has signed a contract extension that will secure him as Colorado College's head hockey coach through 2028.

Mayotte, 40, led Colorado College to its first NCHC Frozen Faceoff championship game and to the most wins for the program since 2018-19. The Tigers finished 13-22-3 in Mayotte's second season as head coach. That included wins over five ranked teams, including defending national champion, Denver, in the NCHC semifinals.

"Kris is a special and complete coach," Colorado College vice president and director of athletics Lesley Irvine said in a news release. "He is an elite recruiter and talent developer and has quickly become a valued member of this entire community. He has built an incredible staff and we feel strongly that he is the right person to lead our program to chase championships. We couldn't be more excited about the future."

The Tigers also swept a road series against Western Michigan, a team that finished 12th in the PairWise Rankings, in the NCHC quarterfinals.

"I want to thank President (Song) Richardson and Lesley Irvine for their belief in our staff and what we are building at Colorado College," Mayotte said in the news release. "The support and commitment for our program has allowed us to push this team forward in numerous ways. CC has quickly become one of the more complete and desirable programs in the country and we are just beginning to see the potential of what can be accomplished here. This extension ensures that we can be aggressive and truthful on the recruiting trail about our intentions as a staff and a program."


Colorado College sold out every home game and averaged 3,511 fans at Ed Robson Arena. The arena has a seating capacity of 3,407.

Colorado College had an NCHC-best 15 players named Distinguished Scholar Athletes. To earn that honor, players must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or better for the year. The Tigers also led the NCHC in Academic All-Conference Team picks with 20. To be named to the academic team, players must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.

Mayotte, a former Union College goalie, was hired by Colorado College after being an assistant coach at Michigan (2019-21), Providence (2014-19) and St. Lawrence (2012-14).

SCSU vs Miami_0768.jpg
Miami goaltender Ludvig Persson (32) deflects a shot by St. Cloud State forward Jami Krannila (13) in the first period Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / Special to The Rink Live

Transfer portal has some notable names

As the college seasons have been ending for teams, a number of players have already entered the transfer portal and a number of them in the NCHC have some name recognition.

Two players from Miami fit into that category in goalie Ludvig Persson and forward Red Savage. Persson, who recently completed his junior season, was named to the All-NCHC Second Team as a freshman and played in 32 of the RedHawks' 36 games and was 8-19-4 with a 3.67 goals-against average and .891 save percentage this season. Miami gave up the sixth-most shots (34.3 per game) in the nation.

Savage recently completed his sophomore season at Miami. He had seven goals and 14 points and played for Team USA in the last two IIHF World Junior Championships. Savage has already signed to play next season for Michigan State. His father, Brian, a former NHL player, and his older brother, Ryan, also played at Miami.

Issac Howard, a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, entered the portal after one season at Minnesota Duluth and has signed with Michigan State for next season. Howard had six goals, 17 points and was a minus-13 in 35 games with the Bulldogs.


Forward Matthew Gleason, a former finalist for the Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award when he was at Cretin-Derham Hall, has entered the portal after 2 1/2 seasons at Colorado College. Gleason had 10 points in 35 games for the Tigers this season and has 27 points in 71 career college games.

Defenseman Brent Johnson, a third-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals, has entered the portal after two seasons at North Dakota. Johnson had nine points and was a minus-1 in 36 games over two seasons with the Fighting Hawks.

Forward Matteo Costantini, a fifth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, has entered the portal after two seasons at North Dakota. Constantini had three points and was a minus-5 in 25 games for the Fighting Hawks this season.

Cameron Berg, a fourth-round draft pick of the New York Islanders, has entered the portal after two seasons at Nebraska Omaha. Berg had 10 goals and 24 points in 37 games this season and 18 goals and 47 points in 74 games over two seasons with the Mavericks.

Brett Chorske, the son of former NHL player Tom Chorske, has entered the portal after two seasons at Colorado College. Chorske had two goals and three points this season and six goals and 12 points in 40 games over the last two seasons with the Tigers.

SCSU vs Colorado_584.jpg
St. Cloud State forward Kyler Kupka (10), Colorado College forward Hunter McKown (41) and St. Cloud State forward Grant Cruikshank (19) battle for the puck in the second period Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

McKown, Mazur, Kleven, Kaiser among the signees

Three of the more productive players and one of the most physical defensemen in the NCHC are bypassing more years of college eligibility to turn pro.

Forward Hunter McKown, who leads the nation in power-play goals (14) and is tied for seventh in goals (20), has signed a pro contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets after three seasons at Colorado College. McKown, who was undrafted, made his NHL debut on March 24 against the New York Islanders and had an assist in the game. McKown played for Team USA in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships and had 36 goals and 55 assists in 96 career college games.


Forward Max Sasson, who just finished his sophomore season at Western Michigan, has signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Sasson, who was undrafted, was second on the Broncos in goals (15) and assists (27) and was a plus-20 in 38 games for WMU. In two college seasons, Sasson had 24 goals and and 64 points in 75 games.

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Defenseman Tyler Kleven, who has spent the last three seasons at North Dakota, has signed a three-year contract with the Ottawa Senators. Kleven, a second-round draft pick of Ottawa, had 18 points in 35 games for the Fighting Hawks this season. In three seasons, Kleven had 35 points and 214 penalty minutes in 95 career college games. He also played for Team USA in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships.

Defenseman Wyatt Kaiser, who spent the last three seasons at Minnesota Duluth, has signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Kaiser had five goals, 18 assists, 23 points and was a plus-5 (all career-best numbers) this season in 35 games with the Bulldogs and was an All-NCHC Second Team pick. Kaiser made his NHL debut on March 18 and recorded his first NHL point with an assist in a game against Dallas on March 28.

On Tuesday, forward Carter Mazur, who led Denver in goals (22) and power-play goals (8) and was second on the team in points (37), signed a three-year contract with Detroit Red Wings. Mazur, a third-round draft pick of Detroit, had 36 goals, 75 points and was a plus-42 in 81 career games with the Pioneers. He also played for Team USA in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships.

Denver plays UMass Lowell in regional semifinal game in Loveland
Denver forward Carter Mazur (34) gains control of the puck against UMass Lowell during the NCAA regional semifinal game on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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