and welcome to the April edition of the RPI Pep Band Alumni
(and Friends) newsletter! This quarter has seen even more
changes and growth in the organization as we welcome men's
hockey correspondant Tom Reale to the staff. Expect for
lots of news from both the Men's and Women's teams, as
well as the newest pep band officers, and planning for
Reunion Weekend. Wow, that's a lot to cover, so let's get
The Ice - Men's Hockey Season of Chaos Comes to an End
The 2005-06 season was truly a turning point for the RPI
men’s hockey program in almost every sense of the word.
The rollercoaster year for the Engineers produced some very
high highs and some rather low lows, and ended with a change
at the top that is likely to have some degree of effect on
the path that the team takes in the future.
First, the highlights of the season:
- First trip to Alaska
in the history of the program
- 13 goals in a game (against
Ottawa, in an exhibition) for the first time since 1987
against Army (Oct. 23) and Cornell (Feb. 24)
- Big victories
over strong Hockey East teams BU (Oct. 21) and Providence
- Season series victories over Brown (sweep), Quinnipiac
(3 points), Princeton (3 points), Cornell (3 points), and
- Only ECACHL team to win the season series against
- Team unbeaten streak against Clarkson
reaches six straight games, a school record (last loss
Feb. 1, 2003)
- Third straight victory on Black Friday (4-2
over Quinnipiac) and Big Red Freakout! unbeaten streak
reaches 16 (4-2 over
Brown, last loss in 1990 to SLU)
- Joe Juneau honored at Black
Friday with his “9” hung
at Houston Field House
And, the lowlights:
- Injuries depleted the team during the important stretch
- Kirk MacDonald lost at the beginning of the season
(testicular cancer) and Alexander Valentin lost at
- Swept on the year by St. Lawrence and Dartmouth
one point from Union in the home-and-home series in
February, second straight season series loss to the
(0-3-1 in last two seasons)
- Two losses to Holy Cross and
one to Sacred Heart, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th losses against
Atlantic Hockey teams
history (0-3-0 against AHA on the year)
- Gave up 4 or more
goals on 14 different occasions, won only 2 of those
- 2nd straight losing season, first consecutive
losing season since 1988-89 (which was the team’s
- Six ties most in school history
- Losses to weak teams
in Alaska-Anchorage (Oct. 14) and Merrimack (Oct. 29)
at home against first year ECACHL team Quinnipiac in
the first round of the playoffs, first time losing
playoff series since 1998 (Cornell), first time swept
at home in the post-season since 1986 (Clarkson)
class (Class of 2006) first to never take part in the
ECAC Championships since Class of 1983, first
to win the RPI Invitational since Class of 1982
- Team goes
0-for-4 in tournaments on the year, including ECACHL
postseason tournament, seniors graduate with a
tournament record of 0-for-12, reaching only two championship
losing both (last tournament win at RPI Tournament, 2001)
Ultimately, the negatives weighed heavily, and head
coach Dan Fridgen resigned at the end of the season.
a quick capper on Fridgen’s career at RPI.
- 17 years behind the Engineer bench, the last 12
as head coach
- Most wins (211, 2nd is Mike Addesa at
186), most losses
(193, Addesa at 124), and most ties (38, Buddy Powers
at 13) among
Engineer head coaches – oddly enough, most games
coached too (442, Addesa at 319)
- Second-most seasons
coached behind the legendary Ned Harkness’ 14.
winning percentage is next to last among post-war coaches,
beating out only Garry Kearns (.414 over five
- Five 20-win seasons (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002,
- Three 20-loss seasons (1996, 2003, 2005)
the team to the 1995 ECAC Championship, the 2000
ECAC Championship game, and the 1995, 1997, 1999,
ECAC Final Four tournaments in Lake Placid
- Coached the
team in one NCAA tournament game, a 3-0 loss to the
Minnesota Golden Gophers in Madison, Wisconsin
- Three RPI Tournament titles (1996, 1998, 2001)
on Brian Pothier, Brad Tapper, and Matt Murley, who
would all go on to gain NHL experience
- 6 Engineers
drafted by NHL teams during his tenure (Pete Gardiner,
Matt Murley, Andrew McPherson, Marc
Danny Eberly, and Francois Senez), but none since 2001
Laing and Marc Cavosie were both nominated for
the Hobey Baker Award during his tenure.
