The American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) has announced its major awards for 2018. Eight individuals who have made unique contributions to amateur hockey in the United States will be recognized either at a luncheon during the Frozen Four in St. Paul or during the 2018 AHCA Convention in Naples, Florida. This year's honorees:
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.
2018 Recipient: Terry Meagher, Bowdoin College
Terry Meagher won 542 games in a 33-year career as head coach at Bowdoin College. He also served the AHCA as its president during the 1997-98 season. He retired in 2016 having compiled a record of 542-253-58, (.669), ranking sixth in Division III history in total victories.
"Terry Meagher set a powerful example for members of our community with his unwavering support of the academic interests of our students and ability to prepare our teams to compete at the highest level within Division III athletics," said Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan, at the time of Meagher's retirement. "Terry's coaching record speaks for itself, but he is known primarily for his positive impact on the development of Bowdoin students in several athletic programs, especially our men's ice hockey program, and the relationships he nurtures across our campus community."
Meagher and his predecessor, close friend and mentor Sid Watson, combined to give the Polar Bears just two coaches in the last 56 years, accounting for 868 wins dating back to 1959. Bowdoin is the only college in NCAA ice hockey history with two 300-win coaches exclusive to its program.
The duo is also responsible for inspiring a coaching tree that launched dozens of former Polar Bears to careers on the bench and in the front offices of professional, collegiate and junior hockey.
"Coach Meagher has been an influential mentor both as player and in my coaching career," said Mike Cavanaugh '90, head coach of the University of Connecticut men's ice hockey team. "But most importantly, he has always been there for me in life. It is a testament to him that he replaced a legend in Sid Watson and cemented his own legacy with the Bowdoin hockey program.
Meagher qualified the Polar Bears for the NESCAC Championship in every year of its existence, winning back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014. Prior to the institution of the conference, Meagher steered the Polar Bears to eight appearances in the championship game of the ECAC Tournament, winning two titles (1986, 1993). Bowdoin made six NCAA Tournament appearances under Meagher, netting consecutive NCAA bids in 2010-11 and again in 2013-14, while collecting the program's first NCAA Tournament win in 2011. The 1986 and 1989 American Hockey Coaches Association National Coach of the Year, Meagher coached 21 All-Americans, dozens of players to All-NESCAC and All-ECAC honors and 53 students to Academic All-NESCAC recognition.
As a player, he led Boston University to three consecutive ECAC Championships from 1974-76, graduating in 1976 after scoring 74 goals in 92 games for Coach Jack Parker. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at both Williams College (one season) and Clarkson University (four seasons.)
2018 Recipient: Jim Pohl, Red Wing (MN) HS
Jim Pohl coached high school hockey in Minnesota for 21 seasons, compiling an overall record as a head coach of 235-179-15, starting two different programs in that time.
Jim grew up in St. Paul attending Cretin High School. During his time at Cretin, he was fortunate enough to participate in two State Catholic Tournament Cretin squads that qualified in both 1965 and 1966. Jim graduated from Cretin in 1966. Following high school he spent the next four years at St. Mary's College in Winona where he was selected to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Conference Team twice.
After his collegiate days were done, Jim went on to Rochester Lourdes high school where he helped start the high school hockey program as an assistant to Ken Johanssen. Jim became the head coach for the next three years at Lourdes High School. Following his time in southern Minnesota, he relocated to historic White Bear Lake High School where he worked alongside Dean Boyum for the 1973-1974 season.
Jim's final stop was back in southern Minnesota in Red Wing where he was responsible for starting the Red Wing High School hockey program in 1974. He remained in Red Wing as head coach for 18 years where he coached and taught. He later worked as an administrator at Red Wing High School before his retirement in 2006.
Jim was inducted in the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998, for his contributions over the course of his career. In 2006, Jim additionally was honored by St. Mary's University with an induction in its University Hall of Fame. Jim's family includes four sons: Johnny, Mark, Mike and Tom. Jim's proudest accomplishment is that all four of his sons played in the State High School Hockey Tournament, played in a Championship game, and were All-Tournament selections. Additionally John Pohl, was named Mr. Hockey in 1998, later went on to win a National Championship with the University of Minnesota Gophers in 2002, and played in the NHL.
