AHCA Major Award Winners for 2023 Are Announced

Hagwell, Snyder, Dahl, and Oberting Among Honorees

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The American Hockey Coaches Asociation has announced an impressive slate of recipients of its most prestigious awards for 2023. Seven of the nine individuals being recognized will be honored at the 2023 AHCA Convention in Naples, FL, scheduled for April 26-29, 2023. The co-recipients of the John Mariucci Award, presented to secondary school coaches, will be presented in Michigan. This year’s slate of honorees follows here.

JIM FULLERTON AWARD: Named in honor of the former Brown University hockey coach and ACHA 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.

photo2023 Recipient: Steve Hagwell, ECAC Hockey

Steve Hagwell is widely recognized in the hockey community as an individual who has devoted himself and his career to advance the interests of college hockey and the “good of the game” in front of any obstacles that might be posed by personal, league, regional or gender agendas. As the commissioner of ECAC Hockey, Hagwell has been at the forefront of both league and national decisions that have shaped the sport and provided a path to excellence both on and off the ice for countless student-athletes.

One of Hagwell’s focuses has always been the student-athlete experience, a focus that is shown in his efforts to pursue top-tier championship experiences for the league. In August 2012, Hagwell led the initiative to reach an agreement with the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) to conduct the league’s men’s championship at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y.

On the digital front, Hagwell’s leadership guided the league to be among the first to announce a multi-year partnership with ESPN, which became the official streaming provider for ECAC Hockey men’s and women’s programs at the start of the 2018-19 season. Equity and equality between the men’s and women’s programs has been a primary charge of Hagwell’s leadership since becoming the first commissioner of ECAC Hockey after the league moved away from the ECAC and transitioned to a single-sport conference.

It is partially due to Hagwell’s unwavering support for equity in the sport that the women’s league has seen immense growth and success during his tenure, including three national championships, many seasons with multiple teams in the NCAA tournament, and at the time of this release, five of the top 15 teams in the national rankings.

On the national level, Hagwell served as president of the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) for a decade, in that capacity providing unparalleled leadership in setting the group’s agenda and growing its influence in both men’s and women’s hockey. Hagwell also played a key role in the establishment of College Hockey Inc and has represented the league on multiple committees and panels.

Hagwell joined the ECAC in August 1999, and was named Associate Commissioner for men’s hockey in 2000. In that role, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Divisions I and III leagues and served as the liaison to the coaches and athletics administrators in seven leagues. In 2003, he took on the additional responsibility of overseeing the Division I women’s league operations.

Prior to joining the general ECAC staff, Hagwell worked at NCAA headquarters in the public affairs office for more than seven years. At the NCAA, Hagwell was the assistant manager of publishing where he served as liaison to the Men’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee and the NCAA Baseball Research Panel. He also was responsible for supervising a staff of editors.

Before his stint at the NCAA, Hagwell spent time on the sports information staffs as the University of Kentucky, University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse and University of Florida. A graduate of Michigan Tech, Hagwell and his wife, Carrie, have three children: Jordy, Joshua, and Jack

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.

photo2023 Recipient: David “Duke” Snyder, Wesleyan

David “Duke” Snyder graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1966. Having lettered in both hockey and baseball while at ‘SLU,’ Duke was quite the athlete. Upon graduation, Duke decided to put his love of athletics to work; he spent three years coaching and teaching at both Stoughton and East Bridgewater high schools in Massachusetts and one-year coaching at the University of Massachusetts. In 1970, Duke took a job a Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, the place he would remain for the next 33 years. After serving as the assistant men’s hockey coach under William Spurrier, Duke took the program’s reigns for the 1971-72 season, the team’s first as a varsity program. Over the next 32 seasons as head coach, Duke would compile a record of 270-429-28.

During Duke’s final season behind the bench (2002-03) he led his team on his final road trip to Colby and Bowdoin. Despite struggling through most of the season, Duke’s confidence in his team never wavered; not even when he lined up to face a nationally ranked Bowdoin team who Duke had lost to for more than a dozen straight years. After 65 minutes of hard fought hockey, the two teams walked away with a 1 – 1 tie. For most coaches, this may have been a bit disappointing; Duke smiled for the entire six-hour bus ride home. He could not have been happier.

