AHCA Major Award Winners for 2022 Are Announced

Gaudet, Heeres, Driscoll, Bellamy Among Honorees

Click here to view all past winners of these awards

The American Hockey Coaches Asociation has announced an impressive slate of recipients of its most prestigious awards for 2022. The eight individuals being recognized will be honored at the 2022 AHCA Convention in Naples, FL, scheduled for April 20-23, 2022. This year’s slate of honorees follows here. (Click here for lists of previous AHCA Award Winners.)

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.

photo2022 Recipient: Tom Ward, Shattuck St. Mary’s (MN), St.Paul Vulcans, Richfield(MN) H.S., Minnesota, USA Hockey

Tom Ward is a native of Richfield, Minnesota, where he was a three-sport athlete in football, baseball, and Ice Hockey. A ninth round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets, Ward spent his collegiate years at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1986. While at Minnesota, Ward played both hockey and baseball, lettering in both sports. Upon graduation, Ward remained in the hockey world, immediately getting into coaching. Between 1987-1994 Ward had stops in Minnesota high school hockey and the USHL, returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 1995, coaching football, hockey and baseball. In the USHL, he was an assistant coach, head coach and general manager of the St. Paul Vulcans. Ward spent four years as the assistant coach at the University of Minnesota before taking over head coaching duties at Shattuck St. Mary’s, a Minnesota prep school started by J.P Parise.

It was at Shattuck where Ward would spend much of his coaching career and leave his most significant mark on the hockey world. From 1999-2016, Ward led the boy’s prep team to nine national championships, including a dominant run of six in 10 years between 2005-2015. Under Ward’s leadership, Shattuck St. Mary’s has morphed into a youth hockey powerhouse with 21 national championships and it has sent over 500 student-athletes to NCAA D-I and D-III hockey. There are currently 30+ NHL players who played under Ward’s tenure at Shattuck, including superstars Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Zach Parise.

Ward also has experience on the international level representing the USA at the IIHF U-20 tournament as an assistant coach in 2010 and 2012, winning the second world junior gold medal in USA hockey history in 2010. In 2016, Ward left Shattuck for an opportunity to coach in the NHL, spending three seasons with the Buffalo Sabers from 2017-2019. In 2019 Ward returned to Shattuck, where he is now back behind the bench for the boy’s prep team.

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.

photo2022 Recipient: Brendan Sheehy, Merrimack, Bauer, Hockey East

Brendan Sheehy created a unique hockey life combining, coaching, officiating and sales. A 1971 graduate of Merrimack College, where he played for Thom Lawler, Brendan returned to North Andover after a brief coaching stint at Matignon (MA) High School, where he also had played. Alongside Lawler, Sheehy and Merrimack won the 1978 NCAA Division II national championship. He also coached the golf team while at Merrimack.

A fixture in the Merrimack Valley, Sheehy devoted 10 years to serving on the board of Andover Youth Hockey, including a stint as the organization’s president.

An on-ice official for the ECAC as well, Sheehy started an administrative career in 1981 when he began a five-year term as commissioner of the Massachusetts Catholic High School Hockey Leagues, which overlapped with his being a board member for the Eastern Massachusetts Hockey Officials Association (EMHOA). He was EMHOA President in 1983-84.

Sheehy turned his love of officiating into his longest administrative post when he was named Hockey East Supervisor of Officials in 1994, a position he held until 2006. Even since leaving that post, Sheehy continues to be used by the NCAA as a replay official in its post-season tournaments.

Throughout the period of handling these positions, Sheehy’s fulltime job was as a manufacturer’s representative, working for Bauer for 33 years in New England. In that capacity, Sheehy won over countless members of the hockey community with his genial manner and efficiency.

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.

photo2022 Recipient: Gary Wright, AIC

For over three decades, Gary Wright was synonymous with the hockey program at American International College. He led the program through a number of challenges, most notably the transition from the Division II to Division I level in 1998, winning the MAAC’s first-ever Coach of the Year Award.

In the Division I era, his student-athletes were the beneficiaries of Wright’s care about developing the whole person, not just the athlete; from the 1998-99 campaign until his retirement in 2015-16, Wright’s charges collected 256 MAAC/AHA Academic All-Conference selections and 17 MAAC/AHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards.

Numerous former players and assistants under Wright have gone on to successful coaching careers of their own in part because of what they were able to learn from Wright. Among these include AIC’s current head coach, Eric Lang, who was Wright’s captain in 1997-98, and Trevor Large, the current Canisius College head coach, whose team faced Lang’s in the most recent Atlantic Hockey Championship game. David Turco, another of Wright’s captains, has been the head coach at Manhattanville for a decade between their women’s and men’s programs, and former assistant Stephen Wiedler, now at the University of Vermont, has also been named an assistant coach for the Norway National U20 team.

