RPI Pep Band (and Friends) Alumni Newsletter
Volume 4, Issue 3








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In This Issue:


Summer time - normally the long slow period between hockey seasons. Not this year! With an entirely new coaching staff, interesting news coming out of Reunion Weekend, Student Orientation, schedules for all three of the big teams, multiple NHL signings, and prep for PBAN4, summer's been very busy for RPI fans.

Men's Hockey - A Summer of Change

The 2006-07 Engineers are sure to fall into the “new look” category once the team finally hits the ice in October, and it won’t just be graduated seniors and greenhorn freshmen.

On March 21, shortly after the team fell in the first round of the playoffs to ECACHL neophyte Quinnipiac, long-time head coach Dan Fridgen tendered his resignation to Athletic Director Ken Ralph. Ralph immediately began a worldwide search for the 12th head man in the history of the program.

After nearly a month of waiting, speculation, and rumors which included a former NHL coach, a Boston College assistant, and the coach of the Albany River Rats, the Institute hired 31-year-old Seth Appert, a 1997 graduate of Ferris State University and seven-year assistant coach at Denver University, where he won two national championships with the Pioneers.

With Appert’s arrival, interest immediately began to generate as to whether the new coach would bring in his own assistants, and on May 10th it was learned that assistant coaches Frank Bretti and Jeff Matthews ’95 would not be retained in the Appert administration. In late May, Jim Montgomery was named as Appert’s first lieutenant behind the Engineer bench. Montgomery won a national title as a player at the University of Maine in 1993 and later played parts of 6 seasons in the NHL before retiring in 2005. He spent the last season as a volunteer assistant at Notre Dame, and is credited for coining the “Legion of Doom” moniker for the famous line of LeClair-Lindros-Renberg in Philadelphia in the mid-90s.

The second assistant coach will be former Army assistant coach Shawn Kurulak, a 1999 Denver grad who played his senior season under Appert. Kurulak's former responsibilities included recruiting and player development, along with video instruction. He has also spent time coaching at Bemidji State and in the North American Hockey League.

Finally, in late June, the incoming class of 2010 received what is expected to be their final member when defenseman Peter Merth committed to RPI to become Appert’s first recruit. Merth joins incoming freshmen Christian Jensen (a 2004 choice by the San Jose Sharks), Jason Fortino, and Erik Burgdorfer on the blueline in the upcoming campaign, replacing graduating seniors Brad Farynuk, Scott Romfo, Keith MCWilliams, and Alexander Valentin. Outgoing forwards Kevin Croxton, Chris Hussey, and Mark Yurkewecz are being replaced by freshmen Jordan Cyr and Paul Kerins, and by a returning Kirk MacDonald, who will finally play his senior year after missing all of last year while recovering from his battle with cancer.

The Engineers’ schedule kicks off on October 7th with an exhibition against York at Houston Field House. The NCAA schedule begins in earnest a week later at home against the defending Hockey East champions Boston University. The following week, the Engineers travel to Colorado for two meetings with Appert’s old squad, the Denver Pioneers, and the week after will participate in an ECAC Invitational at Pepsi Arena in Albany with Union, Colgate, and Quinnipiac. Black Friday is November 3rd against Princeton, and other non-conference matchups include battles with Merrimack, Sacred Heart, and UMass-Lowell, all at the Field House.

RPI will take part in two other tournaments during the course of the season, the first being the annual RPI invitational, which features Niagara, Ohio State, and Colgate on the two days following Thanksgiving. The other tournament has the Engineers facing the Vermont Catamounts in the first round of their Christmas tournament in Burlington, VT, before facing either St. Cloud State or Union on the second day.

Finally, the Big Red Freakout! comes early this season, as the Engineers take on St. Lawrence, the last team to defeat RPI in the annual extravaganza, on January 20th.


Women 's Hockey - Building Off of Year One Success

The women's hockey team begins their second season in Division I September 29th in Houston Field House against the Boston College Eagles. The Eagles are the first of 11 non-conference games for the Engineers. Other home non-conference foes include Wayne State and Sacred Heart. Away NC games include North Dakota, Boston University, and Sacred Heart.

