When Cam Ellsworth was introduced last month as the new coach at Norwich University, he inherited the reins of a program that has set the bar sky-high for achievement in Division 3.
Under Mike McShane (Wakefield, Mass.), Norwich is the national standard for prolonged success. His teams won their conference in 19 of the last 20 seasons, including 17 times in a row. The Cadets have captured four national championships, the last coming in 2017, and McShane, who stepped down from the position in June, was honored five times as the Division 2/3 National Coach of the Year.
One of his first players, Keith Aucoin (Chelmsford, Mass.), spent parts of seven seasons in the NHL, with the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals, and is still playing professionally in Europe.
As a player at UNH, McShane was a teammate of Dick Umile (Melrose, Mass.), the future longtime coach of that program. His 741 wins, compiled in 23 seasons at Norwich, and before that at Division 1 programs St. Lawrence (five seasons) and Providence (nine seasons), rank seventh all-time in college hockey.
Retirement means more time at his home on Cape Cod, and more time during the winter with family members in Florida. He’ll still have a presence on the Norwich campus, teaching a course in the school’s leadership program and running his hockey school, if not behind the bench.
McShane, 70, talked to New England Hockey Journal writer Mike Zhe about his legacy, the closest he came to leaving for another job and what he’ll miss about a special community that made Kreitzberg Arena in central Vermont one of the brightest stages in college hockey on game nights.