Men’s Hockey: Albie O’Connell out as head coach

By Patrick Donnelly

BOSTON — Boston University announced Wednesday that Albie O’Connell will not return as men’s hockey coach.

O’Connell spent the last four seasons as head coach of the Terriers after serving the previous four as both an assistant coach for one season and an associate head coach for three seasons under David Quinn.

“This was obviously a difficult decision as Albie worked hard towards putting our team in a position to contend for championships,” athletic director Drew Marrochello said in a statement. “We recognize that he was part of several successful teams during his time as a student-athlete and coach here, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best. “

Under O’Connell, BU skated to a 58-49-16 record. In 2021-22, O’Connell and the Terriers went 19-13-3, winning the program’s 31st Beanpot title before eventually falling to UConn in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

“We have very high expectations for our men’s ice hockey program and we are determined to have our team compete at the highest level of college hockey,” Marrochello said. “After the conclusion of our regular year-end assessment, we believe that a new direction is needed for our program to achieve our goals.”

Along with the Beanpot, O’Connell helped take the Terriers to the NCAA tournament in 2021, where they lost to St. Cloud State in the Northeast Regional semifinal, as well as another Beanpot title game in 2020, falling short to Northeastern University in double overtime.

During his time with Quinn, BU captured one Beanpot, was runner-up in the 2015 national championship game, made it to the NCAA tournament four straight seasons, won two Hockey East championships in 2015 and 2018, and claimed two regular season titles in 2015 and 2017.

Players to have come through the program while O’Connell was a coach include: 2015 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Jack Eichel, All-Americans Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk and Danny O’Regan, U.S. Olympian Jordan Greenway, 2017 NCAA rookie of the year Clayton Keller, 2019 rookie of the year Joel Farabee, as well as other current NHLers Dante Fabbro, Jake Oettinger and Trevor Zegras.

Current Nashville Predators prospect David Farrance was a two-time first-team All-American in 2020 and 2021 with O’Connell as head coach, and was a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker in 2020 and 2021.

Before returning to BU as a coach, O’Connell was an assistant coach at Colby College (2003-04), Niagara University (2004-06), Holy Cross (2006-07), Merrimack (2007-08), Northeastern (2008-11) and Harvard (2011-14).

As a player on Comm. Ave., O’Connell totaled 42 goals and 66 assists for 108 points in 149 games over four seasons, skating for legendary head coach Jack Parker. As a senior in 1998-99, the Watertown, Mass. native captained BU, putting up 9-30–39 in 36 games. He won four Beanpots as a player, one Hockey East tournament championship, three conference regular season titles,  and made it three NCAA tournaments, which included two Frozen Fours in 1996 and 1997, falling in the 1997 national championship.

O’Connell was selected in the fifth round (116th overall) by the New York Islanders in the 1994 NHL Draft. He went on to have 54 goals and 78 assists for 132 points in 127 professional games over three seasons between the Pensacola Ice Pilots (East Coast Hockey League), the Basingstoke Bisons (British National League), the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (ECHL) and the Cardiff Devils (BNL) from 1999 to 2002.