Springfield, MA, February 14, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- When American International College's hockey team beat Army over the weekend, it was their third straight victory. But, more than that, it marked the 300th win for Coach Gary Wright.
“This present win total is certainly a nice milestone, but it’s probably a bigger indicator of longevity than achievement. I’ve been most fortunate to have had the opportunity to make AIC my workplace for all these years, and to coach at the college level. And, it’s been a privilege throughout dealing with my past and present players, coaching colleagues and others, who make college hockey a special experience.”
Wright, who came to AIC in 1984 after a stint as the assistant coach at the University of Maine, has had plenty of on-ice success, including a conference championship in 1990 when the squad competed at the Division II level. He has also graduated several players into the ranks of professional hockey, including one who reached the NHL (Kevin Wortman) and one who played for Italy in the Olympics (Vezio Sacritini).
Indeed, former players and assistants have moved on to numerous posts all around college and junior hockey. The impact is felt most keenly at Army, as their assistants Eric Lang and Trevor Large both coached at AIC under Wright, and Lang played at the college as an undergraduate, graduating in 1998.
“Coach Wright has been one of the most influential people in my life. He has taught not only me, but all of his former players so many things beyond the scope of hockey. Things that matter like discipline, accountability and integrity are all staples of AIC hockey. I am extremely proud to have played for and coached with Coach Wright,” Lang said.
However, as well as Wright has done between the boards, it is the success off the ice that sets Wright apart in the eyes of those around him, including AIC President Vincent Maniaci.
“Gary’s impact on students and the institution extends far beyond the realm of hockey and his coaching responsibilities,” Maniaci said. “[He] imparts to his players values and the importance of a strong work ethic that carries over into the classroom as well as their personal lives. This is evidenced by [his] stellar graduation rates and the great young people he graduates. [His] mission-centric approach to coaching has had a significant and positive impact on AIC and all the people whose lives he has touched over the years.”
While Wright acknowledges it's nice to reach 300 wins, he is more focused on the rest of the season. "The team has been playing pretty well lately, but we've got some big games coming up, including our first-ever appearance at the MassMutual Center on Feb. 22 against Holy Cross."