Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Apr. 11—THE CALCULATOR counts 671 days.

On June 10, 2019, in a doubleheader at the Fisher Cats’ ballpark, Riley Elliott delivered a game-winning single to give Bow the state Division II baseball title, then Nolan Lincoln spun a four-hit shutout to help Londonderry to the Division I crown.

It’s been that long since a high school spring athletic event.

Tomorrow, everything changes. Tomorrow, the NHIAA website lists 71 events in baseball, softball, lacrosse and tennis. There’s a baseball game scheduled for White Mountains Regional in Whitefield, a boys lacrosse game at Nashua South, and events pretty much everywhere in between.

Welcome back, spring athletes. If you’re a senior, cherish what you have. Maybe your double-play partner on the diamond or your doubles mate on the tennis court was part of the graduating Class of 2020. We don’t have to tell you what kind of a spring season they had: a nonexistent one.

Through the prism of the pandemic, we saw sports success stories during the fall and winter high school seasons. Starting tomorrow, we’ll do the same for spring.

You bet

The final number is in: Granite Staters wagered more than $15 million on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. That’s out of an estimated $10.4 billion bet nationally, according to reports.

New Hampshire Lottery officials counted 286,400 bets made over the three weeks of hoops action. That’s more than 52 bucks per wager.

Oh, and the NH lottery folks expect “high volume” for the Masters this weekend, too.

College hockey chaos

To say that NCAA rule changes have altered the landscape, especially for college hockey, would be like saying a Great Dane is a dog.

Quick history: Because of the pandemic, the NCAA gave winter athletes an extra year of eligibility, no matter how many games their teams played. Combine that with another rule change — to allow athletes one penalty-free transfer during their college careers — and you get what we have now: chaos.

On the Division I hockey scene, reports are circulating that close to 300 players nationally are in the transfer portal. A Lowell Sun story last week listed seven UMass Lowell River Hawks in the transfer portal. “The pasture is always greener on the other side,” said Lowell coach Norm Bazin, who was born in Manitoba so he should know about pastures.

Pity poor coaches trying to recruit and plan rosters for upcoming seasons. And that’s not even considering the growing trend of players turning pro waaaay before completing their eligibility.

New England Hockey Journal contributor Mark Divver reports that winger Kohei Sato, who just completed his senior season at UNH, is heading to Bentley as a grad transfer. No word yet on other Wildcats potentially coming or going.

Continuing on the subject of college hockey, congrats to UMass (Amherst), which on Saturday was trying to become the fifth Hockey East school and seventh from New England to win a national title. Trivia time: Name them all. (Answer at the end of the column.)

Finally, we have had some great names added to the list for consideration on the Mount Rushmore of UNH hockey. Thanks to readers Mark Constance, Dan Guilmette and Jeff Flanders for writing. I won’t list all the additional names mentioned, but suffice to say that Guy Smith, Berlin’s Rod Blackburn and Rod Langway all gained some traction. I’d love to hear from more Wildcat fans on this.

Baseball banter

In the Great News department, we’re happy to report there will be a summer of action in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Openers are scheduled for June 12.

Hopefully, the beaches will be open, too.

Finally, Fisher Cats PR man Tyler Murray reports 28 former Fishers on MLB opening-day rosters. One of them, San Francisco’s Aaron Sanchez, tossed five innings of one-run ball in his debut for Gabe Kapler’s Giants.

Answer to trivia question: Maine, Boston University, Boston College, Providence College (all Hockey East), and Yale and Harvard (ECAC).

[email protected]