BOSTON — In a series of coaching moves, Northeastern University extended the contract of head coach Bruce Crowder through the 2002-2003 season, promoted Paul Cannata to primary assistant and recruiting coordinator and hired Jamie Rice as an assistant.
Crowder earned Hockey East Coach of the Year honors in 1993-94 and 1995-96, leading UMass-Lowell to second-place finishes in the league and the NCAA quarterfinals both seasons. He took the same award in 1997-98 at Northeastern, when the Huskies finished fourth in Hockey East after being projected for last place. In 1996, he was also named the nation’s top coach, earning the Spencer Penrose Memorial Trophy.
“For me, it’s a great opportunity to stay at Northeastern and obviously they like what I’m doing or else they wouldn’t have made the offer,” said Crowder.
Many observers had thought that the former Boston Bruin and Pittsburgh Penguin was destined for the NHL at the end of his original contract.
“I like the college game,” he said. “I’ve also got two boys and the youngest will be in grade 12 when this contract ends. At that time I might consider options at another level or I may just continue here.”
The promotion of Cannata and hiring of Rice followed former top assistant Mark Carlson’s departure for the Cedar Rapid Rough Riders in the United States Hockey League.
Cannata joined Crowder at Northeastern in his inaugural 1996-97 season and has been involved with area hockey programs for over 20 years.
Rice joins the Husky program after eight seasons at Brown University and Dartmouth College.
“When Mark told me he was leaving,” said Crowder, “I asked him who was out there who he liked and respected. He came back with Jamie. Paul said the same thing about Jamie so I figured I should talk to him.”
The Huskies will be looking to rebound from an 11-20-3 season, 6-16-2 within Hockey East.