AHCA’s 2021 awards feature nine individuals who have contributed significantly to U.S. amateur hockey

The American Hockey Coaches Association announced Wednesday this year’s recipients of its highest honors, nine individuals who have made unique contributions to men’s and women’s amateur hockey in the United States.

“Our awards committee once again did a fantastic job of identifying eight worthy honorees, from a cross-section of men’s and women’s hockey programs across the country,” said AHCA executive director Joe Bertagna in a statement. “Collectively, these honorees have roots in Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Vermont. They join a long line of individuals who have left their mark on our game.”

THE JOHN MACINNES AWARD: Established by the AHCA in 1982 to honor former Michigan Tech coach John MacInnes, this award recognizes those people who have shown a great concern for amateur hockey and youth programs. The recipients have had high winning percentages, as well as outstanding graduating percentages among their former players. The winners of this award have helped young men grow not only as hockey players, but more importantly, as men.

2021 co-recipients: Mike McShane, Dartmouth, St. Lawrence, Providence, Norwich, and Richard Umile, Providence, New Hampshire

It is fitting that the AHCA awards committee chose to present the 2021 MacInnes Award to two graduates of New Hampshire who competed against each other in high school, with each other in college, and later worked as college coaches together.

McSHANE

McShane grew up in Wakefield, Mass., and played college hockey at UNH for Charlie Holt, graduating in 1971. At the time of his graduation, he ranked third among all Wildcat scorers. He also earned a Master’s degree from Boston University. McShane got his start in coaching at New Hampton (N.H.) Prep School in 1972. He led the Huskies to three Division I prep championships in six years and a 122-25-6 record before becoming an assistant coach at Dartmouth in 1978. During his two seasons at Dartmouth, the Big Green won a pair of Ivy League titles and advanced to the NCAA semifinals both years.

McShane was named the head coach at St. Lawrence in 1980, leading the Saints to a 95-65-6 record in five seasons. In just a couple of years, he turned a struggling program into a national contender. He led the Saints to an NCAA tournament appearance in 1983.

McShane left St. Lawrence in 1985 to become the head coach at Providence. He led Providence to NCAA playoff bids in 1989, 1991 and 1992. He was named the New England Coach of the Year in 1989. He left Providence in 1994 to become a consultant for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators before coming to Norwich.

Under his guidance, Norwich won 19 of 20 NEHC regular-season titles, including an unprecedented 17 in a row that ended after the 2014-15 season. Norwich made 16 NCAA tournament appearances and 12 Frozen Four appearances with McShane behind the bench. He wrapped up his Norwich career winning back-to-back NEHC Coach of the Year honors in 2017 and 2018 to bring his total to 11. On top of leading the Cadets to the 2017 title, McShane also led the Maroon and Gold to national championships in 2000, 2003 and 2010. Norwich won the NEHC tournament crown 12 times total, including three in a row from 2010-2012.

In 37 years of college coaching, McShane has received 25 coach of the year awards, including earning the Edward Jeremiah Award from the AHCA in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2010 and 2017 as the College Division coach of the Year.

UMILE

Umile grew up in Melrose, Mass., a neighboring town to McShane’s Wakefield. He, too attended UNH, serving as captain in the 1971-72 season, his senior year. His college stats: 60 goals and 84 assists for 144 points in just 87 games.

Umile began his coaching career in the Massachusetts public school system in Wakefield and Melrose. He served as the head hockey coach at Watertown (Mass.) High School for 10 seasons and scouted for the St. Louis Blues in New England for two years. Guiding Watertown to two Middlesex League titles, he was also named the Boston Globe Division I Coach of the Year in 1984. Umile debuted in the collegiate coaching ranks at Providence College, where he coached for two seasons under former UNH teammate McShane.

Umile became the 12th coach in the history of New Hampshire hockey when he was promoted to the position on December 6, 1990. He returned to his alma mater before the 1988-89 season as an assistant coach and was named associate head coach prior to the 1989-90 campaign. Following his first season as the Wildcat head coach in 1991, Umile was honored with his first Bob Kullen Award as the Hockey East Coach of the Year. He was also the recipient of the Clark Hodder Award by the New England Hockey Writers Association as the New England Division I Coach of the Year.

