Category Archives: New England Hockey

Catching Up With Katie Zimmerman (Western New England Women’s Ice Hockey)

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Katie Zimmerman was named earlier this month the first coach of the Western New England women’s ice hockey program, which is scheduled to begin competition in 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY: Diana McNamara)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Katie Zimmerman seems very excited to coach the first Western New England women’s ice hockey team, which is scheduled to play its first contest during the 2020-21 school year.

“Being able to start my own program at the college level is very, very special,” said Zimmerman, who arrives in Springfield after assisting the Amherst College women’s ice hockey team since the 2014-15 season.

“I have categorized it as a life experience (because) it is going to be both exciting and challenging, but also a full-circle feeling to build a program and help grow the game at the next level.”

Zimmerman was named the program’s initial coach earlier this month when the institution announced they would be adding a women’s ice hockey program.

A forward for the Hamilton College women’s ice hockey team, Zimmerman led the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) in goals scored during her junior and senior seasons, while also earning a pair of all-league selections.

In addition to assisting coach Jeff Matthews at Amherst, Zimmerman has prior coaching experience with USA Hockey and SUNY Cortland.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Zimmerman to discuss her excitement for starting the women’s ice hockey program at Western New England.

On getting a startup program started: The very first thing to do is to make sure people know about the program. So, what I have done is introduce or reintroduce myself to former colleagues and coaches at both the youth and high-school level, as well as camp directors and advisors to educate them about this new program. I have let people know that this is an exciting opportunity, not just for myself, but for so many people that are going to be able to support it, including the first-ever student-athletes that will have a chance to write the first chapter of the program’s history. Besides spreading the news, it is also time to begin building relationships with prospective student-athletes, too.

I am really excited about this opportunity. I believe in this program, and I am looking for recruits who are just as excited as I am. 

On learning from prior startup women’s ice hockey programs: I do have contact with coaches that have started their own NCAA Division I and III programs, so it is very interesting to speak with them and learn how they got their programs started. There are so many interesting aspects of building an inaugural team.

On spreading the word of the new program to the entire country: The midwest and northeast are hockey hotbeds. Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Michigan are the three top states for girl’s hockey, so those are target areas, but I am casting a wide net for potential student-athletes that want to join our program. I have seen some impressive players come out of California, Colorado, and even Texas and Florida, so I am definitely spreading the news outside the northeast and making sure to focus on bringing in individuals that will set the tone for the program’s culture. I have been really lucky to chat with so many people that have provided me with ideas as to what I should do with recruiting, to the hockey x’s and o’s stuff as well, but it has been very helpful learning more about how my colleagues and coaching friends have started their respective programs.

On publicizing the news through social media: I recently launched a WNE women’s ice hockey Instagram account and plan to follow up with Twitter and Facebook soon. Social media is a primary mode of communication for so many people these days and I am excited to get some good content out there. 

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Katie Zimmerman competed for Hamilton College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). (PHOTO COURTESY:


On falling in love with the sport of hockey: My love for hockey began in the driveway. I grew up on a street with many other young kids, and I would jump into street hockey games whenever I could. I loved ripping around the neighborhood on my roller blades that I had my seventh birthday party at an inline skating arena. I vividly remember going to the arena with my mom and seeing a roller hockey game being played, and I asked my mom if I could play. She signed me up on the spot. I was one of only two girls in the roller hockey league for three years before I transitioned to ice hockey at 10-years-old. I grew more and more serious about ice hockey as time went on, and my love for the sport only grew.

Some of my all-time best friends have been former teammates and many of my favorite moments revolve around hockey. And when I’m not coaching the sport, I’m a passionate follower of the National Hockey League (NHL) and a loyal Detroit Red Wings fan!

Some favorite memories of the game: I could write a book about my favorite memories. When I was a senior in high school I played for a team in Michigan called Victory Honda, and that year alone holds so many of my all-time favorite hockey memories. The best part of that year was that it felt like we were all best friends, both on and off the ice – I still keep in touch to this day) – which made every moment at the rink so much fun. I also had a blast playing in college, where every game-day felt like a holiday. 

Zimmerman’s all-time favorite hockey player: Pavel Datsyuk, who used to play for the Detroit Red Wings. His nickname was “The Magician” because he could do unimaginably creative things with the puck. I thought he was the most entertaining player to watch and a really strong two-way player, too. To this day, I’ve never seen another player that plays the game like he did. 


