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How Scott Borek Changed Merrimack Ice Hockey

By: Zach Bookman

The 2022-23 campaign marks the fifth season of Scott Borek’s tenure as the head coach of the Merrimack College men’s ice hockey program, making him the eighth person to hold this position in the program’s history. What a year it was for Scott and the team.

But why Hire Scott Borek?

Borek had served as an associate head coach in Hockey East for 16 years before coming to Merrimack College. During that time, his teams had qualified for the NCAA Tournament 13 times, winning five regular-season championships and one tournament championship in Hockey East. Borek’s recruiting efforts resulted in the selection of 12 All-Americans, 16 NHL players, and 18 Hockey East All-Conference honorees

As the associate head coach at Providence since 2015, Borek oversaw recruitment, team defense, and the penalty kill. During his tenure, Providence’s defense was ranked second in Hockey East and seventh nationally.

While his penalty kill was also ranked second in the league and sixth nationally. Providence advanced to the NCAA Tournament in all three seasons with Borek on the coaching staff.

Borek had worked as the associate head coach at the University of New Hampshire for 13 seasons before joining Providence. In that role, he served as the recruiting coordinator while overseeing the team’s forwards and power play units.

Under his guidance, the Wildcats earned nine NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the 2003 Frozen Four NCAA Championship game, as well as one Hockey East Tournament title and four Hockey East Tournament Championship game appearances.

Before becoming a member of Dick Umile’s staff at UNH, Borek had previously served as head coach at New England College during the 2001-02 season. Additionally, he was the head coach at Lake Superior State for five seasons from 1996-01, following a one-year term as Associate Head Coach under current Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson.

During his tenure as the head coach of the Lakers, Borek received the CCHA Coach of the Year award in 2000 and was also a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, which is awarded to the Division I National Coach of the Year. This was prior to his time at Lake Superior State.

It’s safe to say that Coach Scott Borek has a great resume for the job.

 And why Merrimack?

With 33 years of collegiate coaching experience, including eight as a head coach, Borek came to North Andover and introduced a bold vision for the Merrimack College men’s ice hockey program. “Mission Merrimack” is the new brand mantra that encompasses a 24-hour, 365-day commitment to excellence, aimed at revamping the program’s recruiting philosophy and engaging vital supporters such as alumni and fans.

2022-2023 Merrimack Warriors

Merrimack had one of the best seasons in program history finishing with a record of 23-14-1. The team finished 2nd in Hockey East regular season standings with 50 points. By doing that it got them a home playoff game against Boston College Eagles, in which the Warriors won in double overtime 1-0.

That punched their ticket to the T.D Garden to play in the hockey east semifinals. Borek’s Warriors faced Umass Lowell and the game was just as crazy as the Boston College tilt. Matt Copponi ends the game in double overtime and sends the Warriors to the Hockey East finals.

Boston University was the Warriors team the face in the Hockey East Finals. A sold out T.D Garden for the championship game and the game lived up to the hype. Unfortunately Boston University wins the game two minutes into overtime 3-2.

The season didn’t end there… Merrimack got a bid to the national tournament as a 4 seed and got matched up against Quinnipiac in Bridgeport, CT. 

A memorable Merrimack College men’s hockey season ended on Friday March 24th in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Quinnipiac defeated the Warriors 5-0.

I asked Coach about the season as a whole and his response was, “The exceptional group of young men that comprised our team truly earned the successful year we had. I take great pride in the collective effort and accomplishments we achieved together. It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that I won’t have the opportunity to continue coaching these individuals. Throughout my 22-year career, I’ve never encountered a team quite like this one. Our shared experiences undoubtedly played a role, but it’s mostly a testament to the outstanding character and qualities of these young men. I am incredibly grateful to have had them as a part of my life and consider them to be a part of my family.”

My last question to him was tell me about what’s next for this problem? Coach Scott answered, “I am very optimistic about the future of our program and look forward to taking the necessary steps at the appropriate time to ensure we have the opportunity to return to the NCAA Tournament. It is a truly exceptional experience, and one should always cherish the opportunity to participate in such an event.”

A team built for many years to come by the hands of Coach Scott Borek.

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