INCH Chat-UVM's Kevin Sneddon
Send your questions now and join Coach Sneddon on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (1:31 PM)
Hello again everyone and welcome to Inside College Hockey's visit to The Show at ESPN SportsNation. We are joined by Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. He will be taking your questions this afternoon.
Ken, Plattsburgh, NY
Coach congrats on the great start but how do you feel you stack up against some of the other top teams in your conference and the nation?
Kevin Sneddon (1:33 PM)
First, thanks Ken for the good question. Obviously we feel we've been tested against teams like Minnesota Duluth and traveling to Alaska-Anchorage. We feel that we've been tested but we know that we haven't seen some of the best teams in Hockey East. We were tested against Boston University and unfortunately didn't pass that test, but they are one of the top programs in the nation and we look forward to playing them again.
Kevin Sneddon (1:34 PM)
As far as confidence goes, we feel very confident that our program can compete and be successful against any program in the country, including the top teams in Hockey East.
In my road trip to the UVM at BU game last Friday, it looks as though the team was pretty tense, nervous, or afraid to make a mistake due to several uncharacteristic turnovers/mistakes. How much of a learning curve do you expect there will be with both UVM coaches and players to get used to the different styles of the teams in Hockey East and how do you expect to get the team to play a little looser?
Kevin Sneddon (1:36 PM)
I certainly agree with the assessment. We were really tentative in the first 10 minutes, perhaps we were caught up in the Agganis Arena and playing there for the first time. We're usually quick out of the gates type of team and unfortunately we were caught allowing BU to dictate the way the game was going to go. It took us a while to get into the game. I give credit to Boston University for playing a great game but we certainly feel that we did not play to our ability.
Joe, Latham, NY
Kevin -- first you have to be the best dressed coach in college hockey, that being said, what do you believe the biggest differences between ECACHL and HE are?
Kevin Sneddon (1:38 PM)
Thanks for the nice compliment. I think the schedule in particular is a big change for us -- playing 22 league games (ECACHL) versus 27 league games. Those five extra games are especially intense, and playoff-style games. We're going to have to realize that the schedule is more difficult for us.
Kevin Sneddon (1:39 PM)
The other thing is the type of rinks that we're playing in. Adjusting to the Olympic size rinks and playing in front of larger crowds is a challenge that we will face.
Lisa: Rochester, NY
Despite your great start to the season, who do you feel is the team to beat, to truly make or break your season?
Kevin Sneddon (1:39 PM)
In order to gain some confidence within the league, we're going to have to beat a team that has consistently been in the top four. If we can do that, it will boost our confidence and show that we belong in the upper part of the league.
Mike (Boston, MA)
How do you feel the mental toughness of your squad has helped make the jump to Hockey East play.Who are the leaders on your team?
Kevin Sneddon (1:41 PM)
I think our mental toughness is one of our strengths, and really pivotal to the transition this year. There has been a lot of pressure and attention placed on our team over the last year and a half with the transition to our new league. Our student-athletes have shown a great ability to focus on the day-to-day process versus getting too caught up in all of the attention.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:42 PM)
Coach ... looking back at last year, your team had a top-four finish and made it to the ECACHL championship weekend. How did that taste of success help your team?
Kevin Sneddon (1:43 PM)
Tasting success last season was a pivotal step in the growth of our program. It proved to our athletes that hard work, teamwork, and commitment can be and will be rewarded.
Kevin Sneddon (1:44 PM)
And as far our leadership goes, we feel as a coaching staff that we have the best captain in college hockey in Jaime Sifers, as well as some great support leaders in players like Brady Leisenring, Joe Gasparini, and Kenny Macaulay.
Congratulations on the addition to your family and the Catamount family! It seems as though the 1st and 2nd lines are quite consistent in their line-up. How do you plan to keep the 3rd and 4th lines consistent and keep a balance while utilizing the depth of this year's team (depth is NEVER a bad thing)?
Kevin Sneddon (1:46 PM)
I think you will see this upcoming weekend, some slight changes to our lineup, in order to try to find a very well-balanced forward lineup. Our goal is to try to create some consistency with our lines while utilizing our depth.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:48 PM)
Your program has the opportunity to get some additional nationwide exposure on Sunday afternoon against Boston College on ESPN U. How do you feel about the chance to showcase your program?
Kevin Sneddon (1:49 PM)
One of the biggest changes or advantages that we've seen in our move to Hockey East has been the drastic increase in media exposure including television. That allows us to showcase our great university as well as our student-athletes to recruits, parents, and fans of UVM and college hockey.
Matt (Springfield, MA)
Coach, how hard has it been to keep the team grounded early given the out-of-conference success and the preseason expectations?
Kevin Sneddon (1:50 PM)
We received several accolades last season as our program took a big step forward in our process. I think our players are experienced in receiving some praise without letting it go to their heads. We have great, mature, student-athletes that are more concerned about playing well together than getting caught up in any of the polls.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:51 PM)
We'll take two more questions with Kevin, and then I'll field a few before we sign off.
Greg (Hartford, CT)
What's been the biggest thing you've done to implement your own system and turn around the program at UVM in the last few years?
Kevin Sneddon (1:52 PM)
First, surround myself with great people, starting with our strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman who drastically our team's conditioning. I feel fortunate to have three of the best assistant coaches in college hockey, and lastly, allowing our leadership and each player to have ownership in where this program is heading.
Coach, which the program's move to hockey east, is there any talk of building a bigger, more state of the art arena similar to what other big schools have? Or is the gutterhouse fieldhouse too popular? (personally i think the huge new ones are overrated and lack a good atmosphere).
Kevin Sneddon (1:54 PM)
There certainly has been a lot of talk and research done by our school regarding a new facility. It is in the early stages and not a focus of our team right now. Gutterson Arena is still one of the best places to play in college hockey because of that great atmosphere that you allude to.
Kevin Sneddon (1:54 PM)
Thanks, everyone for participating and being great college hockey fans.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:55 PM)
Thank you, coach, for your time this afternoon and your thoughtful responses. We'll be sure to check out the Cats on Sunday afternoon on ESPNU.
Jeff, East Lansing
With the injury bug hitting the Spartans hard right now, we seem to be escaping with a pretty good record, including most recently a sweep of Northern and a come from behind tie of Ferris. Will the injuries catch up to State or will this only make them stronger and contend for the CCHA crown?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:57 PM)
Hi Jeff. I think that Michigan State will be a better team once some of the key players in the lineup return to health. Adding talent can only help your team's chances, and the so-called "depth" players have had a chance to gain valuable experience and understand what it takes to win.
What did you guys think of Quinnipiac's sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth? While I'm not sure it was a sweep of the league's powerhouses as everyone keeps saying (Harvard lost so much talent, and neither team has solid goaltending at this point), it was still impressive. Where do you think they'll finish this year?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:00 PM)
There is no question that expectations were high for Dartmouth and an 0-3-0 start is discouraging. Quinnipiac was probably victimized by a lack of knowledge ... in the sense that media and coaches might not have been familiar with what they were capable of. That's why they were picked last in the preseason polls. Some freshmen, particularly Bud Fisher in goal, have stepped up and the Bobcats are off to a great start. I think they will finish in the 6-10 range in the league standings. I am interested in how they will react to playing on the road.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:01 PM)
Thanks for the questions, and thanks again to Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon for joining us this afternoon. We'll be back in The Show next week at 1:30 p.m. and look forward to taking more of your questions.