We are continuously #MassProud of each and every one of our current and former Massachusetts Hockey members successes – no matter the level. On Monday night a few of those Mass Hockey members reached the pinnacle of success with a Game 6 Stanley Cup clinching victory for the Pittsburg Penguins.
Congrats to our Cup clinchers and contenders. We look forward to seeing hockey’s holy grail this summer.
Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh Penguins coach, Marshfield/Duxbury
A graduate and player at Boston College High School, Sullivan stayed within Massachusetts’ borders to play collegiately at Boston University from 1986-1990. He helped BU win the Beanpot Tournament with a game-winning goal in 1989.
The New York Rangers drafted Sullivan with the 69th overall pick in the 1987 Entry Draft. Opting to stay at BU through his senior season, Sullivan still enjoyed 11 years in the NHL (San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes) where he amassed 136 points (54 goals, 82 assists) in 709 games.
Sullivan became head coach of the Bruins in 2003, leading Boston to a 41-19-15 record but first-round elimination in the Cup playoffs. He remained as the bench boss for the 2005-06 season but was dismissed after the year was over.
Sullivan served as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He took over head coaching duties of the Penguins in December of 2015. He is the first American-born coach to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Conor Sheary, Pittsburgh Penguins, Winchester
Sheary played for Cushing Academy before playing for four years at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Sheary excelled his senior season with the Minutemen, playing in all 34 games and leading the team in points (28) including nine goals and a team-best 19 assists.
The forward was undrafted following UMass but made his professional debut with the Pens AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton toward the end of the 2013-14 season, producing 11 points in 15 games. He made his NHL debut on December 15, 2015 and has played a total of 105 NHL games, notching 30 goals and 33 assists in the process.
Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators coach, Franklin
When Laviolette squared off against Sullivan in the Cup Finals, it became the first time in NHL history that two American head coaches were in the final showdown.
Laviolette attended Franklin High School and played college hockey at NCAA Division II Westfield State College where he finished his collegiate career with 43 goals and 44 assists.
He spent 10 years in the minors and played 12 games in the NHL with the Rangers. Laviolette was also a member of Team USA during the 1988 and 1998 Winter Olympic Games.
His NHL coaching career began with the New York Islanders in 2001 and since then he has been at the helm with four different NHL teams including the Carolina Hurricanes (2003-09), Philadelphia Flyers (2009-14), Nashville (2014-present). Laviolette is the fourth coach in NHL history to lead three different teams to the Cup Finals.