The list of
candidates to replace Fridgen are long, but among
the most often mentioned names
former Union and Colgate head coach, who won
Coach of the Year at both schools and is currently
assistant at Providence,
and alums Joe Juneau (Olympic silver medalist
and NHL veteran) and Graeme Townshend (NHL veteran,
and current NHL scout). Also mentioned quite
is former Clarkson coach Mark Morris, who took
to 9 NCAA
Tournaments in 11 years and is the winningest
head coach in the school’s history.
Among the notable names who have already bowed
out of the race are women’s coach John
Burke, former RPI goalie and long-time NHL
head coach Bill Beaney.
Exceed Expectations in First Year at D1
The women had a successful inaugural season in Division I, going 18-6-2
overall and 2-1 in exhibition games as an independent. Highlights of the
season included starting the season on an 11 game unbeaten streak (9-0-1 and
an exhibition win over McGill), going 1-0-1 against Colgate, and going 4-2-1
against ECACHL teams (Colgate, Union, Clarkson, and Quinnipiac).
Leading the way for RPI on offense were freshman Nicole McDonald (17 goals,
eight assists) and junior Sarah Daniel (14 goals, 11 assists). In fact eight
players recorded 10 or more points, with seven of them underclassmen
(including five freshmen). On defense the Engineers were led by senior
Rosina Schiff (9-4-1, 1.96 goals against average, .916 save percentage in 14
games), and freshmen Ashley Mayr (5-2-1, 1.99 gaa, .913 save % in eight
games) and Emily Ford (4-0-0, 1.24 gaa, .921 save % in 6 games).
Schiff was named MVP and received the Bill Cahill Memorial Award at the
annual awards banquet last week. Junior Ciara Libaridian was named Most
Improved Player and classmate Sarah Daniel received the Scholar-Athlete
Next season the Engineers join the ECACHL, one of the toughest, if not the
toughest women's conferences in the nation.
How can one recap
this year's Freakout? This year's event was amazing in
so many way. Near record turnout of our membership, lots
of first time alumni appearances, an awesome lasagna dinner
followed by an even better (and longer) after party, and
real-time photo updates thanks to the new photo
gallery! And best of all, we won!
This year's event
was just amazing, and I know I had a great time catching
up with all of you who were able to attend. We also got
a nice mix of current students at the party and didn't
scare them off too badly. Special thanks go to Amber, Brendan,
and Sarah for their efforts in helping with all the details
to make this year a success.
Thank yous also
go out to everyone who's posted their photos from this
year to the photo gallery! Contributions have come in from
Andrea D, James L, Mark G, Joe P, and Joseph G. If you
haven't already done so, be sure to pop over and take
a look. Plus, if you register, you can leave comments,
send e-cards, upload your own photos, and use the message
And rest assured we're going to try to outdo ourselves next
year, as RPI will face Cornell in Freakout 2007.
takes place from June 8th through the 11th and is targeted
at those classes ending ina 1 or 6. Of course our events
aways include all pep band alumni. This year we've decided
to change things up a little and move
night to provide some different activities. The weekend
will officially start off on Thursday with a host
of events sponsored by the alumni house (A complete schedule
of which can be found here.
Though much of our weekend is in the planning stages, expect
a special evening on Thursday or Friday as one of our members
will look to debut a draft version of a new arrangement
writen for the band. Be sure to bring your horn and watch
for details. Also expect some sort of informal gathering
Friday night for a chance to just hang out.
Saturday will be the start of our official activities. And
don't worry, you'll still get your chance to visit the Clubhouse
Pub - just in a way you've probably never done before: for
lunch! Though subject to change, we hope to start the luncheon
right around noon after the class parade. After that, be
sure to take advantage of the Institute's events and be well
rested as we get ready for Pep Band Alumni Street Hockey!
This is a skates optional game and will start sometime after
the class dinners (roughly 9:00pm) in the OS14 lot.
