NCHC Media Day: Miami's Bergeron expects former RedHawk Daschke to make big impact at UMD
Last year, Derek Daschke was at NCHC Media Day representing Miami as its captain. A year later, his former coach is breaking down the impact the defenseman will make offensively and defensively for the Bulldogs as a fifth-year senior.
ST. PAUL — During last season’s NCHC Media Day at Xcel Energy Center, Derek Daschke was seated in the media room as captain of the Miami RedHawks, one table over from his third-year head coach, Chris Bergeron.
On Thursday during the 2022 edition at Xcel, Bergeron was back talking to reporters, but without Daschke, who in the offseason transferred out to Minnesota Duluth for his fifth season of eligibility.
Bergeron said there’s no hard feelings over the defenseman’s departure. After playing four years in Oxford, Ohio, and winning just 31 games as a RedHawk, Bergerson said he understands the move.
“I think Derek and I left our relationship — personally and from a program standpoint — on a positive note,” said Bergeron, who is entering his fourth season at Miami. “He deserves to be on something that, at least on paper, you're going to win more. We're hoping at Miami we're going to win more, too, but Duluth is more proven than we are, and I understood the decision.”
Bergerson said he expects Daschke to make a big impact on the Bulldogs this season, especially on offense. Daschke posted 24 goals and 61 assists in four seasons at Miami, including four goals and 24 assists as a senior.
Almost half of Daschke’s points came on the power play last year, where he totaled a goal and 12 assists for a Miami power play that finished sixth in the NCHC at 20.6%. The Bulldogs’ power play was seventh at 17.9%.
Bergerson said Daschke will provide the Bulldogs power play a boost should UMD use him there, however, he also believes his former captain can be a strong two-way player for the Bulldogs.
“He's able to defend. It's probably a little bit of an underrated part of his game.” Bergerson said. “He can defend against anybody. He's 100% capable of that. But we all know what he can do offensively.
“He's somebody that can 100% make an impact there and you can't teach four years of experience in the NCHC.”
James takes big jump at World Juniors
Colorado College coach Kris Mayotte, who is entering his second season with the Tigers, was an assistant coach for the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team, working with Bulldogs sophomore center Dominic James and junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser last winter and again in August at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
In evaluating the two Bulldogs that suited up for Team USA last winter — when the tournament was halted due to a COVID-19 outbreak — and again this summer — when the tournament was rescheduled — Mayotte said he witnessed James take a huge step.
James went from being on the inside fringe of making Team USA to being one of the most dependable players in the tournament.
“He was a guy that probably in the winter World Juniors was a bubble guy. He made the team and then we really didn't know what to expect,” said Mayotte, a former Michigan assistant coach. “And then this this summer, I mean, he was one of the guys we depended on and relied on. We thought he was phenomenal. The attitude, the confidence and the ability to attack the game versus reacting to the game a little bit the first time around. He was great.”
James had an assist in five games for the U.S., which went 4-0 in the preliminary round before being upset in the quarterfinals to finish fifth. Kaiser had two goals and an assist for Team USA in the tournament.
Comparing Kaiser from the winter to the summer, Mayotte said the UMD defenseman just hit the repeat button, but that’s not a slight.
“He was so dang good,” Mayotte said. “You know his ability to skate. He's always been someone who produced offense, but his ability to defend and be tough and shut plays down over the winter was really impressive, and then he stepped right back into it this summer.”
NCHC decides to keep streaming in-house
New NCHC commissioner Heather Weems said Wednesday during her state of the league address that NCHC.tv and the NCHC Frozen Faceoff continue to be the league’s two main revenue streams.
In the final year of Josh Fenton’s tenure as commissioner, Weems said the league did go through a comprehensive review process with NCHC.tv to see if it would be better to partner with another streaming platform — like an ESPN+ or FloSports, for example — however, the league determined that staying independent was better for the league’s branding, messaging and its wallet.
“The NCHC’s decision to retain NCHC.tv as an independent digital network was intentional, and housed on the Sidearm platform to better integrate with NCHChockey.com,” said Weems, who formerly was the athletic director at St. Cloud State. “NCHC.tv generates important funds that support our institutions' men's hockey (programs) and overall athletics programs.”
Krause fills in for Sandelin at NCHC Media Day
Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin missed NCHC Media Day on Thursday. He’s been quarantined at home since Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19. Sandelin told the News Tribune on Tuesday night he hoped to return to practice on Monday ahead of the Bulldogs season-opening series against Arizona State on Saturday and Sunday at Amsoil Arena, though, that will depend on his health.
Associate head coach Adam Krause filled in for Sandelin on Thursday at Xcel, accompanying fifth-year senior wing and captain Tanner Laderoute.