BURLINGTON – The University of Vermont, founded in 1791, is one of the more prestigious hockey schools for women, but there is plenty to learn about the host venue for the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship that the casual hockey fan might not know.
Here, then, is a primer for those who want to know more as they walk the streets of this university town between games:
Most of the games are being played at the Gutterson Fieldhouse. The arena is named in honour of Albert Lovejoy Gutterson, class of 1912, who was the university’s first Olympian. Even more impressive, he won gold at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, with a leap of 7.60m in the long jump. His spiked shoes are in the university’s hall of fame. The arena opened in 1963 (capacity 3,335) and expanded in 1990 (capacity 4,035). The dimensions are part NHL, part international, the length being a standard 200’ but the width a slightly increased 90’.
Everyone calls the school UVM for Universitas Viridis Montis, Latin for University of the Green Mountains.
The team nickname is Catamounts and the mascot is a catamount (short for catamountain), a medium-size cat such as a puma or lynx, living in the wild.
The women’s team plays in Division I in Hockey East, which consists of eight teams for women (eleven for men): Boston College, Boston University, University of Connecticut, University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, Providence College, and University of Vermont.
Vermont first adopted women’s hockey in 1998, joined Division I in 2001, and joined Hockey East in 2005.
The team’s head coach for the past six years has been Tim Bothwell, an NHLer who retired in 1990 with 502 games to his credit. He later coached women’s hockey in Canada before joining Vermont in 2006, but he resigned after a weak season just concluded. The Catamounts had a 4-22-6 (W-L-T) record in 2011-12.
Bothwell’s roster this past year included 17 Americans, four Canadians, and one Swede. Only three have IIHF experience and, ironically, only one has senior experience, Swede Klara Myren. Canada’s Gina Repaci played at the 2011 U18 while USA’s Amanda Pelkey, named to the HE all-rookie team for 11-12, played at three U18s, 2009-11.
The arena hosted a Canada-United States game at the Four Nations Cup before 1997 World Women’s, the first women’s game televised nationally in the U.S.
The New York Rangers used the Gutterson Fieldhouse as a training camp site for six years, 1995-2000, and 2002.
The university has never had an American go on to the senior team in IIHF competition.