The American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) has announced its major awards for 2015. Eight individuals who have made unique contributions to amateur hockey in the United States will be recognized during the 2015 AHCA Convention in Naples, Florida, the women's hockey honorees being recognized on Friday, May 1, and the men's hockey award recipients feted on Saturday, May 2.
Heading the list of award winners is former Boston University head coach Jack Parker, winner of 897 games and three national championships during a 40-year career at BU. Parker will receive the John MacInnes Award. Also being recognized are Bruce Delventhal, athletic director at Plattsburgh State and three-decade officer of the AHCA, who will receive the John "Snooks" Kelley Founders Award, and Karen Kay, former University of New Hampshire and U.S. National Team head coach, who will be presented the Women's Hockey Founders Award.
All awards will be presented at two dinners taking place at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club in Naples, Florida. Here is a detailed look at each of the eight awards and their recipients.
This year's recipients 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.
2014 Recipient: Jack Parker
No NCAA hockey coach won more games at one institution than Jack Parker. His 897 wins in a 40-year career at Boston University set that record and is second all-time to still-active rival Jerry York of Boston College.
A native of Somerville, Massachusetts, Parker captained BU as a player, graduating in 1968. He got his coaching start as an assistant at Medford (Mass.) High School in 1968 and then returned to his alma mater as an assistant from 1969-73. He was named head coach in 1973 and promptly led the Terriers to four straight ECAC championships, led by the likes of Mike Eruzione, Jack O'Callahan, Jim Craig and Terry and Ricky Meagher. The first of three NCAA Championships came in 1978, followed by subsequent national crowns in 1995 and 2009. The latter came in dramatic style as the Terriers rallied from a 3-1 deficit late in the third period to defeat Miami, 4-3, in overtime.
His teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament 24 times and 21 of his squads captured Boston's fabled Beanpot trophy. In addition to his four ECAC tournament titles, Parker captured seven Hockey East regular season crowns and eight post-season tournaments.
A number of his players went on to become NCAA and NHL coaches, as well as NHL players. Among the latter: Tony Amonte, Keith Tkachuk, Rick DiPietro, Jay Pandolfo, Shawn McEachern, Chris Drury and John Cullen. Current NCAA head coaches who either played or worked along side Parker include (men's hockey) Bill O'Neill at Salem State, Blaise MacDonald at Colby, Terry Meagher at Bowdoin, (women's hockey) Brian Durocher at BU and Bob Deraney at Providence. Joe Sacco and Mike Sullivan are among Parker players who became NHL head coaches and Ben Smith, a longtime Parker assistant, served three stints as the U.S. Women's Olympic head coach, winning medals each time, including gold in 1998.
Beyond these accomplishments, Parker was a strong leader for the game of college hockey nationally, and not just for the interests of his school or conference. He also gained a reputation for fierce loyalty to his players after their playing days had ended. This was never more evident than in his longtime relationship with Travis Roy, a Terrier whose career lasted all of 11 seconds due to a catastrophic injury on his first and only shift.
Even before his retirement at the end of the 2012-13 season, Parker began to be recognized with major awards, both regionally and nationally. Of the many honors, the most prestigious came in 2010 with the presentation of the Lester Patrick Award for contributions to ice hockey in the United States. This award is presented by the NHL and USA Hockey. He has also received the Hobey Baker Memorial Foundation's "Legends of Hockey" award and is a member of the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Parker remains employed by Boston University, working for the school president, and resides in the Boston area with his wife, Jacqueline.
2015 Recipient: Bruce Delventhal
Few people have given to the game of college hockey in as many ways as Bruce Delventhal. His resume features four years as a player at Hamilton College, 15 more seasons as a coach at three universities, ten years as an athletic director at a fourth school and nearly three decades of devotion to the American Hockey Coaches Association.
Delventhal, a New Jersey native, played for Greg Batt at Hamilton, graduating in 1971. His first coaching job came at the Northwood School and his first college job was assisting Jim Higgins at Princeton from 1982-84. (Higgins, with whom Delventhal remains good friends, won this award two years ago.)
He first became a head coach in 1984 at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he compiled a record of 87-39-2 in four seasons, the highlight of his RIT tenure being the 1985 NCAA Division III Championship.