2018 Recipient: Neil Koepke, MSUSpartans.com
A fixture at the NCAA Frozen Four for decades, Neil Koepke becomes only the seventh member of the media to be honored by the AHCA. Said Michigan State head coach Danton Cole in nominating Koepke, "Neil Koepke, one of the longest-tenured and most-respected college hockey journalists in the country, joined the staff of MSUSpartans.com as a hockey writer in 2011. Koepke provides exclusive written content to the site weekly throughout the college hockey season, extending his coverage of Spartan hockey into its 33rd year. Koepke's deep college hockey connections and unparalleled knowledge of the sport make him a frequent guest on many national radio shows and several local media outlets. Few journalists are as highly admired."
Koepke has covered college hockey for 45 seasons, which included 25 years as the beat writer for the Spartan hockey program with the Lansing State Journal. Prior to joining the LSJ staff, he had spent 13 seasons as the University of Michigan beat reporter for the Ann Arbor News and one year as an analyst with Ken Kal, now the voice of the Red Wings, on U-M radio broadcasts on WAAM. Koepke joined the Lansing State Journal in the fall of 1986, beginning his beat when the Spartans were coming off an NCAA title the previous spring.
Koepke has covered 40 NCAA Frozen Fours, starting in 1977. He has covered Michigan State in seven of its Frozen Four appearances (1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2001, and 2007), the last six for the Lansing State Journal. In all, he has covered more than 1,200 Spartan hockey games over his last 30-plus years of coverage.
During hockey season, he co-hosts "The Drive With Jack," one of Lansing's most popular radio sports talk shows, and also makes appearances on a weekly Lansing sports television show. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Koepke began playing hockey at age 11 and spent one season playing for the Ohio State University freshman team as a goaltender. He graduated from the University of Detroit in 1970.
2018 Recipient: Jim Logue, Merrimack, Salem State and Boston College
One of the most popular and influential volunteer coaches in recent college hockey history, Jim Logue brought unique qualities honed as an Olympic goalie to coaching stints at three NCAA campuses. His knowledge of the game and innate competitiveness made him an asset to many college coaches.
A three-year letter-winner for "Snooks" Kelley at Boston College, Logue graduated in 1961, having earned All-American and Beanpot Tournament MVP honors in 1959. The starting goaltender for the first game played in McHugh Forum (the Eagles' former home rink), Logue was a three-time All-East and All-New England selection (1959-1961) during his time at the Heights. His 2.17 goals against average in 1960-61 still ranks among the school's best.
Following graduation, he enjoyed a seven-year run on U.S. national teams, culminating by tending goal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France. (He made 65 saves against the powerful Soviet Union squad.)
His coaching career began shortly thereafter, serving two tenures at Merrimack College (1969-78 and 1983-88), sandwiched around six seasons as head coach of North Andover (MA) High School (1980-86.) He moved on to Salem State in 1991, serving two seasons before a serious illness nearly ended his life. Diagnosed in September 1993 with Hairy Cell Leukemia, Logue entered St. Luke's Hospital in Houston, Texas. There he underwent 90 days of treatment using an innovative new drug to attack the illness. With the illness cured, Logue joined the Boston College coaching staff for two decades of success in which the Eagles won four NCAA titles.
While his contributions to numerous BC championships was on many fronts, he was particularly influential in the development of Eagle goaltenders like Greg Taylor, Scott Clemmensen, Matti Kaltiainen, Cory Schneider and John Muse. His BC goaltenders forged a combined 75% winning percentage in post-season play.
A member of the Boston College Varsity Club Hall of Fame, Logue's hockey excellence was further recognized in 1999 when he was one of the initial three former players whose BC jersey was retired. Jim and his wife Carina are the parents of five children. They reside in North Andover, MA.
2018 Recipient: Ben Syer, Quinnipiac and Cornell
Ben Syer has brought a standard of excellence to two Division I programs in the East, Quinnipiac University and Cornell University. Said Big Red head coach Mike Schafer upon nominating Syer, "This is the first time I have nominated someone for a major award. 'Benny,' as he is known by many assistants, has a lot of the characteristics of Terry Flanagan. He can hold court with a group of assistant coaches on the road with the best of them. He knows the elder statesmen but he also knows the young guys like Terry did. He would make sure to say hello to everyone in the rink and lend a helping hand to young assistants. I admired Terry for this. He and his family are of the highest character, upfront and honest.
"Benny reminds also me of Terry because he has the same character, truthfulness and honesty and integrity that represents Ben but also our program and the program before him at Quinnipiac. He helped establish the program there and is as loyal a coach to Rand Pecknold as he is to me."