The success of Duke Snyder’s coaching career cannot be measured in wins and losses. Duke himself realized that there was more to both life and the game. Rather, the success of Duke’s career must be measured in the success of his players’ lives. Duke taught his players to prioritize their life and instilled in them a love of the game in its purest sense. From the annual New Year’s Day gathering at his home, to post-practice “hockey golf,” to trivia contests for Score bars, Duke taught his players to have fun. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, if this is the case then Duke must be flattered by the number of his former players who have gone on to have successful coaching careers; Jon Gardner (Avon Old Farms), Buddy Taft (Pingree School), Bill Mandigo (Middlebury), Mark Traina (formerly of the Holderness School), Mark Bozek (St Paul’s School), and countless others.

Duke Snyder had a significant impact on the game of hockey at Wesleyan University, the NESCAC, and the Division III collegiate level as a whole. He also helped to form the Middlesex Youth Hockey program bringing the game to the youth of Middletown. He was, and remains, respected by his peers and beloved by his former players.

JOHN MACINNES AWARD: Established by AHCA in 1982 to honor former MTU coach, John MacInnes. This award recognizes those people who have shown a great concern for amateur hockey. 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 also more importantly, as men.

photo2023 Recipient: Craig Dahl, Bethel, UW-River Falls, SCSU, Geneseo and Nazareth

The gold standard for career coaching wins in NCAA Ice Hockey is 400 and that standard has only been attained by fewer than 50 coaches at the NCAA level. One of those coaches, Craig Dahl, had an accomplished record coaching NCAA ice hockey at both the Division I and III levels of play.

Dahl, a native of Albert Lea, MN, was a multi-sport athlete at the high school level where he was a standout football and hockey player and hurdler. As a football player, Dahl was named Big Nine All-Conference and All-State and led the Big Nine in total passing yards. As a hurdler, Dahl was the district 2 champion in the 120-meter high hurdles. As a hockey player, Dahl was elected to the Southern Minnesota All-Star League, was a Big Nine first-team defenseman, and was an All-State honorable mention.

Upon graduating from ALHS, Dahl received an athletic scholarship to the University of Minnesota football team in Minneapolis. He transferred to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and competed successfully in their football program. He graduated from Pacific Lutheran with a degree in physical education and social sciences.

Dahl began his coaching career initially at the high school level and within five years was named head hockey coach of Bethel University in 1980, with the task of building that fledgling program. Within five years, he turned a team with a 3-23-1 record into a second-place team with a record of 15-10-0 and was named MIAC Coach of the Year. Dahl’s success subsequently had him accepting the head coaching position at Wisconsin-River Falls for the 1985-86 season, where he once again had success with an overall 15-12-3 record and coaching the team to the NCHA semi-finals. It was an unconventional move by legendary coach Herb Brooks that had Dahl accepting the head coaching position at St. Cloud State University for the 1986-87 season. Urged by his mentor, John Mariucci, Brooks had the vision to add another Division I program in Minnesota to compete with the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota-Duluth and convinced Dahl to join him in this effort. Brooks was only at SCSU for one season but the Brooks and Dahl coaching combination led the Huskies to their first NCAA Division III tournament and a third-place national finish.

After a successful lobbying effort to fund the National Hockey Center, St. Cloud State made the move to Division I hockey in 1987 with Dahl being installed as its first Division I coach and given the immense responsibility to recruit, fundraise and create a fanbase for college hockey’s newest Division I program. Initially installed as an independent during their probationary period, Dahl had the Huskies in the NCAA tournament in his second season with an overall 19-16-2 record. The team competed as an independent for one more season and was then invited to join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for the 1990-91 season.

Dahl coached SCSU for 18 seasons, the longest tenure of any St. Cloud State hockey coach, won 338 games, holding the record for most career wins at SCSU. In all, his career NCAA coaching record includes 408 wins, ranking him 44th on the all-time NCAA list of wins for head coaches. The wins also place him 9th on the all-time list for Minnesota-born coaches.

Dahl also mentored an impressive list of assistant coaches that have gone on to substantial coaching success including Bob Motzko (University of Minnesota/St. Cloud State University), John Harrington (St. John’s University/Minnesota State-Mankato), Tom Serratore (Bemidji State University), Mike Hastings (Minnesota State University-Mankato), Brett Petersen (Gustavus Adolphus), Fred Harbinson (Penticton Vees) and many others.

Dahl left St. Cloud State University after 18 seasons to enter the financial services industry in 2005 and after 15 years retired from Principal Financial as a Regional Director in Rochester, NY in 2020. However, his impact on hockey continued, volunteering his time initially as an assistant coach at Geneseo State (Geneseo, NY) and then at Nazareth College (Rochester, NY) beginning in 2017 where he continues today.

