Coaching career spans 36 years
MANCHESTER, N.H. - For his whole life, Ed Seney has been around hockey. Whether it was playing while growing up in Lake Placid, N.Y., his collegiate career at Plattsburgh State and New England College or coaching for the last 36 years, hockey has always been part of his life.
After 15 seasons as the head coach of the Saint Anselm College hockey team, Seney announced today that he will be resigning from his position. While he does not know what lies ahead, he is excited for the next step.
"Thirty-six years is a long time to do something," Seney said. "I'm thinking it's time to try something different. It's almost like being a kid graduating college but I'm graduating older. I'll need something to fill that teaching and coaching void, but it's kind of exciting too."
Assistant coach Larry Rocha '79 will assume the head coaching duties on an interim basis.
"On behalf of our entire athletic staff, I want to thank Coach Seney for his loyal contributions to the men's ice hockey program," said Director of Athletics Daron Montgomery. "Ed has been both an advocate and role model for our student-athletes, and he has run a first-class program that impacted so many lives during his tenure. The values he instilled in young people and lessons taught on and off the ice are vast in number."
"We are grateful for Ed's leadership, passion and dedication over the past 15 years, which to me, is even more important than the 200-plus wins he posted as the Hawks head coach," added Montgomery.
"As an alum who is passionate about hockey and Saint Anselm College, I am honored to take over the program on an interim basis," said Rocha. "I shared with Daron that I will do whatever is needed to ensure a seamless transition."
"Growing up in Lake Placid, an hour from the Canadian border, you either played hockey or skied. If you were a hockey player, you didn't ski. Hockey was your life. You played for your town."
That's how it was for Seney. During his childhood, he traveled every weekend on a bus together with the Bantam, Pee Wee and Squirt teams.
"I was influenced by my mom and dad," he said looking back. "Every kid will tell you how they got to the rink because your parents bring you to the games. You don't realize all the things they do for you until you get older. You look back and say that was quite a commitment. My sisters got dragged along too. My life became my whole family's life."
Seney attended Plattsburgh State in his home state of New York and played two seasons for the Cardinals, before transferring to New England College for his final two years. During his junior year at NEC, he got to experience the famous "Miracle on Ice" firsthand.
Seney's mother was on the Olympic Committee and invited him up to the game. Although Seney was in the midst of his college season, he went to practice on the day of the game before making the trip with one of his assistant coaches for the 5 p.m. game. They had seats right behind the Russian bench.
"They (the Russians) were obviously better," Seney said of the game. "The USA was hanging on and scored with 10 minutes to go. The crowd was unreal. I've never heard a crowd so loud, I thought the roof was going to come off. The environment was crazy in the rink and in town after. To say you were at that game is something not a lot of people can say."
Following his collegiate career, Seney wanted to stay involved with hockey, so he stayed on as the head coach of the JV team and a varsity assistant at NEC.
"I started in 1981 as a 21-year old, getting a room, a meal card and driving the bus," Seney commented of getting into coaching. "I knew I wasn't good enough to make a living playing, but I wanted to stay in the game somehow because I had a passion for it."
That was the start of a 36-year coaching run. He stayed at NEC for three years before spending three seasons as an assistant coach at Norwich University. After that, he got a taste of Division I hockey for one season at Clarkson University.
In 1988, Seney landed his first head coaching job at SUNY Potsdam, where he stayed for 14 seasons and became the winningest coach in school history with 169 victories. At SUNY Potsdam, he was a three-time State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Coach of the Year, led the Bears to a SUNYAC Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 1996 and was later inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
After 14 seasons at SUNY Potsdam, Seney made the move to Saint Anselm, becoming the sixth head coach in program history prior to the 2002-03 season.
"It was a good move for the whole family," said Seney, who has two children, Garrett and Morgan, who played field hockey at Saint Anselm. "I knew the area having played at NEC and the move opened up a whole new world."
In 15 seasons on the Hilltop, Seney led the Hawks to a record of 202-162-36 (.550), including a 73-16-5 (.803) mark against Northeast-10 Conference oppponents. His teams won eight NE10 regular-season titles, including seven in a row from 2003-04 to 2009-10, and seven NE10 tournament championships.
Seney was named the NE10 Coach of the Year four times, including this past season when the Hawks were NE10 regular season co-champions. Over his 29 seasons as a head coach, Seney won 371 games, which ranks him in the top-20 all-time among NCAA Division II and III head coaches.
He also coached numerous major award winners, including two NE10 Players of the Year, eight NE10 Goaltenders of the Year, four NE10 Rookies of the Year and seven NE10 Defensive Players of the Year. In 2009-10, Coleman Noonan was named Saint Anselm's first American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-American since 1986-87 and also won the Joe Concannon Award.
Despite the numerous championships and accolades, what sticks out most to Seney are the lifelong bonds he has formed with former players.
"Guys who have played for me here and at Potsdam still email and call me; nothing makes you feel better than an alum that sends you a picture of his family," Seney commented. "I've been fortunate to form lifelong bonds with a lot of people here."
While hockey has always been a major part of Seney's life, he recognizes that there is much more to the experiences he helped create for the young men who played for him.
"You have to be a special type of person to come to Saint Anselm," he said. "School comes first and the community service part is key. Tucker Mullin receiving the Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2013 and Coleman Noonan winning the Concannon Award, those guys jump out at you because of their abilities on and off the ice. The guys that came here, it's a passion."
The athletic department plans to honor coach Seney in conjunction with the team's postseason banquet scheduled for March 31.