From RIT, Delventhal moved to Division I as head coach at Union College. His record with the Dutchmen was 89-111-21 over eight campaigns and was named ECAC Coach of the Year in 1994. Among the current NCAA head coaches influenced by Delventhal are Blaise MacDonald of Colby College, who played on the RIT national champions, and Kevin Sneddon of Vermont, Delventhal's assistant at Union. In his 12 seasons as an NCAA head coach, his career record was 176-150-23 (.537).
After spending eight years away from a campus, working in sales, Delventhal was named director of athletics at Plattsburgh State on June 28, 2005. The Cardinals have achieved unparalleled success since his arrival, with 37 teams appearing in the NCAA Championships during the last eight years, including three NCAA women's ice hockey titles. In addition, Plattsburgh student-athletes have earned a higher grade-point average than the general student population during every semester since Delventhal came to campus.
Delventhal was instrumental in the renovated Stafford Ice Arena, which underwent a $2.1 million renovation in the summer of 2008, and in improvements to Chip Cummings Field, which serves as the home of Cardinals Baseball. He also formed the Friends of Plattsburgh State Athletics, which is the fundraising arm of the department, and has worked with several organizations to help bring Cardinal teams closer to the community. Delventhal has worked for the American Hockey Coaches' Association since 1988 as the organization's secretary/treasurer. As an officer of the AHCA, he's charged with creating and implementing budgets, developing convention agendas and generating sponsorships. He is also a member of the board of Hockey Coaches Care, a non-profit charitable organization that raises money to help people in need at all levels of the hockey community.
After his coaching days, Delventhal spent eight years working in the business world as North America sales manager for the fishing/tackle division of two Japanese companies, Yo-Zuri and Seaquar. He received a bachelor's degree from Hamilton College and a master's from Princeton Seminary.
He is married to his wife Allie, who works as a nurse and midwife. She previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Rochester. They have a grown son, Brent, who resides in Richmond, Virginia.
2015 Recipient: Doug Spencer
Doug Spencer worked in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for 28 years as the Associate Commissioner for Public Relations. Spencer worked under two commissioners, Bruce McLeod and Otto Breitenbach, and served the league over three decades, from 1986-2014. In that period he helped grow the WCHA Final Five into one of the sport's premier post-season events and watched the women's WCHA win 14 national championships.
Spencer was also involved in publicizing and promoting college hockey for more than 30 seasons, dating to the early 1970s, when he started as a student assistant in the SID office of his alma mater, Western Michigan University.
For the WCHA, Spencer coordinated public and media information needs, assisted in the general administration of the annual WCHA Final Five and the league's international tours, produced numerous publications for both the men's and women's leagues, issued regular press releases and statistics, maintained historical playing records and oversaw the league's web site and weekly radio show. Also, Spencer had tenures as an Assistant SID at Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Wisconsin and was also a staff member at the Amateur Hockey
Association of the United States (AHAUS) where he served as Publicity & Publications Director and Editorial Director of American Hockey & Arena Magazine.
Born in East Lansing, Michigan, Spencer earned his B.A. from WMU in 1976. He and his wife Caroline have two children – Connor and Maggie — and reside in Madison, Wisconsin.
2015 Recipient: Brent Brekke
Brent Brekke is in his seventh season behind the Miami bench as an assistant coach, working primarily with the defensive unit. He has served as the RedHawks' associate head coach the last four years after being promoted following his second season in Oxford. Brekke, who now has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt, came to Miami in the summer of 2008 after spending the previous nine seasons as an assistant coach at Cornell University of the ECAC.
In addition to working with the defense, Brekke is also the program's co-recruiting coordinator and handles all aspects of game scheduling for the RedHawks. Since coming to Miami, Brekke has turned the RedHawks into one of the top defenses in the country annually. Miami ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA defensively in each of Brekke's first five seasons, ranking in the top four on four occasions. Along with that, he has been instrumental in coaching Miami's penalty kill unit, which also ranked in the top 10 nationally in Brekke's first five seasons.
