Former Wisconsin and Colorado College coach Jeff Sauer was named winner of the 2003 John “Snooks” Kelley Founders Award, one of six awards announced today by the American Hockey Coaches Association.
Sauer won 655 games (4th all-time) in 31 seasons as head coach at Colorado College (1971-1982) and Wisconsin (1982-2002), before retiring from coaching. He remains active as an assistant in the Wisconsin athletic department. Sauer recorded four 30-win seasons (1982-83, 1987-88, 1989-90, 1999-2000), the most of any UW coach.
“One of the most-respected coaches in the game, he continues to be a consummate diplomat for the game of hockey,” said the AHCA in announcing the award.
Other winners included: John Mariucci Award for secondary school coaches, to Tom Saterdalen, coach at Bloomington Jefferson (Minn.) High school; Jim Fullerton Award, to anyone who loves the “purity of our sport” and “never stops caring about the direction” its headed; to Steve Reed of Northwood School; Terry Flanagan Award, which recognizes a career body of work for an assistant coach, to Merrimack’s Stu Irving; John MacInnes Award, recognizing those who have helped amateur and youth hockey programs, to former Michigan State coach — and current athletic director — Ron Mason; Joe Burke Award, for helping advance women’s and girl’s hockey, to Jane Ring of St. Paul, Minn.
(Click for a complete list of past winners.)
Saterdalen is retiring at the end of this year, after 30 years of high school coaching and teaching. He won two Wisconsin state titles at Superior, and five Minnesota state titles. He has sent over 100 players to Division I college Hockey.
Reed, like Jim Fullerton, the former Brown coach after whom his award his named, has coached at Northwood for 25 years. “Very few men have done as much as Steve to help teach, motivate, and guide the young men and women that make up our game,” said Reed’s nominators. “Steve has done yeomen work for a very long time for the betterment of many young student/athletes over time. Guys like Mike Richter, Tony Granato, Chris Nilan, and tons of other good players and coaches in the game at all levels can attest to his dedication and love for the college game.”
Irving is in his 19th season as an assistant at Merrimack. A member of the U.S. Olympic Team that captured a silver medal at the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, the Beverly, Mass. native played 11 years of professional hockey following his Olympic experience. Said nominator Damian DiGiulian of Vermont: “Listening to his story about his playing days and seeing his selflessness in helping younger assistant coaches learn the ropes of the business, he would be a tremendous addition to the list of past winners. … Having been sent to Vietnam, Stu shot 100 pucks a day (sent to him by his father) in the heat of the jungle to keep him sane and to keep his skills sharp as well. … As a coach, Stu has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport of hockey. His recruiting work speaks for itself and his dedication to helping young men both as players and people is second to none.”
Mason recently ended a 36-year coaching career, during which he established himself as the winningest coach in college hockey history. Beyond his 924 victories, his career highlights include an NCAA Championship at Michigan State in 1986 and an NAIA Championship with Lake Superior State in 1972. He led MSU to 17 CCHA regular-season and playoff titles and guided 23 teams to the NCAA Tournament, an all-time record. In addition, he coached 34 All-Americans and 46 former Spartans who played in the NHL. He is very involved with Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, where he recently completed a four-year term on the Sparrow Foundation Board, and has set up the Ron Mason Fund for Pediatric Rehabilitation, which has raised over $300,000. He also served as the honorary chairperson for the Children’s Miracle Network, which has raised more than $10 million over 13 years, and has worked with the Coaches For Kids campaign, which has raised $1.9 million in the last three years for a pediatrics emergency room at Sparrow Hospital.
Ring, known as a friend of girls’ and women’s hockey for over 40 years, has sponsored two Senior teams for many years and continues to play hockey into her 70s. She sponsors a scholarship (based on community development and GPA) to a graduating girls’ hockey player in Minnesota to help them attend college. She also has contributed to the Augsburg collegiate program and is currently assisting the Macalester program.