BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Michigan’s Jason Botterill: Botterill, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1997, tallied 186 points in 150 career games, including 57 points (32 goals, 25 assists) during Michigan’s run to the 1995-96 NCAA title. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Botterill played in 88 games in the NHL over six seasons. Following the conclusion of his playing career, Botterill returned to Michigan to earn his MBA in 2007. He is currently the Assistant General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Where We Rank: Minnesota opens 2014 as the No. 1 team in the USCHO.com poll, claiming the top spot for the ninth time in the last 10 weeks. The latest USCHO.com poll was released on Dec. 30 while the next USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll is not scheduled to be released until Jan. 6. Michigan fell to No. 7 in the USCHO.com poll following a pair of losses at the Great Lakes Invitational. Wisconsin, which swept Alabama Huntsville last weekend to extend its winning streak to six games, climbed one spot to No. 13. The Badgers are now 9-0-1 at home this season, marking their best start at home since moving to the Kohl Center in 1998-99. The team’s 6-0-0 mark in December also represented Wisconsin’s first perfect month since February 2000. Ohio State, which swept Mercyhurst last weekend, is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll for the seventh consecutive week.
Going for Gold: Ten players from Big Ten schools have been named to the 25-man roster for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. Max Pacioretty from Michigan, Ryan Miller from Michigan State, Phil Kessel, Paul Martin and Blake Wheeler from Minnesota, Ryan Kesler from Ohio State and Ryan McDonagh, Joe Pavelski, Derek Stepan and Ryan Suter from Wisconsin will all have the opportunity to represent the United States Feb. 13-23 in Sochi, Russia. Four current players from Big Ten teams also represented the U.S. at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, leading the U.S. to the quarterfinals. The 2014 U.S. National Junior Team, which was led by Minnesota head coach Don Lucia, included Andrew Copp from Michigan, Hudson Fasching and Brady Skjei from Minnesota and Nic Kerdiles from Wisconsin.
Back on the Ice: While five of the conference’s six schools returned to the ice last weekend, Minnesota will play its first games since Dec. 7 this weekend. The Gophers will host the 23rd annual Mariucci Classic, facing off against Colgate on Friday. Minnesota will then take on either No. 2/2 Ferris State or Rensselaer (rv/rv) on Saturday. The Gophers have claimed 13 Mariucci Classic titles in the event’s history. Wisconsin is the only other Big Ten team in action this weekend before conference play resumes next weekend.
Lighting the Lamp: After scoring 13 goals during a weekend sweep of Mercyhurst, Ohio State has risen near the top of the national scoring charts. The Buckeyes are now tied with the Gophers for the second most prolific offense in the nation, with both teams having found the back of the net 63 times in 16 games for an average of 3.94 goals per game. Joining Minnesota and Ohio State among the nation’s best offenses is Wisconsin, which has climbed to No. 8 with 3.56 goals per game.
Berenson Represents Red Wings: Now serving as the head coach at Michigan in his 30th season, Red Berenson threw on the pads to take part in one of two alumni games at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich. Part of the NHL’s Winter Classic festivities, Berenson was the oldest player involved in the game at 74 years old. Berenson played for the Red Wings from 1970-71 until 1974-75.
On the Air: More than half of all conference games will appear on national television this season, as 31 of the 60 Big Ten clashes are slated to air on BTN, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and NBCSN. Beginning Jan. 10, BTN will air “Frozen Friday” doubleheaders for eight consecutive weeks. In all, BTN will carry 20 regular season conference games, while ESPNEWS and NBCSN will each broadcast four contests and ESPNU will carry three games.
On Sale Now: Tickets for the inaugural Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, slated for March 20-22 at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., are on sale. at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.