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American International Yellow Jackets
Current season
American International Yellow Jackets athletic logo
University American International College
Conference AHC
First season 1948–49
Head coach Eric Lang
5th season, 67–69–14 (.493)
Captain Hugo Reinhardt Joel Kocur
Arena MassMutual Center
Capacity: 6,866
Surface: 200' x 85'
Location Springfield, Massachusetts
Colors Black, White, and Gold[1]
              
NCAA Tournament appearances
2019
Conference Tournament championships
2019
Conference regular season championships
2019, 2020
Current uniform
American International Yellow Jackets Ice Hockey Team Uniforms 2018.png

The American International Yellow Jackets men's ice hockey team is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college ice hockey program that represents the American International College. The Yellow Jackets are a member of Atlantic Hockey. They play at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.[2]

History[]

AIC began its varsity program in 1948, playing a modest schedule for the first dozen years of its existence, building the program under William Turner before he handed it off to Joe Bucholz. In 1961 The Yellow Jackets joined with 27 other eastern schools (mostly in New England) to form ECAC Hockey.[3] AIC finished near the bottom for three seasons and in 1964 it was decided that the conference was too unwieldy to continue and was split into two divisions. The Yellow Jackets joined the lower division, becoming a founding member of ECAC 2.[4]

American International had some success when Turner returned to take over, winning the conference tournament in 1969,[5] but dipped slightly after his retirement in 1970. When Paul Thornton took over in 1974 AIC saw a resurgence and by the late 1970s had returned to the ECAC 2 Tournament but after his departure in 1978 the program slumped once more.

In 1984 the Division II ice hockey level collapsed and sent almost all teams at that level down to Division III. AIC followed along and when ECAC 2 split the Yellow Jackets stayed with the eastern side, joining the new ECAC East. In all that upheaval it was not lost that the American International had gotten its sixth head coach since 1970 but they were finally able to find someone willing to stick around in Gary Wright.[6]

Wright's time with AIC began fairly successfully with the team earning its first 20-win season in his fourth year. The next season, 1989, saw the Yellow Jackets pace the ECAC East with 20 wins and set a program record with 24 wins overall but they faltered in the conference tournament and failed to make the D-III National championship. The next year the team was able to regain some of their success by winning the ECAC East title, their first conference championship in 21 years, but they were left out of the National Tournament due to a relatively poor overall record (only eight teams made the tournament and league champions did not receive an automatic berth). AIC continued to play well in the mid-90s but in 1995 the program declined sharply, dropping from 14 to 4 wins and remained in the ECAC East cellar for the rest of its time there.

In 1998 the MAAC began sponsoring an ice hockey conference and AIC joined as an affiliate member, returning to the top tier of college hockey.[7] In their first year back the Yellow Jackets posted a decent record, finishing 5th in the 8-team field but bowed out in the first round of the conference playoffs. After that brief glimpse of success, however, AIC fell to the bottom of the conference and remained there for almost the next 20 years. Even with several new teams joining the conference and the division's reworking into Atlantic Hockey AIC could finish no better than 9th from 2000 through 2017 with the lone exception coming in 2006 when Atlantic Hockey had only 8 league members.

AIC made the conference tournament every years because Atlantic Hockey structured its conference tournament to include every team, but even then the Yellow Jackets could only twice win the 9 vs 8 play-in game and lost every other round it participated in. AIC lost 20 games for 13 consecutive seasons and 18 out of 19 years after 1999 but through it all Gary Wright stayed on to hold the program together. He eventually retired in 2016, being the longest-tenured coach at the time of his retirement and held the record for the most career losses with a single program, but his legacy with AIC went beyond wins and losses.[8]

A new era at AIC began in 2016 with Eric Lang as the new head coach. After a poor but familiar first season AIC posted its best record since 1993 with 15 wins, finishing 8th in Atlantic Hockey and winning its first conference tournament round in over a decade. The following year AIC won its first ever conference championship and, after winning its first conference tournament at the Division I level, made its first appearance in an NCAA Championship. As the lowest-seeded team, AIC played against #1 St. Cloud State and, despite being outshot 34-13 in the game, won the match. The Yellow Jackets season ended after losing the next game but they had already produced the best season in the history of program by a mile.

