There are five Clarkson alumni playing in the National Hockey League at the start of this season, which is almost half the total of the nine who competed last year.
Gone from the NHL are Craig Conroy and Todd Marchant, who retired, as well as Todd White and Chris Clark, who was with the Boston Bruins in training camp, but did not make the opening-day roster.
The players with the most NHL experience are now co-ECAC 1998 Rookies of the Year Erik Cole and Willie Mitchell.
Cole is starting his first year with the Montreal Hurricanes after spending most of his career with the Carolina Panthers. He's also played for the Edmonton Oilers.
Cole was interviewed recently by the Montreal Gazette, where he spoke of his brief thoughts of playing major junior hockey, instead of going the college route.
“I never felt I was a sure thing for the pros and it also appeased my parents to take the college route,” Cole told the Gazette. “Even after my freshman year, I had some interest from a team in the WHL. But I felt I was in a good situation at Clarkson.”
Mitchell is starting his second season with the Los Angeles Kings. He's also played for the Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils. Here's some footage of Mitchell (no. 33) from training camp.
Kent Huskins was also in the same class as Cole and Mitchell and the three helped Clarkson in the ECAC Tournament title in 1999 and Huskins was also a member of regular-season championship teams in 1999 and 2001. After playing most of his career with the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, Huskins is beginning this season with the St. Louis Blues.
The other veteran is Randy Jones, who recently was with the Tampa Bay Lightning and is now playing for the Winnipeg Jets.
Clarkson's youngest NHL veteran is Grant Clitsome, who was part of the 2007 ECAC Hockey Tournament championship team and the 2008 ECAC Hockey regular-season titlists.
He has spent parts of the last two seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets but this year he is with the team on opening day and talked about how that feels.
Erik Cole, Montreal 2 games 0 goals-0 assists 0 points
Willie Mitchell, Los Angeles 2 0-0 0
Grant Clitsome, Columbus 3 0-2 2
Kent Huskins, St. Louis 1 0-0 0
Randy Jones, Winnipeg has not played
The Pro Hockey Notes Schedule
There will be a rotating schedule for this. The first week featured NHL players. Next week will feature American Hockey League updates. The third week will feature players in every other pro hockey league, including Europe. A new addition will be every fourth week will not be about pro players but instead will cover a look at players who are expected to join Clarkson in the future and how they are doing in their junior leagues.