GLOUCESTER, Mass. – Miami University head hockey coach Enrico Blasi has been tabbed one of seven finalists for the prestigious Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey coach of the year, the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) announced Wednesday.
Blasi, who won CCHA Coach of the Year this year for the fifth time in his career, is the lone CCHA coach up for the honor. He is also the only coach among the seven to have won the Spencer Penrose Award previously, earning it in 2006. The other finalists include Yale coach Keith Allain, UMass Lowell coach Norm Bazin, Niagara coach Dave Burkholder, Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings, St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko and Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold.
Blasi and his staff guided the RedHawks to the program's fourth ever CCHA regular-season championship in 2012-13. Miami was picked to finish fifth in the preseason media poll and fourth in the preseason coaches' poll and didn’t receive a single first-place vote. The RedHawks lost 12 players from their 2011-12 squad, including 10 seniors and two NHL prospects, and brought in 13 newcomers this year, including 11 freshmen. Of the 26 men on the roster this season, 18 were freshmen or sophomores, yet Blasi guided Miami to an eighth straight 20-win season (25-12-5) and an eighth straight NCAA Tournament appearance as the ‘Hawks reached the Midwest Regional Final as a No. 2 seed. He also earned his 300th career win Jan. 25 vs. Bowling Green.
The nominees consist of any coach who won or shared Coach of the Year honors in his conference this season, along with coaches whose teams have advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. Voting will be conducted prior to this year's Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, Pa., and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, April 10.
The Spencer Penrose Award is named in memory of the Colorado Springs benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, site of the first ten NCAA championship hockey tournaments. The actual award will be presented at the AHCA Coach of the Year Banquet in Naples, Fla., on Saturday, May 4. The AHCA Coach of the Year Awards are chosen by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association and sponsored by FlexxCoach, a leader in the creation and distribution of drills and general hockey instruction to coaches across the country.