The WCHA announced Wednesday that it is introducing the Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy, to be awarded each season to the WCHA postseason tournament champion, beginning with the upcoming 2018 playoffs and championship.
The Broadmoor Trophy, which has been with the WCHA since 1981 and awarded to the league’s postseason champion annually since 1985, will be retired.
“This is a truly proud and joyful day for the WCHA,” said WCHA commissioner Bill Robertson in a statement. “Jeff Sauer embodied all that is wonderful about hockey and everything we strive to represent as the WCHA. A legendary coach and ambassador for the game, Jeff was, above all, a wonderful person. All who knew him are better for the experience, and Jeff’s legacy – his passion, generosity, camaraderie and commitment – live on today. We are thrilled to introduce this new tournament championship trophy as a tangible reminder of Jeff Sauer’s enduring impact on our league and our sport.”
Sauer’s association with the WCHA spanned six decades, beginning with his playing career at Colorado College in the 1960s, continuing through 31 years as head coach of the Tigers (1971-82) and Wisconsin (1982-2002), and for 14 seasons (2003-17) in various consulting capacities to the commissioner and WCHA office.
Sadly, Sauer passed away Feb. 2, 2017, at the age of 73.
The only WCHA head coach with 30 years behind the bench, he is the league’s all-time winningest coach with 665 victories – the 10th most in NCAA men’s hockey history. A two-time WCHA Coach of the Year, Sauer guided his CC and UW teams to a pair of league regular-season titles and six WCHA playoff championships. Additionally, Sauer coached in 12 NCAA tournaments, advancing to the Frozen Four on three occasions and winning the 1983 and 1990 national championships with Wisconsin.
Said the Sauer family in a statement: “Through his lifelong relationship with the league, first as a player, then a coach, and finally an administrator, Jeff valued the league’s heritage of success and the active role that the WCHA took in the growth of college hockey for both men and women. We are honored that the WCHA has chosen to name the championship trophy in Jeff’s name, ensuring that his spirit will carry forward as a reminder of both the league’s distinguished history and as a guide for the future.”
The trophy is presented by Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup and designed by Jostens.
In addition to this trophy, which the championship team will keep on campus for one year, the WCHA will also produce a replica trophy for each winning school to proudly display.
Sauer, who also spent nearly four decades with the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association and coached the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team to gold at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, was inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 and into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. He also collected the Distinguished Achievement Award from USA Hockey in 2000, the John “Snooks” Kelly Founders Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association in 2004 and the Lester Patrick Trophy from the NHL in 2011.
Sauer also was inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame, Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame and the Colorado College Athletic Hall of Fame.