Berenson, Darwitz, Poile, Stewart to be inducted into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Red Berenson (Michigan - Head Coach) - The Boston University Terriers defeated the visiting University of Michigan Wolverines 3-2 on Saturday, October 25, 2014, at Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. (Melissa Wade)
Red Berenson guided Michigan to national championships in 1996 and 1998 (photo: Melissa Wade).

USA Hockey on Thursday announced the United States Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2018.

Four of those being inducted have ties to college hockey.

Red Berenson (Michigan), Natalie Darwitz (Minnesota) and David Poile (Northeastern) join Leland “Hago” Harrington and Paul Stewart (Penn, ECAC Hockey) who will be enshrined at a ceremony on Dec. 12 in Nashville.

“This class has had an enormously positive impact on hockey in our country,” said USA Hockey president Jim Smith in a statement. “Their contributions have helped shape and advance our sport over many decades, and we look forward to formally enshrining each of the five honorees in December.”

Berenson stepped down as head coach at Michigan following the 2016-17 season after 33 years behind the bench. One of just four college hockey coaches to collect 800 career wins, Berenson helped lead the Wolverines to 22 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament from 1991 to 2012, marking the longest streak in college hockey history.

Over the course of those 22 years, Michigan appeared in the NCAA Frozen Four 11 times, including four consecutive appearances from 1995 to 1998 and three straight showings between 2001-03 and 2008-11. Berenson helped return the Michigan hockey program to a regular place among the upper echelon of college hockey, winning national championships in both 1996 and 1998 while placing first or second in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) in 20 of 23 seasons from 1991-2013.

Berenson, who finished his collegiate coaching career with an 848-426-92 (.654 winning percentage) record, coached 1,366 games at Michigan and captured 11 CCHA regular-season titles along with nine CCHA tournament titles. He won the Spencer Penrose Award as the top coach in NCAA Division I men’s hockey and the CCHA’s Coach of the Year Award in 2008. The CCHA Coach of the Year Award was the second of his career after winning it in 1994. He was also the 2016 Big 10 Coach of the Year

Team captain for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2007 to 2010, Darwitz is a three-time Olympic Winter Games medalist (silver in 2002, bronze in 2006, silver in 2010), three-time IIHF Women’s World Championship gold medalist (2005, 2008, 2009) and five-time IIHF Women’s World Championship silver medalist (1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007).

Darwitz was the youngest player ever selected to the U.S. Women’s National Team at the age of 15. She received numerous honors for her international play, including being named to the IIHF Women’s World Championship Media All-Star Team four times (2004, 2007, 2008, 2009) and earning the directorate award as the top forward in 2008. In addition, she led the World Championship in goals in 2004 and 2008, points in 2008 and assists in 2009. She was named to the Media All-Star Team at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and led the tournament with seven goals. In 2008, Darwitz received USA Hockey’s Bob Johnson Award.

A former member of the Minnesota women’s team, Darwitz set a school record with 246 points (102 goals, 144 assists) in just 99 career games, a record that still stands today. She went on to break the NCAA record for points in a single season when she tallied 114 points (42 goals, 72 assists) during her final year as a player at Minnesota. The three-time All-American and Patty Kazmaier Award finalist was named the Most Outstanding Player for her record-breaking, nine-point performance at the 2005 NCAA tournament where she scored the game-winning goal for the Gophers with 1:08 remaining to lead them to their second national championship in as many years.

Today, Darwitz serves as head coach of the women’s team at Hamline. In her first year behind the bench at Hamline, the Pipers posted nine wins, the program’s most in nearly a decade. During her second season, Hamline compiled the second-best record in school history and qualified for the MIAC playoffs for the first time in 10 years. She continued to help the program grow during the 2017-18 season, guiding the Pipers to their best season ever with a 22-5-3 overall record. The club won its first-ever MIAC postseason tournament and finished third in the NCAA Division III tournament. Darwitz was named the MIAC Coach of the Year as well as the D-III Women’s National Coach of the Year.

Prior to coaching at Hamline, Darwitz served as an assistant coach at her alma mater, helping guide Minnesota to its first WCHA title since she was a player. The team went on to appear in its first Frozen Four since 2006.

Following the 2017-18 season, Poile became the longest-tenured general manager in NHL history, having served 36 consecutive seasons as a GM, including 21 with Nashville and 15 with Washington. He is the only general manager to lead two separate clubs for 1,000 games and 500 wins and became the winningest GM in NHL history with his 1,320th victory during the 2017-18 campaign.

A 1971 graduate of Northeastern, Poile was the captain of the Huskies, and was the leading scorer and most valuable player for two of his three seasons.

One of the most successful and respected individuals in hockey, Stewart serves as director of officials for ECAC Hockey. Stewart began his tenure with the league as men’s director of officials in July 2007. He assumed the duties for the women’s league in May 2010.

Stewart served as an on-ice referee from 1983 through 2003, including 17 years in the NHL. In 2003, he became the first American-born official to referee 1,000 NHL games.

In addition to his officiating experience, Stewart has a wealth of experience as a player. A graduate of Pennsylvania, Stewart competed in the ECAC from 1973 to 1975 and then enjoyed a professional career in the NHL and World Hockey Association.