Even though the only ice many people think of this time of the year is the kind in a cold drink, here’s a few summertime notes on the Ohio State hockey program, particularly its alumni.
Curiously, the three first subject matters all begin with B as in Bartkowski, Bittner and Boisvert.
MATT BARTKOWSKI: The former OSU defenseman (2008-09 to 2009-10) soaked up the Stanley Cup Final experience for the second time in three seasons for the Boston Bruins, who were defeated in six games by the Chicago Blackhawks last week. Unfortunately he has yet to get his name engraved on the most storied trophy in team sports.
However, he did make his NHL playoffs debut this spring and scored his first career goal in Game 7 of the first-round series vs. Toronto, a game in which the Bruins trailed 4-1 in the third period before winning 5-4 in overtime.
He also played extensively in the next round against the New York Rangers but as the Bruins blue line corps returned to health he went to the bench for the Eastern Conference final against Pittsburgh as well as the Chicago series.
Bartkowski played a total of seven playoff games with one goal and one assist.
He was also on the Bruins’ roster in 2011 when they won the Stanley Cup but because he did not play in at least one playoff game his name is not the hardware.
Instead, he was part of the “Black Aces” – a group of young players deemed by the organization to benefit by traveling and practicing with the club during the postseason to soak up the atmosphere.
Bartkowski had 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) and 145 penalty minutes in 80 games for the Buckeyes over two seasons.
He was a seventh-round pick of the Florida Panthers in 2008 but his rights were dealt to Boston in March 2010 and he debuted with the Bruins’ American Hockey League team in Providence later that year after leaving OSU following his sophomore year.
Bartkowski made his NHL debut on Jan. 10, 2011 against his hometown Pittsburgh Penguins. He has played in 20 NHL regular-season games for the Bruins.
J.B. BITTNER: The two-time captain of the Buckeyes joined the staff of the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League as an assistant coach. He went to the junior team in Kearney, Neb., on June 12 after two seasons as an assistant with the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL).
Bittner, 31, returned to his roots in a way. He played in the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede from 1999-2001, during which he had 43 goals and 54 assists before heading to Ohio State.
The Pittsburgh native spent four seasons with the Buckeyes (2001-02 to 2004-05) and recorded 76 points (37-39) in 160 games. In his first season as captain he led OSU to its second ever CCHA tournament title in 2004 and the Buckeyes reached the NCAA Tournament in three of his four seasons.
He then went on to play four pro seasons in the ECHL and AHL with eight teams before retiring and joining the OSU staff. He was there three seasons as an assistant coach and video coordinator before going to South Carolina.
The first two-time All-American in program history, Boisvert will be among 14 new members enshrined in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in September.
Boisvert, a three-year letter-winner (1997-99), totaled 147 points (58-89) in 121 games as he helped the Buckeyes usher in a new era when they moved from the OSU Ice Rink to Value City Arena in January 1999.
He was a member of the 1997 CCHA All-Rookie team then he and the cellar-dwelling Buckeyes exploded onto the national scene in the 1997-98 season when OSU won 18 of its last 21 games.
The Buckeyes lost in the CCHA final to top-ranked Michigan State in double overtime then beat the Spartans in overtime a week later in the West Regional Final to advance to the school’s first (and only) Frozen Four.
Boisvert was the Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year in 1998 and received first team All-American honors. He was named to the second team in 1999 as the Buckeyes once again made the NCAA Tournament.
The St. Eustache, Quebec, native was a two-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten selection and in 1999 was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award given to the top collegiate hockey player.
He left OSU after his junior year to sign with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers (now Winnipeg Jets) but spent the 1999-2000 season with the Canadian National Team before playing the next three seasons in the IHL and AHL. He continued his career in Germany, where he has played for Dresden the past three seasons.
His Hall of Fame class will be inducted Sept. 27 at a dinner then introduced to the public at halftime of the football game against Wisconsin the next day.
For a complete list of inductees: http://bit.ly/12eiNpQ
QUOTABLE: New OSU head coach Steve Rohlik on whether the players will notice differences, whether it be to the locker room and surrounding aesthetics or in the way practices are run.
“We’ve got a lot of things in place. I don’t want to go around changing this and changing that…The mark will be left as we go along.”