Holy Cross Coach Legacy: The Impact of Their Leadership on the Program

Holy Cross

The sport of hockey has always held a special place in the hearts of fans, especially in North America. From the passionate chants and cheers of the crowd to the intense physicality on the ice, hockey has captured the attention and admiration of millions of fans. And at the heart of every successful hockey program, there is a strong and dedicated coach.

One such coach is the leader of the Holy Cross Crusaders Men’s Ice Hockey team, Brett Riley. With a storied family legacy in the sport, it’s no surprise that Riley has had a major impact on the Holy Cross program during his time as head coach.

From his unwavering dedication to his players, to his strategic and tactical coaching style, Riley’s leadership has elevated the Holy Cross hockey program to new heights. In this article, we will delve deeper into the impact of his leadership on the team, and how it has contributed to the success of the program.

Building a Strong Foundation

When Coach Brett Riley arrived at Holy Cross in 2018, he had a big task ahead of him. The team had just finished a disappointing season, with a record of 7-22-5, and he needed to rebuild the program from the ground up. With his family’s legacy in hockey and years of experience in coaching, Riley knew that building a strong foundation would be crucial in turning the team’s fortunes around.

One of his first actions as head coach was to instill a strong team culture, one that would foster a sense of camaraderie and unity among the players. He emphasized the values of hard work, dedication, and accountability, both on and off the ice. This focus on team unity and a strong work ethic served as the backbone of the Holy Cross program under Riley’s leadership.

Developing Players On and Off the Ice

Apart from building a strong team culture, Coach Riley also prioritized the development of his players, both as athletes and as individuals. He understood that to be successful, his players needed to constantly improve and evolve their skills. And this emphasis on development paid off, as the Holy Cross program saw a significant increase in player development under Riley’s coaching.

In his first year as head coach, Riley saw six players earn All-Atlantic Hockey honors, with two players also being named to the All-Rookie Team, an accomplishment that hadn’t been achieved by the Holy Cross program since 2012. This success continued in the next season, as Riley had nine players named to the All-Atlantic Hockey teams, while the team also saw its first-ever player selected in the NHL Draft.

But Riley’s focus on player development extends beyond the ice. He emphasizes the importance of academic excellence, as evidenced by the team’s consistently high GPA and multiple Academic All-Conference recognitions. Riley wants his players to not only excel on the ice, but also in the classroom and in their personal lives.

Strategic and Tactical Coaching

While building a strong culture and developing players are crucial elements of a coach’s role, it ultimately boils down to their strategy and tactics on the ice. With his deep understanding of the game and years of coaching experience, Riley has brought a strategic and dynamic approach to the Holy Cross program.

One of his notable strengths is his ability to adapt to different playing styles and adjust his game plan accordingly. This has led to a more unpredictable and dangerous Holy Cross team, catching their opponents off guard and ultimately leading to more wins.

Riley is also known for his meticulous preparation, studying game footage and analyzing opponents’ tendencies to come up with a game plan that gives the Crusaders the best chance of success. As a result, the Holy Cross program has seen an increase in their scoring output, a testament to Riley’s strategic and tactical coaching.

A Lasting Legacy

Under Coach Brett Riley’s leadership, the Holy Cross hockey program has undergone a remarkable transformation. In just a few short years, he has rebuilt the team’s culture, developed players on and off the ice, and brought a strategic and dynamic approach to coaching.

But perhaps the most notable impact of his leadership is the sense of pride and passion that he has instilled in the program. With the strong foundation he has built, and the continued success of the team, it’s clear that Riley’s legacy at Holy Cross is one that will be remembered for years to come.


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