Feb. 24, 2011
Notre Dame, Ind. -
As part of the celebration of the final full season of hockey at the Joyce Center, former coaches, players, administrators and fans have gotten together to select an 18-man All-Joyce Center team that covers the 43-year history (1968-2011) of the home of Irish hockey.
Earlier this winter, all-decade teams were selected, covering four eras of Irish hockey - 1968-1980, 1980-1990, 1990-2000 and 2000 through 2010. The first and second teams that were selected then went to a ballot that Irish hockey fans were able to vote on from Jan. 24 through Feb. 20 and now the final totals are in.
With the assistance of over 7,000 fan votes that provided full ballots, selecting three goaltenders, six defensemen and nine forwards, the three All-Joyce Center teams were selected.
On Tuesday, Feb. 22, the All-Joyce Center third team was announced. Today, the second team of six players will be named with the first team being announced during the first intermission of Saturday's regular-season finale versus Western Michigan. All three teams will be honored at that time.
Selected to the All-Joyce Center second team are: goaltender Jordan Pearce (2005-09), defensemen Ian Cole (2007-10) and Benoit Cotnoir (1995-99), along with forwards Greg Meredith (1976-80), Eddie Bumbacco (1970-74) and Mike McNeill (1984-88).
Jordan Pearce `09, from Anchorage, Alaska, was a second team choice on the 2000-10 all-Decade team that was announced in January and played four seasons for the Irish from 2005-09, seeing action in 94 games. Selected as the CCHA's goaltender of the year in 2009, he was an honorable mention all-CCHA selection that season and was the CCHA Tournament most valuable player as well as the CCHA scholar-athlete of the year. A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American (second team in `07-'08 and first team in `08-'09), Pearce also was the Notre Dame Monogram Club team MVP and the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Scholar-Athlete in those two seasons. He led the Irish to the Frozen Four in 2007-08 in his first season as the starting goaltender. The pre-med major finished his career first in wins (59), first in goals-against average (1.98), first in save percentage (.918) and tied for first in shutouts (12). Pearce equaled David Brown's single-season record for wins in 2008-09 and set the school mark for single-season shutouts with eight that season. He signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings following graduation and has played the past two seasons in Toledo and Grand Rapids, Detroit's farm teams in the East Coast and American Hockey Leagues.
A pair of All-Americans headlines the defensive duo on the second team. Ian Cole, from Ann Arbor, Mich., was a first team selection on the 2000-10 all-Decade team and played three seasons (2007-10) at Notre Dame. While turning pro following his junior season, Cole continues to work towards finishing his degree and should graduate following the summer of 2012. A first team All-American following the 2008-09 season, the rugged blueliner was a first team all-CCHA selection that season and helped the Irish to their second CCHA regular season and postseason titles that year. In the CCHA Tournament, Cole was selected to the all-tournament team as the Irish downed Michigan in the title game. In three seasons, Cole played in 111 games, scoring 17 goals with 48 assists for 65 points. A first round selection of the St. Louis Blues in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, he was the 18th pick of the draft and that's the highest any Irish hockey player has ever been selected. He signed with St. Louis following the 2009-10 season and is currently playing for the Blues' American Hockey League team in Peoria, Ill. He made his NHL debut earlier this season and has played in 13 games for St. Louis this season.
Joining Cole on the blue line as an All-American is Benoit Cotnoir `99, from Rouyn-Noranda, Que., and a first team pick on the 1990-99 All-Decade team. Cotnoir played in 141 career games, scoring 17 goals with 48 assists for 65 points. A first team all-CCHA selection in 1998-99, he also was selected as an American Hockey Coaches Association All-American that season. He also was an honorable mention and special mention all-CCHA choice in `95-'96 and `97-'98. He is sixth all-time among defensemen in goals and 10th in points. Cotnoir went on to play five seasons of minor league hockey, mostly in the East Coast Hockey League.
The three forwards selected to the second team rank third, fifth and seventh on the all-time points list and first, second and eighth on the all-time goals list.
Leading the way is Greg Meredith `80
, a native of Toronto, Ont., who was a first team selection on the 1968-80 all-Decade team. Notre Dame's all-time leading goal scorer with 104 career goals, Meredith ranks seventh in points with 192 points. A first team all-WCHA selection in 1979-80, he was selected as an All-American that season after scoring 40 goals with 31 assists for a team-high 71 points. An honorable mention all-WCHA choice in 1978-79, Meredith was a two-time Monogram Club team most valuable player in `78-'79 and `79-'80. The 1980 winner of Notre Dame's Byron V. Kanaley Award, the most prestigious Notre Dame award that goes to an Irish senior monogram winner who is exemplary as both a student and a leader, Meredith is the all-time power-play goal leader for the Irish with 43 in his career. He was a sixth-round draft choice of the Atlanta Flames in 1976 and went on to play 38 games in the National Hockey League with the Calgary Flames. He was selected by the NCAA in 2005 as one of six Silver Anniversary Award winners that recognizes former student-athletes who have distinguished themselves since completing their college careers 25 years ago.
Joining Meredith on the second team forward line is Eddie Bumbacco `73
, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and a first team choice on the 1968-80 all-Decade team. Bumbacco was Notre Dame's first hockey All-American along with defenseman Bill Nyrop `74, taking the honor in 1972-73. A first team all-WCHA selection and the Monogram Club team most valuable player, Bumbacco set Notre Dame's single-season scoring record that year, setting marks that still stand for goals (43), assists (47) and points (90). He played in 133 career games for Coach Lefty Smith and had 103 goals and 117 assists for 220 points. He is third all-time in points, second in goals and fourth in assists. The Montreal Canadiens selected him in the ninth round of the 1972 NHL Entry Draft.
Rounding out the second team of forwards is South Bend's own Mike McNeill `88, who was a first team selection on the 1980-90 all-Decade team. The talented forward was a three-time Monogram Club team most valuable player and is fifth on the all-time points list with 198 career points on 83 goals and 115 assists in 124 games. McNeill's numbers place him eighth in goals and fifth in assists. He is third all-time in power-play goals (31) and is tied for first in short-handed goals (7) during his career. A product of St. Joseph's High School in South Bend, he went on to be drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 1988 supplemental draft. He played in 63 NHL games over two seasons with Chicago and Quebec. The son of former Irish assistant coach, Tim McNeill, Mike returned to South Bend to serve as a volunteer assistant coach on Jeff Jackson's staff from 2006-10.
These six players are joined on the All-Joyce Center team by third team selections - goaltender Lance Madson (1986-90), defensemen Jeff Brownschidle (1977-81) and Brett Lebda (2000-04) plus forwards Kirt Bjork (1979-83), Jamie Ling (1992-96) and Dan Carlson (1997-01).