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CHN’s 2017 Hockey East Watch List

From teams up on the upswing to programs typically at the top potentially suffering some growing pains with new faces, there are plenty of storylines in Hockey East this season.

5 Things to Watch

How new will “New Mass” look?

There’s a saying around the UMass program heading into the 2017 season. The Minutemen are calling themselves “New Mass,” and with good reason. UMass brings in 15 newcomers, which is actually more players than the Minutemen have returning (13).

Sure, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Luckily for head coach Greg Carvel, this is a completely different dog.

But the question remains how “new” this UMass team can be. With so many fresh faces, chemistry could be hard to find and freshmen historically are inconsistent. The talent is there for UMass to have the biggest turnaround in the country from last season to this one, but it remains to be seen whether or not this group can come together with so many new faces.

Regardless, Carvel is building a foundation for the future of the program, and the future starts now.

Dick Umile’s Swan Song

The last time UNH played a hockey game without Dick Umile as its head coach, George H.W. Bush was just one year into his only term as President and James “Buster” Douglas had just knocked out Mike Tyson to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

This season will be Umile’s last behind the Wildcat bench, with Mike Souza waiting in the wings to take over the program next season. For a team that enjoyed so much success under his leadership, can the Wildcats return to glory in his last season?

It will be a tough hill to climb, overcoming the losses of Tyler Kelleher and Matias Cleland. But the Wildcats are looking to pick up from last season’s playoff success, where it beat Merrimack in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs, on the road, and then nearly clipped Lowell in the quarterfinals after winning Game 1.

Click here to read the rest of this story at College Hockey News, including which Merrimack player is listed as a Player to Watch.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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