Big Ten Media Days: Wisconsin hockey picked as preseason favorite

first_imgST. PAUL, Minn. — There could not have been a more perfect backdrop for the first Big Ten hockey Media Day.As the Minnesota Wild practiced rows below, the coaches and players from the six member schools — Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State — got acquainted with one another and spoke to the media about the upcoming inaugural season.Between mingling and interviews, players and coaches alike stepped out from the small array of tables set up in the Xcel Energy Center (site of the Big Ten Tournament come March) concourse to look over a Wild practice that boasted a few alums from several veteran schools including Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.The coaches started the day with a round of press conferences and before long a common theme arose: the new division is an exciting change and the exposure it will provide via the Big Ten brand is only going to help the sport.“This is spreading our brand, the Big Ten brand for all of our schools across the country,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said, referring to the Big Ten Network. “You get into so many new markets, and I think that’s going to be a real win down the line too, even for recruiting.”And while many current or longstanding college hockey fans are finding it difficult to embrace the change, the coaches are confident that those begrudging feelings will disappear as Big Ten Hockey becomes the new norm over the next season.Wisconsin picked as preseason favoriteWhile each team certainly wants to make a splash in the inaugural season, Wisconsin will have to do so with a large target pinned squarely on its back.The Badgers return the most veteran roster of any team in the conference with nine seniors and seven juniors returning. The only early NHL departure the Badgers lost was center Brenden Woods who would have been a junior, one head coach Mike Eaves admits was a little bit of a shock.“Every young person that comes to your program has a different agenda, background, goals,” Eaves said. “For different reasons, each boy decided they wanted to stay for one year, to build their role, physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s something that we really don’t control.”This season will be the first time in several years Eaves’ has coached a veteran team. Senior and 2013-14 captain Frankie Simonelli said he and his teammates never talked about staying together the way they have — especially as winger Michael Mersch was one of the few expected to leave after last season — it was just something that happened individually.“It’s all personal decisions,” Simonelli said. “For each guy it’s different. … For our senior class, the guys thought it was the right decision to stay and hopefully we all get rewarded for it.As a result, Wisconsin will return 91 of its 112 goals from last season which amounts to 81.3 percent of its offense.After what can only be described as a chaotic season in 2012-13, going from a 1-7-2 start to Broadmoor Trophy Champions and a short-lived trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers hope to learn from last year’s lessons and simply keep rolling through this year.“Looking at what we did last year, taking what we learned throughout the year and bringing it with us this year will be exciting,” Simonelli said.Not only will the Badgers carry over life lessons from last season, but also some impressive stats that only add to the threat they pose the rest of the Big Ten.Most notably, sophomore forward Nic Kerdiles — who is expected to move to center this season — ended last season on a four-game goal streak and a 12-game point streak, both of which are still active. After missing the first ten games of the season due to a suspension, Kerdiles finished the season with 33 points in 32 games played.Mersch returns as the Badgers leading goal-scorer with 23 goals, a mark that also ranks him as the second-leading returning goal-scorer in the nation. Mersch was also UW’s points leader last season with 36.Winger Tyler Barnes returns as the Badgers second-leading goal-scorer with 15 tallies on the season. Barnes ended the year on a streak of his own with 17 points in the last 14 games.Wisconsin also returns its starting center, Mark Zengerle. The senior needs just six more points to become the highest-scoring player under Eaves. He currently has 118 career points.While all this offense certainly sits well with Eaves & Co., Wisconsin returns a pair of netminders who will continue to battle each other for the starting spot, just as they’ve done the previous two years. Junior Joel Rumpel boasted a .929 save percentage last season and a 1.96 goals-against average which ranked second in Wisconsin history. Fellow junior Landon Peterson was right on his tail with a .926 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average, ranking third in UW history.“They come in every day and they push each other,” Eaves said. “It’s a competitive situation every day in practices, and I think that’s what makes them better.”One new wrinkle: the shootoutNot only will fans get to enjoy watching the Big Ten opponents clash on the rink, but the conference is also introducing shootouts to help create a greater divide in points in the standings.“From the aspect of a fan, I think it’s tremendous,” Eaves said. “In the game of ice hockey now people get excited about, well in the old days fights, goals and shootouts. I mean, at the end of the game they’re all standing, watching it. I think it really appeals to the public.”last_img read more

