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VIP Insider Post #83 (3/12)

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Exclusively for our VIP supporters, TMR editor Mike McMahon will bring you these “insider” posts, where he’ll discuss the news and give some insight and perspective on the stories we’re covering here at The Mack Report.

— Wow, so yesterday was a tough day. I’ll be honest with you, it was probably the toughest day of my career as a writer covering college hockey. These situations are not easy, period. They affect not only a hockey program, but these are also people; people with wives, children and families. There’s no other way to put it … it was a bad day. It was a bad day all around … I’m not sure anyone was happy that yesterday went the way that it did. Everyone involved had to have wished it was different.

You can argue the merits of the decision, people have and will continue to do so. As I wrote yesterday, you can’t argue Dennehy’s impact on this program. I have a world of respect for him as a coach, and a person. You also have to respect Jeremy Gibson for making the decision; people will debate if it’s the right one or the wrong one, but he must obviously feels strongly that it was correct. I see a lot of similarities here between this move and the move with men’s basketball two years ago.

I know people have a lot of questions. I’ve received emails from readers and will do a mailbag post soon, trying to answer those questions as best I can.

I posted something similar on Twitter yesterday, but there’s obviously a group of people that seem confused by this move. It caught a lot of people off guard. It’s ironic, because literally one week ago (it was actually at UMass Lowell), I bumped into someone who worked in an NHL front office, and we were discussing some of the weird trades and personnel decisions that happen with NHL teams. We talked about the Joe Thornton trade to San Jose, the Tyler Seguin trade to Dallas, and many others like this. … He said to me, “In almost all of these cases, when you see something in sports that seems off base, there’s something going on behind the scenes, that no one knows about, that makes the GM make that type of move.” We talked about Seguin’s partying, or rumors of another NHL player getting traded after, according to him, this player had an affair with a teammate’s wife. Or, he gave another example of a veteran player, a team captain, going to management and campaigning for his young successor to get dealt (off topic, but that sounds a lot like Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, doesn’t it?)

Point is, there are multiple layers to most stories. There were multiple coaching vacancies in college hockey last year, and I remember one job in particular opened up after, according to people I spoke to, the coach and AD had a falling out over operational issues with the program. Another job opened up because of the coach’s record. Another job was open because, as it was explained to me, the coach gave the administration an ultimatum, “I need this, this and this to have success here, or I’m gone” and the coach was soon gone.

We’ll have more on this search as it develops. I’m writing a column today on potential candidates.

— Aside from the news on Sunday, I’d also like to take a second just to congratulate Merrimack’s seniors, who completed their careers this weekend. It’s always good to reflect on the senior class when the end of the season comes, but for these guys in particular, they helped re-shape the culture of the program. Remember, they came in as freshman after an eight-win, last-place season and guys like Brett Seney and Jace Hennig were leading scorers right away; Marc Biega and Jared Kolquist were logging big minutes on defense right away, and the Warriors doubled their win total the following season.

About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is in his 13th 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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