Wright retired having coached for 32 years and 994 games. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-tenured coach in Division I men’s ice hockey, and is one of a scant few to coach for over three decades at just one institution. Said current AIC coach Eric Lang, in nominating Wright, “Given his longevity, and the positive impact on the lives of so many over those years who played for him and coached alongside him, I am proud to nominate Gary Wright for the John ‘Snooks’ Kelley Founders Award.” Prior to AIC, Wright served as an assistant at the University of Maine, and as head coach at Rice Memorial HS in Burlington, VT.

A graduate of the University of Vermont, Wright was a member of the Catamounts hockey team. Wright has directed a YMCA Summer Camp and a National Youth Sports Program for inner-city youth, sponsored by the NCAA. He also ran his own hockey school, “Kids on Ice,” and authored a book titled, Pass The Biscuit: Spirited Practices for Youth Hockey Coaches and Players. He is a member of the Proctor Academy Athletic Hall of Fame. A resident of Vermont, his interests include golfing, music and hiking with his dog Hobey.

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.

photo2022 Recipient: Bob Gaudet, Brown and Dartmouth

Bob Gaudet is a coaching veteran whose career spans more than three decades behind the benches of both Brown University and Dartmouth College. Prior to retiring in the spring of 2020, after his 37th season of Division 1 college coaching (32 as head coach and 5 as assistant coach), Gaudet became the winningest coach in the history of Dartmouth hockey with a decorated legacy of developing talented players. Gaudet began his head coaching career at Brown in 1988, where he remained through 1997 before returning to lead Dartmouth, his alma mater, for the next 23 seasons. As a goalie, and member of the Dartmouth Class of 1981, the Saugus, Massachusetts native helped lead his team to consecutive berths in the Frozen Four. After graduation, he briefly played professionally before entering the world of coaching.

During his time at Brown, Gaudet guided the Bears to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 17 years (1993), in addition to leading the program to a pair of Ivy League titles in 1991 and 1995. He earned his first ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year award in 1995 and was tabbed as a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award presented to the National Coach of the Year in both 1993 and 1995.

While at Dartmouth, in 2005-06, Gaudet was again honored as the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year — just the second Dartmouth coach to earn the award and one of only two ECAC coaches to win this award coaching two different ECAC programs — and named a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award. During that season he guided the Big Green to a share of the league’s regular-season crown and the postseason tournament’s No. 1 seed for the first time in program history. The following year, Gaudet led Dartmouth to its first Ivy League title since his junior year as a player (1980). Gaudet went on to become Dartmouth’s all-time leader in both wins (331) and games coached (752). He coached in his 1,000th career game as Dartmouth defeated Princeton on January 3, 2020. In doing so, he became just the seventh coach in NCAA hockey history to reach 1,000 games within one conference and the first in the long and storied ranks of ECAC Hockey.

In February, 2018, Gaudet won his 300th game at Dartmouth by defeating No. 7 Clarkson, joining the legendary Eddie Jeremiah (Dartmouth ’30) as the only two coaches in program history to reach the milestone. The following November, Gaudet became the winningest coach in the history of the program with a defeat over No. 16 Cornell, passing Jeremiah, who had owned the record for more than half a century. Also in 2018, Gaudet became the 23rd Division I coach in history to win his 400th career game with a defeat over Quinnipiac. That year, he was inducted into the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hockey and coaching have long been at the core of Gaudet’s life; a former player, assistant coach, and celebrated head coach. The Gaudets are a Dartmouth family as he met his wife and classmate, Lynne, as an undergrad and all three of their children - Joe ’10, Jim ’12, and Kelly ’17 – have also graduated from Dartmouth. Gaudet fondly recalls coaching his sons, Joe and Jim, both four-year letter winners with the men’s hockey team at Dartmouth. During his coaching career, Gaudet not only developed strong, winning programs and talented players, but also imparted on his players the importance of teamwork, integrity, dedication, gratitude, and humility...playing for something bigger than yourself. The coaching legacy he is most proud of is that of inspiring young men to grow and be successful both on and off the ice.

