USA Hockey Magazine

April / May 2018

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APRIL/MAY 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 5 PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES Dick Umile Leaves Behind A Winning Legacy At UNH 3 U S A H O C K E Y N E W S , P E O P L E & P R O G R A M S A Wildcat's Wild Ride O F F THE D R AW D ICK UMILE had his college destination set. The hotshot hockey player from Melrose, Mass., was headed some 10 miles down the road to Boston University. Then he visited Snively Arena in Durham, N.H., and just like that, the atmosphere inside the arena and around the University of New Hampshire campus grabbed a hold on him and Umile's plans changed. He packed his hockey bag, crossed the state line and embarked on an association with the school that has stretched half a century. Starting as a standout player and moving on to a 28-year stint as head coach of the Wildcats, Umile built the program into a perennial power and in the process became one of the game's premier ambassadors. That connection reached a crescendo at the end of this season when Umile passed on the reins of the program to associate head coach Mike Souza, a player he coached in the 1990s. There's been no shortage of highlights—the Umile moments—during his nearly three decades at the helm. They start with a weekend in 1999 when the Wildcats were playing in the Frozen Four in Anaheim, Calif. The team won its semifinal game on Thursday and on Friday they attended the Hobey Baker Memorial Award ceremonies to watch senior forward Jason Krog become UNH's first, and thus far only, Hobey winner. "That Friday is probably the best day of college hockey because there are only two teams standing," Umile said. "You go to the Hobey Baker awards and [Krog] wins it. It doesn't get any better than that—other than the fact we lost [the champi- onship game] in overtime." Other highlights included a closing-seconds comeback win over North Dakota in a Northeast Regional semifinal hosted by UNH in Manchester, N.H. in 2009; a Souza to Mark Mowers goal that helped knock out BU and send the Wildcats to their first Frozen Four under Umile in 1998; and any number of games at the Whittemore Center, which replaced Snively as the home of the Wildcats in 1995. Over the course of his 28 years at UNH, Umile coached the Wildcats to 22 winning seasons, including 20 of them having at least 20 wins. Umile guided the Wildcats to 596 victories, two National Championship games, four Frozen Fours, 18 NCAA tournament appearances, eight Hockey East regular season championships and two Hockey East tournament titles. And as he moves out of his office one level above the ice at the Whittemore Center to spend more time with his wife, Rose, their children and grandchildren, there will be a tangible void that will be hard to fill. Still, there will be hockey. But now he will be a grandfather cheering from the stands, not a passionate and sometimes intense coach whistling for line changes from the bench. "I think back to when I started in this profession 25 years ago, I was able to look up to some of these veteran coaches: Dick Umile, Joe Marsh, Mike Gilligan, who was my predecessor," said Kevin Sneddon, coach at Hockey East rival Vermont. "Not only were they great coaches, but it was the passion they had for college hockey and growing the game and not being self- ish about just their program. It was always about what was best for the student athletes first and then what was best for college hockey. That's how I'll remember Richie Umile." P Allen Lessels is an in-house staff writer at the University of New Hampshire. k Under Dick Umile's leadership, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats have become a perennial college hockey power. COLLEGE By Allen Lessels

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