During his illustrious tenure, Umile molded UNH hockey into one of the top programs in all of Division I hockey. He guided the Wildcats to four Frozen Four appearances, 18 NCAA tournament appearances, eight Hockey East Regular Season Championships and two Hockey East Tournament titles. In addition, Umile’s teams eclipsed the 20-victory plateau 20 times in 25 seasons. He is the winningest coach in the history of UNH hockey after surpassing his mentor, legendary coach Charlie Holt, on Feb. 16, 2005, in a 6-1 victory at Merrimack College’s Thom Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass.

Umile was named Coach of the Year a total of 11 times in his career, including New England honors four times and Hockey East Coach of the Year six times. He was tabbed the Spencer Penrose Award winner as national coach of the year in 1998-99.

Umile coached 12 Hobey Baker finalists and 31 All-Americans in his 28 years in Durham. His success at the collegiate level helped several UNH alumni continue their careers in the NH. In his 28 seasons from 1990-2018, Umile won 596 games, becoming just the fifth coach to win 500 games at one institution.

THE JOHN “SNOOKS” KELLEY FOUNDERS AWARD: Named after the famed Boston College coach, this award honors those people in the coaching profession who have contributed to the overall growth and development of the sport of ice hockey in the United States.

2021 recipient: Don Olson, St. Mary’s, St. Scholastica, NCHA

OLSON

Olson has enjoyed a unique and varied career in hockey.

A 1972 graduate of Harvard, Olson played for two Hall of Fame coaches, Ralph “Cooney” Weiland and Bill Cleary. A year out of Harvard, he started his coaching career as an assistant at Duluth Cathedral High School. He was named head coach at St. Mary’s in 1976 and over the next 32 years, compiled a record of 368-385-39. He was a three-time MIAC Coach of the Year and was inducted into St. Mary’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

He began a career as an administrator in 1982 when he added Director of Athletics duties, in addition to his coaching responsibilities at St. Mary’s. While in this position, he added women’s ice hockey in 1995.

In 2008, he left St. Mary’s when he was named director of athletics at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. He was responsible for all management and leadership aspects for 22 intercollegiate sports programs, including the start of St. Mary’s women’s hockey program in 2010. He retained that position through 2017 when he became commissioner of the NCHA (11 men’s teams, 10 women’s), a position he holds today.

Over the years, Olson has directed several regional and national camps while also working numerous coaching clinics for USA Hockey. He also did two different stints as the chair of the NCAA D-III hockey championships committee in addition to serving on the AHCA board of directors. He is also the director of coaching and player development for the Duluth Amateur Hockey Association, with responsibility for curriculum development and implementation for a youth hockey association with over 800 skaters.

THE JIM FULLERTON AWARD: Named in honor of the former Brown University hockey coach and AHCA spiritual leader, this award recognizes an individual who loves the purity of our sport. Whether a coach, administrator, trainer, official, journalist or simply a fan, the recipient exemplifies Jim Fullerton, who gave as much as he received and never stopped caring about the direction in which our game was heading.

2021 recipient: Wayne Dean, Yale

DEAN

Dean retired as Yale University’s deputy director of athletics in the summer of 2020 and then suffered a fatal heart attack on November 8, 2020.

He had served as the sport administrator for men’s and women’s hockey and golf as well as overseeing Ingalls Rink and the Yale Golf Course. During his time at Yale, he wore many hats, including duties in varsity sports administration, ticket operations, marketing and promotions and contest management. He also represented Yale on many league and national committees. The NCAA in August of 2018 announced that he would serve as the chair of the men’s and women’s hockey rules committee for two years.

Dean also had a great deal of NCAA experience while at Yale. He was a member of the NCAA men’s hockey championship committee from 2001 to 2005, chairing the group during the 2004–05 season. He was also chair of the NCAA men’s and women’s ice hockey rules committee.