Brekke's impact in Oxford was felt immediately as he helped lead the RedHawks to the school's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four and the national championship game in his first season (2008-09), while guiding Miami to a CCHA regular-season title and a second straight Frozen Four berth in his second season (2009-10). In 2010-11, Brekke aided the `Hawks in capturing their first-ever Mason Cup for winning the CCHA Tournament with his defensive unit serving as the backbone, allowing just six goals in four tournament games. He again helped Miami capture a CCHA title in 2012-13, as the RedHawks claimed the final CCHA regular-season championship.
While at Cornell, Brekke helped the team make four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including a trip to the Frozen Four in 2003, and compiled a 185-90-30 record.
After a four-year playing career at Western Michigan University, Brekke graduated with a degree in marketing in 1994. A ninth-round selection (188th overall) of the Quebec Nordiques in 1991, Brekke skated with the U.S. National Junior Team that placed fourth in the 1991 World Junior Hockey Championships. Once his time at Western Michigan was complete, Brekke went on to play for the Cornwall Aces, Quebec's American Hockey League affiliate, for the 1994-95 season. One season later, he went on to captain the Dayton Bombers of the East Coast Hockey League. Brekke and his wife, Stacey, a former track and field athlete at Western Michigan, have a daughter, Bailee, and a son, Cody.
2015 Recipient: Bob Gernander
Bob Gernander coached Greenway High School on Northern Minnesota's Iron Range for two seven-year stints, from 1966-73 and from 1983-90. In these 14 seasons, his teams went to five Minnesota State Tournaments (1967-70, and 1987) and captured back-to-back state championships in 1967 and 1968. His 1969 team won the state consolation title and his 1987 team won the 3rd place title. Before becoming head coach, he assisted former head coach Grant Standbrook, who went on to an illustrious NCAA coaching career.
He coached four NHL players: Mike Antonovich, Mike Peluso, Ralph Barahona, and Ken Gernander. He coached one Minnesota "Mr. Hockey" in Kris Miller (1987). He also coached numerous NCAA Division 1 and Division 3 players as well. Gernander was also the head baseball coach at Greenway during his first stint.
Gernander left Greenway in 1973 to coach the Fargo-Moorhead Sugar Kings of the Midwest Junior Hockey League for two years (1973-75). That league is now the USHL. He then tried his hand at pro hockey and coached the Albuquerque Chaparrals of the expansion Southwest Hockey League for two years (1975-77).
When the SWHL folded in 1977, he came back to Greenway and ran the Hodgins Berardo Arena, the Greenway Recreation Department, and eventually became the high school coach at Greenway again in 1983. During this time he scouted part time for the New York Rangers. In 1990 he left coaching to scout full time for the San Jose Sharks and then with the Dallas Stars. Gernander has been in many scouting capacities with Dallas and he still scouts full time for them.
Said current Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore, "Bob has had a tremendous impact on kids. It didn't matter if he was coaching, teaching, or running the rink. He has a unique way with people. He was inducted into the Minnesota State Hockey Associations Coaching Hall of Fame in 1992 and has his named engraved on the Stanley Cup as a scout for the 1999 Dallas Stars."
2015 Recipient: Lynn Olson
Lynn Olson grew up in Richfield, Minnesota, and when she and her husband Larry found themselves with two daughters playing hockey, they set out to provide more opportunities for girls to play hockey on all-girl teams. That was her catalyst for grassroots involvement in Minnesota Hockey. In 1984, Lynn, who worked as a paralegal, was asked to draft articles, bylaws and operating rules for the Women's Hockey Association of Minnesota (WHAM). They elected her president and in 1985 she met with the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) and requested WHAM be accepted as an affiliate. In 1986, MAHA accepted WHAM and Lynn was elected Women's Hockey Director, a position she held until 2007.
Lynn was elected in 1989 to the position of Girls'/Women's Section Director, the first woman on the USA Hockey Board of Directors. She represented the girls/women from the Minnkota District (MN, ND and SD) on the Section until 2010. In 1990, as Girls'/Women's Director, she assisted USA Hockey in the establishment of development camp programs for females and ran the development program for over 12 years for the Minnkota District.
