Sunday June 9, 2013

With the arrival of the Pittsfield Suns and North Adams SteepleCats, the calendar may not say summer, but you have to think it is. As I prepare for the summer, it's time to share a few quotes and items that were going to run in this space, but were preempted by other news.

From the it's-a-small-world department, Pat Duquette's UMass Lowell men's basketball team is going to open its season at Michigan. It's only part of the Six Degrees of Williams College game.

Duquette is a Williams graduate and current Eph head coach Mike Maker coached under Michigan coach John Beilein at West Virginia.

Not so far removed from Duquette was the reported hiring of Nick Leonardelli as an assistant. The Lowell Sun reported that hiring last week, but the school has not made it official.

Leonardelli was the manager of basketball operations at Bucknell, where he worked for former Williams head coach Dave Paulsen.

The River Hawks, will have a home game against Dartmouth where Duquette's college coach, Harry Sheehy, is the athletic director.

As to the future, the Dalton native said that the River Hawks will be transitioning into Tsongas Arena as a home court. The arena is owned by the university.

"It's one of the nicest arenas that I've been in at any level. It's beautiful," Duquette told me when he was hired. "It'll be a huge, huge recruiting advantage. When kids walk into that arena, they're going to be floored.


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Jay Leach spent the hockey season in Albany playing for the American Hockey League's Devils. He's one of those hockey lifers.

Leach has worn the sweaters of five different NHL teams, including the Bruins for two games and Montreal for seven games. In addition, Leach has played for nine different American Hockey League teams and four teams in the East Coast Hockey League.

Will Leach be the kind of hockey player that a team will have to rip the uniform off him before he calls it quits?

"I don't know. We'll see," he said. "I kind of take it year-to-year now. It kind of depends on how the body feels."

Leach has played for the Devils in Albany and New Jersey, the Bruins in Providence and Boston, the Canadiens, Tampa Bay and San Jose. He has also been in Worcester, Norfolk and even Augusta, Ga.

"Mine is a unique career. I don't think you can find too many guys who have played on 17 teams in 12 years," he said. "I can honestly say I never forecasted anything quite like this."

Bruins fans also know Leach's wife, broadcaster Kathryn Tappen. She was the between-periods host on NESN before taking a job with the NHL Network.

When his career ends, Leach said he'd like to take a crack at coaching in the pros.

But Leach laughed when I asked him if he has an analyst's job waiting for him at the NHL Network.

"You know what? I'll let my better half do that," he said. "I'll stick in the game. The game's been good to me for a long time."

That's it for cleaning. Bring on summer.

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.