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 2008-09 season.
Bismarck Bobcats head coach Byron Pool has been named Coach of the Year. After taking the coaching reins midseason last year in which the Bobcats finished in last place in the Central Division with 46 points, Pool orchestrated a 42-point turnaround to guide Bismarck to a Central Division regular-season championship. The team’s 43 wins were the most in the NAHL this season and set a team record for wins in a season. In addition, five of Pool’s players from this year’s team have committed to Division I programs to date.
Wenatchee Wild head coach and general manager Paul Baxter has been named General Manager of the Year. Baxter was the architect behind one of the best inaugural seasons in NAHL history as the Wild finished with a 35-19-4 record, good for 74 points and a second-place finish in the West Division. Under Baxter’s watch, six Wild players have committed to Division I schools to date.
The Wild has been named Organization of the Year. In its inaugural season, Wenatchee drew both a league-best average attendance of 2,714 and total attendance of 78,719. On the ice, the Wild finished with one of the best records for a first-year NAHL club, fashioning a 35-19-4 mark (74 points) and a second-place finish in the West Division. What’s more, six players have committed to Division I programs to date.
The All-NAHL Team, Goaltender of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Forward of the Year, Most Valuable Player and the league’s nominee for the Dave Tyler USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year will be announced at the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament banquet on Monday, April 27.
The North American Hockey League, the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II league boasting 19 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.