|Institution:||University of Connecticut|
|President:||Phillip E. Austin|
|Athletic Director:||Jeffrey Hathaway|
|Colors:||Flag Blue and White|
|Home Arena:||Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum|
|Conf. Championships:||MAAC: 2000|
History of the Men's Ice Hockey Program
The University of Connecticut has had a long but almost entirely undistinguished history in men's ice hockey, mainly due to remaining a college division (now Division III) hockey program.
The team's first season was 1960-61, finishing with a 4-6-1 record. That first team would be led by coach John Chapman, who would coach the next twenty seasons as well. The Huskies would play in the first three years of the ECAC, though they would only play 19 league games over those years, mostly against opponents that they would face for many years in the Division III ranks. When the league split between major and college division programs, the Huskies went with the college division teams.
The team mainly played against NESCAC or other major division schools playing at the college level (most of whom are long gone, like Lehigh and Rutgers, but some of whom still play Division I hockey, like Army, Holy Cross, Vermont, Massachusetts and Lowell Tech, now UMass-Lowell) during the Chapman years, but did not have any success in those years. Coach Chapman's overall record was 196-221-7.
Chapman's final year would be 1980-81, and he would be replaced by former player Ben Kirtland. Kirtland would coach for seven years, during which the Huskies would make their first appearances in the ECAC playoffs. Again, the teams never put together any successful seasons, and Kirtland would leave with a losing (85-98-2) coaching record. The only accomplishment of note in the Kirtland years was the ascension of UConn's only player to make the NHL: former captain and all-time Husky goal scorer leader Todd Krygier.
Kirtland would be replaced by one of his former players, current coach Bruce Marshall, in the 1988-89 season. The time under coach Marshall would see UConn's most successful seasons; UConn would make eight appearances in the ECAC East playoffs in the ten seasons they played in that league under Marshall, and produce a 150-98-19 record, with their best season being 1991-92 (22-4-2).
In 1993-94, the first UConn Classic hockey tournament would be played at the outdoor rink that was their team's home; the tournament is now in its twelfth season. UConn would win the tournament in 1995-96, 1999-00, and 2003-04, and has only failed to reach the championship four times (though three of those would be in the Division I era).
The 1998-99 season would be a season of firsts for the Huskies. For one, the old outdoor rink was finally enclosed, and the UConn Ice Arena (now the Mark Freitas Ice Forum) would open with a 3-1 Husky win over American International. As well, this would be their first season playing in Division I, as a member of the MAAC (now Atlantic Hockey). The Huskies would finish third in the league, with a 20-10-4 overall record (Coach Marshall's second twenty-win season), but lose in the inaugural MAAC semifinals to eventual winner Holy Cross. The next season brought Coach Marshall (and UConn) their first league championship, taking the 1999-2000 tournament title. Unfortunately, it would be the year before the MAAC would receive an automatic bid to the tournament. In 2001-02, the Huskies also opened up a yearly trophy series with the Quinnipiac Bobcats, which the Huskies have never won but the Bobcats have never swept, known as the Heroes' Hat.
Past that season, the Huskies have struggled. They've not had a winning overall record, nor finished in the top half of the league (though 2002-03 featured their first win against a Big Four program, a 5-4 overtime upset of Colgate, and this year's campaign would see the Huskies finally beat the Minutemen of UMass after five tries at the Division I level, a 3-2 OT victory at Amherst). Still, the hope remains in the small but loyal Husky hockey fan base that they might be as successful at the Division I level as they were during Coach Marshall's time in the ECAC East.
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