Dave Smith is in his eighth season as head coach of the Canisius College hockey program and 15th season as a coach at the Division I level.
Smith has continued to raise the bar while leading the Golden Griffin program. Most recently, Smith has mentored the most successful classes in the school's history in addition to new found success on the ice. The senior classes of 2010, 2011 and 2012 - Smith's first three recruiting classes - have rewritten the program's record book, while earning a number of historic wins.
In addition, after playing for Smith at Canisius, recent Griff graduates have had unprecedented success at the professional level. Cory Conacher, a 2011 Canisius graduate, became just the fourth player in AHL history to garner Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year accolades in the same season, while lifting the Calder Cup with the Norfolk Admirals. He also became second Griff to earn a National Hockey League contract after playing for Smith, signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Most recently, Smith has continued to lead the Griffs to success on the ice. He led the team to one of its most successful campaigns in school history during the 2009-10 season, earning their most victories in nine years. Canisius also progressed to the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign. In 2010-11, the Griffs advanced in the league's tournament for the second-straight season - a first for the program - with a convincing win over rival Niagara, 6-3.
On an individual level, Conacher became the first player in the program's history to garner Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year accolades in 2010 after setting a school record with 53 points and ranking second nationally in points per game. The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award All-America First Team selection in 2011, Conacher graduated from Canisius the following year with 12 school records to his name, including career points and goals.
Conacher also joined former teammate and 2010 graduate Carl Hudson as the only two-time all-conference selections in the program's history. After finishing his collegiate career, Hudson became the first Griff to sign with a NHL team when the Canisius standout joined the Florida Panthers.
The achievements under Smith are not limited to just the past three years. In his first seven seasons leading the Golden Griffin program, he has guided numerous student-athletes to success both on and off the ice. The Griffs have collected athletic and academic honors as well as enjoying successful careers after graduation. The highlights include:
• A total of 19 Griffs have signed professional contracts after playing under Smith at Canisius, highlighted by Conacher and Hudson inking NHL deals.
• Smith has mentored three student-athletes who have earned individual postseason awards. Conacher highlights the honorees with his Player of the Year accolade, while David Kasch earned the league's Best Defensive Forward following the 2007-08 season and Dave Kostuch was named the Rookie of the Year in 2008-09.
• Four Griffs earned all-conference accolades in the past four seasons a total of six times, two more than Canisius' first 10 seasons at the Division I level combined.
• The success of the last three seasons comes on the heels of a breakthrough campaign in which Smith led the Griffs to a number of firsts. During the 2008-09 season, Canisius swept a pair of games against eventual NCAA quarterfinalist and 15th-ranked Air Force, marking the first victories for the Griffs against a nationally-ranked opponent. Canisius also earned its first wins against a CCHA and ECAC school during the season.
• Smith has also excelled on the recruiting front during his tenure at Canisius, with his first three full recruiting classes graduating in 2010, 2011 and 2012 with a combined 46 school records. Dan Morrison continued the record-breaking trend this past season, establishing the program's standard in career saves.
• In his seven seasons, 106 Griffs have earned Atlantic Hockey All-Academic accolades, including a school-record 19 following the 2011-12 campaign. In addition, Max Buetow was named the Atlantic Hockey Top Scholar Athlete in 2005-06 for owning the top GPA in the league, while Dave Cianfrini and Ryan Bohrer picked up the honor in 2009-10 and 2011-12, respectively.
Smith became the program's third head coach on April 15, 2005 after serving the previous three seasons as the associate coach and recruiting coordinator at fellow Atlantic Hockey member Mercyhurst College. Smith also spent time as an assistant coach with Bowling Green and Miami. During his tenure as an assistant coach, Smith coached or recruited:
• Two Hobey Baker Award Finalists
• Four Players of the Year
• Two Rookies of the Year
• 22 all-league award winners
• Three Terry Flanagan Award Winners for Perseverance
The Arthur, Ontario, native was also instrumental in guiding Mercyhurst to two league championships and two NCAA Division I Tournament appearances in his three seasons with the Lakers.
Smith graduated from The Ohio State University in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in journalism/public relations and was a four-year letterwinner for the Buckeyes. Smith finished his career at Ohio State with 140 points, ranking 14th all-time. He was selected as team captain as a junior and chosen as the team's MVP as a senior, while leading the Buckeyes with 41 assists and 63 points.
After graduating from Ohio State, Smith spent six seasons in professional hockey, including five full seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL) and the International Hockey League (IHL) and a brief period in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). He was under contract with the New York Rangers in 1994-95. Smith has spent his summers coaching young players and adults as a director and head instructor at numerous camps across the United States and Canada.
In addition to his responsibilities at Canisius, Smith serves on the board of directors at College Hockey Inc. and is a vice president with the American Hockey Coaches Association in charge of convention planning.
Smith and his wife, Susan, have two daughters, Ellis and Kylie. Susan is a post-doctoral associate in the department of philosophy at the University at Buffalo.