Saint Alumni Create NHL Connections
While St. Lawrence University's men's hockey program has had its share of former players who have gone on to play professionally in the National Hockey League with 28 playing for NHL teams since Gary Croteau and Kevin O'Shea became the first to appear in NHL uniforms in the early 1970s, the major impact of former Saints has been in management or coaching roles, including a number of individuals who have forged Stanley Cup Championship teams.
A Hockey Hall of Fame inductee in 1995, Bill Torrey '57 began a long career in NHL management as vice president of the Oakland Seals, moving from there to the expansion New York Islanders as general manager in 1972. He built a team through the draft and the Islanders won the Stanley Cup in their eighth season in 1980. His teams won four straight Stanley Cups and was team president and chairman of the board. He moved from the Islanders to become president of the Florida Panthers and had the team in the Stanley Cup finals within three years. He serves as an alternate governor for the Panthers.
In addition to Torrey, current Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero helped build a Stanley Cup champion for the Penguins in 2009. A former Saint captain, Shero began his career as an assistant GM with the Ottawa Senators and then moved on to the Nashville Predators from 1998-2006 before becoming the general manager at Pittsburgh in 2006. Another former Saint player, Mike Keenan, hoisted the Stanley Cup as the coach of the New York Rangers in 1994, the first cup win for the Rangers since 1940. Jacques Martin, a former SLU goalie, was an assistant coach for Keenan and had head coaching positions with the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and the Florida Panthers.
Saint head coach Greg Carvel had a 15-year career as a coach in professional hockey which included Stanley Cup finals appearances with both the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks prior to returning to his alma mater for the 2011-12 season.
A number of other Saints remain active in scouting and player development roles throughout the NHL. Paul Castron is Director of Amateur Scouting for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Eric LaCroix is Director of Hockey Operations for the Colorado Avalanche, former Pheonix general manager Mike Barnett is senior advisor to the president and general manager of the New York Rangers while former Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers general manager Randy Sexton is part of the player development staff in Pittsburgh. Former Saints Mark Leach and Paul Gallagher are amateur scouts for the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers respectively and Mark Bonneau, a teammate of Shero and Castron in the early 1980s is a vice president for the Ottawa Senators.
The St. Lawrence NHL connections also include a pair of former assistant coaches in Pierre McGuire and Jay Heinbuck. McGuire, a Saint assistant from 1988-90 is a former NHL head coach who is now a commentator on national hockey broadcasts and a columnist for Sports Illustrated while Heinbuck, who spent ten years as Saint assistant from 1992-2002 is the director of amateur scouting for the Penguins