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Red Berenson Named Hobey Baker "Legend of College Hockey"

By Wally Shaver, 01/30/18, 4:30PM CST

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St. Paul, Minn. – The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation is very pleased to announce its 2018 Legend of College Hockey recipient as Red Berenson. Widely recognized as one of the greatest college hockey coaches ever, Gordon “Red” Berenson completed 33 seasons as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, retiring following the 2016-17 season.

 

Berenson took over a struggling Wolverine program in 1984 and built Michigan into a national powerhouse, sustaining that level of excellence for more than three decades. His teams made the NCAA national tournament 23 times in 27 years, including an NCAA record 22 consecutive years from 1991-2012. Playoff success included 11 trips to the Frozen Four championship, three trips to the national title game and NCAA championships in 1996 and 1998. Overall, in 1366 games under Berenson’s guidance, Michigan went 848-426-92 (.655), ranking Red fourth all-time in college hockey wins.

 

Conference achievements were equally successful during the Berenson era. In the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), Michigan finished first or second 20 times in 23 seasons from 1991-2013. Michigan captured 11 CCHA regular season titles and nine CCHA playoff banners. In 2013-14, the Big Ten Conference formed their inaugural men’s hockey conference (B1G) and Red guided Michigan for the first four years in the new league before his retirement.

 

Coaching at Michigan for 33 years, only equates to just over half of his incredible hockey career. Raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Red was recruited to play for the Wolverines and completed three highly successful seasons (freshmen were not allowed to play in that era.) He was an All American and team MVP his junior and senior seasons, leading the WCHA in scoring his senior season (1961-62) with 43 goals and 70 points, still Wolverine team records. Following his final college game, Berenson stepped right into the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens becoming the first college player to ever do so.

 

From there, an illustrious NHL career spanned 17 seasons between Montreal, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues. On Nov. 7 of 1968 while with St. Louis, Berenson scored an unbelievable six goals against Philadelphia, just one shy of an NHL record. It was the first time since 1944 a player had a six-goal game and has been replicated only once since then. Berenson also played in the legendary 1972 Summit Series, an eight-game series featuring Team Canada vs the Soviet Union. Red retired as a player after the 1977-78 season having played in 987 regular season games, garnering 261 goals and 658 points. He won two Stanley Cups while a member of Montreal in 1965 and 1966.

 

His next stop was behind the bench of the Blues as an assistant coach for the 1978-79 season, where he remained for a year and half before taking over head coaching duties during the 1979-80 season. The next season, he was NHL Coach of the Year, guiding the Blues to a 45-18-17 mark. Berenson then joined Scotty Bowman with the Buffalo Sabres for the 1982-83 season as an assistant coach and remained for two seasons, before accepting the head coaching job at Michigan in 1984.

 

Accolades have been plenty for Red. In addition to his NHL honors, Berenson has been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (along with entire 1972 Team Canada roster), CCHA Coach of the Year (1994, 2008), Big Ten Coach of the Year (2016), Spencer Penrose Award as college hockey National Coach of the Year (2008) and Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the U.S. (2006.) An expanded trophy case also includes University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor, Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame and Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

 

Now 78 years of age, Red has remained on as a special advisor to the Director of Athletics at Michigan in his first year of “semi-retirement.” During his opening press conference at Michigan in 1984, Red said, "I'd like to improve the image of the Michigan hockey team on campus and with the alumni. I think that now people will be thinking more highly about the program." Without a doubt and 34 years later, mission accomplished.

 

Coach Berenson will be honored along with this year’s Hobey Baker Award winner at the annual Hobey Baker Award Banquet on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Banquet tickets are available by visiting the Hobey website at: hobeybaker.com.

 

Key Hobey Baker announcement dates for 2018 include:

·     Top Ten list of candidates: March 14

·     Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists: March 29

·     Hobey Baker Award announcement: April 6

 

The 2018 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 6, 2018 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championship in St. Paul, MN. The award ceremony will be held at the legendary Roy Wilkens Auditorium in the St. Paul RiverCentre and will be broadcast nationally on NHL Network. For more info on the Hobey Baker Award or to access the Hobey logo, please visit http://www.hobeybaker.com/media

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