Then on Sunday after the official send-off, join us for
a trip up the Northway for some carnival and roller coaster
action at Great Escape. We'll be meeting up in the OS14 lot
at approximately 9:00am (weather permitting) for a day of
thrills and spills.
Sounds like a fun weekend all around! We hope to see a lot
of you there, so please be sure and RSVP before
With our second
quarter including the rapidly approaching end of the academic
year, usually our only schoolastic congratulations go out
to the seniors on the list. However, in this quarter two
of our more esteemed alums also have schoolastic reasons
to celebrate, and both of them are named Mike! To start,
Mike Brown '96 defended in February to receive his PhD
from RPI. Many of the local alums were on hand to celebrate
and raise a glass at the bar formerly known as Troy Pub.
The other Mike
is Mike Steele. Steele's had a very busy semester and earned
his doctorate from University of Pittsburgh in Mathematics
Education. In addition, Dr. Steele has accepted a faculty
position at Michigan State University. Mike will be starting
there this fall.
News of the non-academic
variety comes from Jason Shapiro '01. Jason and his wife
Ann welcomed their second child, a son named Alexander,
on March 14th.
And finally, the
"home office" of RPI Pep Band Alumni (and Friends) will be
moving to a more permanent home next month. Chris and Terry
close on their first house at the end of April and are looking
forward to finally having room to have people over. Perhaps
a summer pep band party will be part of the 2007 events?
As always, if
you have something you'd like to share, be it a new job
let us know at email@example.com.
Hockey season has come to an end once more, and with that
comes yet another year’s elections! Before getting into
story time though, I suppose I should introduce us. I’m Gary
Russinko, going into my junior year and 3rd year with the
band, and my partner in crime is Chris Behrens, set to begin
his senior year and 4th with the band.
Now, as far as elections
were concerned…despite fierce competition (as in, running
unopposed) Chris and I managed somehow to get ourselves into
the hot seat for the upcoming year. We had an actual race
for conductor, but at the last possible minute one of the
two candidates announced he’d rather just be an assistant,
so Dan Schwarting will be hand-waver extraordinaire for the
Things are winding down for most of the band,
with Accepted Students Day being the only real event left
for the semester, but we’re already working on several events
for over the summer and being quickly thrust into the world
of budgeting and purchasing (with the RMA’s revelation that
we have money set aside for percussion equipment that needs
to be spent by the end of the year).
As has been done in
years past, we’re working to put together a group to play
at a few of the Student Orientation sessions in July things
are looking promising as we already have 7 positive responses
from band members within the first day.
New for this year
is a plan to run a 2-hour program during Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond
on the Saturday prior to the start of classes. FYE has introduced “variable
programming blocks” for clubs to use for their own programs.
We’re hoping to use it as an opportunity to get new potential
members acquainted with the band in a less crowded, slower-paced,
and not-so-intimidating manner than the traditional first
rehearsal. The paperwork’s just been submitted and we’ll
surely be creating and evolving a solid plan as the summer
Now, I’ve probably written more in this one column
than my predecessors wrote over the course of an entire year,
so it’s probably a good time to quit running
my mouth. As a standing order, if any of you have questions, comments, or suggestions,
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,
-Gary and Chris
So, to recap:
issue: Music Alumni Weekend or PBAN4? Also watch for football
previews, more new features, and the Reunion Weekend Recap.
- Next event
is Reunion Weekend 2006. Looking forward to seeing everyone
there, but especially looking to see the class years
that end in 1s and 6s. Make sure you RSVP by
- Congratulations to this year's seniors! Also, congratulations
to Gary, Chris, and Dan on their elections as manager and
- A reminder that if your e-mail address will be changing,
be sure to update your Yahoo profile!
- Be sure to take a look at the Message
Boards and brand new Photo
Gallery! Both can be
accessed using the same account. To sign up, check out
the instructions in
the files section of the Yahoo Group.
- Speaking of
photos, we have no photos from the 2000 and 1999 Freakouts!
If you have any, please post them to the Photo Gallery.
- Welcome Men's
Hockey Correspondant Tom Reale '04 to the RPI Pep Band
Alumni (and Friends) staff. Any mens hockey related comments
can be sent to email@example.com.
- Please send
any other ideas/comments/suggesstions/whatever to Chris
and Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org.