LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Blugolds.com) - UW-Eau Claire men's hockey head coach Matt Loen has done what no other coach has done in program history – guiding his 2013 team to the NCAA Division III Frozen Four, winning an NCHA title and being named the Edward Jeremiah Award winner, given annually to the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year.
The award was announced by the American Hockey Coaches Association's (AHCA) at the student-athlete banquet Thursday night prior to the start of the Frozen Four at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid.
This year's team was selected to the NCAA Championship for just the second time in program history and the first time since 1989. The Blugolds advanced to the Frozen Four after beating Saint John's University (Minn.) last Wednesday and following with a victory over St. Norbert College on Saturday. Coming into this season, the Blugolds had one national title to their name, an NAIA title in 1984, but had never won a conference championship and had never won an NCAA playoff game.
In just six years as the Blugolds' head coach, Loen has compiled an 82-72-12 record, just six wins short of the most wins by any coach in school history. Ian Perrin, who coached the Blugolds from 1990 to 1999, had an 88-139-14 record, a .394 winning percentage. Loen, on the other hand, has a winning percentage of .530, the best in school history.
The Blugolds currently hold a 22-5-2 record, the most wins in school history. Previously, the most wins were 18 in 1990 as the Blugolds finished the year 18-13-3. Five losses this season is also a new low for the team. This is the third consecutive winning season for the team, the longest streak in school history, and over the last four years the team has compiled a 58-43-10 record, the most wins in a four year period ever.
Loen was named the NCHA Coach of the Year this season, his second coach of the year selection in the past three years (also won in 2011). He is the only person in the history of the league to win Coach of the Year and Player of the Year honors as he was also the conference's Player of the Year in 1995.
The Edward Jeremiah Award is named in honor of the great Dartmouth College head coach and was first presented in 1970. The runners-up for this year's Edward Jeremiah Award were Gary Heenan of Utica College and Ed Gosek of Oswego State (the 2007 recipient).
The Coach of the Year Awards are chosen by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA). Winners will receive their awards at the annual AHCA Celebration of Men's Ice Hockey Banquet, held in conjunction with the AHCA Convention in Naples, FL. This year's banquet is scheduled for Saturday, May 4.