Prior to his arrival at Yale, Dean served as an assistant baseball coach at Springfield College and as an assistant baseball coach and administrator at the University of Connecticut while engaged in graduate studies at both institutions. He also served as the head baseball and soccer coach at Mitchell College in New London, Conn.

Dean was a 1977 graduate of Lyndon State College and is a member of its athletics hall of fame. Dean has an MS and CAS from Springfield.

TERRY FLANAGAN AWARD: Named in honor of the former UNH player and Bowling Green Assistant, this award honors an assistant coach’s career body of work.

2021 recipient: Mark Kaufman, Ferris State

KAUFMAN

Kaufman is in his 15th year as an assistant coach after first being named assistant coach in July 2006.

Kaufman, who was also an assistant at Ferris State from 1992 to 1994 under current head coach Bob Daniels, is involved in all facets of the program with specific emphasis on coaching the defensemen, recruiting, and player strength and conditioning.

In 2015-16, Kaufman helped lead FSU to the school’s first postseason tournament championship ever as the Bulldogs claimed the WCHA Final Five championship during a memorable postseason run. FSU advanced to the national tournament for the third time in five years while reaching the NCAA Final Eight. Prior to that, in 2011-12, Kaufman helped lead the Bulldogs to the program’s second-ever league regular-season championship and a historic first-ever trip to the Frozen Four where FSU reached the national championship game.

Prior to his second stint at Ferris State, Kaufman had spent two seasons (2003-05) as head coach and general manager of the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede after serving as the director of hockey operations and head coach of the Kalamazoo Wings in 2000. A native of Pittsburgh, Kaufman spent 1998-02 with the ECHL’s Richmond Renegades as the organization’s head coach/director of hockey operations.

Following his two seasons (1992-94) at Ferris State, Kaufman served as an assistant coach for the IHL’s Kansas City Blades in the 1994-95 campaign. He helped the Blades become a Turner Cup playoff finalist and win an Eastern Conference playoff title. The following season (1995-96), Kaufman moved up to the NHL ranks with the San Jose Sharks in an assistant coaching capacity. He then spent two seasons (1996-98) as an assistant with the AHL’s Kentucky Thoroughblades. Prior to Ferris, Kaufman was the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Rochester (Minn.) Mustangs where he compiled a 116-95-7 record and coached the 1989-90 team to its third Junior A national championship.

From 1986-88, Kaufman served as an assistant coach for U.S. International University, a former NCAA Division I independent located in San Diego. Kaufman was head coach of the Redford (Mich.) Junior B team in 1984-85 and guided the Royals to both league and playoff championship titles.

As a collegian, Kaufman earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Michigan State University in 1984. In 1987, Kaufman received his master’s degree in physical education at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He was a graduate assistant coach for the RedHawks during the 1985-86 season.

THE JOHN MARIUCCI AWARD: John Mariucci, the former coach of the University of Minnesota, was not only an outstanding college coach, but also a driving force behind the growth of hockey in the United States. In 1987, the AHCA created this award to honor a secondary school association coach who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and enthusiasm of the “GODFATHER OF U.S. HOCKEY,” John Mariucci.

2021 recipient: Dick Dodds, Hanover (NH) H.S.

DODDS

Dodds coached for 38 years at Hanover (NH) High School, the smallest public school in New Hampshire’s Division I. This longevity is something he couldn’t foresee when then-coach Jack Turco hired him in 1980 to be his assistant and coach the school’s JV team.

“That was probably the farthest thing from my mind at that point, trying to do that,” said Dodds. “It was just something I loved from Day 1.”

Dodds can appreciate the irony. During his playing days at Hanover High School and later St. Lawrence, it seemed like he was playing for a different coach every year. Dodds ranks first all-time in New Hampshire high school hockey in wins, compiling an overall record of 534-302-26. He’s guided the Marauders to six Division I championships, including three during a four-year span last decade. He has been voted Coach-of-the-Year in four different decades and a total of eight times overall.

