Northeastern University men's hockey coach Greg Cronin is leaving the Huskies to accept an assistant coaching position with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Northeastern's director of athletics Peter Roby announced today.
"A national search for Cronin’s replacement will begin immediately," the university's athletics department said in a release issued today. "Assistant coach Sebastien Laplante will serve as the interim head coach and will be a candidate for the full-time position."
Laplante skated for the Huskies from 1989-93 and joined the staff as an assistant coach in 2008.
The Northeastern alumnus stepped in as interim head coach for Cronin on Feb. 18 for six games as he, along with assistant coach Albie O'Connell, were suspended for telephone and text message violations regarding the recruitment of prospective student-athletes.
In his six game span, Laplante went 2-2-2 before Cronin returned to the helm.
Cronin began coaching at NU in 2005 after replacing Bruce Crowder. In six years with the Huskies, Cronin’s record stands at 84-104-29.
The Arlington native revamped the program in the 2008-09 season, when he guided the Huskies to 25 wins, tying the school record set in 1981-82. The Huskies climbed to a No. 2 national ranking and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1994, as Cronin was awarded the Bob Kullen Hockey East Coach of the Year award.
Cronin's move to Toronto is not his first to the NHL. He served as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders for six seasons (1998-2003), as the organization’s director of player development for three years (2002-05), and as head coach of its top AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, for two years (2003-05).
In his six years at Northeastern, 11 players have been drafted or signed by NHL teams -- most notably goaltender Brad Thiessen, who signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins after the record setting 2008-09 season.
“I want to thank Greg for the incredible work he has done on behalf of this university and our student-athletes,” Roby said in announcing Cronin’s departure. “Greg has been a tireless worker, both on and off the ice. He has taken our hockey program to new heights. He’s advanced our relationships with alumni and friends of the program. And he’s helped reshape our arena into one of the finest hockey venues in the nation.”
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