The Officers and Governors of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) have announced its major award winners for 2011. All honorees will be presented their awards at the 2011 AHCA Convention in Naples, FL, April 28-May 1, 2011. They are:
THE JOHN MACINNES AWARD: Established by the AHCA in 1982 to honor former Michigan Tech coach, John MacInnes, this award recognizes those people who have shown a great concern for amateur hockey and youth programs. The recipients have had high winning percentages, as well as outstanding graduating percentages among their former players. The winners of this award have helped young men grow not only as hockey players, but more importantly, as men.
2011 Recipient: Terry Skrypek, University of St. Thomas
win total ranked him 30th among all men's NCAA coaches andtenth among those who coached exclusively at the Division III level. Skrypek, who never experienced a losing season in 40 years at both St. Thomas and Hill-Murray High School, received the Edward Jeremiah Award in 2005 as the Division III National Coach of the Year. At the time, he said he took pride in making model citizens of his hockey players.
"He taught us how to be fair and honest," said Parker Burgess, a senior on Skrypek's last team.
Skrypek taught players plenty about winning as well. He tallied 815 career victories coaching at the high school and collegiate levels. He is only the second Minnesota coach to win 300 or more games and a state championship at the high-school level, plus win more than 400 college games, reach an NCAA championship and be named National Coach of the Year. The other coach to do that is former St. Thomas baseball coach Dennis Denning, who retired last December.
Players who attended Skrypek's retirement news conference last June spoke about lessons learned from Skrypek and pointed to him as the reason for the program's continual success. Senior Matt Letourneau said Skrypek has taken the program "from something that wasn't that respected across the country to a national powerhouse. So much of his success comes from getting good people and people with character on his team."
TERRY FLANAGAN AWARD: Named in honor of the former UNH player and Bowling Green Assistant, this award honors an assistant coach's career body of work.
2011 Recipient: Brian Hills, RIT and Bowling Green
Brian Hills is in his sixth season at Rochester Institute of Technology, having previously served as an assistant at Bowling Green State University for five years. After Bowling Green, Brian took on the task of reviving the SUNY Geneseo program where in three short years, he amassed a record of 53-42-14 and in his last year went 18-7-4, won a SUNY championship and led his team to an NCAA Tournament appearance. Hills has had a long history of success in the college game, first winning many accolades as a player. Brian was a two-time All-American and two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist. He led the CCHA in scoring twice and was CCHA Player of Year in 1983. In addition, Hills was a two-time CCHA All Academic team member, and was a second team CoSIDA/GTE Academic All-American as a senior. Bowling Green won two CCHA titles his junior and senior year where he was captain his senior year.
Hills began his coaching career at Bowling Green in 1994-95 after a long and successful playing career in Europe. He made an immediate impact, as Bowling Green finished second in the CCHA with a 25-11-2 record and he proved valuable to Coach Buddy Powers, the CCHA Coach of the Year that season. A number of players Hills coached at BGSU went on to sign NHL contracts such as Brian Holzinger, Mike Johnson, Kevin Bieksa and Jordan Sigalet to name a few. This was all accomplished in seven years at Bowling Green.
Hills left his head coaching position at Geneseo after the 2004-05 season to help head coach Wayne Wilson move Rochester Institute of Technology from a Division III program to The Atlantic Hockey Conference in Division I. According to Wilson, who worked with Hills at Bowling Green, Hills was directly responsible for RIT winning three Regular Season Championships in its first four seasons in the Atlantic Hockey Association.
Said Wilson, "Brian has been a great friend and coach over a very long time. His tireless work, knowledge of the game and friendship has allowed RIT to reach great heights. During Brian's tenure, RIT has won three Regular Season Championships, a Play-off Championship and has reached a Final Four. A number of players recruited by Brian have obtained numerous Atlantic Hockey accolades and have gone on to successful careers both on and off the ice. I have been very fortunate to go to work every day with a great coach and a better friend."
THE JOHN MARIUCCI AWARD: John Mariucci, the former coach of the University of Minnesota, was not only an outstanding college coach, but also a driving force behind the growth of hockey in the United States. In 1987, the AHCA created this award to honor a secondary school association coach who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and enthusiasm of the "GODFATHER OF U.S. HOCKEY," John Mariucci.
2011 Recipient: Chris Gurry, Phillips Academy Andover (MA)
Chris Gurry spent parts of five decades as a player, coach and teacher at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. He was one of the best players to ever come out of the school. A brilliant skater, he was known as a leader, hard worker, unselfish player and amongst all, a consummate captain. He also captained the Harvard University hockey team for the 1970 season under coach Ralph "Cooney" Weiland. After Harvard, Chris went on to be an assistant coach under Jack Riley at West Point for 3 seasons before returning to Andover.
When he returned to the campus at Andover in 1974, head coach Ted Harrison was still at the helm. Before taking over the reigns as head coach, Chris worked and learned under one of the best in the business. At the time, "PA" was one of the elite programs not only in the New England but also nation wide. Said one of Gurry's former players, Jon Coleman who went on to play at Boston University, "One of Coach Gurry's best attributes was to take the lessons from each coach you crossed paths with and implement them in your own style."
