Thursday, May 06, 2010

Genoway Returns to North Dakota

One of college hockey's best defensemen is returning.

North Dakota's season could have been derailed in November, when star defenseman Chay Genoway went down with a concussion. The hit was the source of much controversy in the league, and it led to the first of a handful of supplementary discipline decisions in the WCHA.

If you forgot what happened, here is the shot by Aaron Marvin that sent Genoway to the shelf.

To this day, I cannot figure out how this penalty call got so badly botched ... both on the ice and by the league after the fact.

Genoway didn't play again. Despite losing an All-American blue-liner, the Fighting Sioux finished fourth in the final league standings, and they won the WCHA Final Five.

Good news came Thursday for UND, as it was announced Genoway would return for another crack at his senior season.

Genoway had ten points in nine games before Marvin ended his season, and he will immediately take the role of leader for this coming season's Fighting Sioux team. Considering that Chris VandeVelde and Darcy Zajac were the only notable losses, it makes sense that the Sioux will be a preseason favorite in the WCHA, as well as nationally.

If Genoway can return at full strength -- and even the staunchest of rivals has to be rooting for him to make a comeback given what he's gone through up to this point -- he makes North Dakota's defense more experienced and more potent offensively.

Imagine a power play quarterbacked by Genoway, with Danny Kristo at the other point, and guys like Jason Gregoire, Brett Hextall, and Matt Frattin up front.

Even on paper, it looks incredibly dangerous.

More importantly, good for Chay. This is a huge step for him, and let's hope to see him on the ice at full strength in October.

It's also a win for college hockey. No, Genoway was probably never a serious candidate to leave school early because of his size, but he's an elite player who makes the sport better with his presence. This is a comeback story college hockey should embrace as we get closer to the fall.

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