Union College has extended the contract of men’s ice hockey coach Rick Bennett through the 2018-19 season. The announcement was made today by Jim McLaughlin, Director of Athletics at Union.

In Bennett’s first year as head coach, Union finished 26-8-7 and 14-4-4 in ECAC Hockey). The Dutchmen earned their first ever trip to the Frozen Four with wins over UMass-Lowell and Michigan State in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament. Union won its first ever Whitelaw Cup as ECAC Hockey Tournament Champions and its second consecutive Cleary Cup, capturing the ECAC Hockey regular-season title.

“We are very proud of Rick Bennett’s remarkable accomplishments in his first season as the head coach of our men’s ice hockey program,” commented McLaughlin. “Rick helped bring unprecedented national attention to our college, as well as tremendous pride to our alumni nationwide. As well as leading our program to the most successful season in history on the ice, he also has recruited quality young men who excel in the classroom and the community. Our entire campus community is grateful for his efforts and I am extremely pleased that we will continue to have him serve our student-athletes in the years to come.”

“I would like to thank President (Stephen C.) Ainlay, (Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty) Therese McCarty, and Jim McLaughlin for their loyalty and commitment to the men's hockey program,” said Bennett. “I'm very honored and humbled by the new contract. I would like to express my gratitude toward assistant coaches Joe Dumais, and Jason Tapp, Joel Beal. Also, I want to acknowledge the student-athletes of the 2011-12 team as well as our outstanding support staff for their hard work in making this new contract possible. I truly enjoy the opportunity to serve this program at such a special institution.”

Bennett has served the Union program since 2005-06, when he was as an assistant coach, and was the associate head coach at Union from 2007-2011.

Union finished the season at No. 3 in the national polls, the highest ranking in program history. Bennett recorded the most wins by a Union head coach in his first season, and is the only Union coach to record 20 wins in his debut year. With 26 wins, Union matched the school single-season record set in 2010-11.

Bennett also became the first Union coach to beat a non-conference top-five team in the USCHO.com poll when the Dutchmen earned a 3-1 at No. 5 Merrimack on Dec. 17. On Nov. 27, Bennett also led Union to a 6-3 win over No. 11 Michigan in the team’s first ever trip to Yost Arena.

Under Coach Bennett, Union had just as much success off the ice as Troy Grosenick was named the 2012 ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large All-District Team. At the completion of the winter term, sixteen student-athletes were eligible for the conference’s all-academic team.

The Dutchmen will open their season at home on Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m., when they take on Merrimack at Messa Rink.

The preceding information was provided by Eric McDowell, Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Information for Union College.