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ hockey coverage on Twitter by following @NoontimeHockey!

New England College Notebook: WNE Starts Women’s Ice Hockey, Nichols Names Linton Men’s Basketball Coach

NS NEW ENG COLL NOTEBOOK

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports

Just hours before the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues squared-off in the seventh game of the 2019 Stanley Cup FinalsWestern New England announced some exciting news that they would be adding women’s ice hockey, the school’s 20th varsity sport, during the 2020-21 school year.

The exciting news of the school adding women’s ice hockey was shared by Matt LaBranche, Western New England’s Director of Athletics, Recreational Sport & Physical Education, who looking forward to seeing the team compete in 2020.

“Interest at the high school and youth levels has never been higher, and we are proud to be providing a new opportunity for those young women to pursue their passion in a highly competitive collegiate program,” said LaBranche in Wednesday’s press release about the women’s ice hockey team.

LaBranche also announced the hiring of Katie Zimmerman, who becomes the first head coach in the program’s history. Zimmerman previously served as an assistant at nearby Amherst College and has prior coaching experience with USA Hockey and SUNY Cortland.

Zimmerman also played Division III hockey for Hamilton College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

According to Wednesday’s release, Western New England will join 66 other colleges that sponsor women’s ice hockey at the Division III level.

Nichols College announced on Thursday that Brandon Linton has been named the 20th men’s basketball coach in program history.

Linton replaces Scott Faucher, who guided the Bison to 28-3 record this past winter, including an appearance in the NCAA Division III sectional finals (elite eight).

Faucher was recently named the new men’s basketball coach at Assumption College.

Linton arrives in Dudley after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach at Army West Point where he “was responsible for the development of scouting reports on opponents and managing the scout team,” along with additional duties, as well.

“Nichols College is a special institution that offers a world-class experience for our student-athletes both on and off of the court,” said Linton in Thursday’s release. “I cannot wait to begin the process of getting to know our current players and continuing to build on the foundation they have created.”

Linton is no stranger to Division III basketball as he played for Clarkson University in the Liberty League (LL) and spent time as an assistant under coach Tim Gilbride at Bowdoin College.

Finally, congratulations to former Babson College men’s ice hockey assistant coach Chris Zimmerman, who recently celebrated a Stanley Cup championship on Wednesday evening with the St. Louis Blues.

Zimmerman, who President and CEO of Business Operations for the Blues, played hockey at the University of Vermont in the Hockey East before pursuing his MBA at Babson.


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Noontime’s Take: The Bruins Provided Us With Some Entertaining Hockey This Spring

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By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11 

By now last night’s Stanley Cup game seven setback to the St. Louis Blues has officially set in for all of us. And it is a tough pill to swallow.

Waking up this morning was not as easy as it was yesterday – we were all excited for a seventh game, as well as the post-game celebration that would extend deep into the night and early this morning.

But instead, myself, along with other devoted Boston Bruins fans, were treated to a sight we may have not expected, a Blues victory, which included players, coaches, and various personnel skating around the TD Garden late last night celebrating the franchise’s initial championship.

And while St. Louis is certainly not singing the blues today, Boston is mourning a loss for a team that struggled to convey to reporters what exactly this setback means to both them and their fanbase.

Hearing stories from the locker room of players weeping to those that struggled to string together enough sentences for reporters certainly made me sympathize for them, but also made me realize how lucky we were as a fanbase to cheer on a dedicated group of hockey players for the past two months.

The Bruins captivated our attention every day by scoring impressive wins over the Toronto Maple LeafsColumbus Blue Jackets, and Carolina Hurricanes. We also celebrated some exciting wins against the Blues, as well, including a 7-2 thrashing in the third game, which provided Boston with a 2-1 advantage.

But our hometown team’s five-goal route was quickly forgotten a few days later when St. Louis rallied to win both games four and five, which ignited an early celebration for numerous Blues fans this past weekend. And while St. Louis was eager to begin a long-awaited celebration on Sunday, they were instead forced to wait an additional 72 hours before popping champaign due to Boston’s game six victory.

St. Louis will celebrate this win every day this summer, as well as think about it when they reconvene for the start of the National Hockey League‘s (NHL) 2019-20 season.

The loss to the Blues will resonate with us all for days, weeks and months, but the good news is another season will be here before we know it.

