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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Army Head Coach Brian Riley

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 8 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Army Head Coach Brian Riley pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Army hosts Air Force for a pair of games between service academies the weekend of November 11 and 12.

Brian Riley

Brian Riley became the 16th head coach in Army hockey history on July 30, 2004, succeeding his older brother, Rob, who retired from the coaching profession. Riley is just the third head coach in the past 55 years of Army hockey and carries on a tradition within his family of college coaching that began more than five decades ago with his father, Jack Riley.

Riley guided his charges to 11 wins last season, setting the mark for most victories by a rookie head coach in Academy history. In addition, he piloted the Black Knights to their first postseason win in more than a quarter century when Army defeated AIC, 5-3, in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey tournament.

A 1983 graduate of Brown, Riley began his coaching career in 1984 with a three-year stint as an assistant coach at SUNY Plattsburgh. In 1988, Riley left for the Division I ranks and UMass Lowell where he teamed with cousin Bill Riley for one season. The following winter, Riley joined his brother's staff at West Point for the first time where he spent the next seven seasons. In 1996, the West Point native left for a head coaching position at Shattuck St. Mary's Prep school in Faribault, Minn. There, Riley carved out a stellar two-year coaching career in which his teams compiled a torrid 94-19-10 record. In 1999, Riley returned to the East Coast , where he served at his brother's side until assuming the head coaching position in 2004.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Brian won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 8th, 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 another edition of "Tuesday @ the Rink". As always, we have a doubleheader today for all you college hockey fans. Out first guest is Army Head Coach Brian Riley.
Coach Riley: Hello, everyone. It is great to be here. I'm looking forward to taking your questions.

Kevin (Bowling Green): Hey Coach, I just wanted to ask how tough is it for you and your staff to recruit players with the demands that come from being an Army student? Do you feel that those demands put you at a severe disadvantage compared to other hockey schools in the country?
Coach Riley: Every school has limitations and certainly at West Point, it is not just about hockey. We need to find out who the good students are, but even moreimportantly, who the good character kids are. It is a challenge, but every school has its challenges. It is something we feel we can handle, though.

Ottawa: Buy a Hockey News and you will find news on all but one of the NCAA conferences.Is it not time the Atlantic conference was given some respect? Look at ex-Atlantic member, Quinnipiac; experts had them picked as door mats in the ECACHL. I don't think so.
Coach Riley: I agree. All you have to do is look at the scores this year, not just what Quinnipiac has done in their initial games in the ECAC, but also how the league has done in non-conference games to this point. I think the league is young, though, and is starting to get the respect it deserves. The fact that all of the major conferences are now scheduling Atlantic Hockey teams certainly is a positive step. As the league continues to have the opportunity to play against the big conferences and, hopefully, enjoy some success, then we'll see more respect given to the league.

Sean (Providence, R.I.): Have you made any attempts to schedule games against Brown since you became head coach at Army?
Coach Riley: I haven't, but it is something that hopefully will be able to work out in the future. The opportunity to coach against Brown would be something special for me personally.

Matt (Washington, D.C.): With the games that Robert Morris and Wayne State have played against club teams from Penn State and Oakland University, I was wondering if you would ever consider scheduling games against Navy's club team.
Coach Riley: Right now, our schedule is completely full with league and non-league games. But we are certainly watching very closely to see what happens with the Navy club team as it stands. If they do decide to make the move to Division I status, I'm sure the Cadets and Midshipmen will face off against each other.

Vince (Poughkeepsie): Do you expect the football team's win over Air Force last weekend to have any effect on the atmosphere at West Point for this weekend's series?
Coach Riley: I think that was a great win for the football team. It had been so long since they won out there. I know it has generated a lot of excitement here at West Point, but football is really its own entity. Here at West Point, as well as in Colorado Springs, there is always a lot of excitement for a service academy game.

Tom (Brewster, NY): As intense as the Army-Air Force rivalry is, how much more intense do you expect it to be next year, when you're in the same conference, and could even see them in the playoffs?
Coach Riley: I think it will be hard for it to be any more intense, although, if the two teams were to play in a playoff game, it would be great for college hockey, for the Cadets at West Point and the Cadets at Air Force to play in a game like that. To me, this is a series that will always be as intense as any in college hockey, whether we are in the same league or not.

David (Minnetonka, MN): Do you ever miss having the opportunity to coach the kind of skill players that you coached at Shattuck St. Mary's?
Coach Riley: Obviously, I really enjoyed my experience at Shattuck, coaching players like Ben Eaves and Ryan Malone, just to name a couple. I learned a long time ago, with my dad being the coach at Army for 36 years, that the Cadets here at West Point are truly special young men. Having the opportunity to coach these young men on a daily basis, I consider myself very lucky.

JB: The team seems to love your energy and passion for the game, how do you keep them focused on the game with all the rigors of West Point?
Coach Riley: West Point can be a challenging place on a daily basis. The Cadets, when they come up to the rink, it is their escape and the best part of the day for them. As a coach, it is very important that you greet them with a high energy level and a passion for the game that they'll be able to feed off. In all honesty, though, they bring a great attitude to the rink every day, whether it is a practice or a game.

Mike (White River Junction, VT): What's the most important thing you learned about coaching from your father?
Coach Riley: As a coach, you have to get the players to play for you if you want to have any chance for success. The way you do that is by showing the players that you care for them as people first. If you do that, not only will the players play for you, but you will be able to establish or create a bond that will last a lifetime.

Brett (Pearl River, N.Y.): What are some of the challenges involved in designing an on-ice game plan for a team like Army, where the service commitment, among other things, makes it difficult to get real "skill" players?
Coach Riley: Any time teams play a service academy, they are expecting to play a physically tough, mentally tough and disciplined team. So we have to make sure that we are all of those first. After that, in order to close the gap in skill level, you have to bring a work ethic that puts you in position to compete against these teams. Maybe on paper, we might not have as much skill as a lot of teams that we play against, but we feel confident that we have the ability to out-work any team that we play. Hopefully, that will be enough to put us in position to win games.

Steve (New York, NY): I've seen stories every now and then about NHL teams coming up to West Point for training, most recently the Rangers. Do your players have a chance to talk to them at all when they come up?
Coach Riley: It is a great experience for the NHL teams to have the opportunity to come here and not only use the facilities, but also get a true understanding of what West Point and the United States Military Academy are all about. This past year, it was great for our players to interact with the Flyers and the Rangers. Both teams ate lunch in the mess hall with our players. That made for a special memory for our players, and the Rangers and Flyers as well.

Bruce (Colorado Springs): In your series with Air Force, how important is home ice? It seems like the advantage is bigger both ways when it involves Air Force, because of the altitude.
Coach Riley: Ironically, more of our recent success has been in Colorado than here. I don't really look at home ice as being that much of an advantage. The intensity of the rivaly and the passion that these players from both academies with play with this weekend doesn't really make it matter where the game is played. Certainly, it will be a great atmosphere here on Friday and Saturday night for a college hockey game.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Riley this afternoon.
Coach Riley: Thanks for having me. I had a great time.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us for the second half of our "Tuesday @ The Rink" doubleheader at 2:00 Eastern, when we are joined by USCHO CHA correspondent Matt Mackinder. See you at the top of the hour.

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