From The Desk Of Joe Bertagna - February 2017

Joe BertagnaThe following is an excerpt from Joe Bertagna's February 2017 column in Stops and Starts:

I am pleased to share with you some great news about three initiatives designed to raise both funds and awareness for "Hockey Coaches Care," the relief organization for amateur hockey that is directed by the AHCA. First of all, on the two weekends that cover February 10 through February 19, the AHCA is asking all NCAA varsity programs and the ACHA Division 1 programs, men and women, to raffle off a game-worn jersey or direct proceeds from a 50-50 raffle to "Hockey Coaches Care." Second, the AHCA will launch an on-line auction of a beautiful Ryder Cup hockey jersey during this same time period, and keep the auction going through the Frozen Four. And finally, on Wednesday, April 26 in Naples, a nine-hole golf event will take place to further benefit "Hockey Coaches Care." This event will invite four-person teams representing each hockey-playing conference to participate.

Let me move on to some pats on the back to coaches who reached milestone victories since I last typed this column. You have to be successful for a long time to win 400 games and that was the magic number for Dean Blais of Omaha and Mike Schafer of Cornell. Blais won #400 back on December 9, a 3-1 win at St. Cloud. Schafer, a 1986 Cornell graduate who has been the head man in Ithaca for 22 seasons, took #400 via a 1-0 shutout at Merrimack on January 7.

Scott Sandelin of Minnesota-Duluth earned his 300th win when his club eked out a 4-3 overtime victory at St. Cloud on January 14. As I write, I have learned of Yale head coach, Keith Allain, winning his 200th game, a 7-0 blanking of Dartmouth in Hanover on January 20. All but Schafer in this list have won national championships.

Between my writing and your reading, the World University Games will unfold in Almaty, Kazakhstan with both the U.S. men's and women's teams again comprised of players from the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Coaching the women's team will be Olympian Shelley Looney, assisted by Scott Hicks of Miami and Brett Berger of Adrian. The men will be coached by Sean Hogan of Ohio University, assisted by Nick Fabbrini of Illinois and Rick Zombo of Lindenwood.

Speaking of ACHA coaches, they too celebrated a few coaches reaching milestone victory marks. Kirk Handy, coach of the Liberty University Flames, recorded his 350th win back on October 1. Win No. 200 was celebrated by Brian Gallini of Arkansas way back on September 10 and by Ohio's Sean Hogan on November 4.

– Joe Bertagna

Joe's full column is available in each edition of Stops and Starts - The Official Publication of the American Hockey Coaches Association. Each AHCA Member has access to current and archived editions of Stops and Starts in our Member's Only Section and can read Joe's full column in each edition of Stops and Starts.