11th place Bowling Green University will face off against 6th place Northern Michigan University this weekend in a best of 3 series. The winner of this series will move on to the 8 bracket finals in the CCHA where the University of Michigan (1), Notre Dame (2), Miami of Ohio (3) Western Michigan University (4) and Ferris State University (5) are waiting.
"The playoffs are like a clean slate for all the teams" director of hockey operations for Bowling Green, Rob Krohl, stated. "Everyone has a chance to move on". And, for Bowling Green University, this is an exciting opportunity. This year is the first under a brand new coaching staff. Head coach, Chris Bergeron, spent ten years with Miami of Ohio before accepting his new role. Assistant coach Barry Schutte also hails from Miami. The other assistant coach, Ty Eigner, is a graduate of Bowling Green (1993), and brings a resume which includes an invitation to the San Jose Sharks training camp in 1994.
Michigan native Rob Krohl brings an impressive win record from his time coaching the Honeybaked Midget program of 310-77-36, an almost unheard of win record. Rob admits that there were some teriffic players on his teams, including 13 who went on to become NHL draft picks. Notably, Cam Fowler of the Annaheim Ducks. In short, this is a staff that comes from a background of winning.
It was only a few years ago that the picture for the Falcons hockey club was uncertain. With the help of alumni like Rob Blake (former San Jose Sharks defenseman recently retired) and Dan Bylsma (head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins), the program has found new life. And so, it is not only in the post season that Bowling Green will find a clean slate. With the first batch of recruits from the new staff coming in, there are good things on the horizon.
The series against Northern Michigan will begin tonight, Friday March 4th, and continue through saturday and sunday (if necessary). Rob Krohl described his team as "hardworkers. This should be a good matchup". Rob is no stranger to collegiate hockey as he spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University. A product of michigan hockey himself, Rob has seen the sport grow and develop. Because of the solid foundation Rob was able to build growing up, he has spent 12 years in a coaching role.
Rob also brings an interesting perspective on the recruitment process. "OHL teams begin prospecting when the kids are 15 years old. They offer a longer season (70 games in the OHL versus 40 in college), and seem to be a more direct route to the NHL." However, the college route offers a chance for players to develop more than just on the ice. They have the chance to receive a quality education and prepare for many other aspects of life outside of the rink.
Rob Krohl is a fine example of what Michigan hockey can produce. He has realized a childhood dream in making it to the collegiate hockey level. As you look on the benches during the playoffs, take notes this year. You may be seeing an NHL draft, an AHL player, or a future coach. The passion for this game is contagious and long-lasting. Be sure to tune in as the CCHA begins its playoff run. And watch as one of Michigan's own participates in his life-long passion. Congratulations to Rob Krohl for seeing so many of his hockey dreams come true.