March 25, 2009 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Allain Named CHN Coach of the Year

CHN Staff Report

PRINCETON, N.J. — College Hockey News has named Yale coach Keith Allain the CHN Coach of the Year.

In his third season with the Bulldogs, Allain has led Yale to an ECAC regular-season championship, the program's first-ever ECAC tournament championship, and a berth in this weekend's NCAA tournament as the No. 5 overall seed.

"Keith Allain has my vote for coach of the year," said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon, whose team faces Yale in the first round of the NCAAs on Friday. "They play a great style, very up tempo, great speed in the forwards."

Allain has taken the program to its highest win total ever (24) so far this season, surpassing by one the 1998 team, which Tim Taylor led to the NCAAs. They just defeated Cornell in the ECAC final, 5-0.

"I remember playing against Timmy's teams in 1986 when I was a senior, they had a heckuva hockey team," Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. "I don't think much has changed. Keith has been able to get them over the top and win a championship. I know Keith looks up to Tim as a mentor, but Keith has done things to get them over the top."

Allain, a former goaltender at Yale, took over for Taylor — who was there for 28 years — in 2006 under uncomfortable circumstances. Taylor was squeezed out, leading to some controversy, and even an open letter from the American Hockey Coaches Association in his support.

But Allain, as a former player under Taylor, received his blessing to take over the program, and the two have communicated frequently since.

At the time Allain took the job, he said: "If you win the ECACs, you're in the nationals and you're four wins from a national championship. Isn't that how it works? Obviously it's easier in April to be talking about that, but on any night you can win. Obviously it's harder for some schools than others. ... I'm hoping we can learn something from (Cornell and Harvard). We have a lot of similarities to them."

His efforts have been able to bear that out.

Others under consideration were Northeastern's Greg Cronin, Alaska's Dallas Ferguson, and North Dakota's Dave Hakstol.

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