The Engineers open their first ECACHL schedule October 28 and 29 when they travel to Cambridge Mass, and Hanover, NH to face Harvard and Dartmouth. The home ECACHL opener is December 1st and 2nd against Cornell and Colgate. Eight of 12 teams make the ECACHL playoffs, which runs from February 22 to March 3. The eight team NCAA Tournament runs from March 9 to March 17.

RPI faces eight schools again this year that they faced in 2005-2006. Last year they compiled a 12-4-1 record against Sacred Heart, Colgate, Robert Morris, BU, Union, Wayne State, Clarkson (Still Sucks) and Quinnipiac.

Joining the Engineers this season are six recruits, three forwards and three defensemen. Rossli Chace from Hampton Falls, NH, Allysen Weidner from Wichita, KS, and Allison Wright from Oakville, Ontario join nine returning forwards. Laura Gersten from nearby Queensbury, NY, Whitney Naslund from Bloomington, MN, and Jodi Yaworski from Calgary, Alberta join four returning defensemen. Emily Ford and Ashley Mayr return for their sophomore season in net.


Football Preview

Coming off of an 8-2 season and a ECAC Northwest Bowl championship, the Engineers look to continue their winning ways this season. The Engineers will be led on offense by seniors Jon Branche, a D3football.com All-American at TE and Jay Bernardo, a D3football.com All-Region First Team selection at RB. Piloting the offense will be sophomore Jimmy Robertson at QB, the Liberty League Rookie of the Year from 2005. Returning their top 6 rushers and top 6 receivers from last year, expect the offense to provide plenty of offensive fireworks this season. The offensive line will be anchored by Terrence Bynum, a senior and D3football.com Second Team All Region Lineman.

On the defensive side, the Engineers will be considerably younger. One key loss will be that of linebacker Grant Cochran, the last in the long line of Cochran boys to play football at RPI. Fifteen defensive recruits look to bolster an RPI defense that gave up an average of 300 yards, but only 19 points, per game to opposing offenses last year. Leading the defense this year will be senior defensive lineman Bob Perreault, who tied for the team lead in sacks last year with 6, and junior linebacker Tom Rayhill, who was fourth on the team in tackles and led them in forced fumbles.

Returnees on special teams include Drew Taranto, who was 4-5 on field goals last season, and John Engstrom, who did not attempt a punt in 2005. Looking for playing time as freshmen will be kickers Randy Platter and Eric Vandeventer and punter/kicker Peter Nilson.

The team will be coached by Joe King, starting his 18th year on the sidelines at RPI. The schedule initially looks kind to RPI, as rivalry games with both WPI and traditional power Union will be held on the '86 Field this year. Good luck to the Engineers, and Let's Go Red!


PBAN4 - Music Alumni Weekend

With all the excitement this off season, we hope that people are just as excited about PBAN4! This year we'll be holding our events in conjunction with RPI's first ever Music Alumni Weekend - taking place October 13th through 15th.. This event is part of a new university initiative towards reunions based on interest and activities rather than by class year. Their first attempt at this was the Athletic Alumni Weekend around the same time last year. While much of the schedule is still up in the air, we do know that all music groups are being included, with potentially performances of the Anthems and Alma Matter.

And not to worry, we will still be holding our student/alumni mixer, with the exact time and location still to be determined.

Peter Pedone of the alumni house is coordinating this event. As many of you may know, Peter is incredibly enthusiastic, a huge fan of the hockey program, and was instrumental in helping Chris and Terry get RPI Pep Band Alumni (and Friends) off the ground. With Peter's involvement we have no doubts that this will be an entertaining weekend, and we look forward to seeing exactly what he has in store.

We'll be sending out e-mails as more details become available. In the meantime, be sure to RSVP no later than October 1st.


