Head Coach Kevin Sneddon
Last season, Sneddon and the Catamounts celebrated their 50th anniversary and won 20 games for the first time in five years. UVM qualified for its sixth NCAA Tournament in school history and made the Hockey East playoffs for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. The Catamounts captured the Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup for the second straight year and the fourth time in the last six seasons, running their record in the tournament to 15-4-1 under Sneddon.
Vermont collected a trio of 2014 Hockey East All-Star honors at the annual awards banquet. Chris McCarthy became Vermont's first-ever Second Team All-Star, Michael Paliotta was tabbed an Honorable Mention All-Star, and Mario Puskarich secured the program's first Rookie of the Year Award as a league member. Puskarich was also one of three unanimous selections to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team after tying the NCAA lead with seven game-winning goals.
Two years ago, the Catamounts increased their overall and conference win total by five over the previous campaign and made their seventh playoff appearance in the last eight years. UVM also captured the Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup for the third time in the last five seasons with wins over No. 12 Union and Princeton. For the second straight season, Sneddon's team placed 14 student-athletes on the Hockey East All-Academic Team, matching its highest number since joining the league in 2005.
In 2011-12, Sneddon's recent recruiting classes played a significant role on a young team as seven of the squad's top nine scorers were underclassmen. Sneddon helped Kyle Reynolds become just the third Catamount to earn a spot on the Hockey East All-Rookie Team, as he was honored at the league's postseason awards banquet. Reynolds finished the regular season ranked among the top-30 rookie scorers in the nation with 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists.
Sneddon's 2010 recruit Connor Brickley was selected to the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team and competed at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta, Canada. He became the eighth Catamount to represent Team USA and the first in 20 years. Brickley is the second highest draft choice for the Catamounts in program history behind only U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer John LeClair, who was selected 33rd overall in the 1987 draft by the Montreal Canadiens.
In 2009-10, UVM upset Hockey East regular season champion New Hampshire in the league quarterfinals to advance to the TD Garden in Boston for the Hockey East Championships. For the first time in program history, the Catamounts earned a spot in the Hockey East Championships and NCAA Tournament in the same year. UVM also won the Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup.
Sneddon led the Catamounts to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008-09 and 2009-10, and took UVM to its second Frozen Four in school history in 2009. The Catamounts attained their highest-ever final ranking in 2008-09, finishing third in the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports Poll with a 22-12-5 record. Sneddon was named a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the top Division I coach in the country.
The 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns paved the way for Vermont to post six straight winning seasons for the first time since moving to the Division I level in 1974-75. The Catamounts won five in-season tournaments and compiled 113 victories in that six-year span, an average of nearly 19 wins per season.
In 2007-08, Sneddon was named the Bob Kullen Hockey East Coach of the Year and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year after leading the Catamounts to a 17-15-7 record and their first-ever trip to the Hockey East Championship Game in Boston. The Catamounts defeated Northeastern in the quarterfinals before upsetting national power Boston University in the semifinals.
Sneddon guided Vermont to a 18-16-5 record and a championship in the prestigious Ice Breaker Invitational in 2006-07. The Catamounts finished second in the country in scoring defense with a 2.00 goals against average and ranked third nationally on the penalty kill at 88.8-percent.
In 2005-06, the Catamounts posted a 18-14-6 record in their first year in Hockey East. Vermont established the best start to a season in school history by winning its first seven contests. The Catamounts went on to claim tournament titles in both the Nye Frontier Classic and Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup.
During the month of December that season, Vermont was ranked as high as third in the country in both national polls, giving the Catamounts their highest ranking in a decade. Vermont finished third in the nation in goals against average at 2.16 and won the Sportsmanship Award in Hockey East for the least amount of penalty minutes in conference play. In addition, captain Jaime Sifers '06 was one of seven finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, given annually to college hockey's finest citizen.
During the 2004-05 season, Sneddon led the Catamounts to their first 20-win season in eight years with a 21-14-4 overall mark, including 13 wins in ECAC play. Vermont was picked to finish 10th in the ECAC Preseason Coaches' Poll that year. Instead, the Catamounts finished fourth in the conference and were ranked as high as 10th in USCHO.com/CSTV Poll.
Vermont advanced to the ECAC Championships in Albany for the first time since 1996 after defeating Dartmouth in the ECAC Quarterfinals. The Cats were the most improved team in the country, winning 12 more games than they did the previous season. Vermont defeated the No. 1 ranked team in the country for the first time in school history with a 3-2 victory at Minnesota-Duluth in October.
