The Officers and Governors of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) have announced their major award winners for 2013. All honorees will be presented their awards at the 2013 AHCA Convention in Naples, FL, May 1-5, 2013. They are:
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.
2013 Recipient: Tony Fritz, Lake Forest College
Tony Fritz was the Foresters' head men's hockey coach for 32 years from 1978-2010. Fritz led the program into the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association in 2009-10 after 17 seasons in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. The Foresters also competed in the American Collegiate Hockey Association from 1985-87.
Fritz, the Lake Forest hockey program's career leader with 351 victories, guided the Foresters to 13 or more wins in a season 14 times. His teams have qualified for conference or national post-season playoffs in 23 of his last 30 seasons behind the bench, including the NCAA quarterfinals in 1991.
He also guided the Foresters to an American Collegiate Hockey Association title in 1986-87. Fritz ranked among the top 50 all-time in collegiate coaching victories (all divisions) at the time of his retirement.
Fritz is also the winningest men's soccer coach ever at Lake Forest. In 16 seasons, concluding in 1993, he guided his soccer teams to eight conference championships. Including both sports, Fritz has compiled an overall record of 487-479-59 during his time at Lake Forest.
Fritz began his coaching career as a high school coach at University School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he compiled an overall record of 159- 90-7 while earning both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
He was a 2006 inductee into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Forester Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. He is also featured in a book on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.
Prior to his coaching career, Fritz was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization as a player in the Ontario Junior Hockey Association. He was considered to be one of the top five NHL prospects in Canada before an eye injury during the Memorial Cup Playoffs ended his career.
2013 Recipient: Mike Cavanaugh, Boston College
In Mike Cavanaugh's 18 years at Boston College, the Eagles have made 10 appearances at the NCAA's "Frozen Four" and he has been part of four National Championship squads. The number of All Americans and NHL'ers he has recruited would be the envy of many complete conferences. Among his many duties, Mike plays a major role in assisting head coach Jerry York, college hockey's winningest coach, with special teams play and advance scouting of opponents.
Off the ice, Mike is very involved in events to raise awareness and funds for education and academic mentoring programs. He has encouraged BC players to get involved in mentoring young students and has raised over $60,000 over the past two years through the "BC Race to Educate," a 5K road race that benefits the nearby St. Columbkille School.
A native of North Andover, MA, where he played high school hockey for current BC staff member Jim Logue, Cavanaugh went on to Bowdoin College where he served as captain of both the ice hockey and football teams. After Bowdoin, he spent a year as a player-coach in England before starting his coaching career at the Belmont Hill School outside of Boston. Prior to Boston College, his college coaching assignments included a year at Bowling Green with Jerry York and two years at Dartmouth College.
2013 Recipient: Lorne Grosso, Rochester Mayo High School (MN)
Coach Lorne Grosso is in his 46th year as boys hockey head coach of Rochester Mayo High School. With more than 650 victories, he has the most wins in Minnesota boys high school hockey history, passing the legendary Willard Ikola two seasons ago. It is particularly fitting that Grosso receive this award as he played for John Mariucci at the University of Minnesota.
In nominating Grosso, Todd Huyber said, "Lorne's time spent coaching and teaching the young men on his teams about life thru sport is a true passion for him. Last season he had to have quadruple heart by-pass surgery in November and at Christmas he was back at the rink coaching. He is at true gentleman, as he reminds us because in his 46 years of coaching, he has never received a penalty when behind the bench."
As successful as Grosso has been at winning hockey games, his approach is at times philosophical.
"At times, I have more fun losing than winning because I see that the kids are playing up to their ability," Grosso said. "If we play our best and happen to lose, I am fine with that."
As the years have passed by and the wins piled up, Grosso has noticed the game change but his fundamentals of coaching have stayed the same.
"The equipment is better, the kids are bigger, and the game is faster," he noted. "But you try to teach them the same things that will make them successful. You try to get them to improve and develop. As far as the coaching aspect, it's pretty much the same game."
