January 23, 2014

Several New Englanders selected for AHCA awards

By Joshua Kummins

Former St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh (Lynn, Mass.) will receive this year's John MacInnes Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association. (Photo: Beverley Schaefer)

The American Hockey Coaches Association announced its annual major award winners on Thursday afternoon and a hearty cast of New Englanders will be honored at the 2014 AHCA Convention in Naples, Fla. April 30 to May 4.

Hockey East commissioner and AHCA executive director Joe Bertagna made the announcement. 

Legendary St. Lawrence University head coach Joe Marsh (Lynn, Mass.), who retired in the spring of 2012 after 26 years in Canton, N.Y., will receive the John MacInnes Award, which goes to a member of the hockey community "who have shown a great concern for amateur hockey and youth programs" in the United States.

Marsh, one of the most popular bench bosses in American college hockey history and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, guided the Saints to eight NCAA Tournaments and 12 of the program's 14 all-time seasons with 20-plus wins.

"At St. Lawrence, we do not measure a coach’s work solely by the length of a career, the number of victories, or the championship banners draped from the rafters, though Joe Marsh has earned the luster of many positive statistics," SLU President William Fox said in a statement.

"Our men’s hockey program, so distinctive from all others, is nationally renowned – and an important part of Joe’s legacy is the number of alumni who have gone into professional coaching. St. Lawrence is immensely grateful."

Named after famed Boston College coach John "Snooks" Kelley, the Founders Award "honors those people in the coaching profession who have contributed to the overall growth and development of the sport of ice hockey in the United States."

This year's honoree is Don Cahoon (Lynn, Mass.), who now works as a college analyst on multiple television networks. "Toot" spent 11 years at the University of Massachusetts, the longest tenure of his 25-year career, and guided the Minutemen to their best season ever in 2006-07.

Cahoon also spent time at Lehigh, Norwich, Boston University and Princeton before taking the UMass job in 2000.

Steve Mattson (Weston, Mass.), the right-hand man of Norwich University head coach Mike McShane (Wakefield, Mass.) for 14 years, will receive the Terry Flanagan Award which honors an assistant coach's career body of work.

During Mattson's time in Northfield, the Cadets have won 13 consecutive ECAC East regular season titles, advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four eight times and won the national title twice. He is also the program's chief recruiter, spanning the U.S. and Canada searching for future NU players.

Former BC High coach Joe McCabe will receive the John Mariucci Award, given to a high school coach "who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and enthusiasm of the "Godfather of U.S. Hockey," Mariucci.

A 2010 inductee into the Massachusetts High School Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame, McCabe led the Eagles to four Massachusetts Super 8 titles. He continues to work as assistant athletic director at BC High.

Margaret "Digit" Murphy (Providence, R.I.), who spent 18 years as head coach at Brown University, is the fifth winner of the Women's Ice Hockey Founders Award.

Murphy currently serves as a head coach of the Canadian Women's Hockey League's Boston Blades and in the Middlesex Islanders program, and was instrumental in growing female participation in the sport while making girls hockey a varsity sport in the state of Rhode Island.

Notre Dame's Tim McNeill is the recipient of the Jim Fullerton Award which recognizes people who love the purity of hockey. Legendary Boston Herald reporter John "Jocko" Connolly was the most previous winner of the Fullerton Award.

Mary Ann Robinson of Wisconsin Amateur Hockey and Cornell assistant coach Danielle Bilodeau will also be honored in Naples.

At the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia, longtime Penn State coach and administrator Joe Battista will be honored with the Lou Lamoriello Award, which is presented "to a former college hockey player or coach for their unique and distinguished professional career."

Mary Ann Robinson
Mary Ann Robinson
Mary Ann Robinson

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