Program Profile #4 – Merrimack College

**This post will appear permanently in my BF Program Profile Page**

Very appropriate that I post the Merrimack Program Profile today as the Warriors appear on national tv for the first time in program history at Lawler, today at 4pm on DirecTV channel 626…tune in!

Merrimack College –

  •  Esteemed Merrimack Bloggers to follow – The Mack Report
  • Twitter sources for Merrimack Hockey- @MikeMcMahonET
  • The Rink and Facilities : Lawler Arena
  • Famous Hockey Alumni – Jim Vesey, Stephane Da Costa, Steve McKenna
  • Famous Alumni (Non- Hockey) –  Charlie Day (Actor- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Carl Yastrzemski (HOF Baseball Player-Red Sox), Sally Ann Freedman (Beauty Queen)
  • My Biased Opinion  on <Tradition, BF Rank #10If we were simply referring to the Division II allure, Merrimack would have quite the resume as the program garnered a Division II national title in 1978 and was runner up in 1984. Unfortunately for the Warrior’s sake, the BF considers these DII credentials rather meaningless as Merrimack now must compete  with the big boys of Hockey East where the benchmark programs are perennial D1 powerhouses. Merrimack officially joined the D1 ranks in 1984 but wasn’t accepted into Hockey East until 1989. Until the recent success under the guidance of Mark Dennehy (former BC Eagle), Merrimack struggled mightily in Hockey East and have yet to lay claim to either a regular season crown or a Hockey East tournament championship. You can basically skip the first 20 years of the program and fast forward to 2010-2011 season which saw a Stephane Da Costa led squad reach the Hockey East Finals for the first time in school history. As with any program, once a school can achieve success for an extended period of time, the tradition builds and recruits begin to take notice. <Fanbase, BF Rank #9> It is incredibly difficult to avoid skewing the rankings based on the emotion invoked by recent success. In analyzing the fanbase over the full life of the program, the #9 ranking is certainly warranted. If Mark Dennehy remains at the helm, just signed a 5 year extension, I am sure the fan support will remain very strong; naturally everyone loves a winner. Despite the recent rash of support for the program, it is tough to correlate sellouts as a barometer to gauge the fervency of a fanbase when we are only talking about filling 621 student seats or approximately 3,000 in total. <The Barn, BF Rank #10> Although the program elevated itself to D1 status in 1984, its much maligned barn remains a Division II caliber facility. I personally played in nicer, more spacious rinks in High School and it is indeed truly amazing to me that any recruit would walk into Lawler and actually commit to spend 4 years at Merrimack. This speaks to the remarkable recruiting talents of Mark Dennehy as he continues to win despite the diminutive domain the program calls home. The program deserves praise for its recent efforts in upgrading Lawler arena in 2011 which increased the capacity to 2,489, of which 621 are associated with the student section.  According to a recent interview, President Hopey has promised continued investment in the athletic facilities that will hopefully include some major upgrades or perhaps a much needed new rink. I just don’t see how a school with so few alumni will be able to obtain the necessary level of funding through endownments or other means that will allow for the much need upgrades. Given the small enrollment totals  as a whole, I understand that the student body could not support a massive facility, but it absolutely needs some added capacity in order to compete long term in the best college hockey league in the country.<The Campus, BF Rank #9> I hate to keep using size as benchmark for success but I will have to bring this measure into the equation once again when we look at the campus ranking. Located 20 miles from Boston in suburban North Andover, Merrimack’s campus is situated on 220 acres of land is has that small college feel to it. The campus could be swapped with virtually any other small DII or DIII school in New England and does not differentiate itself in any way shape or form. If your looking for a small christian school with a virtual high school feel to it, then Merrimack is your school. If your looking for a college with panache that is polarizing upon first sight and offers a big time, rich sports tradition, please apply elsewhere.
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