Grosso has been a fixture of Minnesota hockey since his playing days at the University of Minnesota, where Coach John Mariucci teamed him on a line with Roy Nystrom, the current coach at Albert Lea High School. Grosso and Nystrom have been friends and rivals ever since. With Rochester Mayo and Albert Lea both playing in the Big Nine Conference, they get plenty of time to talk shop.
The humble Grosso, who has advanced his team to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament seven times, downplays the importance of his record-setting win total, crediting the hundreds of players who have worn the green and gold of Mayo and called him coach.
"Win or lose, your kids are the ones that get you to where you are. I have never scored a goal or an assist," Grosso said. "I have coached some great kids, a couple that have become Olympians like (Jim) Johannson and (Eric) Strobel. Others have played Division I hockey, and others that went on to play at the junior level. All I want is to get every kid to his maximum potential."
2013 Recipient: John "Jocko" Connolly, Boston Herald
John Connolly has worked for the Boston Herald for the last 39 years, toiling in the news department for the first eight years with the paper and reporting on college sports for the last 31 seasons, covering college hockey and football, along with the Boston Marathon and the New England Revolution Soccer Team in MLS.
Connolly, a 1972 graduate of Boston State College, saw his first Beanpot Tournament in 1962 and has been to every tournament since then. He has covered 28 Frozen Fours in his time with the Herald and has covered either an ECAC Tournament or Hockey East Tournament in each of the last 31 years. As a result of this college hockey expertise, he served two separate three-year terms on the committee for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to the top college player in Division I hockey.
Connolly won the ECAC-SIDA Media Award in 2002 and was the fourth recipient of the Hockey East Media Award in 1995, given annually to a member of the media that has demonstrated a superior body of work in covering and promoting Hockey East over an extended period. He is also a two-time winner of Boston University's Scarlet-Quill Award, along with Bob Monahan, as the University's choice as College Writer of the Year.
He has been known to cover games on his own, even if the paper did not assign a writer to cover a certain event, if in "Jocko's" opinion, the game needed to be covered. He has also distinguished himself by working to gain exposure for women's ice hockey and for Division II-III hockey, when other publications focused almost entirely on Division I men. It is this devotion to the sport that has earned him the respect of hockey people across the country.
2013 Recipient: Jim Higgins, Dartmouth, Brown, Colgate and Princeton
Jim Higgins is the second winningest head coach in the history of Princeton University ice hockey. The native of Cambridge, MA, who played three seasons of varsity hockey for Coach Harry Cleverly at Boston University (1958-1961), arrived at Princeton in the fall of 1977 having spent two seasons as head coach at Colgate University.
Higgins spent 14 seasons as the Tigers' head coach before leaving the coaching profession at the conclusion of the 1990-1991 season. His career mark was 151-251-21, with 130 of those wins coming at Princeton. His 130 wins at Old Nassau are eight better than successor Don "Toot" Cahoon compiled at Princeton before moving on to success at the University of Massachusetts.
Prior to the two head coaching assignments, Higgins served as an assistant to Dick Toomey at Brown University during the 1974-75 season, having already served as an assistant to Grant Standbrook at Dartmouth College from 1970-74. He began his coaching career as the head coach of Falmouth (MA) High School from 1967-70.
While at Princeton, the affable Higgins put in four years as an officer with the American Hockey Coaches Association, serving as Vice-President from 1983-1985 and then as President from 1985-1987. Following his retirement from coaching, Higgins worked for many years as a sales representative in the hockey equipment business, choosing to remain in the New Jersey area.
2013 Recipient: Brian Schulz, USCHO
Brian Schulz has done color commentary for women's college hockey games for more than 10 years. He started in 1998, covering Harvard University men's and women's games on radio while a student. He graduated from Harvard in 2002 and even while taking a job in the financial world in New York, he would return at his own expense to work games.
