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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With ECACHL Commissioner Steve Hagwell

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET, ECACHL Commissioner Steve Hagwell pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com.

Steve Hagwell

A member of the ECAC staff since 1999, ECAC Commissioner Steve Hagwell formerly held the position of Associate Commissioner for Hockey with the league. He oversees all functions of league administration, including policies, scheduling, officiating, marketing, public relations, sponsorship and broadcast services.

Prior to joining the ECAC, Hagwell was on staff at the National Collegiate Athletic Association as assistant manager of publishing where he served as liaison to the Men's Ice Hockey Rules Committee and NCAA Baseball Research Panel. Prior to joining the NCAA, Hagwell spent time on the sports information staffs as the University of Kentucky, University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse and University of Florida. He got his start volunteering weekends for home hockey PR at his alma mater, Michigan Tech.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Steve won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 15th, 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 ECAC Commissioner Steve Hagwell.
Steve Hagwell: Good afternoon everyone! It is my pleasure to be here today!

Ed (Albany): Steve, what do you think it will take to get fans of the other conferences to recognize that it truly is a "Big 4" when it comes to power conferences?
Steve Hagwell: Ed, I don't have a good answer as frankly, fans will always have their opinions. From our perspective, and for any of the other leagues, the bottom line is winning. Our coaches, like all the others in the country, are out doing the best job they can to win as many games as possible. In the end, winning is the focal point.

Scott (Canton): What do you think of St. Lawrence and Clarkson playing a game in Ottawa this season. What do you feel the goals are for that game in terms of representing college hockey to the Canadian audience?
Steve Hagwell: Scott, I think it is great that the teams are playing in Ottawa. Any time the college game can gain visibility outside of the current markets of the schools/institutions, it is a huge plus not only for fan visibility but recruiting as well. As for the goals, I cannot speak with great knowledge about the topic since the folks at the Corel Centre organized the game. Again, for both Clarkson and St. Lawrence I trust that playing in Ottawa will be beneficial down the road.

George (New York): I know you're on the road a fair bit. I was just wondering what some of the games you've attended this season are, and who's particularly impressed you.
Steve Hagwell: George, I do hit the road a fair bit and it is one of the best things about the job. Not so much the time in the car but getting to the site and visiting with the people at the insititutions. Frankly, the people in our League and college hockey are the best part of my job. As for some of the teams that have impressed me, I have been impressed by a lot of players and teams. I'd rather not point out individuals/teams as I may leave someone out.

Mike (Hanover): Four ECAC teams are currently ranked in the Top 20. Did you expect your conference to get off to such a good start this season?
Steve Hagwell: Mike -- I am not surprised. We have some excellent teams and players, both in the men's and women's leagues. We, like the coaches, players and administrators in our League, have high expectations. I think over the course of the season, you'll continue to see many of our teams doing quite well.

Adam (Schenectady): With the show of team unity going on at RPI to show support for Kirk MacDonald, do you encourage other teams to follow the lead of the Engineers in these types of situations?
Steve Hagwell: Adam -- The support that the Rensselaer family and community has shown for Kirk has been tremendous. With respect to encouraging others, I learned very early on when I became involved in collegiate hockey that it is the best group of people you will ever want to meet. Having said that there really isn't a need to encourage anyone as it comes naturally to those in the hockey community.

Tim (Northford): What is your impression of Quinnipiac's early season play? Are you happy with their addition to the ECAC?
Steve Hagwell: Tim -- I am certainly happy for everyone at Quinnipiac. From the time they submitted their official request for membership in the League, the enthusiasm and excitement has clearly been evident. The play of both their men's and women's teams has been impressive. As for your second question, yes we are very happy to have Quinnipiac as a member of the League.

Gordon (Boston): Are there any plans to expand at all, especially given the tenuous position the CHA is in?
Steve Hagwell: Gordon -- Our policy with regard to membership since the time I have been involved with the League has been that we are willing to consider all options. Our position has not changed in that regard.