In the meantime, we have the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots to help us cope with a disappointing finish, along with with Anthony Davis trade talk, too – hello, Boston Celtics fans. And of course, there is the World Cup, as well, but we will certainly miss our mid-week and weekend hockey games that meant something.

We will have games that mean something again soon, Boston Bruins fans. And when they do mean something, you, I and others will gather around the television eager to cheer on our beloved hockey team to victory.

No matter how you cope with this particular loss, just know one thing, it was a heck of a run and a fun season. And despite the outcome, I am eager for more hockey.


Stay connected with Matt Noonan on Instagram and Twitter today! 

Re-introducing Noontime Hockey On Twitter

Noontime Hockey Social

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Noontime Sports is excited to relaunch (and welcome back) @NoontimeHockey to our social media family.

@NoontimeHockey, which fans can follow on Twitter, will be your new source for New England hockey coverage, ranging from the Boston Bruins to college, high school and prep. Additionally, we also hope to provide some junior hockey coverage, as well, so stay tuned.

Similar to our other sports-related accounts – basketball, football, and lacrosse – this will be your go-to for scores, in-game updates, and stories, as well as some videos, too.

Adding hockey coverage is something we have been pondering here in the Noontime Sports office as we know how much this sport means to our region. As many New Englanders know, hockey is woven into the six New England states, and we certainly look forward to telling stories from numerous rinks soon.

So, make sure to toss @NoontimeHockey a follow today and let us know why you love hockey!

D3 Hockey: Conference Championship Weekend Primer

NS CONF CHAMP WEEKEND

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

It’s a BIG weekend in New England, especially in the D3 hockey world with a slew of conference semifinals and championships taking place. The winners of each conference championship will secure an automatic berth for the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament, which will begin next weekend.

Here is this weekend’s schedule of games, including links to the video feeds.


Colonial Hockey Conference (CHC) 

  • CHC Women’s Ice Hockey Preview
  • Dates/Location: The 2019 CHC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship will take place this Saturday, March 2nd (semifinals) and Sunday, March 3rd (finals) at Endicott College.
  • Match-Ups: Endicott College vs. University of New England (1 p.m.) and Nichols College vs. Morrisville State (4 p.m.)
  • VIDEO 

Commonwealth Coast Conference Men’s Ice Hockey Championship

  • CCC Men’s Ice Hockey Preview
  • Date/Location: The 2019 CCC Men’s Ice Hockey Championship will take place Saturday, March 2nd at 7 p.m. The game, as noted on the conference’s website, has been moved to University of Rhode Island’s Boss Ice Arena.
  • Match-up: University of New England vs. Salve Regina (7 p.m.)
  • VIDEO

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Men’s Championship

  • MASCAC Men’s Ice Hockey Preview
  • Date/Location: The 2019 MASCAC Men’s Ice Hockey Championship will take place Saturday, March 2nd at Plymouth State. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
  • Match-up: Salem State vs. Plymouth State (7 p.m.)
  • VIDEO

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament

  • NESCAC Men’s Ice Hockey Preview
  • Dates/Location: The 2019 NESCAC Men’s Ice Hockey Championship weekend will be held at Trinity College with the semifinals being played Saturday, March 2nd and championship Sunday, March 3rd.
  • Match-ups: Amherst College vs. Wesleyan University (1 p.m.) & Hamilton College vs. Trinity College (4:30 p.m.)
  • VIDEO

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament

  • NESCAC Women’s Ice Hockey Preview
  • Dates/Location: The 2019 NESCAC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship weekend will take place at Williams College. The semifinals will be held Saturday, March 2nd, while the championship will be played on Sunday, March 3rd.
  • Match-ups: Amherst College vs. Williams College (1 p.m.) and Hamilton College vs. Middlebury College (4 p.m.)
  • VIDEO

New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Men’s Championship 

  • NEHC Men’s Ice Hockey Preview
  • Date/Location: The 2019 NEHC Men’s Ice Hockey Championship will take place at Norwich University in Vermont.
  • Match-up: Hobart vs. Norwich University (7 p.m.)
  • VIDEO

New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Women’s Championship 

  • NECH Women’s Ice Hockey Preview
  • Date/Location: The 2019 NEHC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship will take place at Norwich University in Vermont.
  • Match-up: Castleton University vs. Norwich University (3 p.m.)
  • VIDEO 

Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ hockey coverage on Twitter by following @NoontimePuck

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