AMESBURY, Mass. - Eight Hockey East Association alumni begin competition in the Stanley Cup Final tonight as the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning square off for the NHL’s top prize. The league is set to claim at least one Stanley Cup champion for the 12th year in a row as four alumni representing four different universities remain in contention. A full list of the eight players and staff can be found below.
The Colorado Avalanche boast three of the four players, led by superstar defenseman Cale Makar (Massachusetts, 2017-19), forward Alex Newhook (Boston College, 2019-21), and trade deadline-addition Josh Manson (Northeastern, 2011-14). They are joined by Development Coach Brett Clark (Maine, 1995-96) Scout Neil Shea (Boston College, 1982-86).
Tampa Bay seeks its third consecutive Stanley Cup after Vermont alumnus Ross Colton (2016-18) scored the series-clinching goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which marked the 11th-straight season a former Hockey East player has lifted the Cup. The Lightning also boast Pro Scout Stephen Gionta (Boston College, 2002-06) and Amateur Scout Brian Putnam (New Hampshire, 1993-97).
Hockey East was once again the most well-represented college hockey conference in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with 102 league alumni entering the playoffs in 2022. The alumni included 42 active players and 60 staff and front office members, with at least one representative from 12 different institutions.
Hockey East has more front office and coaching staff representatives than any other conference in this year’s playoffs, while the 42 active players are the most alumni of any college league. Of the more than 120 NCAA alumni on NHL playoff rosters, Hockey East accounts for over one-third of those players.
Fourteen of the 16 clubs that qualified for the playoffs had at least one Hockey East alumni on their roster, and all 16 playoff teams had at least one Hockey East alumni on the coaching staff or front office.
The 42 active players represent 10 different institutions, with Boston College and Massachusetts boasting a league-leading nine representatives each. Boston University claims seven alumni, while New Hampshire sits at fourth-most with four former players entering the playoffs. Maine, Northeastern, and Providence have three products each and UMass Lowell and Vermont each claim one former player. Two Notre Dame alumni also competed in Hockey East.
Among NHL playoff teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins hold the title for the most Hockey East alumni on their roster, with seven players hailing from five different programs. The New York Rangers have the second-most with five former league players on their playoff roster, while the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers each claim four Hockey East alumni on their playoff squads. The 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins hold the record for the Stanley Cup Champion with the most Hockey East alumni, as seven developed players raised the Cup that season.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs began after a historic 2021-22 season for Hockey East alumni in the NHL. In total, 109 Hockey East alumni appeared in at least one NHL game, representing nearly one-third of the 347 NCAA alumni to play in the NHL last season. All 11 current men’s member institutions had at least one former player represented. In addition, all 32 NHL teams had at least one Hockey East product in the lineup at some point during the regular season. Hockey East claimed six 2022 NHL All-Stars, and boasts over 100 NHL players for the second year in a row.
Last season, current Tampa Bay Lightning and former Vermont forward Ross Colton scored the series-clinching goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals for Tampa Bay, which marked the 11th-straight season a former Hockey East player has lifted the Cup. Colton is a former All-Hockey East honorable mention, and he is a part of a Tampa team looking for their third straight title.
In all, 40 NCAA schools had alumni see action for the 16 playoff teams during the regular season. In addition to the 126 NCAA alumni listed on NHL playoff rosters, half of the 16 qualifying teams were assembled by general managers who played college hockey: Boston’s Don Sweeney (Harvard), Carolina’s Don Waddell (Northern Michigan), Florida’s Bill Zito (Yale), Los Angeles’ Rob Blake (Bowling Green), Minnesota’s Bill Guerin (Boston College), Nashville’s David Poile (Northeastern), New York’s Chris Drury (Boston University) and Washington’s Brian MacLellan (Bowling Green).
Four of the qualifying teams are coached by ex-NCAA standouts: Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour (Michigan State), Edmonton’s Jay Woodcroft (Alabama-Huntsville, brother of Vermont Head Coach Todd Woodcroft), Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan (Boston University) and Washington’s Peter Laviolette (Westfield State).
- Players: Cale Makar (Massachusetts, 2017-19), Alex Newhook (Boston College, 2019-21), Josh Manson (Northeastern, 2011-14)
- Development Coach Brett Clark (Maine, 1995-96)
- Scout Neil Shea (Boston College, 1982-86)
Tampa Bay Lightning
- Players: Ross Colton (Vermont, 2016-18)
- Pro Scout Stephen Gionta (Boston College, 2002-06)
- Amateur Scout Brian Putnam (New Hampshire, 1993-97)