Northeastern’s Jim Madigan ranks among University hockey’s best behind the bench

“XX’s and OO’s are very important and you need to put players in a position to be successful,” Jim Madigan said. “But it’s about creating a culture of trust, caring and relationships. “

Jim Madigan began his love of hockey playing for MacDonald Park in his youth; his love of the game has led to a career in hockey that today sees him entering his tenth campaign as the head coach of the highly successful Northeastern University Huskies. During his time as the Boston based team’s bench boss, Madigan has guided the Huskies to back-to-back-to-back Beanpot championships, two Hockey East titles, three NCAA appearances, the first Hobey Baker Award winner and Mike Richter Award winner in Huskies’ history, and seen 17 of his players drafted by NHL teams. On his style and philosophy of coaching, “XX’s and OO’s are very important and you need to put players in a position to be successful,” Jim Madigan said. “But it’s about creating a culture of trust, caring and relationships. We want them to know when we push it’s because we care. We want to be known as a development program and are happy for those who go on to play at a higher level. We are also happy for the players who go on to graduate school or careers where they become leaders in their community.”

The former NDG Maroon and Loyola High School Warrior attended Northeastern where following his playing days he began his now 34 year career in hockey behind the bench and as a scout. Madigan cut his teeth as an assistant coach with the University of Vermont Catamounts under Mike Gilligan for a season then returned to Northeastern as an assistant coach for a seven season stint. “I’ve always considered myself to be a student of the game and had a passion for hockey,” Madigan said. “I grew up in Montreal and Toronto, two hockey hotbeds and came from a hockey family. I knew my playing days (at Northeastern) were going to end and I could continue to play at a minor level but I had two great coaches in Fernie Flaman and Don McKenney and that made my decision an easy one to pursue coaching.”

Great hockey minds such as notable NHL executives Ray Shero, Don Maloney, Chuck Fletcher and Mike Milbury to mention merely a few, have also played a part in molding Madigan’s mentoring skills. In 1993, Madigan stepped away from coaching as he began 18 years as a professional scout. There were 13years with the New York Islanders and then for five years with the Pittsburgh Penguins where he earned a Stanley Cup with the 2009 Penguins. Madigan was appointed as head coach of the Huskies in the summer of 2011where to date he has posted a record of 165-130-36 good for a win percentage of .553. Madigan feels his career path began all the way back in youth hockey starting at MacDonald Park. “I had two great coaches in atom and mosquito with Jack Guard and Jimmy Campbell” Madigan said. “Jack Guard gave me a good foundation in skills like using the boards and Jimmy Campbell taught me about hard work and discipline.” With the arrival of AA hockey, Madigan notes the important contribution by Joe Canale who went on to coach in all three of the Canadian junior hockey leagues as well as win a world championship as an assistant and head coach of the Junior National team. At Loyola Madigan benefitted from the tutelage of legendary coach and hockey director Ed Meagher. “Claude Rioux and Jim Donnelly were great coaches too,” he noted. “At Loyola I would play on a line with Tom Fergus and then play with the Maroons and have Gord Donnelly on my line. I got to play with two future NHL players, which was amazing.” For now with COVID-19, the season is in neutral but the Huskies hit the ice of Matthews Arena with purpose. “We don’t know how or when but there will be a season,” he said. “What we can control is to come to the rink each day and work our rear ends off to be the best we can be when the puck does drop.”

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