“On the ice, the state championships obviously stand out, but they weren’t the most important things that happened,” said Dodds, citing the relationships with his former players he has to this day and the pride in what they’ve accomplished. “But the way they happened are things I’ll never forget.”

Turco, whom he succeeded as the Hanover varsity coach in 1982-83 – and who later joined him on his staff – and former Dartmouth coaches Bob Gaudet and Roger Demment are two men he counts as mentors and confidants.

Family has been a big part of his enjoyment at Hanover. His two older brothers also coach at the school. John Dodds coaches the girl’s hockey team and Tom Dodds coaches the ski team. In addition, Dodds has had the pleasure of coaching sons Trevor, Patrick and Alex, as well as nephew Cody. “Plus my incredible wife Melissa has been very supportive and I wouldn’t be coaching today without her help.”

A Hanover native, Dodds first moved to the community in 1964 at a young age. Now, nearly 50 years later, it’s proven to be a great fit, both for him and the legions of players he’s coached.

THE WOMEN’S ICE HOCKEY FOUNDERS AWARD This award honors a member of the hockey community or college coaching profession who has contributed to the overall growth and development of the sport of women’s ice hockey in the United States through their enthusiasm, passion and selflessness.

2021 recipient: Michele Amidon, USA Hockey, Bowdoin

AMIDON

Amidon has enjoyed a unique career in ice hockey, serving and excelling at just about every level possible. She is a member of the Kingswood Oxford (High School) Hall of Fame and a KO Woman in Sport Award recipient for her dedication and hard work as a coach, mentor and role model for young girls and women.

Amidon attended St. Lawrence, where she played soccer and hockey. A three-time MVP in hockey, she was voted ECAC Rookie and Player of the Year in hockey, was named the ECAC Most Valuable Player as a junior, and was tapped for the ECAC All-Star Team as a senior. She was inducted into the St. Lawrence Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. A 1994 graduate of SLU, Amidon was a four-year letter winner and three-year captain of the SLU women’s ice hockey team.

A former U.S. Women’s National Team player, Amidon spent nine seasons (1998-2006) as the highly successful coach of the Bowdoin women’s hockey team prior to joining USA Hockey’s national office staff.

Bowdoin began its rise to national prominence during the 2001-02 season, a year in which Amidon guided the Polar Bears to a school-record 23 victories, the NESCAC championship and the school’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament. For her efforts, she was honored as the NESCAC Coach of the Year. The 2002-03 campaign brought even more success, as Amidon guided Bowdoin back to the NCAA tournament and a third-place national finish. That year, she was named both the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year by the American Hockey Coaches Association and the NESCAC Coach of the Year.

Amidon also has coaching experience at the international level, having served as assistant coach with the U.S. National Women’s 22 & Under Team that competed in the 1999 Christmas Cup in Fussen, Germany. In addition, she has been involved as a head coach and Director of USA Hockey’s Player Development Camps for more than a decade.

Amidon has a multitude of international playing experience on her resume, including winning a silver medal as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 1992 IIHF World Women’s Championship. Amidon began her duties as USA Hockey’s first-ever director of women’s hockey and general manager of the Women’s National and Olympic Teams in August 2006. In early 2008, after Amidon had been in her role with the national governing body for just a year and a half.

Team USA captured gold medals at both the IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship and the IIHF World Women’s Championship. Then at the 2008 Women’s Four Nations Cup, Team USA earned its first championship since 2003. In 2009, both the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team and the U.S. Women’s National Team successfully defended their World titles. Her tenure culminated at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, where she oversaw the women’s team as it garnered the silver medal.

Amidon also served as a member of the IIHF Women’s Committee from 2008-2012. Post the Vancouver Olympics, Amidon jumped at the opportunity to become a regional manager of the American Development Model for USA Hockey in August 2010. In this role, Amidon helped to provide a blueprint for optimal athlete development focusing on age-appropriate training utilizing long-term athlete development principles.

