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Chat Live With Legendary Michigan Coach Red Berenson!

Welcome to the CollegeSports.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, March 8 at 1:00 p.m. EST, University of Michigan head coach Red Berenson will make a special visit to chat about his Wolverine squad and college hockey in general. Berenson's visit represents the 17th installment of the "Tuesday @ The Rink" chat series, presented by CollegeSports.com and USCHO.com.

A 17-year veteran of the NHL, Berenson (U-M, 1962) is in his 21st season at the helm for the Wolverines, where he owns a 557-262-58 record (through February, 2005). Berenson is currently in 8th place on college hockey's coaching win list and is one of 14 head coaches in college hockey history to accumulate 500 wins.

A former Michigan captain and two-time All-American for U-M from 1960-62, Berenson has averaged more than 26 wins per season in his collegiate coaching career. He has led Michigan to a pair of NCAA Championships (1996, 1998) and 14 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, the longest active streak of any school in college hockey.


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Coach Berenson Bio

He spent three seasons (1980-82) as head coach of the NHL's St. Louis Blues before coming back to Michigan, earning NHL Coach of the Year honors in 1981.

Berenson is a member of the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor, the Dekers Club Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and, most recently, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (2000). He was named to a select group of college ice hockey's West All-Time Forwards in the 1996 American Hockey Coaches Association College Hockey Centennial All-Time Favorites Poll in voting by fans, coaches and writers, joining Neal Broten, Brett Hull, Greg Johnson, Bill Masterson, John Matchefts, Bill Hay and Tony Hrkac.

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Berenson and his wife, Joy, reside in Ann Arbor. They are the parents of four adult children: daughters Kelly and Sandy, and sons Gordie and Rusty.

While Berenson won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 8, feel free to sumbit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!

CollegeSports.com Moderator: Hello and welcome to a special edition of Tuesday @ The Rink. We are now joined by Michigan Head Coach Red Berenson.
Coach Berenson: Hi, everyone. I am very happy to be here to answer your questions.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: We have a lot of questions and will do our best to answer as many of them as possible. We apologize in advance if we do not get a chance to answer all of them.
Coach Berenson: We have already started preparing for playoff hockey and the race for first place. That prepared our team for playing in important games.

Neal (Madison): When does your team begin to prepare for the NCAA Tournament? Will you wait until after your team is finished with the CCHA Tournament, or will you start to build up in practices now?

Ben Dell Ann Arbor, MI: With 10 graduating seniors is this team more motivated to win a National Championship than teams in years past?
Coach Berenson: Not only having ten seniors but having been to the Frozen Four twice and three nCAA appearances should motivate them more than the average team to go all the way.

Chad Gouin: Coach Berenson, Congratulations on another fine season. It looks like our team is really putting everything together now headed into the postseason. What is your assessment of the team at this point and how do you rate our chances to bring home the National Championship? Will Mel Pearson be the next UM Head Coach when you eventually decide to retire? Good luck the rest of the way and M GO BLUE!!!
Coach Berenson: I think our team is ready to challenge for a CCHA Championship and probably as ready as we are going to be heading into the NCAA Tournament. I don't know for sure who the next Michigan coach is going to be, or even when I'm going to retire.

Ben (New York City): I am a big fan of Eric Nystrom. How does his abilities as a leader on the ice and in the locker room compare to captains of years past?
Coach Berenson: Nystrom compares favorable with former Michigan captains. He is a terrific leader on the ice and off the ice.

Ben (Ann Arbor): Coach - Looking back on your 21 years at Michigan, you have turned this program back into the storied success that it once was. What do you view as your greatest accomplishment during that time?
Coach Berenson: No one great accomplishment. Some of the battles that we have won have been on the recruiting trail, some on the ice and some in the classroom.

Brian (Ann Arbor, MI): Coach Red; While recruiting for a given position, do you intentionally recruit to get a mixture of various styles of player (say a scoring forward, a checking forward, etc.), or do you recruit the best talent and let them grow into various roles that fit their individual styles as they continue to mature?
Coach Berenson: We try and recruit a variety of players that would fit into the Michigan mold, both on the ice and off the ice. Some are scorers, some are grinders. Some are defensive, some are offensive.

Scott (Ann Arbor): Do you think that Montoya's less that steller numbers, mainly the save percentage and gaa, have been reflective of his overall play this year.
Coach Berenson: No. I think he has actually played better this year. When you look at his wins and his role in those wins, he comes out as a better goalie.

Bruce (Portland ME): As a Michigan alum and hockey fan who can't easily get back to Ann Arbor, I'd love to see Michigan schedule some out-of-conference games in the East. Any chance of that happening in future seasons?
Coach Berenson: Yes. We don't choose to play a lot of non-conference games away from Yost for financial reasons. But when the right situation arises, we travel. We did play in New Hampshire last spring.

FS (Ann Arbor): Throughout the season your team has had little problem scoring goals. However, do you think the key to Tournament success is your goaltending and defense?
Coach Berenson: Yes. It is always tougher to score goals in the playoffs.

