Ice Hockey

Legendary Hockey Coach Jack Canniff Passes Over Weekend

Jack Canniff

Jack Canniff

Aug. 31, 2009

AMHERST, Mass. - Legendary UMass hockey head coach Jack Canniff passed away early this past Saturday morning after a long battle with several health issues. Coach Canniff led UMass to the 1972 ECAC Division II National Title and was enshrined in the UMass Hall of Fame in 2008.

Coach Canniff passed peacefully on Saturday morning with his family by his side. As per Coach Canniff's wishes, there will not be a wake and a funeral, but instead, he will be cremated and his ashes spread at sea.

Coach Canniff's family is planning a celebration of his life and more details will be shared when they are ready. They are hoping that many of Jack's friends, teammates, and former players can attend and bring their stories to share.

If fans would like to share their condolences with Jack's family, please send a card or flowers to:

The Canniff Family
107 Granite Road
Rockport, MA 01966

Coach Canniff served as the UMass hockey coach from 1967-79, leading UMass to its only conference championship in program history, as the then-Redmen won the ECAC Division II title in 1972. A fixture on the bench, Canniff was UMass' all-time leader in career victories with 120 until current head coach Don "Toot" Cahoon passed him this past season.

"Coach Canniff has had a long-standing reputation in both high school and college hockey throughout Massachusetts for many decades," said Cahoon. "As a member of a great Boston College team and throughout his coaching career at Gloucester high school to his time here at UMass he was always considered a stong-minded, hard-nosed coach whose players all loved playing for."

Canniff was named the ECAC Coach of the Year in 1972 as he led the squad to a 19-7-0 overall record. UMass captured the ECAC crown with an 8-1 win over Buffalo on March 11, 1972 in Amherst. The native of Arlington, Mass., ranks second all-time in career win percentage among all hockey coaches and second among all coaches in career playoff appearances. He developed three All-Americans, all from the 1972 team (P.J. Flaherty, Pat Keenan and Brian Sullivan). Canniff graduated from Boston College in 1954.




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