UML River Hawks

River Hawks hockey coach steps down after 10 seasons.

Lowell, MA – Blaise MacDonald, who recently completed his 10th season as head coach of the UMass Lowell hockey team, has stepped down from his position, effective immediately, announced Director of Athletics Dana Skinner.

“Dana and I have been in talks all week.” MacDonald said. “The discussions have been detailed and included everything from budgets to recruiting strategies. Together we reached the conclusion that the time was right for me and the University to try something different.”

MacDonald leaves the University with an overall record of 150-178-44 and a Hockey East clip of 93-126-33 which includes a tied-for-third place finish in 2009-10 and a fourth-place showing in 2001-02, his first season. During his tenure the team had three 20 win seasons and a 19 win season last year.

The River Hawks advanced to the Hockey East Tournament semifinals twice under MacDonald – in 2002 and 2009 – and advanced to the championship game the latter year where they fell 1-0 to Boston University. On two different occasions the River Hawks received the program’s highest ranking ever, third in the NCAA.

“Blaise MacDonald has made many significant contributions to the University and the hockey program,” said Skinner. “He has coached effectively and mentored many of our student-athletes, instilling in them the importance of education, civility and community service – qualities that served as the cornerstone of his program. We’re grateful for the leadership he provided during his ten years as head coach. I consider Blaise a friend, and I wish him every success in the future.”

A national search for a head coach will begin immediately, Skinner said.

MacDonald replaced Tim Whitehead as head coach in April of 2001. He came to UMass Lowell from Niagara University where he built the new program and guided Niagara to a 91-58-17 record in its first five seasons. He led the Purple Eagles to a 30-8-4 record in 1999-00 which included the College Hockey America championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal, one game away from the Frozen Four.

MacDonald is a native of Billerica, Mass.