After many years of promoting girls' hockey at the youth level, Lynn began attending Minnesota State High School League meetings and speaking at high schools. The MSHSL sanctioned girls' hockey as a varsity sport in 1994. The Academy of Holy Angels, attended by her daughters, Lisa and Becky, agreed to start a girls' hockey program. Lynn was hired as the first head coach and the AHA team participated in the first sanctioned girls' game in MSHSL history.
Lynn worked tirelessly to encourage associations in Minnesota and across the U.S. to establish girls teams. In 1986, there were 28 girls'/women's teams in Minnesota. When Lynn left Minnesota Hockey in 2010, Minnesota female registration was over 400 teams. In addition, there were 126 varsity girls' high school teams in the state and 80 women's college teams in the country.
In 2013, Lynn was awarded the prestigious Don Clark Award by Minnesota Hockey. This award goes to an individual who over a period of many years has been dedicated to the grassroots growth and development of youth hockey in Minnesota.
Currently, Lynn is Chair of the Minnesota Hockey Scholarship Committee and a member of the Minnesota Hockey Screening and Publicity & Promotions Committees.
2015 Recipient: Karen Kay
Karen Kay was a pioneer, as a player and coach, when women's ice hockey was first given formal recognition at the NCAA and international levels.
A 1985 graduate of Providence College, she helped lead the Lady Friars to back-to-back EAIAW Championship appearances for coach John Marchetti. She went on to coach the women's hockey team at the University of New Hampshire for a decade (1992-2002), prior to the establishment of the NCAA Championships. While coaching at UNH, she amassed a record of 215-90-25 and led the team to an AIAW National Championship in 1998.
During this time, she was also active with USA Hockey, leading a number of U.S. National teams into international tournaments. She coached the U.S. Women's National Team to a silver medal at the 1994 World Championship and was an active voice in growing opportunities for women's hockey internationally. She has been credited with coming up with the idea of the Three Nations Tournament, now the Four Nations Tournament, which is held every year. For her efforts, she received the Bob Johnson Award from USA Hockey for her contributions to the sport on an international level.
Coach Kay currently serves as the Director of the Sports Performance program at Access Acceleration and Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics in Wilmington, Massachusetts. She specializes in working with athletes recovering from injury and helps to condition them to return to sport or full activity at a competitive level. Kay also oversees the athletic training program at Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics which provides athletic trainer coverage for eight area high schools. A native of Hudson, Masachusetts, she was recently inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame.
2015 Recipient: Courtney Kennedy
Courtney Kennedy is in her seventh season on the Boston College coaching staff and was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2012-13 season. Kennedy is responsible for recruiting and hockey operations, in addition to her coaching duties and working with the defensive corps. Currently, Boston College is 18-0-1 and ranked Number One in the country.
During Kennedy's tenure, eleven Eagles have been named to the All Hockey East First Team. As a team, the Eagles have finished either first or second in five of the six full seasons since Kennedy arrived at the Heights.
Kennedy came to BC after three years as the head coach of women's ice hockey at Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A mainstay on the U.S. National Team from 2001-2006, Kennedy was teammates with BC head coach Katie King Crowley on the 2002 and 2006 U.S. Olympic teams. In 2002, Team USA won the silver medal in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in 2006, it took home the bronze medal in Turin, Italy. Kennedy also played for Team USA when it captured the gold medal at the World Championships in 2005. She currently sits on the Executive Board of USA Hockey as an Athlete Director.
As a collegiate player, the Woburn, Massachusetts, native collected the first of three All-American honors and was a Top 10 finalist for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, given annually to the most outstanding college player, during the 1997-98 season at Colby.
Following her successful freshman campaign, Kennedy transferred to Minnesota where she led the Golden Gophers to their first national title as a junior, in 2000. The defenseman was decorated with All-American honors in 1999 and 2001, and as a senior she earned Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. In 2001, Kennedy was also a Top Three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. In only three seasons with Minnesota, Kennedy amassed 35 goals and 77 assists for 112 points. In 2008, Kennedy was inducted into the University of Minnesota Hall of Fame.
Kennedy's coaching background features experience as a USA Hockey Select Festival coach and director of the Kennedy School of Hockey. She was also a founding member of the East Coast Wizard Girls Youth Hockey Program.
Kennedy graduated from Minnesota in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in youth studies and currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.