Commentary

Carle: Season-ending thoughts

Updated: April 17, 2009, 7:07 PM ET
By David Carle | Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: The day before the 2008 NHL draft, doctors determined David Carle had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that results in a thickening of the heart and could cause sudden death during physical activity. Carle was forced to retire from hockey but is now a student-assistant coach at the University of Denver, where he had originally signed to play. Carle is documenting the experience for ESPN.com.

Hey Hockey Fans,

The NCAA men's ice hockey season came to a very exciting end last week with Boston University capturing another national championship to add to the Terriers' collection. I watched the game, and I think that I was as surprised by the last minute of play as everyone else. Miami played a great game and stuck to their game plan for 59 minutes, but it just slipped away in the last minute. BU deserves a ton of credit; they won absolutely every tournament they were in this year, even our Wells Fargo Denver Cup.

I personally was not taking sides. I think I would have been happy for whoever won the game. I know that our coaching staff is very close to Miami coach Enrico Blasi, as he worked as an assistant coach with one of our assistant coaches, Steve Miller, under George Gwozdecky. So if the RedHawks had won, I know our staff would have been thrilled for Rico.

I, however, was recruited by BU and was treated great by their staff and really enjoyed my visit there while meeting a lot of their players. It was very cool to see Matt Gilroy's story capped off with winning the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and, of course, the national championship.

As for our team, I think it was obviously a very disappointing outcome. We felt that we were definitely good enough to get there, but for some reason or another things just did not come together at the right time for us. I do not know whether anyone has the answer as to why it did not, but I think we just have to try to learn from the experience. We have to keep that bad taste in our mouth all spring and summer and use it as motivation to improve every day to prepare for what should be a wonderful season next year.

We lose only four players and have a handful of very capable recruits coming in next year. Along with that, the rest of our team will grow up a little bit more, and their overall production and maturation will rise. All of that put together should make for a very exciting team that already has its eye on winning its last game of the year come next April.

As for me, I had my year-end meeting and it is understood that my role will expand next year into something that carries some more responsibility. I will try to be on the ice with players before practice to work on their game as well as sit in on coaches' meetings, where practice plans are developed and the staff's preparation for the weekend's opponents takes place. I think all that combined will be a great learning experience for me. It will further help me understand whether coaching is something that I have a passion for and whether it is something I would be interested in eventually pursuing.

My summer plans will involve trying this whole coaching thing out a little bit more, as well. I will spend July and August in Minnesota working at a training facility with youth, college and pro players. I will help run them through workouts, put them through on-ice sessions and instruct them while using synthetic ice-skating treadmills. I think it will give me a lot of practice at instructing people, which will hopefully contribute to what I can bring to the table next year at Denver.

I would just like to thank everyone who has read my blog over the past hockey season. I am very thankful to ESPN.com for allowing me to do this. It was my pleasure giving you all insight into how I have handled this life-changing experience while also sharing some details about the University of Denver hockey team.

Thanks again, David Carle