AIC again won the Atlantic Hockey championship in 2020, however, before the team played its first postseason game the NCAA cancelled all remaining contests and tournaments due to the coronavirus pandemic.[9][10]

Season-by-season results[]

[11]

All-time coaching records[]

As of April 1, 2020

Tenure Coach Years Record Pct.
2016–Present Eric Lang 4 67–69–14 .493
1984–2016 Gary Wright 32 313–605–76 .353
1982–1984 Lincoln Flagg 2 18–32–0 .360
1978–1982 Wayne LaChance 4 46–57–0 .447
1974–1978 Paul Thornton 4 63–33–1 .655
1972–1974 Peter Esdale 2 18–32–3 .368
1970–1972 Wally Barlow 2 17–23–1 .427
1957–1964 Joe Bucholz 7 39–86–0 .312
1948–1957, 1964–1970 William Turner 15 128–118–4 .520
Totals 9 coaches 72 seasons 709-1055-99 .407

Awards[]

Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award[]

  • Jared Pike (2020)

NCAA All-Americans[]

AHCA Second Team All-Americans

Rookie of the year[]

Atlantic Hockey
  • Brennan Kapcheck (2018)

Regular Season Scoring Trophy[]

Atlantic Hockey
  • Blake Christensen (2019)

Team Sportsmanship Award[]

Atlantic Hockey
  • 2014, 2015, 2016

Coach of the Year[]

MAAC
Atlantic Hockey

Most Valuable Player in Tournament[]

Atlantic Hockey
  • Zackarias Skog (2019)

All–MAAC Team[]

First Team[]

The following AIC men's ice hockey players have been chosen as First Team All-MAAC.[12]

  • Aaron Arnett (2001)

Second Team[]

  • Chance Thede (1999)
  • Mike Sowa (1999)

Rookie Team[]

  • Guillaume Caron (2001)
  • Trent Ulmer (2001)

All–Atlantic Hockey Team[]

First Team[]

The following AIC men's ice hockey players have been chosen as First Team All-Atlantic Hockey.[13]

  • Guillaume Caron (2004)
  • Frank Novello (2005)
  • Brennan Kapcheck (2019)
  • Blake Christensen (2019)

Second Team[]

  • Ben Meisner (2013)
  • Adam Pleskach (2013)

Third Team[]

  • Jeremr Tendler (2007, 2008)
  • Adam Pleskach (2012)
  • Jeff Ceccacci (2013)
  • Jon Puksar (2014)
  • Jānis Jaks (2018)

Rookie Team[]

  • Adam Pleskach (2010)
  • Chris Porter (2013)
  • David Norris (2014)
  • Stefano Durante (2018)
  • Brennan Kapchek (2018)

Roster[]

As of September 27, 2020.[14]

