Union gets Cleary Cup; Bennett could get contract extension
Union coach Rick Bennett received the Cleary Cup from his athletic director, Jim McLaughlin, Tuesday night.
That may not be the the only thing McLaughlin gives to Bennett.
After Bennett received the Cup during the bi-weekly "Union Hockey Coach’s Corner LIVE from Bombers" radio show at Bomber's Burrito Bar in downtown Schenectady, I asked McLaughlin if he would consider rewarding Bennett for guiding the Dutchmen to their second straight Cleary Cup in his first season as head coach.
McLaughlin said it is possible.
"Obviously, I couldn't be more pleased with Rick Bennett has done here," McLaughlin said. "I'm going to make sure that we do the right thing and that he stays here a long time."
After six years as an assistant/associate at Union, Bennett took over as head coach of the Dutchmen last April 22 when Nate Leaman resigned to become the head coach at Providence College. All Bennett did was lead the Dutchmen to a 14-4-4 ECACH record and a first-place finish, the second straight year the team finish on top of the conference. The Dutchmen, who are the top seed in the ECACH tournament and have a first-round bye, are 20-7-7 overall and ranked seventh in the country. Union will host the best-of-three quarterfinals next weekend starting March 9.
Bennett, who is a leading candidate to win the Tim Taylor Award as ECACH coach of the year, signed a four-year deal when he was promoted. He isn't worried about a contract extension.
"That’s for a different time," Bennett said. "Honestly, we're so focused on Thursday's practice that [the contract] stuff can take care of itself. I was just honored and grateful to have a contract that I signed last April, and I’ll honor that."
To see video of the Cleary Cup presentation and interviews, click here.