Added Coleman: "While other coaches may lay their hat on such accolades as State Titles, best players and best teams ever, Coach Gurry had one thing he hung his hat on: he was developing young men at Phillips Andover. In the classroom and on the ice, that is what Chris did best, develop kids into young men. Whether it was the player that was going to a Division 1 or Division 3 school or the one whose last hockey game was against Exeter, Chris always found a way to get the best out of you. His dedication through the 70's 80's and 90's has touched the lives of numerous kids across many state and country lines.
Though he stepped down as coach in 1998, he can still be seen behind the PA net giving advice to the current PA players. Which leads me to the next point. For the most part the team lives at school. So whether it was in the rink, the classroom, at the dinning hall, library, school functions, coach was always there to lend an ear or give you one if you stepped out of line."
Beyond his coaching, Gurry has served as an instructor in the Department of History and Social Sciences, teaching U.S. History and International Relations. Said one of his fellow teachers, "Unlike many of his coaching peers who may have held teaching positions but were really "24/7" coaches or close to that, Chris has always maintained a big commitment to both academics and athletics, and not only rhetorically. In the eyes of the student body, he is without doubt one of the most popular and respected teachers at PA."
THE JIM FULLERTON AWARD: Named in honor of the former Brown University hockey coach and AHCA spiritual leader, this award recognizes an individual who loves the purity of our sport. Whether a coach, administrator, trainer, official, journalist or simply a fan, the recipient exemplifies Jim Fullerton, who gave as much as he received and never stopped caring about the direction in which our game was heading.
2011 Recipient: Virg Foss, Grand Forks Herald
Virg Foss, considered one of the "Deans" of college hockey writers, covered North Dakota Sioux hockey for the Grand Forks Herald from 1969 until his retirement in 2005. Even today, he remains active covering UND home games exclusively for FightingSioux.com. He has covered UND and WCHA hockey longer than any other writer, with his tenure spanning the last five of UND's seven NCAA championships.
"There are few things in life that have given me the joy for so many years as Fighting Sioux hockey," said Foss. "In 1969, I chose to accept a job at the Grand Forks Herald solely for the reason I knew it would give me the opportunity to cover Fighting Sioux hockey. Having done that for 35 seasons, through highs and lows, I can truly say it was the best professional decision of my life.
At the start of this season, North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol announced that the Fighting Sioux men's hockey program established the 'Virg Foss Three-Star Award' to honor his many contributions. The award will be presented annually to the player who accumulates the most three-star selections during the course of the season.
"To have my named linked to UND hockey for years to come is very humbling," said Foss upon hearing of this honor.
THE JOHN "SNOOKS" KELLEY FOUNDERS AWARD: Named after the famed Boston College coach, this 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.
2011 Recipient: Bruce Johnson, Robbinsdale (MN) High School
Bruce Johnson grew up in Robbinsdale, Minnesota where he played hockey, football and baseball all through high school. He went on to the University of Minnesota-Duluth and played Division I hockey for one year prior to transferring to Augsburg College where he played for legendary head coach Ed Saugestad.
Johnson, who was inducted into the Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007, is now an assistant men's hockey coach at Augsburg bringing more than 40 years of hockey experience to the position. After his playing days were done, Johnson started teaching at Richfield High School for a year, before he moved to Robbinsdale High School in 1969, and the following year, moved to Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, where he was named head coach of the hockey team. In 32 seasons (1970-2002), Johnson won 401 games with the Falcons and earned both conference and section coach of the year honors twice.
In 2000-01, he was named the John Mariucci Minnesota State Class AA Coach of the Year by the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association and in 2004 was named the Dave Peterson Award winner for longtime contributions to youth hockey. Johnson also received the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association's
George Haun Award in 2003. Johnson was inducted into the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007. Johnson took off one year in that span to head down to the state of Indiana where he served as an assistant coach at the University of Notre Dame in 1977-78. Johnson was named athletic/activities director at Armstrong in 1995 and served in that capacity until 2003. He was named Region 6AA Athletic Director of the Year in 2003. He served as president of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association from 1993-95, and has worked as the organization's Executive Director from 1999-2006. Johnson has served as a coach and administrator at numerous levels of hockey for the Armstrong Youth Hockey Association, Minnesota Hockey, and USA Hockey for countless years, always giving of himself and his talents to the game he loves.
Johnson received his bachelor's degree in social studies (physical education minor) from Augsburg in 1968, and his master's degree from St. Thomas in 1976.
He has pursued graduate course work at Minnesota, Indiana and St. Thomas, and received his special education certification from St. Thomas in 1986. All three of Johnson's children — Leah, Thomas and Aaron — children attended Augsburg, and Aaron earned All-American honors twice as a member of the Augsburg men's hockey team.
THE JOE BURKE AWARD: Presented annually to the person who has given outstanding contribution, support, and dedication to women's ice hockey." It is named in honor of a girls' and women's hockey "superfan," Joe Burke.
