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O’Handley named USHL Coach of the Year

By Jim Nelson

WATERLOO, Iowa — Following a season filled with unparalleled accomplishments, P.K. O’Handley was named the United States Hockey League’s 2013-14 Coach of the Year on a vote of USHL coaches and general managers.

The winter campaign included a regular season championship, franchise records for victories and winning streaks, and notable career milestones for the coaching veteran.

This is the third time during O’Handley’s 12 seasons with the Waterloo Black Hawks that he has been recognized as the league’s Coach of the Year.

"The great group of players — who did everything that was asked of them — is really what made this amazing year so special," O’Handley said. "It is humbling when your peers choose you for something like this award, and I am proud to share it with the players, with Shane Fukushima, Scott Pavelski, Todd Klein, and our entire organization."

On Jan. 18th, O’Handley achieved a new level of USHL coaching success.

A 2-1 win against the National Team Development Program Under-18 squad was O’Handley’s 530th in 19 seasons leading either the Hawks or the North Iowa Huskies. The victory moved him past former Omaha Lancers Head Coach Mike Hastings for the most regular season wins in league history. O’Handley’s 400th regular season win with the Black Hawks came weeks later, 3-2, against the Des Moines Buccaneers, on March 8th.

O’Handley’s 2013-14 Black Hawks claimed the Anderson Cup as the top team during the regular season, setting a franchise record with 44 wins. Waterloo had earned the trophy on one prior occasion (2006-07) during the franchise’s junior era, also under O’Handley’s guidance. Sixteen of the club’s victories last season were accumulated during a franchise-record streak from December 13th through Feb. 7th.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the Black Hawks participated in the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year, reaching the Clark Cup finals for the fifth time in the past eleven seasons.

In 2013-14, three of O’Handley’s former Black Hawks made their NHL debuts — Chad Billins, Patrick Wey, and Eriah Hayes.

The winter also foreshadowed future accomplishments by Waterloo skaters at higher levels of the game; 23 members of the current squad — another franchise record — had made NCAA Division I college commitments by the end of the season.

Prior Coach of the Year recognition for O’Handley was conferred in the 2006-07 and 2002-03 seasons. He was the league’s General Manager of the Year in 2011-12 and 2002-03.

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