Tim Lowell: Coach, How does your present team compare to teams in the past that have won NCAA championships?
Coach Berenson: They are all different. The Class of '96 was a team with a small senior class and a big junior class. The team in '98 was a big freshman class - ten freshmen. All three teams could score and had a lot of offensive potential. All of them had a great goalie - Turco the first two times, Montoya now.

Rob(Chicago): How do you feel about your team's current momentum going into the CCHA playoffs?
Coach Berenson: I feel good. I think our team has some confidence and some humility. Physically, I think we are pretty healthy.

Hurley (NYC): Red, very glad to have you on the chat. In what ways is coaching young men in college more challenging than coaching seasoned professionals in the NHL? What parts of coaching the younger guys do you find most enjoyable?
Coach Berenson: There is a big difference. In college, you aren't just a coach. You are responsible for their academic support and their physical development. And obviously, they are not all going to be pro hockey players. The hockey is similar, but in the pros, hockey is the main part of coaching. In college, it is just one part. It is a big part, but not everything.

Steve..Livonia: With the NHL in such disarray,do you feel more Junior players may go way of college hockey now and open up a bigger recruiting market in the Juniors?
Coach Berenson: No necessarily. The NHL is only shut down for one year. So it shouldn't be out long enough for there to be any impact.

Goldy 79, Rochester: What teams have you seen skate this year outside of your conference do you see doing the most damage in the NCAA Tourney?
Coach Berenson: I was impressed with New Hamphire and Minnesota, Wisconsin. BU has emerged into strong factor in the East. I haven't seen Colorado College, Denver or BC.

John (Clinton Twp., Mich): Congratulations Red on another CCHA title for Michigan and good luck in the play offs. Some of the elite programs have been part of a building boom of new hockey arenas during the last decade. Among those schools are fellow Big Ten members OSU, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Considering Michigan's plans to renovate the football stadium, doesn't the university need to start making plans to replace Yost Ice Arena as well?
Coach Berenson: Eventually, but currently we see Yost as a throwback historic building that will be impossible to replace.

Eric (West Chester, OH): I'm a UM alum and huge fan of the hockey program (attend nearly all games at Miami/OSU). It appears on UM PP's that our unit is often looking for the "perfect" shot on goal rather than getting shots on net and looking for rebounds to put away like many other teams do to us fairly effectively. Is this your strategy or it just tends to happen that way because the UM PP unit is filled with such talented players?
Coach Berenson: It is a little bit of both, but Tambellini, Warner and Hunwick have been effective power play scorers.

Christop (ann Arbor): Is there any talk of a Women's Hockey Program at Michigan?
Coach Berenson: I think it is definitey a topic for our Athletic Director and administration if they decide to add a sport.

Joe (St. Louis): Who was your toughest CCHA opponent this year. Why?
Coach Berenson: Ohio State. They have all the ingredients of a top team, but particularly, their power play.

Tony (dearborn): How do you feel about people asking you for autographs?
Coach Berenson: I'm flattered, like any athlete or former athlete would be. I can remember collecting autographs.

jose- nyc: Has a non recruited walk on had an impact on any of your teams
Coach Berenson: Actually, no. But several non-recuited walk ons have made out teams over the years. Not impact players, though. We have had recruited walk ons come in, though, and lead our team in scoring and play many imporant roles on our team.

John (Windsor): How are the recruits looking for next year. Which recruits do you feel will eventually lead your team to a championship?
Coach Berenson: We have a big class coming in. I think Jack Johnson and Mark Mitera will be mpact defensemen and the core of our defense in the future. Forward Andrew Cogliano from St. Mike's will be a terrific, exciting offensive forward.

Tim (Columbus): What do you think the key is to your keeping consistant in the CCHA for so many years?
Coach Berenson: I think good leadership within the program - the players have done a good job passing the torch the right way. Also, the recruitment of the right kind of players for Michigan.

Andrew Hoekstra (Ann Arbor, MI): Dear Coach Berenson, What is your opinion on the importance of Michigan going to the Midwest regional in Grand Rapids?
Coach Berenson: Our first choice would be the Midwest regional in Grand Rapids. But if we have to travel East or further West, like we did last year, we can still compete well.

Ryan (Hollywood): How would you describe your teams playing style?
Coach Berenson: We are a dynamic team that can score goals in bunches. But also a high risk team that allows the other team too many good chances. We're an entertaining college hockey team that plays to win every night. We try and play a skating skill game and we try to play with discipline.

Nick (Madison): What is your opinion of Jordan Sigalet and do you feel he is a worthy of the Hobey Baker Award
Coach Berenson: Jordan Sigalet has been a great goalie at Bowling Green for four years. I know he is a quality person and everyone is concerened about his future health.

B (Adrian, MI): Are there any teams in the CCHA that you do not want to face at the Super 6?
Coach Berenson: I can tell you that every team in the CCHA Playoffs will be tough to beat. There always seems to be a surprise team.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: Coach needs to run, so unfortunately, that is all we have time for.
Coach Berenson: Thank you for having me. And thanks to everyone for their support of Michigan and college hockey over the years.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: And don't forge the second half of our Tuesday @ The Rink doubleheader. Coming up at the top of the hour is USCHO's Jim Connelly. See you there.

 
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