Long-Time BC Coach Ceglarski Passes Away at 91
CHN Staff Report
Legendary Boston College hockey coach and athlete Len Ceglarski, winner of 672 games and a member of the 1949 BC national championship team, passed away Saturday morning. He was 91.
Ceglarski is the seventh all-time in wins among NCAA Division I men's coaches, compiling a career record of 673-339-38 (.659) at Boston College and Clarkson from 1958 to 1992.
The East Walpole, Mass., native started his coaching career at Clarkson in 1958 before taking over for his alma mater in 1972. In 14 seasons at Clarkson, Ceglarski guided the Golden Knights to four NCAA Tournament berths and their first ECAC Tournament title. Ceglarski also guided Clarkson to three national championship games in 1962, 1966 and 1970.
Boston College’s former skipper claimed the Eagles’ head coaching position at the start of the 1972-73 season, taking over for John “Snooks” Kelley. In his time behind BC’s bench, Ceglarski led his teams to eight NCAA Frozen Fours, four NCAA title games, six Hockey East regular season championships (in eight years) and two Hockey East Tournament titles.
When Ceglarski retired at the end of the 1991-92 season, he left as the all-time leader in wins. The current leader is Jerry York, who succeeded Ceglarksi at Clarkson and is now at BC.
Upon retirement, Ceglarski joined an elite group when he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn.
The one-time All-American helped BC capture its first national title in 1949. He was Boston College’s captain as a senior in 1950-51. Ceglarski was also a standout second baseman for Boston College’s baseball program.
Known as a gentleman of the game, Hockey East commissioner Stu Haskell announced the league would name its sportsmanship award after Ceglarski in 1992.
In 1990, Ceglarski won the Lester Patrick Trophy, an annual award presented for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. He also collected three Spencer Penrose Trophies in 1965-66, 1972-73 and 1984-85, given to the national coach of the year.
Ceglarski was also a member of the U.S. Olympic hockey team that won the silver medal at the 1952 Winter Olympic Games in Oslo, Norway.
Following Merrimack's 1-1 tie against Northeastern on Saturday afternoon, Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy and Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan both commented on the death of Ceglarski. Dennehy played for Ceglarski when he was a defenseman at Boston College from 1987-91.
"He was a true gentleman of the game," Dennehy said. "I am forever indebted to him for giving me an opportunity. He came from a different era and some of his records will be tough to beat as far as longevity and success he had with programs. I would say, what I think of first and foremost, is that he was a true gentleman."
"It was very sad," Madigan said. "I've known Coach Ceglarski since I played as a senior at Northeastern. He was a man who epitomized college hockey. Very classy. A lot of dignity. He won with class and lost with grace. He's a true icon in our sport and someone who was always willing to talk to a younger coach. I had many conversations with him down at the convention and I got to know him because he was really close with Fernie Flaman and their wives were close. So at conventions I was always there. I saw him about a year ago and we had a brief conversation. It's a huge loss to his family, Boston College and the hockey community. Our thoughts and prayers to the whole family. From myself and Northeastern University."