Lozano offers the Blume and Rubiales, the hotel in Spain against COVID-19

first_imgThe Blume and the RFEF. Between the CAR with which it counts Spain to stop the pandemic are the Blume Residence and the Residence of the Spanish Football Federation, by offer of Luis Rubiales. The president of the CSD, Irene Lozano, has informed Salvador Illa that both sports residences are at the full disposal of the authorities to convert them into hospitals if necessary given the growth of the COVID-19 curve.Italy sows doubt. In the Higher Sports Council (CSD) see that it is almost impossible for them to be held this summer Tokyo Games. The last week has been critical for some of the Spanish medalists, who demanded a special permission from the Government to be able to continue with their preparation plan. The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, commissioned a report on the situation of the Olympians in other countries around us. The confinement decree in Italy he left his Olympic athletes free to train “for reasons of national interest”. Some did, such as their road cycling team. But his joy was short-lived. The citizens kicked them off the roads. The dinnerl. The CSD You have heard complaints from great medalists like Mireia Belmonte, that you have to train at your home Badalona “going up and down stairs”. Mireia has demanded that Spain take the path of Italy. The Government has studied the alternatives, but what it really hopes is to see what happens to the Tokyo Games. The United States has warned this Saturday that it will not send its athletes except a full health guarantee. Pressure on the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, begins to be irresistible. The great Olympic powers have already assumed reality.Remote exception. The Government of Spain He will wait to see what happens in the next few days to make a decision about the training of our Olympians. In the remote case of opening the hand, it would be to authorize it, after negative tests of the confined athletes, in high performance and technical centers (CAR) distributed throughout the national territory that have not been claimed by the Ministry of Health. But in the CSD they see almost inevitable the postponement of the Olympic Games.last_img read more

Ellen Dedicates US$11M NASSCORP Complex

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has officially dedicated a US$11 million commercial complex constructed by the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) at the ELWA junction in Paynesville City.The complex is intended to raise revenue for the government to further its development drive, according to NASSCORP officials.President Sirleaf dedicated the magnificent picturesque structure, which faces and can be viewed directly from the country’s most significant entry route from the Roberts International Airport (RIA), on Friday, June 6 at an elaborate ceremony held in one of the many beautiful halls in the building.  She termed the building as a classic example of the process of transforming Liberia.“I’m just pleased to be with all of you today to give recognition to the transformative contribution that have been made by those who are here and those institutions that have made this event possible, firstly NASSCORP itself.  An official of the entity has already mentioned where this corporation was in 2006 and where they are today,” President Sirleaf said.The Liberian leader lauded the kind of transformative initiatives that the corporation is embarking on with specific references to restructuring, re-organization, sound management system that is now being employed at the entity and what she termed as their investment quality.“Let me say that I’m very proud of the kind of work that is ongoing here at NASSCORP, their restructuring, re-organization, their sound quality management and their investment quality. All of these have made them today a key contributor to our development as evidenced by what we see here today,” President Sirleaf said.The Liberian President indicated that transformation is a process, and so the work of NASSCORP is not over. She said the leadership of the corporation must work to ensure completion of the civil service reform, which is at an advanced stage, and then move on to the pension reform, which she said will be the very basis upon which the government will meet its full obligations to NASSCORP.When all of these are done, it will give them the capital they need to expand their investment into facilities such as this. “We will continue to work with you,” she told the NASSCORP managementShe said completion of the multipurpose building has further demonstrated that Liberians still have a sense of what they want their country to be in the future and will help government achieve it. “It will now fast track the completion of the civil service and pension reforms that will enable government to fulfill its obligations to NASSCORP in order that they expand their activities to other parts of country,” she noted.The President expressed delight that the project is owned by Liberia and was built by a Liberian company, ECOCON Incorporated, demonstrating the realization of the Liberianization policy. ECOCON is owned and management by Henry Q. Taylor, a Liberian architect.NASSCORP Director General Dewitt vonBallmoos described the structure as a long-term investment that will help raise revenue for government as negotiations are well advanced for full occupation of the commercial complex by investors.He expressed delight that the corporation without a loan or borrowing from any commercial bank exclusively raised the US$11million used to construct the building.Mr. vonBallmoos, however, thanked the commercial banks for always servicing the benefits of its beneficiaries that he said has further brought confidence between beneficiaries and NASSCORP.He encouraged those he referred to as non-compliant employers to see reason why they should let their employees take advantage of the opportunities offered by NASSCORP.NASSCORP Investment and Development Specialist, Christopher McBorrough, said investment remains a critical function in the management of the Social Security Program (SSP). “Indeed, risk management, assets diversification and the maximization of returns remains cardinal to NASSCORP investment strategy.In 2006, the management of the Corporation inherited a non-performing investment portfolio assets base of US$4.7 million which subsequently included US$3.5 million disbursed before the 1990 civil war on land acquisition and some construction works.To date, NASSCORP’s management through the re-organization of the investment division, strategic investment policy guidelines and bold initiatives, can boast of a total current investment portfolio assets base of US$33.7 million. This is a 617 percent increment that stands at US$29 million.This comprises two core categories, real property which is 72 percent and financial assets, which is 28 percent. In terms of real property, the entity has commercial and residential properties in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, sixteen-bedrooms guesthouse in Voinjama, Lofa county, a property in Kakata, Margibi County and other acquired land in Monrovia and its environs.In terms of financial assets, NASSCORP has US$4M share in Ecobank, US$2.5M share in LBDI, US$1M debenture share in Cellcom and approximately US$10M in fixed income deposits at various local commercial banks.The dedication of this complex is in fulfillment of a statutory requirement that the NASSCORP invests 25 percent of its insurable earnings into profitable and realistic ventures.Accordingly, the management in 2007 drafted an investment policy and strategic document, purposely to fast track its investment activities to meet long-term benefit commitments and cater to the socio-economic well being of Liberians.Construction of the commercial complex began on April 18, 2009, and is the single largest infrastructure investment under the investment portfolio of the corporation. The complex includes an international conference center, shopping malls, office spaces, and banking facilities, among others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more