NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Head coach Mark Dennehy announced the 2010-11 Merrimack hockey schedule, which features non-conference games against Frozen Four participant RIT, Harvard University and Alabama Huntsville in Nashville, and two home games each against BC and BU, the prior two national champions.
“It’s exciting to see BC and BU come here twice this year,” said Dennehy, last season’s New England Coach of the Year and Hockey East Co-Coach of the Year. “It’s especially exciting for our season ticket holders to be able to see their team take a shot at the defending national champs not once, but twice in our own building. And going to Nashville to play Alabama Huntsville in the Bridgestone Arena will be fun for our guys and obviously a challenge.”
Season tickets for the 2010-11 season in the renovated Lawler Rink will go on sale the week of July 19, while individual game tickets will go on sale later this summer. For more information, please call the ticket office at 978-837-3472 or email at email@example.com.
“The renovations are a sign to the rest of college hockey that Merrimack is investing in its hockey tradition,” said Dennehy. “As we look towards building a first-class program, it’s important that our fans and supporters are treated in a first class manner and that’s what I think these renovations signify.”
The complete promotional schedule will be released later this summer. For the second straight year, all games will be broadcast live on 1400 AM and at merrimackathletics.com. Home games will also appear on tape delay on Andover TV throughout the season.
The Warriors qualified for the playoffs in 2009-10 with a Division I school record 16 victories, while winning a playoff game for the first time since 1998. Additionally, Merrimack defeated every Hockey East team at home and overall for the first time ever, while Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France) was named the NCAA Rookie of the Year.
Merrimack returns 21 players from the 2009-10 team, including six of the top seven scorers, five defensemen and its starting goaltender, and will welcome seven talented freshmen to this year’s squad. Captains Chris Barton (Calgary, AB) and Adam Ross (Red Deer, AB) and assistant captain Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB) will lead the 2010-11 Warriors.
“We are excited and that’s the best way to put it. We are really excited. Obviously we lost some good players last year and there’s no getting around it, but we have a talented group of guys this year. What we really need to do is understand that last year is different than this year; and, if we can buy into that, then we can be successful.”
The Warriors will travel to Niagara University to open the season on October 9, before returning home to play their first game in the renovated Lawler Rink against the University of Connecticut on October 16 as part of Homecoming Weekend.
Merrimack concludes October opening its conference schedule at Vermont on October 23 and then battles the defending National Champion Boston College in a home-and-home series on October 29 and 30.
The Warriors open November with an exhibition game against the Sweden’s Under-20 National Team at Lawler Rink on November 2. They will then play seven consecutive Hockey East games, with home games against Boston University (November 13), Lowell (November 20) and Boston College (November 26) and away games at Providence (November 5), Boston University (November 12), Lowell (November 19) and UNH (November 27).
Merrimack rounds out its busiest month with a non-conference game at Harvard University on November 30, marking just the second-ever matchup between the schools, and the first not played at a neutral site.
Prior to a 26-day Christmas break, the Warriors will take on Northeastern University in a home-and-home series on December 3-4.
Following the holiday, Merrimack rings in the New Year in New York to battle Army on December 30 and RIT, who reached the Frozen Four last season, on January 1.
The Warriors will then welcome the University of Maine to Lawler Rink for a 4 p.m. game on January 8 before concluding their season series with Boston University on Wednesday, January 12 in North Andover.
Following that rare Wednesday game with the Terriers, Merrimack will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, where it will take on Alabama-Huntsville for the first time in school history on January 14 and 15 at the Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators. Merrimack’s Saturday game with Alabama-Huntsville will be the first game of a doubleheader with the Predators and Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Merrimack concludes January with three straight home games, Lowell on January 21 and Vermont on January 28 and 29.
After a weekend series at Northeastern and a home game with UMass on February 4, the Warriors conclude the regular season with two-game series against New Hampshire (February 11-12), UMass (February 18-19), Maine (February 25-26) and Providence (March 4-5).
The Warriors will take aim at qualifying for their second straight Hockey East Tournament, which opens on March 11 at on-campus sites. The tournament concludes at the TD Garden on March 18 and 19.
In all, Merrimack will play 35 games, 34 regular season games and one exhibition. The Warriors will have 16 home games and 19 away games and will play at least once on every night except for Sunday and Monday.
All game times are subject to change.