The North American Hockey League announced today the recipients of its Coach of the Year, General Manager of the Year and Organization of the Year awards for the 2007-08 season.
St. Louis Bandits head coach and general manager Jon Cooper has been named Coach of the Year. After guiding the Bandits to the Robertson Cup Championship last season, Cooper led his club to the NAHL’s regular-season title this year with a 47-9-2 record. In addition, nine of Cooper’s players from this year’s team have committed to Division I colleges. Cooper, now in his fifth season with the Bandits, also won NAHL Coach of the Year honors in 2004-05.
North Iowa Outlaws general manager Rick Wesp has been named General Manager of the Year. Wesp was the architect behind a 20-point turnaround for the Outlaws this season that culminated in the organization’s first Central Division regular-season title. Under Wesp’s watch, four players from this year’s Outlaws team have committed to Division I schools. Wesp also orchestrated the Outlaws’ successful bid to host the 2009 Robertson Cup Championship Tournament.
The Topeka RoadRunners have been named Organization of the Year. In their first season in Topeka since relocating from Santa Fe, N.M., the RoadRunners finished with the organization’s best record and their first South Division regular-season championship. The RoadRunners also drew over 1,500 in average attendance, fourth most in the entire NAHL. What’s more, three players from this year’s club have committed to Division I programs.
The All-NAHL Team, Goaltender of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player will be announced at the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament banquet on Tuesday, April 29.
The oldest and largest junior league in the United States, the North American Hockey League, a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior A league boasting 18 teams from across the country, including the esteemed USA Hockey National Team Development Program, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey.