UMass Lowell River Hawks men's ice hockey

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University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks men's ice hockey
Current season
University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks men's ice hockey athletic logo
University University of Massachusetts Lowell
Conference Hockey East
First season 1967
Head coach Norm Bazin
6th season, 151–68–21 (.673)
Captain(s) Michael Kapla
Alternate captain(s) Joe Gambardella
Tyler Mueller
Arena Tsongas Center
Capacity: 6,003[1]
Surface: 200' x 85'
Location Lowell, Massachusetts
Colors Blue, White, and Red
Fight song River Hawk Pride[2]
Mascot Rowdy the River Hawk
NCAA Tournament Frozen Four
NCAA Tournament appearances
1988, 1994, 1996, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
Conference Tournament championships
2013, 2014, 2017
Conference regular season championships
2013, 2017
Current uniform

The UMass Lowell River Hawks men's ice hockey team is the college ice hockey team that represents the University of Massachusetts Lowell. It competes at the NCAA Division I level in the Hockey East Association.[3] The team competed at the Division II level until 1983. UMass Lowell won their first ever Hockey East title in 2013 over Boston University, also winning their first regular season title in the HEA. The River Hawks made their first Frozen Four in 2013 as well. UMass Lowell would repeat as Hockey East champions in 2014 and then again in 2017.

The River Hawks have played at The Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell since its opening in January 1998.

Program history[edit]

Early years[edit]

The roots of the current hockey program can be traced back to when the University was called the Lowell Technological Institute (LTI). Hockey started as a club program in 1965–66, and the team was named the Terriers and coached by Richard Morrison. The program initially used the Billerica Forum for practices and home games.[4] The original rink was outdoors at Cushing Field on North Campus. In 1969, Coach Bill Riley was hired to take over the program and was at the helm of a very colorful run for the next 21 years. After LTI's 1975 merger with Lowell State College to become University of Lowell, the team became known as the Chiefs but were still without a proper facility. But lack of a proper rink was no deterrent for Coach Riley, who benefited from talent being produced locally, due to the popularity of Bobby Orr and the Big Bad Bruins of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

For the decade of the ULowell program years, "home" games were conducted in a nomadic manner with the team never playing near campus, as no such facility existed in Lowell. Games were played mostly at Skate 3 Ice Arena in Tyngsboro, and it was still technically ULowell's home rink during their first Division 2 Championship run in 1979. In 1980, the University was able to purchase the Billerica Forum (then called the Merrimack Valley Forum) after the allocation of money pushed for by State Senator B. Joseph Tully. The money, however, only provided for the purchase of the structure and land. Though only constructed in 1964, the Merrimack Valley Forum was called a "pig pen" by Coach Riley. A few years later, State Senator Phil Shea was able to secure $500,000 in funding for renovations of the Forum. The coaching staff became the foreman and applied for federal job training grants in order to bring in tradespeople to help with the work. Soon the Chiefs had a place they could call home and rechristened it as Tully Forum.[5]

The Riley era[edit]

During the team's formative years in the early 1970s, the Chiefs had no conference affiliation besides a loose one with surrounding schools in the ECAC. By the mid-1970s, Riley had started to assemble the core of players who would lead to ULowell to their first national championship: Tom Jacobs from Hudson, Dean Jenkins from Billerica, and future NHL regular Craig McTavish. However, an envious spat began in the Merrimack Valley between Lowell and Merrimack College, just up the road in North Andover. Merrimack's hockey program was what Lowell had aspired to be: a national contender with a modern home rink on campus. But, up until the 1978–79 season, the Merrimack-ULowell rivalry stood at a very one sided 1–13–1, in Merrimack's favor.

With a new post season tournament being sponsored by the NCAA in 1978, Merrimack crushed the competition, including ULowell, in the ECAC tournament and followed it up by going on a tournament run without challenge, defeating both Mankato State and Lake Forest College by a combined score of 18–3. The obsession with Merrimack had grown and festered from the year before. But, with some advance scouting, Coach Riley believed 1979 was the year the Chiefs would jump onto the national stage.

With the help of his student section, dubbed the "Wild Men," Riley wanted to crack the Merrimack goalie, as their defensive depth had taken an early season hit. Their first meeting came right before Thanksgiving, and a theme of turkeys became prevalent in the Wild Men's antics toward Merrimack. The leader of the Wild Men went as far as to send super-imposed pictures of a turkey attached to the Merrimack Goalie to his dorm room. Even Coach Riley had a troll up his sleeve and sent the Wild Men's leader up to New Hampshire to purchase a wild turkey and tie it up in front of the Merrimack goal. Once the turkey hit the ice, it slipped and hit its head on the ice, passing out cold and leaving a pile of scat in the Merrimack crease. However, the pranks and trolling didn't faze the Merrimack goalie.

We outshot them something like three to one because they were so weak on defense, says Riley, But wouldn't you know, they still tied us, 3–3. It was all our own fault because the goalie was damned if he was going to let the puck in the net.[5]

Going into the 1979 season and speaking at an alumni dinner trying drum up support for the hockey program, Coach Riley wrote a very big check with his wordage toward the upcoming season.

We had an alumni fundraiser before the season, and I was up on the podium trying to jazz up the alumni, Riley related. I don't remember what I said at the beginning of my speech, but at the end I said that if we don't win the national championship this year, it will be a disappointing season.[6]

Still playing at Skate 3 Tyngsboro, Coach Riley sought to distill an attitude of us against the world, according to members of the 1979 Chiefs team. Team morale was not very high, and the Chiefs struggled in the early part of the season.

We were playing like a bunch of punks, says Riley. I was so mad, I hit the locker room door as hard as I could to prove a point. Sometimes, you role play as a coach. I could even put tears in my eyes to emphasize a point. But, this time, I didn’t have to role play. I was really mad. As soon as I hit it, I knew I’d broken something. The next day, I walked in and had it in a cast. I was hiding it inside my sports jacket. For three-quarters of the pre-game meal, I looked like Napoleon. Of course, there was no real hiding it. It was pretty embarrassing, says Riley. I’d go to the bank teller and she’d say, What happened to your arm? Oh, you don’t want to know. No, tell me, what happened to your arm? Well, I punched a locker room door. And she’d give me that look, like, Oh, how childish, how juvenile, how immature.

After that point, ULowell went 24–2 and with the addition of future All-American Paul Lohnes, of the Blue Line, and Mark Jenkins, who had transferred from Union forgoing a pro contract to use his last year of eligibility to play with his brother Dean. Things began to click for the Chiefs and even rival Merrimack could not escape the wrath of the Chiefs, who had been 1–13–1 against Merrimack until the 1978–79 season. After narrowly beating Salem State College in the ECAC Championship, Lowell made their first appearance in the Division 2 National Championship. Being hosted at the Volpe Center in Merrimack gave Lowell de facto home ice, and they cruised past Illinois-Chicago in the semifinal game and made very easy work of Mankato State in the Championship game, winning 6–4.

2 in 3 : Bump to Division 1[edit]

After moving into Tully in 1980 and making the barn on Rte. 129 a permanent home for the Chiefs, the program was rewarded with two more national championships, in 1981 & 1982, with same core group of guys from the 1979 run. In 1981, ULowell was facing Plattsburgh State (NY) for the Championship at Tully Forum. Knowing that Dave Poulin on Plattsburgh State was prone to spastic reactions when thrown off his game, Coach Riley set in on him to take him out of the game mentally. Poulin was to be pressured, hit, and squeezed by the Chiefs players. The strategy worked until Poulin, who had been sent off the ice early, ran into some "trouble" in the locker room underneath the stands.

The kid was so mad, he starting pulling the pipes off the wall, says Riley. Eventually, he pulled off the water pipes. The rink manager came over to me while the second period was still going and said, 'Listen, Billy, that big forward Poulin from Plattsburgh pulled the pipes right out of the wall. There’s water spraying all over their locker room. What do you want me to do?' I said, You know what I want you to do. Don’t do a thing until the third period. Then turn the water off. Sure enough, the Plattsburgh team was going into the third period for the national championship and they had water spraying all over their locker room during intermission. They probably went in the showers to stay dry.

During this time the rivalry with Merrimack was a more even match, the hate, or one might say envy, for the school in North Andover burned the same in Coach Riley.

I was ranting and raving, he says. I got to the end of my vociferous dialogue and said, 'I hate Merrimack. I hate their school. I hate the color of their uniforms. I hate the Indian chief on their shirts… I even hate their #$%@& zip code. I had just run out of things to hate, he says laughing.What you have to understand, he adds with a straight face, is that we had always looked up to Merrimack, so what I said, I said affectionately.


UMass Lowell alum and All-American, Dwayne Roloson with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011.
Ron Hainsey with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014
Year Player
1979 Tom Jacobs
1979 Craig McTavish
1980 Dean Jenkins
1980 Paul Lohnes
1980 Tom Mulligan
1981 Dean Jenkins
1981 Paul Lohnes
1982 Ken Kaiser
1982 Paul Lohnes
1982 John Makenzie
1983 Mike Carr
1987 Jon Morris
1994 Shane Henry
1994 Dwayne Roloson
1995 Greg Bullock
2001 Ron Hainsey
2009 Maury Edwards
2013 Chad Ruhwedel
2014 Connor Hellebuyck


Coach Years Overall Record
Richard Morrison 1967–1969 11–16–1
Bill Riley 1969–1991 363–270–22[7]
Bruce Crowder 1991–1996 99–75–19[8]
Tim Whitehead 1996–2001 76–93–11
Blaise MacDonald 2001–2011 145–183–42
Norm Bazin 2011–present 151-68-21[9]


As of August 17, 2017.[10]

# S/P/C Player Class Pos Height Weight DoB Hometown Previous team NHL rights
2 New Jersey Panico, TommyTommy Panico Senior D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1995-03-24 Wall, New Jersey Muskegon (USHL)
4 Minnesota Forney, ChrisChris Forney Senior D 6' 2" (1.88 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1994-11-20 Thief River Falls, Minnesota Langley (BCHL)
6 Pennsylvania Berisha, AvniAvni Berisha Junior D 5' 11" (1.8 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1994-06-15 Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania Sioux City (USHL)
7 Saskatchewan Mueller, TylerTyler Mueller (C) Senior D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1994-06-13 Regina, Saskatchewan Sioux City (USHL)
8 Alaska Evingson, CroixCroix Evingson Freshman D 6' 5" (1.96 m) 218 lb (99 kg) 1997-08-28 Anchorage, Alaska Shreveport (NAHL) WPG, 211th overall 2017
9 Pennsylvania Master, NickNick Master Junior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1995-01-28 Broomall, Pennsylvania Tri-City (USHL)
10 Alaska Hausinger, KennyKenny Hausinger Sophomore F 5' 9" (1.75 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1995-07-21 Anchorage, Alaska Des Moines (USHL)
11 Texas Schutz, ChrisChris Schutz Junior (RS) F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 198 lb (90 kg) 1995-01-06 Keller, Texas Robert Morris (AHA)
12 Ontario Levesque, CharlieCharlie Levesque Freshman F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1998-05-29 Russell, Ontario Hawkesbury (CCHL)
14 Illinois Burchett, KeithKeith Burchett Junior (RS) F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1994-12-08 Chicago, Illinois UMass (HEA)
15 Connecticut Dmowski, RyanRyan Dmowski Junior F 6' 1" (1.85 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1997-03-18 East Lyme, Connecticut Des Moines (USHL)
16 Maryland O'Neill, ColinColin O'Neill Sophomore F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1995-07-28 Odenton, Maryland Okotoks (AJHL)
17 Alberta Wilson, ConnorConnor Wilson Junior F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 165 lb (75 kg) 1995-04-05 Calgary, Alberta Canmore (AJHL)
18 Pennsylvania Lohin, RyanRyan Lohin Sophomore F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1996-06-26 Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania Waterloo (USHL) TBL, 208th overall 2016
19 Ontario Baxter, AnthonyAnthony Baxter Freshman D 6' 0" (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1997-11-26 Oakville, Ontario Burlington (OJHL)
20 Maine Winkler, JamesJames Winkler Sophomore F 6' 3" (1.91 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1996-04-22 York, Maine Youngstown (USHL)
21 Georgia (U.S. state) Kamrass, JakeJake Kamrass Senior F 6' 2" (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1994-03-28 Atlanta, Georgia Topeka (NAHL)
22 Massachusetts Collins, RyanRyan Collins Senior F 6' 1" (1.85 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1993-09-23 Newton, Massachusetts Ottawa (CCHL)
23 Massachusetts Marin, NickNick Marin Sophomore F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1995-08-08 Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Springfield (USPHL)
25 Wisconsin Paskus, ColeCole Paskus Freshman F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1997-08-15 Madison, Wisconsin Janesville (NAHL)
26 Sweden Göransson, MattiasMattias Göransson Sophomore D 6' 3" (1.91 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1995-03-10 Slottsbron, Sweden Tri-City (USHL)
27 Sweden Folin, NiklasNiklas Folin Junior D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1994-01-21 Kungsbacka, Sweden Omaha (USHL)
28 Massachusetts Sodergren, ConnorConnor Sodergren Freshman F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1996-09-11 Tewksbury, Massachusetts West Kelowna (BCHL)
29 Alberta Edwardh, JohnJohn Edwardh Senior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1995-02-03 Calgary, Alberta Okotoks (AJHL)
30 Massachusetts Cleary, SeanSean Cleary Junior G 6' 3" (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1995-10-28 Centerville, Massachusetts Victoria (BCHL)
31 Finland Hernberg, ChristofferChristoffer Hernberg Junior G 6' 0" (1.83 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1995-03-21 Espoo, Finland Blues U20 (Nuorten SM-liiga)
32 Michigan Waring, JonathanJonathan Waring Freshman D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1996-08-31 Farmington Hills, Michigan Wichita Falls (NAHL)
33 Ontario Wall, TylerTyler Wall Sophomore G 6' 3" (1.91 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1998-01-14 Leamington, Ontario Leamington (GOJHL) NYR, 174th overall 2016


  1. ^ "UMass Lowell - Tsongas Center". Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  2. ^ "UMass Lowell unveils first ever fight song". Mill City Sports. September 3, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  3. ^ UMass Lowell Official Athletic Site
  4. ^ See Lowell Tech 1965-1966 Yearbook
  5. ^ a b Hendrickson, David H. (1998-01-28). "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Tully Forum". Retrieved 2015-09-23. 
  6. ^ Scoggins, Chaz (2007-08-06). "Chiefs rose to the top 25 years ago". Retrieved 2015-09-23. 
  7. ^ Won 3 NCAA Division 2 Champions : 1 NCAA D1 Tournament Appearance
  8. ^ 2 NCAA D1 Tournament Appearance 1994 : 1996
  9. ^ Hockey East Championship 2013, 2014, 2017 : 2014 NCAA D1 Tournament Appearances 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 : Frozen Four Appearance 2013
  10. ^ "2017–18 Men's Ice Hockey Roster". UMass Lowell River Hawks. Retrieved August 17, 2017.

External links[edit]