Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Where Are They Now? Jeff Hoggan (1999-2002)

We caught up with perennial fan favorite Jeff Hoggan at a special event he put together at the Ralston Arena on Monday, Aug. 5 to allow fans to see the Calder Cup, the AHL championship trophy.

Mavpuck Admin Jon Brooks (left), with MavBridget (Bridget Weide Brooks) and Jeff Hoggan with the Calder Cup at Ralston Arena on Monday, August 5. Hoggan is holding a photo of Bridget with her nieces, Emily and Lauren, from a UNO Hockey "Skate with the Mavs" event in 2000 or 2001. (Photo by Barb Thompson.)

Hoggan, 35, is captain of the Grand Rapids Griffins and he led the team to win the AHL championship -- the team's first Calder Cup in team history -- in thrilling style. He played all 76 regular season games, tallying 45 points, good for fourth highest point total on the club. He also played in all 24 playoff games. The Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch in game 6 of the playoffs.

The Griffins signed Hoggan to a new two-year AHL contract in July, ensuring he will have the chance to defend the Calder Cup in the 2013-14 season.

Prior to joining the Griffins for the 2012-13 season, Hoggan had enjoyed a career that included playing in the NHL for five different teams: St. Louis Blues (2005-06), Boston Bruins (2006-07 and 2007-08), and Phoenix Coyotes (2008-09 and 2009-10). Hoggan won his first Calder Cup in his first full season in professional hockey with the Houston Aeros (2002-03). He had played four games with the Aeros after finishing his college career with the Mavs in the spring of 2002.

After playing only four games with the Coyotes in the 2009-10 season, Hoggan signed with the Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams, a German professional team in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) in the 2010-11 season. He played 43 games for the Hannover Scorpions, another German professional team in the DEL during the 2011-12 season, and was third in scoring on the team. Hoggan signed a one-year contract with the Griffins on October 2012.

Mav fans remember his tireless work ethic and spectacular breakaways, including eight shorthanded goals. He is probably best remembered for "Tuesday Night," the CCHA play-in game held on March 14, 2000. UNO was attempting to win its way into the CCHA tournament after upsetting Northern Michigan in the first round of the playoffs. Hoggan had scored the decisive goal in the third period of the third game in the playoff series to give the Mavs a 2-1 win over the Wildcats.

Hoggan's two goals that night sparked a UNO win over Bowling Green, 3-1, and sent the Mavericks to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to play in the CCHA Final Four for the first time ever, a milestone victory for the young UNO program.

Photo courtesy of UNO Athletics.

On March 17, 2000, the Mavericks once again pulled the upset, beating Michigan 7-4 in the semi-finals to advance to the championship game, where they played Michigan State. In the photo above from the UNO Media Guide, Hoggan tried to put one past MSU's Ryan Miller. Although the Spartans won that game 6-0, Hoggan was named to the CCHA All-Tournament team.

In only three seasons with UNO, Hoggan was the school's all-time leader in goals (61). He also had 18 power play goals (18). In his senior season, he had 24 goals and 45 points and dominated the team statistics, leading the Mavericks in power-play goals (8), short-handed goals (4), shots on goal (185), and penalties (38 penalties for 92 minutes).

During that season, the Mavericks reached their highest national ranking to that point, taking the number 5 spot in both major college hockey national polls after sweeping Michigan State 4-1 and 5-1 in October 2001. The Mavericks were unable to make a return trip to the CCHA tournament, falling to Notre Dame in three games in the final series held at "The Bullpen," Omaha's Civic Auditorium. Controversial penalties awarded to Hoggan near the end of the game caused some fans to throw beer cups and other items on the ice, and fans pelted the on-ice officials with boos.

Hoggan earned all-CCHA honors in his senior season, and was named a second-team All American by the American Hockey Coaches Association. His teammates from that season, Dan Ellis and Greg Zanon, continue to enjoy successful pro hockey careers as well.

One thing Hoggan said about our CCHA opponents stuck with me. Hoggan is from Hope, British Columbia, so he wasn't as familiar with the NCAA opponents as most of us are. He said, "I don't know who half of them are…I just want to beat them all."

Photo courtesy of UNO Athletics.

Hoggan and Ellis teamed up again on Aug. 5 with Ellis in goal for the White squad and Hoggan listed as a defenseman on the roster in a game that Hoggan described as, "a few old guys (exhausting) themselves during their chance to 'officially' say they've won the (Calder) Cup." The Red team, which was loaded with former Mav players, defeated the White squad handily, with the final score something like 15-11.
Hoggan said he plans to make Omaha his home after his pro career ends. He and his wife, Chevonne, have two sons, Hunter and Cam.

Media guide photos courtesy of UNO Athletics.

Check out these vintage UNO Hockey audio clips featuring Jeff Hoggan (created by MavRick):
"We Could Be Heroes"
"Ooh, Ahh Just a Little Bit"

Griffins' Off-season Signings Prepare Team for 2013-14 Season
Jeff Hoggan, Hockeydb.com
Jeff Hoggan, Grand Rapids Griffins Team Roster
UNO Hockey Media Guide
Grand Rapids Griffins Win the Calder Cup