Blaise MacDonald, who led Colby to a NESCAC title and the NCAA Frozen Four in the 2017-18 season, returns for his seventh year as the Jack Kelley Head Coach for Colby Men's Hockey in the 2018-19 academic year after earning the American Hockey Coaches Association National Coach of the Year honor after last season.
MacDonald has helped the Mules make the NESCAC playoffs in five of his first six seasons. Colby finished second in the league regular season standings in the 2016-17 season. That set the stage for the Mules winning the conference title with victories over Amherst, Wesleyan, and Trinity. Colby then beat University of New England and Geneseo to reach the national semifinals.
Besides his national coaching honor, MacDonald was the New England Division III Co-Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season.
MacDonald is the former head coach of Niagara University and University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He helped Boston University to a national championship at the NCAA Frozen Four in 1995 as the associate head coach. MacDonald, a 1985 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, led RIT to NCAA Division II titles in 1983 and 1985.
The Billerica, Mass., native was recruited by Colby as a high school student-athlete, but had never been on campus until his job interview.
MacDonald is the 18th head coach in program history since men's hockey was started at Colby in the 1922-23 academic year.
MacDonald was an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts two years ago. He was at UMass-Lowell as head coach for 10 seasons and had three 20-win seasons and a 19-win year. MacDonald helped the River Hawks to the Hockey East Tournament semifinals in 2002 and 2009 and an appearance in the championship game in 2009.
MacDonald won 150 games during his time at UMass-Lowell. The River Hawks were ranked as high as third in the country during 2009-10 and were third in the Hockey East, the highest finish in the conference since 1995-96.
MacDonald won 20 games or more during his first season with the River Hawks in 2001-02 (22-13-3), again in 2004-05 (20-12-4), and in 2008-09 (20-16-2). UMass-Lowell reached the Hockey East final for just the second time in school history in 2008-09.
Before his time at UML, MacDonald founded the ice hockey program as Niagara’s first head coach during the 1996-97 season. He led the Purple Eagles to a 16-9-2 record in their debut season with an all first-year team and was named the ECAC West Co-Coach of the Year. Niagara played at the NCAA Division III level for the first two years and then moved to Division I.
MacDonald had a 91-58-17 record at Niagara in five seasons, including a 30-8-4 mark in the 1999-2000 season. He led the Purple Eagles to the NCAA quarterfinal round, was named College Hockey America’s Coach of the Year, and was voted runner-up for the Spencer Penrose Award as National Coach of the Year.
MacDonald served as an assistant coach and later as recruiting coordinator and associate head coach at Boston University from 1990-96. He also had assistant coach stints at Dartmouth College (1985-87), Princeton University (1987-88), and UMass-Lowell (1988-90).
Besides the national title in 1995, MacDonald helped Boston University to a 144-42-11 record and five appearances in the NCAA Frozen Four. The Terriers also won three Hockey East tournament and regular season championships during that time. MacDonald recruited and coached 23 NHL players and 17 All-Americans during his stint with BU.
MacDonald returns to Division III hockey for the first time since the first two years at Niagara. All of his assistant coaching stays also came at the Division I level.
MacDonald was an All-American defensemen and was inducted into the RIT Hall of Fame in 1991. At the time of his graduation, he held RIT records for career assists (106) and points (119) by a defensemen.
MacDonald and his wife, Carol, are the parents of four children – sons Cam, Joe, and Jacob, and daughter Carly. Cam graduated from Colby in 2018 and was a star player for the Mules. Joe will be a sophomore at Colby in the 2018-19 academic year and plays goalie.