BOSTON – As conference award season continues, it really just isn’t fair seeing teams with so much promise not have a shot to compete for a championship.
But, that’s life, a sentiment echoed by Maine men’s hockey head coach, Red Gendron, who has been named this year’s Hockey East coach of the year.
Goalie Jeremy Swayman also took home Hockey East player of the year.
Gendron led the Black Bears to the fourth seed in Hockey East after compiling an 18-11-5 mark this past season, including a staggering 13-1-3 mark at home. COVID-19 forced Hockey East to postpone its playoffs on the eve of Maine’s quarterfinal series with UConn, something Gendron said was devastating.
But, it also further opened his eyes to how special this year’s team was.
“For me as a coach it was really rather remarkable. I could see the genuine love and care I mean I knew it was there but when put forth complete with the emotions it was a pretty powerful thing and that’s something I was truly grateful for,” Gendron said.
Swayman finished the season with 1,099 saves, the most in college hockey, a .939 save percentage, second in college hockey, and 25 games of at least 30 saves, including five outings with at least 40 stops.
The conference player of the year earned his fourth award or mention this week. The junior has already taken home the Walter Brown award, given to the top American born college hockey player in New England, a Hockey East first team all-star nod, Hockey East goalie of the year, has been named a Hobey Baker finalist and signed a pro contract with the Boston Bruins.
Not too shabby. Gendron said Swayman’s growth was steady through his three years and he certainly played like the No. 1 stitched on his jersey.
“Long time ago a coach said to me you want to win get off the bus with the best players well he among others I was able to get off the bus with a lot of great players this year and great coaches and great staff so pretty fortunate,” Gendron said.