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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Vermont Head Coach Kevin Sneddon

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, January 16 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Vermont Head Coach Kevin Sneddon pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Catamounts host Boston College on Friday on CSTV at 8 p.m. ET.

Kevin Sneddon

Kevin Sneddon is in his fourth season as the head coach at the University of Vermont in 2006-07, and his 14th year in the coaching profession. Since his arrival to the UVM campus in 2003, the Catamounts have reasserted themselves as one of the top programs in the country and have sold out 37 consecutive games at Gutterson Fieldhouse heading into this season. After winning just nine games in his first season at Vermont, the Catamounts have won a total of 39 games the last two years.

During the month of December, Vermont was ranked as high as third in the country in both national polls, giving the Catamounts their highest ranking in a decade. In addition, Vermont was ranked in the top-20 for 22 consecutive weeks.

Under Sneddon, the Catamounts continued to establish themselves as one of the top defensive teams in the country in 2005-06. Vermont finished third in the nation in goals against average at 2.16 and won the Sportsmanship Award in Hockey East for the least amount of penalty minutes in conference play. In addition, captain Jaime Sifers was one of seven finalists for the prestigious Humanitarian Award.

A 1992 graduate of Harvard University, Sneddon is just the third coach in the last 41 years at Vermont. He succeeded Mike Gilligan, who stepped down in April of 2003, after 19 years behind the Catamount bench.

The head coach at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., from 1998 to 2003, Sneddon was associated with the Union men's hockey program since 1993-94, when he was named assistant coach under former head coach Bruce Delventhal. He was named head coach in the summer of 1998, and in 2002-03 Sneddon led the Dutchmen to their first-ever ECACHL home-ice playoff series. Union qualified for the ECAC Playoffs three of Sneddon's last four years with the Dutchmen. His career record at Union was 50-99-18 in five seasons.

In the collegiate ranks, he was a four-year starter at Harvard University where he helped the Crimson win the NCAA Championship in 1988-89. That season he was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team, the NCAA All-Tournament Team, and was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Kevin won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 16th, and his time will be limited, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Please bear with us, we're having some technical difficulties...we'll be up and runnign shortly with Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon.
CSTV.com Moderator: Hi everyone...we're still having some technical problems with our chat, but we do have Coach Sneddon on with us to answer some questions. I'll start off by asking him a few, but if you want to send some to me directly, they can go to eolshansky@cstv.com. Meanwhile, we are joined by Kevin Sneddon.
Coach Sneddon: Welcome to all of our great college hockey fans out there. Thanks for joining us today!
CSTV.com Moderator: I guess the first thing to ask is what you're looking for in this weekend's series with BC. You've had trouble with them since joining Hockey East, although you gave them a real tough run in the playoffs. What needs to happen for you to beat that team?
Coach Sneddon: First of all, BC is one of the top programs in the country each year. We feel that we've played well against BC in the past, but unfortunately, we come up short. The challenge for us this weekend is to play with confidence. We've had some big wins against the top teams in Hockey East this season so we are confident going into this weekend.
CSTV.com Moderator: You've been one of the best defensive teams in the country all season, but the offense has never quite gotten back to that level it was at in Oxford at the Ice Breaker, at least in terms of goals scored. What do you think has been the biggest challenge offensively, and how do you think the situation can be improved as you head into a tough homestretch, with two each at BU and Maine besides this weekend's series with BC?
Coach Sneddon: There's no question that offense has been a struggle for us this season, but we've found a way to play great team defense that has allowed us to win the one or two goal games. Our power play has really been struggling during the past few weeks and in order to beat teams down the stretch, we have to find a way to get that part of our game going. As well, we continue to work with our young team on finding ways to turn great defense into transition offense.
CSTV.com Moderator: You mention the great team defense, and there's certainly no denying how good it's been. Are you surprised at all by how well the defense has stood up with Jaime Sifers having graduated, given how much he meant to your team?
Coach Sneddon: Not really. Jaime Sifers helped our staff and team build a culture here at UVM that has lasted since he was graduated. Our student/athletes quickly learn that team sacrifice is a big part of what we do; blocking shots, no undisciplined penalties, strong back checking effort, taking a hit to make a play etc. Jaime was a great role model for us and his legacy certainly lives on.
CSTV.com Moderator: Being in fourth in Hockey East right now, and in position for home ice in the playoffs, what's the challenge like right now trying to keep that spot or improve on it in this tough home stretch? What would it mean to bring the Hockey East playoffs to Gutterson Field House?
Coach Sneddon: Well, as a coach and certainly as a player, you cannot focus on the standings right now. When you start looking at who's ahead of you or who's behind you, you are wasting time worrying about things you cannot control. The only thing we can control right now is how we play. We tell our team to make sure we do not look to the past or to the future, but rather focus on the task at hand. This weekend it happens to be a very good BC team. Bringing the play-offs to UVM would mean the world to our program; it's a great way to provide thanks to the best college hockey fans in the country! We have a long road ahead of us and we will focus on this weekend for now!
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Sneddon this afternoon, unfortunately.
Coach Sneddon: I just want to take a moment to thank all of our college hockey fans that really support our student/athletes week in and week out. We really appreciate it! Enjoy the rest of the season!
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. Keep checking back for more info on next week's guests. Just as a reminder, you can see Vermont take on Boston College on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on CSTV, followed by Air Force against Army on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Thanks and have a great week!

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