A 1992 graduate of Harvard University, Sneddon is just the third coach since 1965 at Vermont. He succeeded Mike Gilligan, who stepped down in April of 2003 after 19 years behind the Catamount bench. The head coach at Union College in Schenectady, New York from 1998 to 2003, Sneddon was associated with the Union men's hockey program since 1993 when he was named an assistant under former head coach Bruce Delventhal.
He was named head coach at Union in the summer of 1998, and in 2002-03 Sneddon led the Dutchmen to their first-ever ECAC home-ice playoff series. Union qualified for the ECAC playoffs in three of Sneddon's last four years with the Dutchmen. His career record at Union was 50-99-18 in five seasons.
Sneddon's first recruiting class at Vermont produced the ECAC Rookie of the Year in goalie Joe Fallon and an ECAC All-Rookie Team member in forward Torrey Mitchell.
Fallon, a sixth round pick in the 2005 NHL draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, finished his career ranked first or second in every major goaltending category at UVM. His 20 career shutouts rank second all-time in NCAA history and his 2.05 career goals against average is 11th best all-time in Division I. Fallon holds a total of 11 career, single-season, and freshman records at Vermont. Fallon signed an NHL contract with Chicago in April of 2008.
Mitchell, a San Jose Sharks 2004 NHL draft choice, completed his career with 35 goals and 70 assists for 105 points. He signed an NHL contract with San Jose in March of 2007 and was one of the NHL's top rookies in 2007-08. Mitchell has played in nearly 400 career NHL games and is currently a member of the Buffalo Sabres.
In 2008-09, Viktor Stålberg became the fourth Catamount in program history to be named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top college hockey player in the country. Stålberg was also named a First Team NCAA All-American and signed a NHL contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in April of 2009. He was the first UVM player to receive Hockey East First Team All-Star honors and ranked top-15 nationally in scoring with 46 points in his final season.
The following year, Brayden Irwin became the sixth Catamount that has played for Sneddon in as many years to sign an NHL contract. Irwin also signed a two-year deal with the Maple Leafs in March of 2010 and spent the 2010-11 season with the AHL's Toronto Marlies. Irwin became the first Catamount to be named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team in 2007.
In November of 2013, former captain Kevan Miller '11 made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins, becoming the sixth former Catamount to skate for an NHL team last season and the 15th in program history. Miller marked Sneddon's fifth former player to suit up for an NHL franchise. In January, the defenseman signed a two-year contract extension with the Bruins through the 2015-16 season.
Two current Sneddon recruits are former NHL Draft selections in senior defensemen Michael Paliotta (2011, 3rd Round, Chicago Blackhawks) and Nick Luukko (2010, 6th Round, Philadelphia Flyers). Two of his players from the 2013-14 squad, Connor Brickley (Florida Panthers) and Chris McCarthy (New York Rangers), signed NHL entry-level contracts following the season.
The Catamounts participate in several community service events each year. Those projects include volunteering at the local Ronald McDonald House, visiting children at Fletcher Allen Health Care and residents in local nursing homes, the Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle Ball Tournament, Green Up Day, and volunteering for the Burlington Amateur Hockey Association.
Sneddon has been very involved at the conference and national level in the sport of hockey. He currently serves on the NCAA Committee and was Vice President of Convention Planning for the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) from 2003-06. Five years ago, proceeds from Vermont's "Midnight Madness" went to Hockey Coaches Care, the official charitable organization of the AHCA. He also is a member of the Executive Board for the Hockey Humanitarian Foundation.
In the collegiate ranks, he was a four-year starter at Harvard University where he helped the Crimson win the NCAA Championship in 1988-89. That season, he was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team, the NCAA All-Tournament Team, and was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL Draft. During his four years at Harvard, he was the 96th captain of the Harvard men's hockey team, and participated in the World Junior Camp and the Albany World Cup.
Sneddon suffered two season-ending injuries, and operations on his shoulder and back limited his playing time in each of his last two seasons. Before beginning his coaching career, Sneddon had a brief stint with Kings in the NHL. Back surgery cut short his career and he made the decision to become a coach shortly thereafter.
Born and raised in Burlington, Ontario, Sneddon attended Nelson High School before attending Harvard. His father, Robert, played professional hockey for the Chicago Blackhawks and the California Golden Seals. He spent much of his career playing in the AHL and IHL minor leagues.
Sneddon, his wife Toni, and daughter Gabrielle live in South Burlington.