While at Quinnipiac, Syer saw the Bobcats win 242 games in 12 seasons before moving on to Cornell. Now in his seventh season with the Big Red, Syer continues to contribute to unique team success, this year's Cornell squad currently ranked #4 in the country with a 14-2-1 record.
A 1998 graduate of Western Ontario, Syer began his coaching career at Ohio University. He recently concluded a three-year term as the AHCA Vice-President for Memberships, growing the AHCA ranks by encouraging numerous junior leagues across North America to join the AHCA.
2018 Recipient: Zoë M. Harris, ACHA Women's Hockey | University of Washington men's hockey | Western Washington Female Hockey Association
For the last 30 years Zoë M. Harris has been working to grow female hockey across the country as a player, coach, and administrator. A native of Barrington, Rhode Island, Harris graduated from the University of Maine (1992) with a degree in Mass Communications, where she played for the women's non-varsity ice hockey team for four years and served as a team captain and club president.
Harris moved to Seattle, Washington 25 years ago and in 1995 began coaching girls' hockey with Cindy Dayley. They formed the first girls' elite travel AAA rep team in Seattle with the mission of skill development, building strength of character, and exposure to collegiate coaches. By the second year, the team went undefeated 19-0 and won the Canadian Lower Mainland Female Hockey League Championship title -- the first US team to ever win the title. They also helped several players secure positions on collegiate NCAA teams for the first time in the area.
In 1996 the pair joined together with a Canadian coach to form the 49th Parallel Program -- camps, clinics, and teams to enhance elite level female players' skills by holding ice sessions and workshops that mentored players in the college placement process, goal setting, visualization, and thinking in ways to create success. Players were showcased to collegiate scouts for more exposure to the talent in the Northwest of the US and Southwest Canada. Several players earned immediate scholarships to play NCAA D1.
In the fall of 1998, the female duo was hired to coach the men's ice hockey team at the University of Washington (UW), where Harris served as assistant coach. The team then joined in the PAC8 Conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Men's Division 2 bracket. In the 6-year tenure (1998-2004) the coaching pair earned a win-loss record of 104-42-1, breaking all team records. Their coaching paraphernalia is at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto for being the first women to coach men's collegiate ice hockey.
In 1999, while she was coaching the UW Huskies, Harris noted the growth of women's collegiate hockey through the numerous non-varsity "club" teams. She envisioned bringing all the existing women's teams together under the ACHA banner alongside the well-established ACHA D1, D2, and D3 men's teams, with the goal to grow the sport throughout the country and allow them to vie for a national championship and individual awards. She proposed the development of a Women's Division within the ACHA, and convinced the ACHA to support this effort on April 29, 2000.
On Saturday October 14, 2000 with a game between the University of Michigan and the University of Buffalo, the first-ever national division for ACHA women started with 12 teams. Five months later, the first-ever Women's National Championship took place.
Harris grew the ACHA Women's division by 30% within four years and since it has expanded into two divisions with over 30 teams in each division.
The ACHA Women's Division later named the annual Player of The Year award in her name (for both Women's Division 1 and Division 2), for which she presents a commemorative watch annually. In 2014, she was entered into the ACHA Hall of Fame with the Builder Award.
In 2012 she started coaching for the Western Washington Female Hockey Association (WWFHA) and the Washington Wild in Seattle, WA – the only girls' hockey association in Washington State. She joined the Board of Directors and previously served as the vice president and treasurer, while volunteering to manage day-to-day operations.
In 2014 Harris left the high tech sector to volunteer full-time for the organization with the goal of growing the game for girls in Washington State. In 2017, Harris was hired as the organization's first employee serving as the Executive Director of Operations. In the last 3 years, she spearheaded such programs as the Pro-Staff program , the Honorary Board, Girls' Try Hockey for Free events, and a new Learn to Play program, resulting in a 133% increase in membership, including the support of a first-ever all-girls league in Washington State.
Harris is passionate about the sport of ice hockey, managing sports organizations, and teaching young people how to make the most of their experiences both on and off the ice. She fully believes that the ice hockey empowers girls so they may reach their goals on and off the ice, and better serve their communities.
2018 Recipient: Paul Kennedy, East Coast Wizards
Paul Kennedy has coached and worked with many female ice hockey players of all ages over the past 15 years. In the process, he has had a huge impact on the growth of women's ice hockey, especially in the Massachusetts area.
