It’s been almost two years since Don “Toot” Cahoon coached the University of Massachusetts men’s hockey team, but it remains clear that his impact on hockey throughout New England won’t be forgotten.
The American Collegiate Hockey Association announced Cahoon, who is from Marblehead, as the winner of the John “Snooks” Kelley Founders Award earlier this week. The prestigious honor goes annually to someone in the coaching profession that contributes to the overall growth and development of hockey in the United States.
It would be impossible to argue that Cahoon fits that bill.
The most successful hockey coach in UMass history, Cahoon guided the Minutemen for 11 years including the program’s first NCAA tournament win in 2007. He coached a pair of Olympians, Thomas Pock of Austria and American goaltender Jon Quick, was Hockey East Coach of the Year in 2003 and New England Hockey Writers Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2007.
Cahoon was also head coach at Princeton University from 1992-2000 and led the Tigers to the NCAA tournament in 1998. For his collegiate head coaching career, Cahoon collected 333 wins.
After graduating from Marblehead High, Cahoon went to Kimball Union. He then played at Boston University, winning a pair of NCAA titles as a winger in 1971 and 1972. He was head coach at Norwich and an assistant at BU under Jack Parker before taking over at Princeton.
The Kelley Award is one of eight major honors given by the ACHA every year. Cahoon and his fellow honorees will be feted at the ACHA Convention in Florida at the end of April.