Welcome to another addition of 'Ask Coach.' Fans are encouraged to send any questions for Coach Berman to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send us an email with the subject line ‘Ask Coach.’ Also, please include the following information:
- Your name
- Where you are from
- Your question for Coach Berman
- Joey Romero (Tucson, Arizona)
Q: Coach Berman, since this is your second year of coaching the Wildcats and hopefully many more years to come, do you think there's a rivalry like other Wildcats sports between our Cats and that "team" 100 miles up North? We always want our Wildcats to win but we love when we beat them the most. Thank you Coach.
A: Hi Joey, no I don’t believe there is any kind of rivalry in the ACHA that compares. It’s really a special event when these two programs compete against each other. I am from Michigan, so it reminds me of the Michigan and Ohio State rivalry. I have been a part of some big rivalries in the ACHA during my time with RMU-IL. Our in-state rival was the University of Illinois and our games against Ohio University always got really heated. However, nothing compares to what happens when the Wildcats play the Sun Devils. It’s a special thing for our student-athletes to be able to compete in front of 6,000 very boisterous people. To me, this rivalry is what makes playing for the University of Arizona so special!
- Don Jaeger (Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan)
Q: It’s great to see that the program appears to be heading in the right direction! Where are you looking to improve with this summer’s recruiting class?
A: Don, we have been very satisfied with the improved quality and depth of our defense this past season. It was a vital component to our programs progress. The two teams that played in the National Championship game (Iowa State and Lindenwood) this past season only gave up five goals the entire tournament. To be great in the National Tournament you must excel defensively. Team-defense is always the most important component of building a championship caliber team and I feel confident we have that established that. Moving on to this upcoming recruiting class, I would say the focal point of our recruiting will be on adding offensive depth this summer. I was able to watch most of the games in the national tournament and all the teams in the top ten had the same thing in common- speed and depth. We were able to establish a great defensive game this season, which gave us a chance to win on a consistent basis. However, we had a hard time finding ways to get that extra goal. For example, we played the #1 ranked team in the country, Minot State, four times in the regular season. Each game we came up one goal short. I think if we had a little more offensive depth that we would have found a way to win at least a couple of those games. We want to become a team that is fast, deep, and skilled - making us tougher to match up against. I feel really good about our current core of players. If we can add the right pieces I believe we are going to be a top-ten team next season. To be in the top five, you need two elite goal scorers-the kind of guys who can take over a game. So that’s the goal this summer, if we can find the right pieces, I believe we are in for a breakout year!
- Joe Muli (Sioux Lookout, Ontario)
Q: It’s been a lot of fun following the Wildcats from a distance this past season. Considering the large crowds and great weather, it looks like a great place to play college hockey! Now that you have been there for two seasons, what stands out regarding your experience as the Head coach of the Wildcats?
A: This is an easy one; it’s our passionate fan base. It’s very well-known across the ACHA how great our fan support is, however, until you actually experience it, you can’t explain how passionate our fans are. The TCC is a special place to watch a game. The atmosphere at our games is unrivaled in the ACHA; it seems like a great way for families to spend a night out. Additionally, we have season ticket holders that have been going to games longer then our players have been alive, that’s amazing! Every time I cross paths with our fans around town I leave feeling even more motivated to make sure we bring home a National Championship to Tucson. I can’t think of a better way to return all the support we have received.
- Will Barlow (Oakville, Ontario)
Q: I just moved here from Canada and have really enjoyed the quality of play in the ACHA. We always see you behind the bench, what do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Hello Will, welcome to Tucson! When I have some ‘down time’ my family and I like to enjoy the outdoors. We do a lot of hiking, with as much as we have already seen, there is still so much more to explore. The scenery here is beautiful and it provides a great way to clear your mind from the chaos of the season. We have really enjoyed the weather and try to take advantage of it as often as possible. Usually I will get home from work and play outside with my four year old son. He is all about sports, so we play a lot of baseball, street hockey, tennis, soccer, etc. In the off-season we typically like to have “Pool Fridays,” meaning we go to the local pool to ‘kick start’ our weekend. I have been pleasantly surprised about the quality of food in Tucson; there are a lot of great restaurants. Brushfire BBQ has been a bit of a ‘hot spot’ for us, I'm borderline-addicted to their smoked brisket. Tucson is a great place to raise a family!