Kennedy started coaching hockey in his local program — Woburn (MA) Youth Hockey — in 1985. Included among his players were Valerie Bono, Shannon Kennedy, and Courtney Kennedy, at the time, the only female hockey players in Woburn.He first coached girls' hockey in 1989 for the Chelmsford Lions. He coached the Lions from 1989-2004, initially coaching squirts and pee-wees, and stepping in to help out on various benches for boys and girls whenever someone needed help. Throughout his stint with Chelmsford, he coached all levels and ended up winning at least three national championships.
From 1991-2002, Paul worked as an instructor at Paul Vincent Dynamic Skating. While working at Dynamic, he started the first all girls' hockey camp at Dynamic Skating. During this time, beginning in 1992 to the present, Paul has been a cornerstone of the prep girls hockey community. Starting at St. Mark's, then on to Milton where he won several championships, to Cushing Academy. The number of players he has been instrumental in developing is far too many to count. Division 1 and Division 3 players, national team members, and Olympians. Paul's influence in developing the youth and prep players who go on to become the elite players in women's hockey is second to none.
He has served since 2005 as a national development camp coach, and specifically has overseen the power skating side of the U18 and 14/15 National Camps since 2009.
In 2004 Paul started The East Coast Wizard Program and created a place for post college players to play on. Players such as Courtney Kennedy, Andrea Kllbourne, Katie King, Tricia Dunn, and Angela Ruggiero (all decorated Olympians) played for the Wizards in its first year. They competed against local men's junior teams. The team ended up kick starting a whole organization. Paul started the East Coast Wizards organization in 2005. Currently, Paul runs numerous hockey skills for girls at every age on the Wizards and will coach a team a year. He also runs camps all summer long for females of all ages.
In 2005, Paul started an eight-week long summer skate for college players and elite high school players to give them a place to play. It is currently called the All Out Summer Skate. That same summer, Paul volunteered with a number of players to help them pursue individual goals. (2006 US Olympian Kathleen Kauth is just one of many players with whom Paul spent countless hours, free of charge, helping them pursue their dreams).
Said Minnesota's Joel Johnson upon nominating Kennedy, "What is most impressive to me, and the reason for my nominating Paul, is the manner in which he has been and still is a servant leader. Paul, simply put, is unselfish and without ego. He is constantly and consistently looking out for the interest of others, especially in the sport of women's hockey. His passion is unmatched, and his commitment to the development of individual players and teams is admirable.
To spend a career doing things with character and integrity is something that is rare in coaching. Paul has demonstrated just that. He is a joy-filled person who brightens up a room and yet communicates and teaches players and colleagues with excellence and authority."
2018 Recipient: Ted Wisner, St. Lawrence University
Ted has been one of the top assistant coaches and recruiters in women's hockey over the last 15 years. Upon nominating Wisner, current St. Lawrence University head coach Chris Wells said, " I am in disbelief that he has not received this award to this date. I am sure this is due to him telling those he has worked for not to nominate him, which is typical of his humble ways. Ted is the quintessential assistant coach, happy to be in the background, always on the road. Ted knows every rink and player in North America. Nobody works harder than 'Boomer.' Always avoiding the spotlight, Ted is a great mentor and friendly face to all coaches young and old alike."
Wisner is his 10th season on the Saints' coaching staff and his sixth as the Associate Head Coach. He serves as the recruiting coordinator as well as assisting the staff in all other aspects of the program. The Saints' coaching staff earned 2012 ECAC Hockey Coaching Staff of the Year honors as well as Coach Chris Wells being named the 2012 AHCA National Coach of the Year.
Wisner, a native of Canton, served as the head coach at Colgate, leading the Raiders' progression from Division III status to Division I status from June 1999 through June 2002. While head coach of the Raiders, Wisner posted a 48-23-9 record and was named the American Hockey Coaches Association College Division National Coach of the Year in 2000. That same year, he was also named the ECACHL Division III Coach of the Year. He spent the 2003-2004 season as an assistant coach at Clarkson in the Golden Knights first season as a Division I program.
A 1995 graduate of SUNY Potsdam, Wisner received a Masters in Education from St. Lawrence in 2001 where he began his coaching career. He served as a graduate assistant for the Saints for two seasons, then joined the the coaching staff at Cornell for the 1998-99 season. Wisner now resides in Canton, NY and has a daughter, Gina Catherine.