North Dakota. Ohio State. Minnesota State. Colorado College. Nebraska-Omaha.
Although this may sound like a list of opponents for the St. Thomas men’s hockey team, it is actually just a sample of the schools represented among the 11 players who left Division I programs to be part of the newly formed Tommys’ first season. was transferred. CCHA.
The Tommys season gets underway Saturday night in St. Cloud against the mighty Huskies ranked No. 3 in the country by USA TODAY, before St. Thomas plays host to St. Cloud State at the ExCel Energy Center on Sunday.
Coach Rico Blasi, who spent 20 years as head coach at Miami (Ohio), said it was important to add some experience as Tommy began his journey.
“My focus was on building a good center of people who were here,” Blasey said, “because they know St. Thomas and they can help us build the culture.” The second part of that was trying to find some people through the transfer portal who might fit in with what we’re trying to do.
“And, obviously, you need something that you’re going to develop for four years.”
Blasi said that there was tremendous interest in St Thomas among players in the transfer portal.
“We probably could have had two teams,” he said. “It was a great opportunity for me to see what kind of name we have.”
Transfers expected to take the lead include defenders John Schultt (Minetonka, Nebraska-Omaha) and Nolan Sachuk (Burnsville, UMass Lowell) and goalkeeper Peter Thome (Minneapolis, North Dakota).
“They are guys who have played at the higher levels of Division I,” Blasi said. “Good locker-room people, good people, good students. In talking with them, the reasons they wanted to come to St. Thomas were all the right reasons – to create something special, to help build this culture. ”
Blasi said he is pleased with the talent he has seen between the 12 holdovers.
“These guys could have played a lot at Division I level but decided to come to St. Thomas,” he said.
There are seven newcomers to Tommy’s roster, four of whom have been recruited by Blasey after he took over. Among them is Cameron Reichie, son of former NHL star Mark Reichie.
The elder Rechi scored 577 goals in his NHL career, which shows that his son has some offensive skills.
“There’s a little bit of his father in him,” Blasey said, smiling.
Three weeks into practice, Blasi said it was too early for him to get a real sense of the type of team. But he knows what he wants to be.
“We want to be a good skating team,” Blasi said. “We want a little bit of everything. We want to be balanced in everything we do and balanced in every situation.”
Blasey said he is yet to settle on a starting goaltender. Along with Thom, senior Jacob Berger (Minnetonka), who transferred from Minnesota State last season, and junior Henry Baribeau (Hudson, Wis.) are in the mix.
Cloud State, Blasey suggests that the trip to I-94 will likely become a regular occurrence for Tommy.
“I think it will be a good relationship between us and St. Cloud over the years,” Koch said. “It makes sense for us to play. Would I have liked 10 weeks of practice? Maybe, but it would be fun for our guys to wear jerseys and play one of the best teams in the country.”
“It will make us better.”