Dahl was inducted into the Albert Lea High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011 and the St. Cloud State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

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

photo2023 Recipient: Judy Parish Oberting, Dartmouth

Judy Parish Oberting retired as Dartmouth’s head coach in 2003, at the height of her success as a college hockey coach. At the time of her announcement, she had put together four straight 20-win seasons, finishing her Dartmouth coaching career with a 114-40-8 record. A 1991 graduate of Dartmouth, she coached her alma mater to the 2001 and 2002 Ivy League championships, ECAC Championship titles in 2001 and 2003 and first place in the 2001 ECAC regular-season standings. Her 2002-03 squad was third at the NCAA tournament and set a school record with 27 victories. In 2002-03, her final season, Oberting was a finalist for the national women’s coach of the year, an honor she earned in 1999-2000.

At the time of her resignation, Dartmouth athletic director Josie Harper said, “Judy has had an incredible impact on this department from the time she entered as a freshman in 1987, and has continued to do so, not only through her performances as an outstanding student-athlete, but as an assistant coach who helped build the women’s hockey program and as the head coach who has taken it to its greatest heights.”

A three-time first team All-Ivy selection in hockey, Oberting held seven Dartmouth women’s hockey records, including goals by a defenseman in a game and season. Both were established during her freshman and sophomore campaigns. During her final two years, Oberting centered some of the finest lines in Big Green history and set school records for assists in a season and career. At the time of her graduation, she had lofty positions on Dartmouth’s all-time scoring chart: first with 126 assists, second with 215 points and fourth with 89 goals. A three-time All-Ivy skater, Parish Oberting holds school records for most points in a game (12) and most assists in a game (8), season (55), and career (126). She competed on the U.S. National Team in the first 1990 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Judy has raised five sons and coached youth hockey since retiring from college coaching. She also returned as a volunteer coach at Dartmouth in 2015-16, Mark Hudak’s final year as head coach.

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.

photo2023 Recipient: Todd Knott, Minnesota State

Todd Knott, who joined the Minnesota State men’s hockey program an assistant coach in June of 2009, was promoted to associate head coach in the summer of 2018. During his time with Minnesota State, Knott has been a member of coaching staffs that have led the Mavericks to six NCAA Division I tournament appearances, six Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season championships, three WCHA postseason championships and for the first time, a spot in the NCAA Frozen Four (2021). Regarded as one of the top talent evaluators and recruiters in men’s college hockey, a total of eight former Mavericks have debuted in the National Hockey League during Knott’s time with Minnesota State. And as a member of Mike Hastings’ coaching staff, Knott has has helped lead Minnesota State to the nation’s best record over the course of the last ten seasons with a 242-92-24 won-loss mark.

Prior to joining the Mavericks, Knott spent the 2008-09 campaign as the head coach and general manager of Sioux City of the United States Hockey League. He was an associate head coach for Des Moines for three years (2005-08) where he was part of a Buccaneer staff that earned a Clark Cup title (USHL play-off championship) in 2005-06. Prior to his time in Des Moines, Knott spent a pair of seasons (one as an assistant coach, one as head coach) of Fargo-Moorhead in the North American Hockey League.

Born and raised in Red Lake Falls, MN, Knott played in the USHL with Lincoln in 1998-99 and was a forward for Bemidji State from 1999-2002, where he tallied 14-9-23 in 72 games for the Beavers. Knott earned a degree in physical education from BSU in 2002. Along with his wife, Angie, daughters Allie and Baylee and son Jackson, Knott resides in Eagle Lake

ASSISTANT WOMEN’S COACH AWARD: This award honors an assistant coach’s career body of work.

photo2023 Recipient: Ashley Salerno, UVM, Castleton and Middlebury

Ashley Salerno is in her seventh season at Middlebury College (currently in her second stint – she left for two years to work at UVM as an assistant and Head Coach of Castleton). She is an impressive coach who works tirelessly in all facets of the game. Salerno has a reputation as a very able and confident recruiter, one who knows what she is looking for in a player and knows almost everyone who is recruitable. She sets her own recruiting schedule and never misses an event she thinks is important.

Ashley also takes it upon herself to work with the current Middlebury players on skill development. Said head coach Bill Mandigo, “I am amazed with the drills she produces and how she implements them. Our players look forward to their sessions because they know they will be better when they are finished. Ashley understands the game of hockey, yet never stops asking questions or learning. She is not afraid to approach other coaches for their ideas or input. Ashley runs the defense and our PK for our team; both units have been successful.”

