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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Quinnipiac Head Coach Rand Pecknold

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Quinnipiac Head Coach Rand Pecknold enters the "Tuesday @ The Rink" chat room, presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Bobcats are the newest ECACHL member and play their first league game Friday, November 4 when they host Harvard.

Rand Pecknold

Entering his 12th year at Quinnipiac, Rand Pecknold has transformed the Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey program from a Division II contingent into an established Division I program that is now a member of a "Big Four" conference. In Pecknold's previous 11 seasons as head coach at Quinnipiac, he has become the all-time winningest coach in program history and is a two-time finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the top Division I college hockey coach. Pecknold has guided Quinnipiac to two MAAC regular season titles, one MAAC tournament title and the first-ever NCAA berth in program history in 2002. He has amassed a 202-118-31 career record, including an astounding ledger of 123-37-21 in conference play at the Division I level.

Since Quinnipiac made the jump to Division I for the 1998-99 season, the school ranks among the elite Division I schools in win percentage and in total victories. In addition, only six Division I schools--Quinnipiac, Michigan, Michigan State, New Hampshire, Northern Michigan and Maine--have managed to post seven straight winning seasons over that span. The Bobcats have also registered six 20-plus win seasons in the last seven years.

Before he came to Quinnipiac, Pecknold served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Connecticut College, for three seasons under head coach and former NHL player, Doug Roberts.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Rand won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 1st, 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: Welcome back to the second half of today's Tuesday @ The Rink doubleheader. We are now joined by Quinnipiac Head Coach Rand Pecknold.
Coach Pecknold: It is great to be here. I'm looking forward to answering your questions.

Boston: I have had the opportuity to see construction of your new rink. I understand it will be state of the art in everything. Can you give some coverage of this?
Coach Pecknold: The facility is set to open at the start of next season. It will be one of the better rinks in college hockey. It is state of the art and wired and TV friendly. The locker room complex is unbelievable. We are very excited about moving into it and having it help us elevate our program on a national level.

Al Carbone (Hamden): How much of a role do fan support and facility adequecy have in NCAA hockey?
Coach Pecknold: If you look at all the successful hockey programs, they all have unbelievable support and beautiful facilities, so it plays a big part.

Greg (Hamden): How has your team responded to the underdog role that the polls have placed them in...as opposed to the Atlantic Hockey years, when QU was generally one of the top teams?
Coach Pecknold: Certainly it is new ground for us to be picked last in a 12 team league. But we are excited for the challenge of the ECAC and look forward to proving all the poll pickers wrong.

Steve Bartman (Ft. Lauderdale): Having lost a large class last year, what adjustments needed to be made to compete this season in the ECAC. Also, would you rather start your new venture with a veteran team or a young fresh team?
Coach Pecknold: We've had to make major adjustments this year, not only losing ten players, but even moreso since one of those ten was Jamie Holden (who is with Cleveland of the AHL right now). Jamie was the backbone of our team the last several seasons. But, so far, we have gotten good goaltending and the players have been very coachable, work ethic has been great and we are focused on making the move into the ECAC. It probably would have been easier to make the move with a veteran team. We didn't have that luxury, though, but are very happy with where we are at this point in a transistion year.

Andy (Lebanon, NH): While Harvard is the big game at the Civic Center, what are you looking for out of the Dartmouth game, after Jamie Holden stole the show up in Hanover last year? I'm guessing the Big Green will be pretty fired up!
Coach Pecknold: I watched that Dartmouth win last night and it was really a spectacular performance by Jamie Holden. We are going to focus on one game at a time right now, though, and our focus is on Harvard as I'm sure Dartmouth's focus is on Princeton. Friday night, when our Harvard game is done, we'll have to get ready for a hungry Dartmouth squad, because I'm sure they are looking for a little revenge.

Casey (Hartford): What are the current plans as far as resuming the Heroes' Hat series with UConn?
Coach Pecknold: We would love to resume the Heroes' Hat series with UConn. However, scheduling conflicts forced us to put it on hold for a couple of years.

Tony (North Haven): I know you're very big on Reid Cashman's hockey sense. Are there times when it's difficult because he's thinking on a different level than some of the other guys on the team? How do you get other players used to the kind of ideas that he's going to have and the passes he's going to make?
Coach Pecknold: There certainly are times when Reid is a few steps ahead on the thought process, from both our players and the opponents. Our guys learned to adjust pretty quickly, though, and are ready for anything when Reid has the puck. One of Reid's main strengths is his hockey sense. I couldn't be happier with his work ethic and commitment to getting better. He had a tremendous summer in terms of getting stronger and faster. He also is always the first kid on the ice and has always been 100% committed to improving his game every time he steps on the ice.

Bill, Poughkeepsie, NY: Coach, How has becoming a member of the ECACHL affected your recruiting at QU compared to past years? Good luck this season - see you at Ingalls.
Coach Pecknold: Every year, we seem to move up the food chain a little and the move to the ECAC has certainly helped us in that matter. I also think the impending opening of our new facility has given us a big boost and, as more and more people learn about the quality academics at Quinnipiac and the fantastic campus that we have, we expect to continue to evolve as a major player in the national recruiting game.

ttnorm, Naugatuck: Coach, congrats on another Q Cup and good luck in your first year in the ECAC. I think the skill level of your guys will surprise a lot of teams. Can you take us through Quinnipiac recruiting? How does Quinnipiac set itself apart in the recruiting game? At Quinnipiac, what percentage of recruiting is the head coach and what percentage is your assistants?
Coach Pecknold: We look for a lot of things in a student-athlete. We certainly want a high level of talent, but are also very interesting in character, work ethic and commitment to academics. I am very fortunate to have great assistants in Scott Robson and Ben Syer and we work as a staff in the recruiting process. I try to be as involved as I can and try to see as many games as I can, but certainly there are times during the season where I have to rely on my guys to evaluate and locate talent.

Nick (Wallingford): Game preparation in the ECAC must be a bit different this year. QU has to learn about 11 teams it hasn't had the chance to play against yet, while all the other teams only have to learn about one. How does this affect your preparation and practices?
Coach Pecknold: Quinnipiac is certainly at a disadvantage this season, having to prepare for eleven new teams whereas the other ECAC schools only need to learn about Quinnipiac. It is an immense amount of work getting ready for an opponent that you haven't played on a yearly basis. With all that being said, we are very excited to be a part of the ECAC and are willing to handle a few bumps in the road as we transition.

Henry (Northford): How does playing at Northford Ice Pavilion affect your team's style of play, if at all? It seems like that netting just below the ceiling takes away possibilites, especially when clearing the puck on a penalty kill.
Coach Pecknold: First of all, we are playing some home games at Northford, but also playing some at Yale and one home game at the Hartford Civic Center. Northford does have low glass and the players have to adjust to that fact. When you go into any new rink, you need to make adjustments to not only glass height, but what kind of glass, what kind of seams in the glass, funny bounces from the Zamboni doors, low ceilings, high ceilings, etc. We need to adjust to any rink that we play in.

Nick (Branford): With your move to the ECACHL, can we expect "Big 4" teams to participate in future Q Cups?
Coach Pecknold: I think once the new facility opens, and as our program becomes accepted on the national level, I think we will have teams from the ECAC, Hockey East, CCHA and WCHA playing in the Q Cup.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Pecknold today.
Coach Pecknold: Thanks for having me. I had a great time.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us again next week for another edition of Tuesday @ The Rink. One of our two guests will be Army Head Coach Brian Riley. Keep checking back to find out who our second guest will be. See you next week.

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