2011 Recipient: Kush Sidhu, Washington Pride
Kush Sidhu has been involved with women's hockey since the late 1980's. He began his coaching career at Northeastern under head coach Don McLeod. There, he helped Northeastern become one of the premier women's college teams in the country. He also assisted with the 1990 Women's National Team and coached at various USA Hockey Development camps from 1990-1995.
In 1994, Kush moved to the Washington, D.C. area and started the Washington Capitols, which quickly became the elite U-19 team in the southeast. In 2001, Kush left the Caps and helped create the Washington Pride. These teams became perennial national contenders.
Said Middlebury College head coach Bill Mandigo, "Kush has done a great job helping to place his graduating seniors in college. He has always understood the primacy of academics and how hockey helped to balance the overall development of young women."
During the past 11 years, Sidhu has sent players to Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, RPI, Mercyhurst, Williams, Middlebury, Amherst, among others (26 colleges with 38 players). His focus on quality and commitment to excellence has paid off for his players. Of the eight girls who have served as team captain in Washington, five have subsequently been selected as captains of their college teams.
Added Princeton University's Jeff Kampersal, "Kush provided an opportunity for female athletes in the Washington area to grow as hockey players and get exposed to colleges. He certainly solidified an area that was desperate for hockey instruction and direction. He has also run many summer camps over the past 12 years designed, not only help hockey skills, but to educate the 14-17 year-old female hockey player on the academic part of college recruiting and the college experience."
THE WOMEN'S ICE HOCKEY FOUNDERS AWARD This award honors a member of the hockey community or college coaching profession who has contributed to the overall growth and development of the sport of women's ice hockey in the United States through their enthusiasm, passion and selflessness.
2011 Recipient: Laura Halldorson, Princeton University , Colby College and the University of Minnesota
Laura Halldorson has been a true pioneer in the sport of women's hockey. She played hockey as a young person for her high school in Wayzata, Minnesota, and then went to the east coast to play four years at Princeton where she led the Tigers to three Ivy League championships. She has coached at the college level since 1987 at Princeton, Colby, and the University of Minnesota. Her coaching has extended to the national team level as well.
Said Minnesota Director of Athletics Joel Maturi, "Laura is one of those unique individuals who has experienced the game of women's hockey from all perspectives and at all levels from its infancy to an era when women share in the athleticism and excitement of this great game. Her passion for the sport of women's hockey is shadowed only by her passion for the personal, academic, and athletic development of the young women that play this game."
One of the most successful women's hockey coaches in the nation and the first to lead a program to five consecutive Frozen Fours, Halldorson guided Minnesota to three national championships (2000, 2004, 2005) during her 10 seasons of competitive coaching and departed Minnesota with an impressive record of 278-67-22 (.787). Coaching seven years at Colby College before her hiring at Minnesota, Halldorson left an 18-year head coaching career with a 337-142- 31 overall record.
Now a resident of Plymouth, MN, Halldorson received her B.A. in Psychology from Princeton University in 1985.Twice an All-Ivy performer, she carried this success into her coaching career. Among her coaching honors, she was the AHCA's National Coach of the Year in 1998, 2002 and 2004. She currently works in the Athletic Development Office at the University of Minnesota.
THE WOMEN'S ICE HOCKEY ASSISTANT COACH AWARD (This is the first year that this award is being presented.) This award recognizes the career body of work of an assistant coach in women's ice hockey.
2011 Recipient: Amy Bourbeau, Princeton University
Passionate, professional, and efficient are three words that immediately come to mind when describing Amy Bourbeau. She has served along side Princeton University head coach Jeff Kampersal for 12 years in a partnership that is believed to be the longest of its kind in NCAA Division I women's ice hockey.
Said Kampersal in nominating Bourbeau for this award, "When Amy first came to Princeton, I was a young coach trying to define the culture of our program. Amy's forthright, honest approach created an environment that was disciplined and conducive to learning. An excellent communicator, Amy outlined roles and expectations, which increased our team's competitiveness and ultimately our team's wins.
"Amy has a brilliant hockey mind. Perhaps, her greatest strength is her ability to make in-game adjustments. She excels at attacking other team's weaknesses as well as solidifying areas of improvement that would help our team. Furthermore, she works tirelessly watching game tape, so she can best prepare our players during a typical week's practice. In her practices, she mixes repetition and creativity. She understands that basic skills are required to win and must be practiced repetitively. Using small games, she makes players think by simulating game-like situations."
A 1996 graduate of Providence College, where she led the Friars to three ECAC titles, Bourbeau began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Middlebury College in 1996. She served as the head coach at Williams College for one season before joining the Princeton staff for the 1999-2000 season.
The Joe Burke Award, the Women's Founders Award, and the Women's Assistant Coach Award will be presented at the AHCA Celebration of Women's Hockey in Naples, FL, on Friday evening, April 29. All other awards will be presented at the AHCA Celebration of Men's Hockey in Naples, FL, on Saturday evening, April 30.