Blaise MacDonaldemail: email@example.com
Blaise MacDonald, who has Division I head coaching experience and has won national championships as a player and an assistant coach, will begin his first year as head coach of men’s hockey at Colby College in the 2012-13 academic year.
MacDonald is the former head coach of Niagara University and University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He helped Boston University to a national championship at the NCAA Frozen Four in 1995 as an assistant coach. MacDonald, a 1985 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, led RIT to NCAA Division II titles in 1983 and 1985.
“I am thrilled to welcome Blaise MacDonald and his family into the Colby family,” said Marcella Zalot, Colby’s Harold Alfond Director of Athletics. “Blaise is a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience in building high-caliber programs. He will be a great addition to our staff and to the greater Colby community. I look forward to great success under Blaise’s leadership.”
The Billerica, Mass., native was recruited by Colby as a high school student-athlete, but had never been on campus until his job interview.
"What a tremendous community and a beautiful campus," MacDonald said. "The people that I met were so genuine, authentic, and caring,"
MacDonald is the 18th head coach in program history since men's hockey was started at Colby in the 1922-23 academic year.
"It's very humbling to me to know that someone like Jack Kelley was the head coach at Colby," MacDonald said. "Then you have Charlie Holt and more recently Jim Tortorella. I've known Jim for a long, long time and his values and beliefs (in coaching) are a very succinct match with what I believe in."
MacDonald spent last year as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts. He was at UMass-Lowell as head coach for 10 seasons and had three 20-win seasons and a 19-win year. MacDonald helped the River Hawks to the Hockey East Tournament semifinals in 2002 and 2009 and an appearance in the championship game in 2009.
MacDonald won 150 games during his time at UMass-Lowell. The River Hawks were ranked as high as third in the country during 2009-10 and were third in the Hockey East, the highest finish in the conference since 1995-96.
MacDonald won 20 games or more during his first season with the River Hawks in 2001-02 (22-13-3), again in 2004-05 (20-12-4), and in 2008-09 (20-16-2). UMass-Lowell reached the Hockey East final for just the second time in school history in 2008-09.
Before his time at UML, MacDonald founded the ice hockey program as Niagara’s first head coach during the 1996-97 season. He led the Purple Eagles to a 16-9-2 record in their debut season with an all first-year team and was named the ECAC West Co-Coach of the Year. Niagara played at the NCAA Division III level for the first two years and then moved to Division I.
MacDonald had a 91-58-17 record at Niagara in five seasons, including a 30-8-4 mark in the 1999-2000 season. He led the Purple Eagles to the NCAA quarterfinal round, was named College Hockey America’s Coach of the Year, and was voted runner-up for the Spencer Penrose Award as National Coach of the Year.
MacDonald served as an assistant coach and later as recruiting coordinator and associate head coach at Boston University from 1990-96. He also had assistant coach stints at Dartmouth College (1985-87), Princeton University (1987-88), and UMass-Lowell (1988-90).
Besides the national title in 1995, MacDonald helped Boston University to a 144-42-11 record and five appearances in the NCAA Frozen Four. The Terriers also won three Hockey East tournament and regular season championships during that time. MacDonald recruited and coached 23 NHL players and 17 All-Americans during his stint with BU.
MacDonald returns to Division III hockey for the first time since the first two years at Niagara. All of his assistant coaching stays also came at the Division I level.
"As long as you have standards of excellence, it doesn't really matter what level of play you are at," MacDonald said. "You can be a player who exceeds expectations or be a high performer for the team as long as you have standards of excellence."
MacDonald was an All-American defensemen and was inducted into the RIT Hall of Fame in 1991. At the time of his graduation, he held RIT records for career assists (106) and points (119) by a defensemen.
MacDonald and his wife, Carol, are the parents of four children – sons Cameron, Joseph, and Jacob, and daughter Carly.
Chris Hall, who worked with both the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College men's hockey teams the past two years, enters his first year as an assistant coach for the Colby men's hockey program in the 2012-13 academic year.
Hall and Colby head coach Blaise MacDonald worked together at UMass last year. MacDonald was an associate head coach, while Hall was the director of hockey operations as a graduate assistant coach. Hall also was an undergraduate student assistant coach at University of Notre Dame from 2005 to 2010.
"We are excited to welcome Chris to Colby and our hockey program. He brings excellent experiences, having worked with Jeff Jackson at Notre Dame and with Don Cahoon at UMass," MacDonald said. "The last two seasons Chris has coached at Amherst as a volunteer coach, working closely with goalie and NESCAC Player of the Year Jonathan LaRose. His passion, knowledge, and work ethic will serve Colby very well."
Hall was a volunteer assistant coach and goaltender coach for Amherst. Besides earning New England Small College Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors, LaRose was the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) Player of the Year on the national level in NCAA Division III.
At UMass, Hall collaborated on practice planning and game strategy, as well as presenting scouting reports and teaching film. He coordinated all the day-to-day operations of the Division I program, including the Minutemen's appearance in Frozen Fenway 2012.
Hall has worked for the past six summers at the Minnesota Hockey Camps as a coach and head counselor.
Hall has a master's degree in sport management from UMass after graduating two months ago. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Notre Dame in 2009 and also secured his professional teacher's license from Saint Mary's (Ind.) College in 2010.