Albie O’Connell named head coach

BU announced Tuesday that David Quinn’s associate head coach Albie O’Connell will take over as the patriarch of the hockey team. Matt is currently working on an article and BU will have a press conference Wednesday to introduce O’Connell.

Here are our thoughts:

Liam: This is a smart hire. The coaches cabinet is familiar with O’Connell and he’s someone the fan base and new recruits can trust.

Eddie: A lot of what Liam said. familiar with winning traditions at BU. He played under Jack Parker and worked alongside Quinn so he has elite knowledge of what it takes to recruit and develop young talent. I am interested to see how much Parker or Quinn rub off on him in terms of coaching style.

Matt: I’m on the same page as Liam and Eddie. I always felt O’Connell was the best person for the job. He’s familiar with the program from both his playing days and coaching. Moreover, reportedly the players liked this news. I am interested to see what his coaching style is like and how it differs from Quinn.

A look at potential head coaches

It’s been a few weeks since the “David Quinn Era” ended on Commonwealth Avenue and the Terriers are still without a head coach.

Obviously, there are some rumors going around about who is in the running and who is not in consideration for the job.

Current Boston Bruins’ assistant coach Joe Sacco had been linked to the job, but according to Mike McMahon of College Hockey News, he is no longer pursuing the gig.

Current Union College coach Rick Bennett had been rumored to be in consideration, but per Jeff Cox, he is staying at Union.  It would have been interesting to see how the BU faithful would have reacted to a coach coming from outside.

 

Cox also outlined Shawn McEachern and current BU associate head coach Albie O’Connell as the front-runners, so let’s take a closer look at them.

We would like to preface this by saying this is an unconfirmed candiates list and that this is just what we have heard on the rumor mill.

Shawn McEachern 

McEachern is currently the head coach at The Rivers School in Weston, a position he has held since the 2010-11 season. Prior to his current position, he was an assistant coach at both Northeastern University and UMass Lowell.

McEachern skated three years for BU and is sixth all-time in points (186), eigth in points (107) and ninth in goals (79). After his time wearing the scarlet and white, he spent 13 years in the NHL and scored 579 points. He won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburg Penguins in 1992.

Albie O’Connell 

O’Connell is currently an assosicate head coach on BU, a post he has held since since the 2015-2016 season. Prior to joining the Terriers’ coaching staff, he spent time as an assistant coach for Colby College, Niarga University, College of the Holy Cross, Merrimack College, Northeastern University and Harvard University.

O’Connell is also recognized as one of the top recruiters in the county.

In his four years playing for BU, O’Connell won four Beanpots and scored 108 points. He captined the 1998-99 team for BU.

In addition to those names, McMahon has also listed the following as being linked to the position.

Steve Greeley 

Steve Greenely currently is the Buffalo Sabers Assistant General Manager but he is not a stranger to coaching at BU. Greeley left his position as an assitant coach for Quinn’s Terriers after the 2014-25 season to take a job in player personal for the New York Rangers.

Greeley has been linked to NHL GM postions, so it seems unlikely that he will get the position.

Jay Pandolfo 

The former Terrier captian is currently an assitant coach for the Bruins. Pandolfo played for BU from 1992-96, highlighed by a Nationa Championship in 1995. His winning ways followed him the the NHL where he won two championships with the New Jersey Devils.

Pandolfo has only been an asstiant coach for two seasons and has the smallest coaching resume of any of the candiates listed here.

 

David Quinn named head coach of New York Rangers

The Boston University men’s hockey team is currently without a head coach.

Wednesday afternoon, the New York Rangers named David Quinn their 35th head coach thus vacating the Terrier head coaching position. Read what Matt had to say here.

BU now has to find Quinn’s replacement. However, the list of candidates is relatively smaller than the last time they were looking. Quinn, Mike Sullivan and John Hynes already have NHL jobs. But, that does not mean that there aren’t any qualified candidates.

Jeff Cox outlines some of the top candidates for the position. Matt and Liam both think that Albie O’Connell represents one of the best choices for BU.

Needless to say, it’s going to be one interesting summer.

O’Connell looks to guide men’s hockey back to winning ways

FILE PHOTO/DEREK GEE O’Connell captured four Beanpot
championships during his tenure with the Terriers from 1995-99.

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff

After more than a decade away, Albie O’Connell has finally returned to Commonwealth Avenue.

The former Boston University men’s hockey team captain joined the Terriers in April as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season, completing a full-circle move for O’Connell, who is once again affiliated with the same program that he played for almost 20 years ago.

