On Wednesday, the American Hockey Coaches Association named Scott Sandelin of Minnesota-Duluth the winner of the 2004 Spencer Penrose Award as national coach of the year.
Sandelin, a 1987 graduate of North Dakota, was a Hobey Baker finalist as a senior and served seven years as an assistant coach there under Dean Blais. The Hibbing, Minn., native was part of the Sioux’s NCAA championships in 1997 and 2000.
After taking charge of the UMD program in 2000, Sandelin quickly turned around the Bulldogs. A 2001-02 record of 6-19-3 in the WCHA mark became 14-10-4 in 2003, and this year, UMD finished second in the league and 28-13-4 overall.
The Bulldogs beat Michigan State, 5-0, and Minnesota, 3-1, to advance to the Frozen Four in Boston where they lost 5-3 in the semifinals to eventual national champion Denver.
Sandelin’s four-year record at Duluth is 70-80-16.
Prior to entering the college coaching ranks, Sandelin coached the Fargo-Moorhead Junior Kings of the Junior Elite Hockey League in 1993-94 and the Fargo-Moorhead Express of the American Hockey Association in 1992-93.
A second-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in the 1982 Draft (40th selection overall), Sandelin played seven years of profesional hockey, including NHL stints with Montreal, Philadelphia and Minnesota.
The runner-up for this year’s award was George Gwozdecky of Denver.
The Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Coach of the Year Award is named after Spencer Penrose, a wealthy Colorado Springs, Colo., benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, site of the first 10 NCAA ice hockey championships.
College hockey’s Coach of the Year recipients are chosen by members of the AHCA. Winners receive their awards at the annual AHCA Coach of the Year Banquet, held in conjunction with the AHCA Convention in Naples, Fla. This year’s banquet is scheduled for Saturday, April 24.
Finalists for the 2003-04 AHCA Men’s Ice Hockey Division One Coach of the Year Award: Enrico Blasi, Miami; Gwozdecky; Stan Moore, Colgate; Paul Pearl, Holy Cross; Tim Whitehead, Maine; Jerry York, Boston College; Tom Serratore, Bemidji State. Finalists are automatically selected by taking the Frozen Four participants and the Coaches of the Year in the respective six Division I conferences.