In addition to covering his Crimson, Schulz broke new ground by covering international hockey and college hockey for U.S. College Hockey On-line, often at his own expense. Here is a time line of his coverage:
1999-2001: Harvard University (play-by-play for ~50 games, school's first-ever broadcaster for women's hockey)
2001: Radio for Team USA at World Championships in Minneapolis
2004: Radio for Team USA and Team Canada at World Championships in Halifax
2004-2010: USCHO Game of the Week (founder, play-by-play, sole financier for over women's hockey broadcasts spanning DI, DIII, CWHL, and WWHL)
Estimated production cost: $100,000 for 6 seasons and over 200 games
2008-10: Official NCAA videocast of the Frozen Four Semifinals in Duluth, Boston and Minneapolis
2008: Audio/video for Team USA at World Championships in Harbin
2008: Audio/video for every game of the 2008 4 Nations Cup in Lake Placid
2009: Audio/video for Team USA at 2009 4 Nations Cup in Finland
2008-10: Videocast of Patty Kazmaier Award Ceremony
Says Union College head coach Claudia Barcomb, "He been everywhere from Edmonton to Minneapolis to Montreal to Erie to Halifax to Princeton to China for the various games. And he is always willing to expand the horizons so when the CWHL started up, he wanted to be involved. His future is unknown. He always takes things year by year, but as long as he has the time, money and love for doing it, I imagine he will stay involved."
Adds Brad Frost, Head Women's Hockey Coach at the University of Minnesota, "Brian has been doing play-by-play and broadcasting the 'Game of the Week' on USCHO for many years, working close to 200 games. What makes Brian special is that he has a full time job, but he loves hockey and so he travels around, spending his own money to call games so that people can watch them and hear them on USCHO. His dedication to the sport of Women's Hockey is incredible. Even with the economy being what it is, he continues to travel around so that others can see this great game be played by many talented young women. He is definitely someone who has given outstanding contribution, support and dedication to women's ice hockey."
2013 Recipient: Jill Pohtilla, Augsburg College
Jill Pohtilla was the founding head coach of the Augsburg College women's hockey program, serving in that role from 1995 to 2010. Her 15-year record was 171-177-30. At the start of the current NCAA season, her 171 wins still ranked her 26th all-time. (She ranked 20th at the time of her retirement.)
Under Pohtilla, Augsburg competed in the first Division III national tournament in Boston back in 2000, finshing second to champion Middlebury. Some 150 women skated for Augsburg during Pohtilla's tenure, eight of them earning All-American honors.
At the time of her hiring, Augsburg was the only NCAA women's varsity program in the Midwest. Her contributions on the ice are more than matched by the role she has played in growing girls and women's hockey in the Midwest. She was instrumental in developing the Midwestern Collegiate Women's Hockey Alliance, and later was part of the formulation of women's hockey as a varsity sport in her conference, the MIAC.
She also served as president of the Minnesota Girls' and Women's Hockey Association in 1989-90 and served as secretary-treasurer of the American Women's Hockey Coaches Association from 2000-04. This period coincided with her time on the NCAA Division III Hockey Committee.
2013 Recipient: Katie Lachapelle, Boston University
The 2011-2012 season marks Lachapelle's 13th season as an assistant coach and fourth campaign at Boston University. Said BU Head coach Brian Durocher upon nominating Lachapelle, "Since her arrival at Boston University, I have learned a great deal about her care, concern and passion for the game as well as the student athletes she coaches. Throughout our program, the team members have high respect for Coach Lachapelle's knowledge of the game and the way she carries herself on the ice. Her presence on the ice, in the recruiting world, and throughout the female hockey world is held in the highest respect by just about everyone she comes in contact with."
This past summer Lachapelle was selected by USA Hockey to represent their organization at the IIHF high Performance Women's Camp in Brataslava, Slovakia. The camp had an international gathering of hockey professionals who were assisting USA hockey in their efforts to grow the game throughout many European countries. Her yearly participation with USA hockey's summer development program is greatly appreciated by the directors of female hockey.
Prior to arriving at Boston University, Lachapelle spent time at Union College, Niagara University and The Ohio State University. At each of these locations, she was highly thought of by the head coaches with whom she worked.
Added Durocher, "Should Katie Lachapelle be the recipient of this year's award, she will be someone who embodies the qualities that a head coach desires from their staff. She brings a tremendous work ethic, intelligence, engaging ideas and hockey insight to her position each day. She is someone who is always learning and trying to develop her players each day."