Hockey News from Reunion - Straight From the Horse's Mouth

The all class dinner at Reunion Weekend brought some interesting news for pep band and hockey fans alike. Athletic Director Ken Ralph and Head Coach Seth Appert made an appearance at the event. After a brief discussion about their goals for the program, which include a more creative and up tempo style of play, the floor was opened up for questions. The first question came from a member of the class of '81 (or was it '86?). Her question: "Just so you know, Clarkson still sucks." This got a laugh out of Coach Appert, along with a story.

Apparently when watching game footage, Coach turned to one of the video guys and asked what it was the crowd was chanting. The video guy of course said, "One minute, and Clarkson still sucks." At this point, Coach "started to wonder if RPI students were really as bright as he'd been led to believe" given that the game he was watching was against Brown.

Also, during the dinner, Ken Ralph was at the same table as RPIPBA(aF) co-founder Terry Farrar '96. Given the situation, Terry took the opportunity to ask Ken some questions about their plans for the Fieldhouse, and specifically the various rumors about the future of the stage. Ken was quick to dismiss the rumor that the stage would be going away, and provided this tidbit of information: RPI is working to raise the stage 5-10 feet so that the band would be playing above the glass. The only holdup - figuring out how to make the stage handicap accessible. As part of the process, they would also be addressing some of the safety concerns about the current stage.

While it is unclear as to when the new stage will be in place, it could happen as early as this season.


From The Managers

Hello again, and we hope that your summer has been going swimmingly. Although the '06/'07 season is young (if not entirely there yet), there have been a few goings-on since the last newsletter, and a very important event in the near future.

First of all, we decided to spend some money on updating and maintaining our percussion equipment. So now we have some new drum heads for the quints and bass drum, new sticks, and a BRAND NEW candy apple red bass drum, complete with case and stand. It is specifically designed as an indoor drum, so it should be extra-loud inside of the Field House.

We have also created new music sets, keeping most of the "standards" that we play a lot, and adding a few that weren't previously in the set, such as #79 'Get It On' and #23 'Free Ride'. Also, this allowed us to make sure that each set is complete, so there are no longer any missing parts in any set. The songs included in the updated set can be found here.

Finally, and most pertinently, on July 20-21, the band will be playing at two different SOs to continue our recruiting effort for the upcoming seasons. As per usual in the summer, the expected turnout is going to be small (10-15 people, with no guaranteed percussionists yet), so we need your help. On Thursday July 20th we will be playing outside of the Commons from 5:15-7:30pm, and on Friday July 21st we will also be playing outside Commons, but this time we will be playing from 12:15-1:45pm. These will be our first performances in our new summer band t-shirts, which were designed by AJ Macey and Gary. They are red and feature the Pep Band bullet on the front and a sousa player on the back.

If anyone is going to be in the Troy area on those dates and wants to join us, please shoot us an email ahead of time so we can get an accurate head count and try to balance the band the best we can. We will also be holding a barbeque on Thursday night, if you need any more incentive to come join us. We look forward to seeing some of you there!

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to email us at pepband@rpi.edu. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your summers!

Gary & Chris
The Managers


Final Notes

So, to recap:

  • PBAN4 will be held as part of Music Alumni Weekend (October 13-15). Please RSVP no later than October 1st!
  • Freakout will be early this year, taking place 1/20/07. Make your plans now and look for details to come out at the start of hockey season!
  • The alumni house is organizing a trip to Denver for the men's hockey games. Several pep band alums are planning on going. If interested, let Peter Pedone know at pedonp@rpi.edu.
  • Electronic schedules for both hockey teams and the football team can be found in the files section of the Yahoo Group.
  • Recent hockey alum Brian Pothier signed a multi-year deal with the Washington Capitals after a breakout season in Ottawa, Brad Tapper returns to the US after signing with the Flyers, and Matt Murley returns from surgery to sign with the Avalanche.
  • 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 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.
  • If you're in the area, go check out the Pep Band at Student Orientation on 7/20 and 7/21.
  • Please send any other ideas/comments/suggestions/whatever to Chris and Terry at pepband@rpipepbandalumni.org.
Next issue: Hockey season starts! PBAN4, planning for Freakout, and more!