With a rich history dating back to 1913, Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York has long been known for its academic excellence. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the university’s hockey program began to gain widespread recognition. And at the forefront of this transformation was the arrival of a new head coach, George Roll.
Roll’s impact on the program was immediate. Under his leadership, Clarkson went on to win multiple NCAA championships and produce numerous professional players. But it wasn’t just about winning games. Roll instilled a culture of hard work, dedication, and sportsmanship that became the foundation of the Clarkson coach legacy. And this legacy continues to shape the future of minor hockey, not only in the United States but around the world.
Building a Successful Program
When Roll arrived at Clarkson in 1982, the hockey program was struggling. The team hadn’t had a winning season in over a decade, and it was competing in Division II of NCAA hockey. But with a clear vision and a relentless work ethic, Roll turned things around.
He focused on recruiting not only talented players but also those who shared his values and work ethic. Through his innovative training methods, he instilled discipline and determination in his players. He also emphasized the importance of teamwork and chemistry, creating a tight-knit unit on the ice.
Roll’s efforts paid off, and in just three years, the team won its first Division II NCAA championship. This was just the beginning of a remarkable run of success that would last for over a decade.
Impact on the Players
Aside from producing winning teams, George Roll’s leadership had a significant impact on the players who came through the Clarkson hockey program. Many credit him for their success both on and off the ice.
Former Clarkson player and current Chicago Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said, His legacy is one that won a lot of games and made a lot of players better. That’s what he did for me.
Roll’s methods not only focused on developing players’ physical skills but also their mental toughness and character. By holding his players to high standards and pushing them to be the best version of themselves, Roll prepared them for the challenges they would face in their future careers.
Expanding the Legacy
After Roll’s retirement in 2005, Clarkson’s hockey program went through a transitional period and saw a few different coaches at the helm. But in 2011, the university hired Casey Jones, a former player under Roll, to take over the program.
Jones brought with him the same values and principles instilled by Roll. And in just his second year as head coach, he led the team to its first NCAA championship in 20 years. Under his leadership, the team has continued to be a force in the college hockey world, consistently making it to the NCAA tournament.
Jones has also helped expand the legacy of the Clarkson coach beyond the university. He has served as a mentor to many coaches in the US and Canada, and even helped build a hockey program in his hometown in Canada.
Continuing Impact on Minor Hockey
The influence of the Clarkson coach legacy can also be seen in the minor hockey world. For years, many youth and amateur players have flocked to Potsdam, New York, for training camps and clinics hosted by Clarkson coaches and players.
But the impact goes beyond just on-ice training. The values and principles instilled by Roll and continued by Jones have been passed down to future generations of players and coaches. The passion for hockey, hard work, and sportsmanship continues to be a cornerstone of the Clarkson coach legacy, and it has had a ripple effect on the development of young players across the country and around the world.
It can be easy to get caught up in the latest trends and developments in the sports industry. But the Clarkson coach legacy serves as a reminder of the timeless principles and values that are at the core of success in any sport. Through their leadership, George Roll and Casey Jones have not only built winning hockey programs, but they have also shaped the future of minor hockey in the United States and beyond.