Amidon is currently a female hockey advisory committee member for the NHL and NHLPA, the NHL female ambassador for the Colorado Avalanche, the community relations specialist for South Suburban’s Sports Complex and the 8U director for Arapahoe Hockey Association. Most recently, Amidon spent three years as the first-ever executive director of the Boulder Hockey Club.

In nominating Amidon for this award, current Williams coach Meghan Gillis beamed about Amidon.

“Michele Amidon has campaigned publicly for female opportunity as an athlete, coach, and in leadership roles her entire career,” Gillis said. “She has done this, primarily; through 26 years of working in athletics as a collegiate head coach at Bowdoin, as the director of women’s ice hockey for USA Hockey, as the executive director of a youth association and by volunteering on committees, councils, boards and on the ice. These experiences span from youth hockey all the way to the NHL, all with the focus of creating, growing, leading and running high profile events within the sport of ice hockey.”

ASSISTANT WOMEN’S COACH AWARD Established in 2011, this award honors an assistant coach’s career body of work.

2021 recipient: Lee-J Mirasolo, UMass Boston, Princeton, Harvard

MIRSAOLO

Mirasolo was hired as an assistant coach of the Harvard women’s hockey program in June of 2015 and was promoted to associate head coach in August 2018.

Mirasolo she will enter her seventh season with the program in 2021-22. (Due to COVID-19, the 2020-21 season was canceled by the Ivy League.) During her five full seasons with the Crimson, Mirasolo has been an instrumental part of head coach Katey Stone’s staff and Harvard’s success in this period. Her efforts resulted in the Crimson averaging better than 15 wins per season.

She has also been a leader for women’s ice hockey within the AHCA. Over the summer and fall of 2020, when the COVID-19 virus interrupted business as usual for all of college hockey, Mirasolo took the lead to arrange for a series of “Coaches for Coaches” Zoom calls that brought unique presentations to the nation’s coaches, men and women alike, to fill a void when teams could not get together and coaches were under a unique set of pressures.

Mirasolo came to Cambridge after spending four years as an assistant coach at Princeton, primarily working with the offense and the penalty-kill unit. During her tenure at Princeton, the Tigers continually improved each season and reached the ECAC Quarterfinals three times. In 2014-15, Princeton had its best season since 2010-11, finishing the year at 15-14-2.

Prior to her time in Princeton, Mirasolo spent two years on the staff at UMass Boston following an impressive four-year playing career at Boston College.

At BC, Mirasolo was a part of two Beanpot championships, two NCAA tournament appearances and a Frozen Four showing in 2007. She was named the Eagles’ captain for the 2007-08 campaign, and also was honored that season as BC’s Unsung Hero. Mirasolo also took home the team’s community service award in 2005-06.

Prior to joining the Beacons staff, Mirasolo served as an assistant ice hockey coach at Phillips Andover Academy during the 2009-10 season. A native of Wakefield, Mass., Mirasolo graduated from Boston College with a degree in communications in 2008.

THE JOE BURKE AWARD: Presented annually to the person who has given outstanding contribution, support, and dedication to women’s ice hockey.” It is named in honor of a girls’ and women’s hockey “superfan,” Joe Burke.

2021 recipient: Barbara Huebner, Boston Globe

HUEBNER

After graduating from Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Barbara Huebner headed East and soon landed at the Boston Globe, where one of her first assignments was to copy edit a Sunday supplement on “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.” It went on to win the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

In 1996, after spearheading coverage of the 100th Boston Marathon, she joined the sports department in time to cover the Atlanta Olympics, and spent much of the next year following the U.S. women’s national hockey team around the northeast as it prepared for the sport’s debut in the 1998 Games — a year she calls the most enjoyable and satisfying of her career, as she helped acquaint girls everywhere with role models such as Cammi Granato and Angela Ruggiero.

After chronicling the team’s march to gold in Nagano, Barbara continued to write about the sport until leaving the Globe in 2001 to pursue a career in the running industry, focusing on media strategy and outreach with athletes and events. Her coverage of women’s hockey at that pivotal moment brought the game to countless new fans and participants.

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