Shabby Rome NY: Any chance looking forward to the playoffs being held in Lake Placid again? Maybe not economically feasible, but the tradition and beauty can't be beat!
Steve Hagwell: Shabby -- Lake Placid truly is a very special place! As for the future, we haven't crossed any site off our list. Our current agreement with the Pepsi Arena is through 2008, and we are very happy with the arrangement thus far. For the record, our relationship with the ORDA staff in Lake Placid is very good.

Ken (Ithaca): Cornell gets lots of respect in the polls, but aren't necessarily taken seriously by fans outside of the East, especially fans of the WCHA teams. Why do you think that is?
Steve Hagwell: Ken -- I don't have an answer to the question. I don't get a lot of comments/feedback from fans and thus, cannot speak to whether fans of WCHA teams take our teams seriously or not. The people I do interact with or speak to have a great deal of respect for coach Schafer and the Cornell program, and are very aware of how good Cornell is year after year.

Chris (Hamilton, NY): As schools like Colgate begin to award athletic scholarships, and as Quinnipiac begins to upgrade its facilities and become a full scholarship program, do you forsee a challenge in maintaining competitive balance in the league with the seven non-scholarship programs?
Steve Hagwell: Chris -- Excellent question. At this point, I don't foresee a challenge that will cause concern within the League. Of course, time will tell. Frankly, I think the League has and will benefit greatly from the additional scholarships, and the new building, at Quinnipiac. As for the non-scholarship schools, they have done a tremendous job competing against scholarship schools. I do not expect that to change.

Jacob (Ithaca): What is your opinion of the officiating so far this year? How often do you evaluate officials, and how do you work on improving the officiating in the ECAC?
Steve Hagwell: Jacob -- Overall, our officiating has been very good. The staff, like the teams, had some ups and downs early on, but I am not only confident but am convinced that our officiating is first class across the board. We have some tremendous individuals who officiate in our League. As for evaluation, it is constant. Our supervisors (Butch Bellemore, men's league; Gerry Toner, women's league), along with observers, are constantly evaluating officials, reviewing games and observing games. As for improvement, we have some of the best observers in the country.

Dave (Lebanon, NH): I remember hearing when Quinnipiac joined the league that no league games would be played at the Northford Ice Pavilion. How and why did that change?
Steve Hagwell: Dave -- With all due respect, if you heard such a statement is was more rumor than fact. Anyway, given the fact that Quinnipiac is in the process of building a new facility, which will open in January 2007, there are instances this year where games at Northford are a necessity. Quinnipiac is playing several games at Yale this year, and did play Harvard at the Hartford Civic Center, as you probably know.

Bob (Albany): I noticed you just signed a new marketing deal in the Capital Region as the hockey team of the last decade the River Rats continue to struggle at the door -- can the ECACHL Championship survive in Albany if the big four (Clarkson, Cornell, RPI, SLU) in terms of attendance are not playing in the championship.
Steve Hagwell: Bob -- Yes, the championship can survive in Albany. In fact, it not only can survive but thrive. The challenge for the League staff is to work constantly to "sell" the event in the community. That is not the responsibility of the teams or anyone else, but the League staff. We are aware of the challenge and are always reviewing ways to get our message out and get people in the seats. As for having specific teams at the championship, our attendance is impacted. What we are working toward is to have people get excited about the event regardless of the teams participating. I think we can get there.

Wesley (Houghton, MI): I assume that you pull for ECACHL teams just a little in non-conference games, but was it hard for you last month at all when RPI played Michigan Tech out in Alaska?
Steve Hagwell: Wesley -- Well, I love my alma mater and wish Jamie Russell the very best (he is a class act), but I must admit that at this point in my life I was pulling for RPI in a big way (not just a little)! That won't always be the case, but it is today! Thanks for asking!
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Steve this afternoon.
Steve Hagwell: Thank you, everyone! I thoroughly enjoyed this session. I look forward to participating in the future if invited. Have a great day!
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us again next week for another edition of "Tuesday @ The Rink". We have one of our two guests lined up...Michigan All-America forward T.J. Hensick will be joining us. Keep checking back to find out who our second guest is. See you next week for another edition of "Tuesday @ The Rink".

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