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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Notre Dame Head Coach Jeff Jackson

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 31 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Notre Dame Head Coach Jeff Jackson pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Fighting Irish visit Ohio State in a CCHA clash on CSTV Friday, November 3.

Jeff Jackson

The 2006-07 season marks the second year of the Jeff Jackson era for the Notre Dame hockey program.

The highly respected hockey tactician took over the Irish hockey program on May 6, 2005 as the fourth coach since the program's Division I inception in 1968.

For Jackson, it was a return to his roots - coaching at the collegiate level - where he got his start behind the bench at Lake Superior State. Jackson inherited a team that struggled through a difficult 5-27-6 season in 2004-05 and had lost confidence in itself. The Roseville, Mich., native and his staff went right to work to change the team's attitude and perception.

They made giant strides on and off the ice in their first season directing the team's fortunes. After a slow start, his players began to buy into what the new coach was selling and after starting 3-9-1 over the first 13 games of the year, Notre Dame closed the year with a 10-10-3 record over its final 23 contests. In CCHA play, the Irish showed a 15-point improvement over `04-'05 - going from 3-20-5 to 11-13-4 - good for eighth place in the league and the final home-ice spot in the CCHA playoffs. Only Miami made a bigger jump in `05-'06 with a 16-point improvement.

The Irish played with poise and discipline in Jackson's first year behind the bench. Defense, strong goaltending and a tough-to-stop power play were the three keys to Notre Dame's success. They also laid the foundation for future seasons with major success on the recruiting trail.

Jackson heads into the `06-'07 season with a seven-year collegiate record of 195-70-29 for a .710 winning percentage, the best-winning percentage among all Division I coaches with five years or more in Division I. His 195 career wins ranks him 22nd among active coaches.

Success is nothing new for Jackson on the Division I level. He returned to college hockey after 10 years away. In six years at Lake Superior State, Jackson's teams won two NCAA titles in 1992 and 1994 (also advancing to the finals in 1993), two CCHA regular-season championships (`91 and `96) and four CCHA playoff trophies (`91, `92, `93 and `95). His 1992-93 team also advanced to the NCAA championship game, losing a 5-4 decision to Maine.

In taking over the Irish coaching duties in `05, Jackson became the first Notre Dame head coach to have won an NCAA Division I championship with another program before being hired as an Irish head coach.

The highly regarded Jackson brings over 20 years of coaching experience to the Irish as an assistant and a head coach at the NCAA Division I level, on the international level with the U.S. national program, in major junior hockey and at the National Hockey League level.

A 1978 graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in communications, Jackson followed with a degree in education in 1979. Jackson got his start in college hockey as an assistant coach at Lake Superior State in 1986 where he served four years under Frank Anzalone, helping guide the Lakers to one CCHA championship and the 1988 NCAA title.

During his six years guiding the Lakers, Jackson produced 12 All-Americans (five first team and seven second team) and one Academic All-American. In 1991, he was recognized as the CCHA coach of the year. He is just one of 12 coaches to win multiple NCAA championships (1992 and 1994). From 1993-96, he also served as the Director of Athletics at Lake Superior.

Several of Jackson's players advanced to play in the NHL. The list includes: Doug Weight (New York Rangers/Edmonton/ St. Louis), Brian Rolston (New Jersey/Colorado/Boston), Keith Aldridge (New York Islanders), Blaine Lacher (Boston Bruins), John Grahame (Boston Bruins/Tampa Bay Lightning), Bates Battaglia (Carolina/Colorado/Washington) and Jim Dowd (New Jersey/Vancouver/New York Islanders/Minnesota Wild).

On June 7, 1996, Jackson was named the national coach and senior director of the newly founded U.S. National Team Development program based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In his first season while putting the program in place, he served as the head coach for the United States Junior National Team that captured the silver medal at the 1997 World Junior Championships, at the time, the best finish ever for the U.S. team. Former Irish captain and current Columbus Blue Jacket, Ben Simon, was a member of that squad.

The following year, Jackson served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. In his four years directing the national program, eight former Notre Dame players came from the developmental program. The list includes: Brett Henning, Michael Chin, Connor Dunlop, Paul Harris, John Wroblewski, Brett Lebda, Neil Komadoski and Rob Globke.

In 2000, Jackson left the U.S. program and took over as coach of the Ontario Hockey League's (OHL) Guelph Storm where he turned a losing franchise around, finishing in second place in his first season with a 34-23-9-2 record. In the 2001-02 season, the Storm went 37-23-7-1 and hosted the Memorial Cup, advancing to the tiebreaker game where they lost to Victoriaville. In two-and-a-half seasons in Guelph, Jackson had an 87-67-24-4 record.

From Guelph, Jackson moved on to the National Hockey League's (NHL) New York Islanders where he served as an assistant on Steve Stirling's staff from 2003-05. In 2003-04, the Islanders finished third in the NHL's Atlantic Division with a 38-29-11-4 record, good for 91 points. The Islanders lost in the first round of the playoffs to eventual Stanley Cup winner, Tampa, four games to one.

Born June 22, 1955, Jackson is a member of the USA Hockey Coaches Achievement Program, the American Hockey Coaches Association and the National Hockey League Coaches Association.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Jeff won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, October 31st, 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 to CSTV.com's "Tuesday @ the Rink." We're waiting to be joined by Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson.
CSTV.com Moderator: We're now joined by Coach Jackson, whose Fighting Irish face Ohio State this Friday at 8 p.m. ET on CSTV.
Coach Jackson: Hi, I hope I can be of assistance to answer any questions you may have.