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.

photo2022 Recipient Kris Heeres, SUNY Geneseo

Kris Heeres is in his 16th season at SUNY Geneseo, working alongside head coach Chris Schultz. In that time, Heeres has helped lead the Knights to 14 postseason appearances, including four SUNYAC championships, five NCAA Tournament berths and three trips to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2014, 2016 and 2019. The Knights’ coaching staff have been named SUNYAC Coaching Staff of the Year five times, including the 2019-20 award. Their record in this time is 249-118-27 (.666). Coach Heeres has recruited hundreds of players to Geneseo, including 10 All-Americans (15 awards), seven First Team All-Americans and the 2019 USCHO Division III Player of the Year, Devin McDonald ‘19. He’s also helped many Knights continue their careers into professional hockey, both in North America and abroad.

Heeres has helped the Knights to a 13-1-1 record so far this season, guiding the team to the No. 1 ranking in the USCHO. com Division III poll for the first time since the 1990-91 season. Geneseo has ranked within the USCHO.com Division III top-10 for over 60-consecutive weeks, dating back to the 2018-19 season.

Coach Schultz is a big booster of Heeres. “Kris Heeres has been with me since my first day on the job. For the past sixteen years, Kris has been a loyal and industrious coach and recruiter for our program. Without his persistence on the recruiting trail and his passion for Geneseo hockey, we would not have the national prominence we have earned. Gaining admission to Geneseo is not an easy feat. We are annually the most difficult state university in New York, in terms of standards, to gain admission. The Division III landscape is not an even playing field either, but Kris has worked tirelessly to maintain our standard and shape excellent hockey teams in his career.”

With Heeres’ collaboration, Schultz was twice chosen by his peers as Edward Jeremiah National Coach of the Year (2014 and 2016). Heeres is just the third Division III coach to receive the Flanagan Award, the others being Kevin Houle in 2002 and Steve Mattson in 2014, both from SUNY Plattsburgh.

Kris’ passion for Geneseo hockey, as well as Division III hockey in general, is contagious for everyone involved in the program. Former captain and current professional player Conlan Keenan says, “Coach Heeres displays a passion for Geneseo and Geneseo hockey unlike anyone I have met since I arrived at campus. Each and every day, he comes to practice with a smile on his face and a passion that is 100% contagious. His recruitment efforts helped build great relationships even prior to all of us getting to Geneseo. By the time we all arrived, we felt like we were home on Day 1. I have never experienced a culture like we have here on any team I’ve previously played on. Coach Heeres and Coach Schultz have a chemistry that promotes our motto: Love, Serve, Care.”

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.

photo2022 Recipient: Caroline Heatley, Lawrence Academy, Northeastern, Boston College

Caroline Heatley’s hockey career started in Fairfield County where she played youth hockey for the Greater Bridgeport Junior Hockey Association. She spent her high school years at Proctor Academy and led her to team a Lake Region Championship in 1989. Heatley matriculated to Northeastern University where she had an illustrious hockey career, serving at the team’s captain her senior year. She earned a BA in communications from Northeastern in 1995 and an MA in sports management from the university in 2010.

Caroline’s connection to hockey is noteworthy, spanning several decades, levels, and programs. Following her graduation from Northeastern in 1995, She returned to Proctor for two years, where she launched her career in independent school athletics and served as the assistant athletic director and head coach of the girls’ ice hockey team. Caroline’s career carried her to Lawrence Academy in 1997 where her teams would go on to capture two ISL Championships and make five New England tournament appearances. In 2003, Caroline joined the Dexter Southfield Schools in Brookline, MA in the same role where she was instrumental in launching the new upper school interscholastic and girls’ hockey programs. In addition to Caroline’s experience at the high school level, she has also made an impact at the collegiate level, during her stints behind the bench as an assistant coach at Hockey East rivals Northeastern University and Boston College.

A revered leader in the sport of hockey, Caroline was elected to serve as the president of the New England Prep School Girls’ Hockey Association in 2001, a role she held for nine years. Over the last twenty years, Caroline has had extensive experience with USA Hockey. From her involvement as coach, evaluator, and director at the Girls Player Development Camps to her role as director of operations for the Women’s National and Olympic Teams, Caroline has had a significant impact on the U.S. women’s ice hockey program. Currently, Caroline serves as the director of athletic operations at Lawrence Academy and splits her time between Groton, MA and Hancock, NH.

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.

photo2022 Recipient: Bill Driscoll, NAHA

Bill Driscoll has made numerous contributions to the growth of amateur hockey, particularly for girls’ and women’s hockey, in the United States. Of his many undertakings, two stand out for female hockey: the founding of the North American Hockey Academy (NAHA) in 1998 and the co-founding (along with Kush Sidhu) of the Junior Women’s Hockey League (JWHL), the first junior league for girls, in 2011.

