When the Ohio State men’s hockey team begins its regular season in just over three weeks, a couple of changes are set to take place.
First year coach Steve Rohlik takes over a team that went 16-17-7 a year ago, in his first season as coach at the collegiate level. Rohlik, a native of St. Paul, Minn. and a University of Wisconsin graduate, previously held numerous assistant positions, including serving as assistant coach for the Buckeyes from 2010-2013.
His staff includes first-year associate head coach Brett Larson and second year assistant coach Joe Exter. In addition to the coaching changes, the team will compete in what will be the inaugural season of the Big Ten conference.
The new conference includes Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Penn State, OSU and Wisconsin. The conference will be great for the member schools because it features some of the best hockey in the nation.
In addition, the Big Ten just inked a deal with the Big Ten Network and ESPNU to have more than 70 games televised this year.
As for the Buckeyes, expectations remain high despite a difficult schedule in part due to a large and skilled junior class with players like forward and CCHA-scoring champ Tanner Fritz and Ryan Dzingel, who led the team with 16 goals last year. The team is also led by senior and recently-elected captain Curtis Gedig, who anchors the defense.
The team is scheduled to open the regular season Oct. 11 at home against Miami (Ohio) after an exhibition game with the University of Toronto Oct. 5. Conference play begins Nov. 29 when the team travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on the Wolverines.