One hallmark of any winning college hockey program is its depth.
Air Force Academy returns a veteran-laded lineup on the ice for the coming season, and the Falcons added to their off-ice depth with the recent announcement that Corey Millen is joining the staff as the director of hockey.
Millen, a longtime NHL player and two-time U.S. Olympian after a stellar career at the University of Minnesota, fills a spot that opened when Ohio State hired Steve Miller to be its associate head coach.
Millen was an undergraduate assistant coach for the Gophers this past season while completing his undergraduate degree. That came on the heels of a successful four-year run as coach of the Junior A Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League. The Wilderness won the Robertson Cup (NAHL champions) in 2015 and made the playoffs in three of his four seasons.
“We are thrilled to add Corey to our staff,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore told the school’s official website. “A glance at his playing resume quickly validates him as an American hockey legend. Corey brings a tremendous amount of coaching experience to the table as well.
“His experience as both a player and a coach makes him a very attractive addition to our staff (which also includes assistants Joe Doyle and Andy Berg).”
Millen is one of the most decorated players Minnesota history. His career points (241) and goals (119) totals remain third best in program history. Three times he helped the Gophers reach the Frozen Four, and he was the team’s captain during his senior season (1986-87). He played for Team USA in the 1984 and ’88 Olympic Games before launching a 14-year NHL career.
He’s no stranger to the Colorado hockey scene – his son Luke played some of his youth hockey for the Colorado Rampage club just up Interstate 25 from the Academy from 2014-16.
“I am extremely excited to work with Frank, Joe, Andy and the rest of the Air Force staff,” Millen told the website. “They are highly regarded in the hockey world. Frank has been extremely helpful to me, and I am excited to learn from this excellent staff.”
Millen joins a Falcons program coming off one of the best seasons in its history. Air Force reached the elite eight of the NCAA Tournament for on the second time ever after winning the Atlantic Hockey Conference tournament. AFA finished 27-10-5 overall and ranked 11th by USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine and 12th by USCHO.com – its highest ever rankings in the respective polls.
2017-18 schedule highlights
The Falcons better enjoy their Christmas break, because that four-week stretch offers the only time off they will have this entire upcoming season.
Air Force’s recently released 2017-18 schedule is highlighted by a Nov. 3-4 visit from rival Army West Point, coinciding with the schools’ football game at Falcon Stadium that same weekend. Serratorre advocated for years for the service academies to pair a hockey weekend with the football game.
The Falcons open their home schedule against Arizona State on Oct. 13-14 after traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska, for their season-opening series on Oct. 6-7.
AFA’s longest stretch in the state bookends the holiday break – after a home series vs. Niagara on Dec. 1-2, the Falcons open the second half against Colorado College and at Denver before Mercyhurst kicks off the new year with an AHC series Jan. 5-6.
The Falcons also close with a bang – traveling to Bentley on Feb. 9-10, playing host to Canisius the following weekend before finishing the regular season at Robert Morris.
A complete schedule can be found here.