NAHA was the first female hockey academy in North America, with more than 250 girls placed in NCAA college hockey programs. This includes numerous USA Hockey and Hockey Canada U18 Team, U22 Team, National Teams players. USA Hockey and Czech Hockey Olympic Team players. Also established: the NAHA Showcase, first premiere scouting event for girls, and the NAHA Labor Day Tournament, which became the most popular early-season recruiting tournament and kick-off event for each years college recruiting.

A 1975 graduate of Colby College, Driscoll immersed himself into both youth hockey and skiing following graduation. Starting as youth coach with Stowe (VT) Youth Hockey in 1976, Driscoll began a two-decade relationship with the organization, serving on its Board of Directors from 1987-1996.

In the middle of this period, he served as Director of Multimedia and Video for Stowe Mountain Rsort, pioneering the use of video in ski instruction. He expanded this pursuit into the creation of Driscoll Communications, a film, video and multimedia production company specializing in sports and recreation industries.

In 1988, he teamed up with Middlebury College head men’s coach Bill Beaney to create the Vermont Player Development Program, a summer player development program. He served as an instructor and assistant to Coach Beaney with core programs based on small area games and skill development. He also partnered with Beaney to create the Foundation for Hockey Development, an organization providing consulting, support and instruction to youth hockey organizations internationally. Cutting edge use of small games and activities to enhance skill and player development prior to current popularity.

Bill has assisted in various capacities at USA Hockey Regional & National Girls Camps, both on the and as a talent evaluator. In 2020, he found- ed Driscoll Sports Consultants, consulting on start-ups and operations of sports academies internationally.

Said UVM head coach Jim Plumer upon nominating Driscoll, “Bill Driscoll has provided an incredible service to girls and women’s hockey over the past eight years. He has helped move the game forward with the development of the NAHA program and the affiliated Showcases and tournaments. Perhaps most importantly, he’s done it all with a smile, without getting rich, and with the best interests of kids and their families in mind. I think this is a great opportunity for the female hockey community to recognize the contributions of this extraordinary individual.”

ASSISTANT WOMEN'S COACH AWARD Established in 2011, this award honors an assistant coach's career body of work.

photo2022 Recipient: Laura Bellamy, Harvard, Minnesota Duluth

Laura Bellamy is in her ninth season as an assistant and associate head coach at the Division 1 level. She is an alumna of Harvard University and began her coaching career with the Crimson immediately after graduation. She has been working for the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs since 2015, spending four seasons as an assistant coach and being elevated to associate head coach three seasons ago. She has helped guide the Bulldogs to two NCAA berths, an NCAA quarterfinal finish in 2016-17 and a Frozen Four finish in 2020-21.

Bellamy is in charge of the defensive corps and goaltenders and has coached several WCHA players of the year (4), All-Americans (5), and Olympians in her nine years as a D1 coach. Bellamy helped the Bulldogs make their first NCAA Frozen Four appearance since the 2010 season after defeating Colgate 1-0 in overtime on March 15, 2021, in Erie, PA, UMD’s first NCAA Quarterfinal victory in a decade. UMD finished the COVID-challenged season 12-7-0 with a .688 winning percentage, its highest since the 2016-17 NCAA tournament season. It also marks the third highest of the last decade.

In six previous seasons at UMD, Bellamy has help guide UMD to an overall record of 100-79-20, including a WCHA postseason record of 10-8 and two NCAA Tournament berths (2021, 2017). Bellamy has overseen a Patty Kazmaier Top-3 Finalist (Lara Stalder), as well as 58 WCHA Scholar Athletes and a total of 84 WCHA All-Academic Team members.

In addition to her UMD duties, Bellamy has been a regular staffer at the U.S. Women’s National Team Goaltending Development Camps which annually brings together the nation’s top female goaltenders from the U-18 to professional level, provides athletes with specialized training and mentoring, as well as critical resources to support their long-term development as elite goaltenders. She has coached 14 Olympians during her career, four at Harvard and10 at UMD.

A 2013 graduate of Harvard University, Bellamy enjoyed a rewarding four-year goaltending career with the Crimson, posting a 60-25-7 record, a 1.82 goals against average, a .915 saves percentage and 19 shutouts (the second most in program history) in 95 appearances. As a senior, she paced the nation in goals against with an average (0.92) and ranked second in saves percentage (.949) en route to landing All-Ivy League first team accolades.

Bellamy launched her coaching career with two seasons working at her alma mater. In 2014-15, Bellamy was an assistant to Katey Stone for a Harvard team that reached the NCAA national title game and finished 27-6-3 overall, after going 23-7-4 and securing an NCAA playoff berth the previous winter while Maura Crowell was Harvard’s interim head coach.

Click here to view all past winners of these awards