“It’s great. I’m excited,” O’Connell said. “I’m excited for the year to start. I think we’ll have a pretty good team. I think how good guys can get throughout the year and how they improve is going to dictate the outcome of how we end up.”

O’Connell joined the Terriers during the 1995-96 season as a heralded recruit. Over a year before his arrival at BU, the Watertown native was selected by the New York Islanders in the fifth round of the 1994 NHL Draft.

Playing a key role on a BU squad filled with NHL talent such as Chris Drury, Shawn Bates and Tom Poti, O’Connell and the Terriers established one of the greatest stretches in program history in the late 1990s, posting a 97-41-14 record from 1995-99.

While there were many positive takeaways to choose from for O’Connell, his fondest memory of playing for the Terriers was the team’s success in the annual Beanpot tournament. O’Connell and other members of the Class of 1999 are one of only four classes in program history to win four Beanpot titles.

Even though O’Connell was never able to capture an NCAA title, he made two Frozen Four appearances with BU in both 1996 and 1997 – including a loss to the University of North Dakota in the 1997 championship game, 4-2. Captaining the team during his final campaign in 1998-99, O’Connell led his squad in scoring with 39 points (nine goals, 30 assists) in 36 games.

By the end of his career with the Terriers, O’Connell acknowledged that learning under longtime BU head coach Jack Parker helped him grow as a hockey player in multiple areas – mostly due to the completive tone that Parker established from the get-go with his teams.

“He was a great coach,” O’Connell said of Parker. “We had good teams, so it was very competitive. It was setting a high standard and then coming to work and practice every day trying to get better on and off the ice. We held a high standard and he made the practices more competitive. It was very intense. He was ready to go for practice, which led to players being ready to go and be ready to compete everyday.”

While O’Connell may have turned in his scarlet and white sweater in 1999, he did not hang up his skates following his departure from Walter Brown Arena. O’Connell later played professional hockey for four teams in both the East Coast Hockey League and the British National League from 1999-02, compiling 132 points (54 goals, 78 assists) in 127 pro tilts.

Once he put a close to his playing career, O’Connell immediately made the transition from the ice to behind the bench, serving as an assistant coach at Berkshire Prep School in Sheffield during the 2002-03 season before making the move up to the collegiate level the following year at Colby College.

After stints at both Niagara University and College of the Holy Cross, O’Connell entered into the Hockey East coaching ranks in 2007-08 as an assistant coach at Merrimack College before serving the same role over the last six seasons with both Northeastern University (2008-11) and Harvard University (2011-14).

Throughout his coaching career, O’Connell has garnered praise for his recruiting skills. During his time at Northeastern, the Huskies received commitments from both standout Providence goaltender Jon Gilles and 2014 Hobey Baker Award recipient and former Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau. Both players later de-committed from the program.

For O’Connell, the key to his success in terms of identifying talent is to trust his instincts and to collaborate with the rest of his staff.

“Just going out there and working hard,” O’Connell said. “Using your resources, using what you see and not listening to anyone and trusting what you’re looking at and what your staff is looking at and what you’re trying to do as a group – that’s the biggest thing.

“Working with [associate head coach] Steve [Greeley] and [head coach] David Quinn so far, it’s been really positive. They’ve both been very sharp when it comes to what they’re looking at, and they’re very organized and hard-working, so hopefully I’m a good addition to that.”

While he has excelled at building up multiple teams, O’Connell is certainly no slouch when it comes to instructing his players on the ice. During his first season with the Crimson in 2011-12, O’Connell helped establish the country’s most potent power-play unit, which posted a 27.3 percent success rate.

While the duty of serving as both a recruiter and a mentor has its own set of challenges, O’Connell holds both jobs in equally high esteem.

“They’re both fun jobs,” O’Connell said. “Basically, it’s two different jobs. One, you’re trying to help build the team, the other one, you’re trying to help coach the guys that you were trying to recruit, so they’re both equally tough jobs, but at the same time, both fun and rewarding.”

The journey back to his alma mater has been a long and winding road for O’Connell, but the 38-year-old coach doesn’t have much time to reflect.

With an influx of freshmen already training at Agganis Arena and the season opener almost a month away, O’Connell is diverting all of his energy toward helping a talented group of players achieve the same level of success that he attained almost two decades ago.

“Hopefully, we’re a lot better at the end of the year than at the start, because we’ve got nine or ten freshmen,” O’Connell said. “Practice is going to be important, player development is going to be important…Hopefully at the end of it, we’ll make good strides as a group.”