Salerno played three years at Amherst College (2010-13) before finishing her career at the University of Vermont, graduating in 2014. She immediately went to work at Middlebury in 2014, leaving in 2016 for the positions at UVM (assistant) and Castleton (NEHC Coach of the Year), before returning to Middlebury in 2018. Her contributions have played a major role in Middlebury’s success since 2018 (84-16-9 the last four years, 27-0-0 last year.)

In addition to her success at the college level, Salerno coached the U-18 Spanish National Team at the Division 2 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. They captured the gold medal and advanced to D1-B. She is currently assisting Istanbul Turkey team as well. Adds Mandigo, “Ashley is instrumental in my continuing to coach at Middlebury. She is more than an assistant coach, yet never seeks recognition. She is kind, intelligent, and loyal and I am very lucky to have her standing next to me on the bench.”

JOE BURKE AWARD: The Joe Burke Award was established in 1994 to honor those individuals who have shown great support and dedication to Girls/Women’s hockey. Joe Burke has been an avid fan of Girls/Women’s hockey since the late 70’s. Joe Burke, a Dedham resident is a life-long hockey fan, who never ac- tually played the game himself. He became hooked on the women’s game when he attended the game vs. the University of New Hampshire and Boston College in 1978 at McHugh Forum. Since this game, Joe was seen at every major Girls/Women’s hockey event in the New England area. He is a true friend of the women’s game and the people associated with it.

photo2023 Recipient: Jan Gentry, NCAA

Jan Gentry, a longtime and highly respected NCAA staff member, died in a car accident in April of 2022 at the age of 54. She was in her first year of retirement from the NCAA, having started her career there in 1996.

Gentry joined the NCAA as an intern, working in enforcement and championships until taking advantage of the early retirement package in January 2021. When staffers assembled to remember Gentry in the spring of 2022, many reflected on how Gentry touched their lives, sharing memories of her infectious smile and constant happiness, her devotion to her work, and her eagerness to support others.

“JG,” as she was often referred to, managed championships for Division III and national collegiate sports, including women’s volleyball, softball and women’s ice hockey. Gentry trained staff new to championships management and worked to ensure that each event was the best experience possible for each student-athlete. A competitor of every NCAA intramural sport, she was a driving force behind the NCAA’s participation in the annual Indianapolis Corporate Challenge events. Team NCAA won the Challenge each year under her leadership.

Dedicated to equity and inclusion, she was an active liaison to the Committee on Women’s Athletics and supported the accomplishments of female student-athletes through the annual Woman of the Year Award program. Gentry’s devotion to student-athletes and the NCAA national office continued after her departure, as she continued to support the 2021 Woman of the Year program as a volunteer.

Many in the collegiate ice hockey community and NCAA came to know Gentry as a colleague and a friend, a person who was devoted to her work and everyone around her. Said Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances, “Jan taught all of us commitment, professionalism, and dedication to the highest standards, with the daily enjoyment of seeing student-athletes participating in championships. Jan did all of it with a smile. I will also remember her own love of participating in sports, along with the fun she had in being active, mixed with a healthy amount of competitiveness in everything she did. She lived life every day.”

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.

photo2023 Co-Recipients: Paul Moggach, Brighton (MI) HS and Gord St. John, Catholic Central (MI) HS

Paul Moggach had a record of 467-172-43 in 25 seasons with Michigan powerhouse Brighton High School. After going 7-16 and 6-15-2 his first two seasons, the Bulldogs didn’t have a losing record in the next 23, winning at least 20 games 12 times. Brighton won 10 regional championships under Moggach’s watch after winning three when he was an assistant coach to Rick Bourbonnais.

The Bulldogs won five Division I state championships, 15 league championships and 10 regional championships. No coach in Livingston County has won as many MHSAA state championships.

“Paul is among a handful of high school hockey coaches who have elevated high school hockey into what it is today in the state of Michigan. They’ve really made it a viable option for high-quality players to not only play a sport they love, but do so as part of a school program, wear the colors and represent their community,” Brighton athletic director John Thompson said at the time of Moggach’s retirement in 2000. Moggach was inducted into the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012.

One of the most successful hockey coaches in Michigan sttate history, Gordon St. John led the Detroit Catholic Central High School hockey team to its first MHSAA State Championship in 1994. Overall, he compiled a phenomenal record as head coach of 222-29-18 (.859) in 10 seasons at Catholic Central. A graduate of Choate and Colby College, he got involved in coaching while still in college. In all, he won seven Conference championships, six District championships, seven Regional championships and six State Championships. After serving as “Co-Head Coach in 2002-03 and 2003-2004, he remained as an assistant, winning the state title in 2005. He also won a state title as the head coach at Cranbrook in 1988.

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