After leading the Canisius College hockey team to its most successful season in school history, Dave Smith has signed a contract extension that will keep him as head coach of the program through the 2016-17 season, announced by Director of Athletics Bill Maher on Wednesday.
Smith is set to enter his ninth season in charge of the Golden Griffin program after leading Canisius to its first conference championship during the 2012-13 campaign.
“Dave has done a tremendous job in building Canisius into a championship level program in the Atlantic Hockey Association, which was evident with the team’s run to the program’s first conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 2013,” Maher said. “He continues to recruit outstanding student-athletes who represent what is best about Canisius, both on and off the ice. This past season was another positive step for Canisius College hockey and we are thrilled that Dave will lead the program as we continue building on last season’s success.”
Smith has continued to lead the Golden Griffin program to new heights as head coach. During the 2012-13 campaign, Canisius won its first Atlantic Hockey title with a 7-2 win over Mercyhurst, advancing to the NCAA East Regional Semifinal. The Griffs also finished the season ranked 19th in the final USCHO.com Division I poll, the program’s highest placement in the national rankings.
Success off the ice has become just as common under Smith’s watch. The hockey team currently owns a cumulative GPA of 3.42 – the highest of any team at Canisius – and three student-athletes have been honored as Atlantic Hockey Top Scholar Athlete in the last seven seasons.
In addition, Canisius received national attention after the success of 2011 graduate Cory Conacher. The 2009-10 Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year, Conacher became the first Griff to play in the National Hockey League when he totaled 29 points, 11 goals and 18 assists in 47 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators this past season.
Overall, 19 Griffs have signed professional contracts after playing under Smith at Canisius, highlighted by Conacher and defender Carl Hudson inking NHL deals. Hudson became the first Griff to join an NHL franchise when he signed with the Florida Panthers after graduating in 2010.
“Susan and I are thrilled and very thankful for the opportunity to continue to play a role at Canisius College.” Smith said. “We are already looking forward to next season and building on the success of our program. I am very grateful to the Canisius community because of the commitment it has shown to developing leaders both on and off the ice. President Hurley, Bill Maher and John Maddock have been great leaders for Griffs hockey and it is a really exciting time for our program.”
Before joining Canisius, Smith spent three seasons as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Mercyhurst College, helping the Lakers to two league titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances. He has also served stints as an assistant coach at both Bowling Green and Miami.
Smith graduated from Ohio State in 1992 with a degree in journalism/public relations and then spent the next six years playing professionally. Smith and his wife, Susan, have two daughters, Ellis and Kylie, and reside in Amherst, N.Y.