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College Hockey:
Spencer Penrose finalists named

Eight coaches have been named finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the NCAA Division I men’s coach of the year.

The nominees represent any coach who won or shared coach of the year honors in his conference this past season, along with coaches whose teams have advanced to the NCAA semifinals.

Of this year’s finalists, five were past recipients.

The award is named in memory of the Colorado Springs benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, site of the first ten NCAA championship tournaments. It will be presented at the AHCA Coach of the Year Banquet in Naples, Florida, on Saturday, April 30.

The winner will be announced following the Frozen Four.

Spencer Penrose Award Finalists
Red Berenson, Michigan*
Dean Blais, Nebraska-Omaha*
Dave Hakstol, North Dakota
Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame*
Nate Leaman, Union
Paul Pearl, Holy Cross
Scott Sandelin, Minnesota-Duluth*
Jerry York, Boston College*

* Past Spencer Penrose Award Winner


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  • Frederick L Jacobs

    too bad there are such restrictions on the award. there’s no way Merrimack’s coach shouldn’t be the winner

  • Jgross280

    I’d be curious to know who developed the criteria for the Spencer Penrose Award. The current benchmark seems too narrow to me. Sometimes the best coaching job is lifting a moribund program to a loftier level. Merrimack’s Mark Dennehy did just that, leading the Warriors to the NCAAs for the first time in over 20 years. I am a BU fan so I have no rooting interest, but for my money, Coach Dennehy did a great job this season and deserves to be among the finalists.

  • SquidStack

    You left off an asterisk. Scott Sandelin won the Spencer Penrose Award the last time the Bulldogs were in the Frozen Four (2004).

  • jrod790

    Mark Dennehy in three years has completely turned around the Merrimack program. Not to take away from the 8 finalists but Dennehy deserves this award more than anyone else in the country. I am not a Merrimack fan, but what he has done in North Andover is simply amazing. Three years ago Merrimack had 3 wins total in a year. This year the win over 20, make it to the Hockey East championship, and grab a number 2 seed in the tournament. I question why he would be left out of the conversation.

    • http://www.uscho.com/ USCHO

      To answer a couple of questions, the criteria are determined by the American Hockey Coaches Association, which presents the award. Those eligible either must be coaches of the year in their conference or are coaches of Frozen Four teams. Last year’s winner, Wayne Wilson of RIT, was not the coach of the year in Atlantic Hockey, but became eligible when RIT went to the FF. The Hockey East nod this year went to Jerry York, so that’s why Mark Dennehy is not considered, despite being a deserving candidate.

      • jrod790

        Well it’s unfortunate that the criteria is the way it is. Because Dennehy should have been voted the Hockey East Coach of the Year, but was not. Not that Jeffy York wasn’t deserving, because he was. He has done an absolutely great job at BC. Over the past decade BC as been the premier college hockey team. But Mark Dennehy’s accomplishments are remarkable and I would hope that the NCAA would reconsier its criteria.

  • Hans

    Maybe the discussion of why Coach Dennehy was left off the list should more be about why he was not picked as the coach of the year in Hockey East. I don’t have a rooting interest but given the circumstances of the two programs I am a bit surprised that Jerry York would be the HE coach of the year over Dennehy.

  • Frottage182792

    Hakstol duh! If not him, Matt Frattin.

  • tDon4Pres

    I nominate Don Lucia.

  • Jbetcher

    Dave Hackstol of University of North Dakota is without a doubt on of the finnest coaches in college hockey. It’s amazing that he has not already won this award but it certainly seems like a good year to award it to him. Every year he’s been coaching he’s had one of the finnest teams in college hockey in a very strong division, the WCHA. He’s handled many team and player issues with grace and leadership and is a fine individual to boot. He’s got my vote (I wish I could vote).

  • WMU Bronco

    I agree. It’s interesting that College Hockey News named Coach Dennehy along with Western Michigan’s Coach Jeff Blashill as co-recipients of their Coach of the Year award. And just today, Inside College Hockey gave their award to Coach Blashill with Coach Dennehy a close runner-up (possibly only because Coach Blashill turned a last place team into a 4th place team in his first year). Neither coach won their conference’s COTY I think due to politics played in the voting.

  • A Duluth Sioux Fan

    As a Sioux fan i’d vote for UMD’s Sandelin. He did more with less than any other coach. He was one very good scoring line, average goalie’s, lost a star defenseman to the pro’s midway through the season, big time local pressure, and made it to the frozen four. He deserves it. Jackson did well with Notre Dame as well with all those freshman. Plus, Sandelin is a former Sioux. Got to love that.

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