# S/P/C Player Class Pos Height Weight DoB Hometown Previous team NHL rights
1 Flag of Pennsylvania Kucharski, JakeJake Kucharski Freshman G 6' 4" (1.93 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1999-09-25 Erie, Pennsylvania Providence (HEA) CAR, 197th overall 2018
2 Flag of British Columbia Somerville, NicoNico Somerville Freshman D 5' 9" (1.75 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-04-08 Nanaimo, British Columbia Penticton (BCHL)
3 Flag of the Czech Republic Kern, JanJan Kern Freshman F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-07-27 Prague, Czech Republic Youngstown (USHL)
4 Flag of Illinois Callahan, BrettBrett Callahan Sophomore D 5' 10" (1.78 m) 182 lb (83 kg) 1998-10-16 Westmont, Illinois Jersey (NCDC)
5 Flag of Rhode Island Rickard, MattMatt Rickard Freshman D 6' 0" (1.83 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1999-07-28 Coventry, Rhode Island Lone Star (NAHL)
6 Flag of Texas Baum, JeffJeff Baum Senior D 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1996-06-17 Colleyville, Texas Providence (HEA)
7 Flag of Sweden Strömberg, OskarOskar Strömberg Senior D 6' 7" (2.01 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1996-11-26 Sollentuna, Sweden New Jersey (NAHL)
8 Flag of Illinois Kapcheck, BrennanBrennan Kapcheck Senior D 5' 9" (1.75 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1996-11-17 Mount Prospect, Illinois Aston (NAHL)
9 Flag of New York Bennett, BlakeBlake Bennett Sophomore F 5' 8" (1.73 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1998-07-01 Grand Island, New York Corpus Christi (NAHL)
10 Flag of Slovakia Stacho, AdamAdam Stacho Freshman F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-05-28 Očkov, Slovakia Bismarck (NAHL)
12 Flag of Minnesota Otto, EricEric Otto Freshman (RS) F 6' 1" (1.85 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1997-07-19 Burnsville, Minnesota Chicago (USHL)
13 Flag of Latvia Egle, VernersVerners Egle Freshman F 6' 1" (1.85 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-06-01 Liepāja, Latvia Madison (USHL)
15 Flag of Slovakia Spodniak, MatúšMatúš Spodniak Junior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1997-12-22 Košice, Slovakia Ogden (WSHL)
16 Flag of Florida Jeffers, KyleKyle Jeffers Freshman F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 165 lb (75 kg) 1999-01-06 Winter Springs, Florida New Jersey (NAHL)
17 Flag of California Galambos, ZakZak Galambos Freshman D 6' 2" (1.88 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1997-04-04 Walnut Creek, California Minnesota State (WCHA)
18 Flag of Vermont Stinil, MichalMichal Stinil Freshman F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1999-03-21 East Burke, Vermont Lone Star (NAHL)
19 Flag of California Barriga, ElijiahElijiah Barriga Junior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 193 lb (88 kg) 1996-05-16 West Covina, California UNLV (ACHA)
20 Flag of Norway Fladeby, TobiasTobias Fladeby Senior F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 191 lb (87 kg) 1996-05-20 Asker, Norway Bismarck (NAHL)
21 Flag of Pennsylvania Cole, JustinJustin Cole Junior (RS) F 6' 3" (1.91 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1996-05-01 Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania Cedar Rapids (USHL)
22 Flag of Minnesota Revering, ParkerParker Revering Junior D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1997-01-11 Alexandria, Minnesota Brookings (NAHL)
23 Flag of North Dakota Grounds, AaronAaron Grounds Freshman F 6' 2" (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-12-24 Jamestown, North Dakota Fargo (USHL)
25 Flag of Slovenia Maver, LukaLuka Maver Junior (RS) F 6' 3" (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1997-10-25 Ljubljana, Slovenia Lincoln (USHL)
26 Flag of Quebec Theodore, ChrisChris Theodore Junior F 5' 7" (1.7 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1997-10-15 Beaconsfield, Quebec Cornwall (CCHL)
27 Flag of Minnesota Johannes, HunterHunter Johannes Sophomore F 6' 3" (1.91 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1998-07-24 Eden Prairie, Minnesota Jamestown (NAHL)
30 Flag of Ontario Durante, StefanoStefano Durante Senior G 6' 0" (1.83 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1996-06-04 Brampton, Ontario Cobourg (OJHL)
33 Flag of Pennsylvania Fiske, JarrettJarrett Fiske Sophomore G 6' 4" (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-05-28 Erie, Pennsylvania Kemptville (CCHL)
34 Flag of Michigan McInchak, RyanRyan McInchak Freshman G 6' 0" (1.83 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1999-02-28 Trenton, Michigan New Jersey (NAHL)
39 Flag of Sweden Stella, JakeJake Stella Sophomore F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1998-11-14 Karlstad, Sweden Corpus Christi (NAHL)
44 Flag of Minnesota Long, AustenAusten Long Sophomore F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1998-02-15 Minneapolis, Minnesota Omaha (USHL)
55 Flag of Illinois Dodero, ChrisChris Dodero Senior F 5' 9" (1.75 m) 176 lb (80 kg) 1996-06-08 West Chicago, Illinois Janesville (NAHL)
61 Flag of Wisconsin Miller, SamSam Miller Freshman D 6' 0" (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1999-08-03 Milwaukee, Wisconsin Shreveport (NAHL)
11 Flag of Finland Janhonen, JuliusJulius Janhonen Freshman F 6' 1" (1.85 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1999-03-05 Espoo, Finland HIFK U20 (Nuorten SM-liiga)

See also[]

References[]

  1. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. American International Yellow Jackets Men's Hockey. U.S. College Hockey Online. Retrieved on April 8, 2011.
  3. History of ECAC Hockey. College Hockey Historical Archives. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved on January 29, 2013.
  4. 1964-65 NCAA - ECAC - Div. 2 Standings. Hockey DB. Retrieved on November 22, 2018.
  5. "NEHC Tournaments", New England Hockey Conference. Retrieved on 2018-12-28. 
  6. "2012–13 Men's Ice Hockey Coaching Staff", AIC Yellow Jackets. Retrieved on 2014-08-09. 
  7. "History of the MAAC", College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved on 2013-05-19. 
  8. "Longtime AIC hockey coach Gary Wright to resign", Mass Live, March 31, 2016. Retrieved on December 28, 2018. 
  9. NCAA cancels remaining winter and spring championships due to coronavirus concerns (March 12, 2020). Retrieved on March 12, 2020.
  10. Remainder of 2020 Atlantic Hockey Tournament Cancelled (March 12, 2020). Retrieved on March 12, 2020.
  11. "Men's Ice Hockey Year-By-Year Results", American INternational Yellow Jackets. Retrieved on 2018-08-17. 
  12. "All-MAAC Teams", College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved on 2013-07-22. 
  13. "All-Atlantic Hockey Teams", College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved on 2013-07-20. 
  14. 2020–21 Men's Ice Hockey Roster. American International College Athletics. Retrieved on September 20, 2017.

External links[]


Atlantic Hockey

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