The American Hockey Coaches Association has announced its major award winners for the 2019-20 season. Most of the honorees will receive their awards during the 2020 AHCA Convention in Naples, FL, where men’s and women’s hockey are celebrated at separate dinner on Wednesday, April 22 and Friday, April 24, respectively. (See list of previous AHCA Award Winners.)
JOHN MARIUCCI AWARD
John Mariucci, the former coach of the University of Minnesota, was not only an outstanding college coach, but also a driving force behind the growth of hockey in the United States. In 1987, the AHCA created this award to honor a secondary school coach who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and enthusiasm of the “Godfather of U.S. Hockey,” John Mariucci. 2020 Recipient: Andy Weidenbach, Cranbrook Kingswood School.
Andy Weidenbach enjoyed a successful 26-year career as head coach at the Cranbrook-Kingswood School in Michigan, forging a career mark of 504-187-47 (.715). In that time, Weidenbach led Cranbrook to 10 state championships before retiring in March of 2019.
As successful as he was in winning games, Weidenbach was also a leader off the ice, helping create and serve the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League for 20 years. As the only president the group has known, Weidenbach took the lead in growing high school hockey and educating coaches in Michigan. He quickly earned a reputation as one who was in the game to help others as well as succeed with his own program. Among his accomplishments were creating the first pre-season high school league in the state as well as the first girls high school league.
Said rival coach Todd Johnson of Catholic Central, “Guys like Andy help each other out. When they are in competition, they want to beat each other. But outside the competition, it is like, ‘What can we do to help each other become better?’”
Weidenbach’s coaching career spanned 41 years, starting at the bantam level, moving through the OHL and then the high school career. Prior to Cranbrook, Weidenbach coached in the OHL and the NAHL. With Detroit Compuware, he went 190-37-18 andearned NAJHL Coach of the Year honors. He also served as a skills coach for the Detroit Red Wings Player Development Rookie Camp from 2008-2012. Weidenbach also served as Arena Manager in both his Cranbrook and Compuware stops. He has also owned an operated a dynamic skating school for many years.
Added Coach Johnson, “Andy coached his teams the right way. He was always willing to listen to other parties involved in the game. That was huge with his reputation in working with Michigan High School Hockey.