Mary (South Bend, IN): Congrats on your 200th win... Will you ever reveal the significance of the "7's"?
Coach Jackson: That's a team thing, so it's difficult for me to divulge that information. The team has sworn me to secrecy.

Tom: Chicago: What does a player need to do to become consistent in each game he plays?
Coach Jackson: I would say that the most important thing is focus and effort. A player has to have the right mindset to perform at a high level, and also be willing to pay the price physically and mentally to be successful in each game.

Gene (Providence, RI): Congratulations on a great start to the season and the signing of Cam Fowler, who looked very good at the U15 Camp. Can you touch on the recruitment and signing of players so young? Best of luck this season.
Coach Jackson: The recruitment of younger players has been new to me since my return to college hockey, and I'm not neccessarily in favor of it, asking kids to make decisions at such a young age. But, it is absolutely necessary for us to be involved with to recruit the caliber of players that we need to have to become an elite level program.

Chris (Chicago): I saw the attendance figures from the tournament in Tampa were around 7000 per game. Did it feel like there were that many people there, and what do you think it says about hockey in Tampa (Frozen Four there not too far away), the Notre Dame name, and the potential for growth with your program?
Coach Jackson: I thought the people in Tampa did a great job for the first year of the tournament, and although the attendance wasn't quite what we were hoping for, moving the tournament to Christmastime will enhance its growth, especially with a football bowl game being down there that a Big Ten team will involved with, which will enhance attendance and excitement over future tournaments.

joe (mass): What has made your team chemistry so good thus far?
Coach Jackson: I think the leadership by our senior class has been very strong. I think our captains have done a good job ofintegrating the younger players, and have kept the focus on task at hand. I credit the captains and the senior class for getting us off to a much better start than we did a year ago, and teinforcing so many of the things we had to go through and learn last year.

Adam (Tampa): Hi Coach, I saw a photo of Christian Hanson celebrating a goal at the tournament in Tampa, and the fan on the other side of the glass was wearing a Chiefs jersey and hat. Is that just a coincidence, or was that family?
Coach Jackson: I don't know if that was family. I doubt seriously that that was family, but Christian is his own man, and not in the mold of the Hanson brothers. I would assume that that was just coincidence.

Harry (Boston, MA): I hear there's some upgrades scheduled for your rink. Any chance that ND will start a women's program as the sport continues to grow?
Coach Jackson: That's a question that I am unsure of. I know we have a women's club program, but I don't know if there are any plans behind a women's hockey program at this point. That would be a better question for the athletic director. We would certainly encourage a women's program to be developed here.

Harry (Columbus): What are you expecting from the Ohio State series this weekend? Do you think the retiring of Paul Pooley's jersey will be a distraction in any way?
Coach Jackson: I would hope it would be more of an encouragement for our players to realize the coach they have working with them on a daily basis, and the contribution he had to college hockey. As far as the series this weekend, I would expect that this will be a challenge. I know that we have not had great success at Ohio State the last several years. It's up to us to make sure that we're sound defensively, because I believe that Ohio State generates the most shots of any team in our conference thus far on average.

Dan (Columbus): I know Ohio State has struggled to get good turnouts during football season. At another university with a storied football program, how do you deal with the issue?
Coach Jackson: I think it's great for our program because of the recognition that our football program brings to our university. Our football team's success creates an environment of success athletically, puts a positive pressure on our team and program, and creates a tremendous environment for student athletes here. This is my first experience being at a program having a big time football program. I was unsure at first, but am now convinced that walking a young recruit onto the football field at the beginning of a game with the marching band and the team coming out creates that sense of what Notre Dame is all about, and the pride and tradition that this university has athletically. Through our scheduling, we try to avoid any conflicts with football weekends as much as possible in the first half of the season.

Jim (chicago): hey coach how do you keep the guys that don't see the ice during games motivated and a part of the team?
Coach Jackson: That's a difficult challenge, to say the least. Generally, when we recruit players, we try to be honest with them as far as their potential roles and the timeline for them to contribute. As long as we're honest with them and fair, it makes it a little easier, but it has been a difficult challenge this last year for me, becuase many players were recruited by the former coach, and expectations may have been different than what my expectations are. But, we still try to ensure that all our players develop, regardless of playing time, on a consistent basis.

Roy (South Bend): Is it hard to keep your guys from getting ahead of themselves with two struggling teams on the schedule in the next couple of weeks?
Coach Jackson: It's always a concern to ensure that we don't get comfortable with our early success. I belive that now that we get to conference play, it will be more challenging, because we're playing for points. I don't look at our next two opponents as weak opponents, because I feel it's too early in the season for ourselves or our opponents to be considered strong or weak. We have to approach this weekend and every weekend with the same state of mind and try to improve each weekend.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Jackson this afternoon.
Coach Jackson: Thanks for your questions, and we look forward to a great college hockey season. Go Irish!
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us again at the top of the hour, as we'll be joined by Providence coach Tim Army, whose Friars host Boston College in a few hours. Also, don't forget to tune in on Friday when Coach Jackson leads Notre Dame against Ohio State on CSTV. You can also get the game streamed online with CSTV Pay-Per-View. See you at the top of the hour!

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