By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
Even though it is the offseason, Grand Canyon University Men’s Ice Hockey continues to add to their collective firsts.
This time, GCU has won their first-ever award as Lopes’ Head Coach Danny Roy was awarded Division II West Region Coach of the Year by the American Collegiate Hockey Association at the ACHA Annual Meetings in Naples, Florida.
The honor recognizes Roy in just the second year of the program in which he led the Lopes to their first-ever postseason appearance and win at the DII West Regionals in February. Roy joins Utah State University’s Jon Eccles – who led the Aggies to a berth in the national tournament – as Co-Coach of the Year.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, because if you look at all of the programs around you, there’s a lot of other coaches who could have definitely won the award,” Roy said. “It means that the hard work so far is paying off.”
Roy was quick to mention his coaching staff of Jim Nellis and Roger Del Fiacco as winners of the award as well. Despite the award having his name on it, Roy says the award is more about the staff, and how they all work as a concerted group for the team to succeed.
“This award is more about who you surround yourself with,” Roy said. “One coach can get it done, but over the course of a long season, it takes a group that is really passionate about the program.”
Voting for the award was done through coaches from the other programs in the west region. Roy felt that teams like the University of Northern Colorado, Northern Arizona University and Williston State College amongst others all had a case for the award. But to be recognized in that setting he says goes to show the strength of the coaching community in the ACHA, and the commitment the coaching staffs have toward their programs.
“We’re all always open to talking to one another before and after the games,” Roy said. “It goes to the fact that the teams we have played have our respect, and they will return that respect in the same way.”