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Kelly leaving Clarkson women’s hockey to join USA National program

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POTSDAM — Matt Kelly, who as an assistant coach played a prominent role in guiding the Clarkson University women’s hockey team for the past six seasons, is stepping away from the program to become the head scout for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

During his tenure with the Green and Gold, Kelly helped establish Clarkson as one of the premier programs in the country. Last season the Golden Knights reached the pinnacle of accomplishments in Division I women’s hockey when they earned the University’s first-ever NCAA Championship.

“My family and I would like to thank President Tony Collins, his wife Karen, Athletic Director Steve Yianoukos, and Associate Athletic Director Scott Smalling,” said Kelly. “Their passion, enthusiasm, dedication, and support has helped me grow as a coach and more importantly as a person. Secondly, we want to thank Matt and Shannon Desrosiers. They have been a pleasure to work with over the past six years and I am grateful to have had that opportunity. Their passion for Clarkson Women’s Hockey is second to none, and that made coming to work so enjoyable. I have learned so much from both of them, but the one thing I will take away from my time with them is our friendship. We also want to thank the Clarkson community. So many have helped us along the way and words can’t even start to express how grateful we are for all the support. Lastly, I want to thank all the players I have coached and recruited. I appreciate your willingness to learn and your commitment to Clarkson Women’s Hockey. You have made this job fun and I will always cherish the wonderful memories you have supplied my family and myself.”

The Knights skated to 134 victories, posted four campaigns of over 20 wins, qualified for the ECAC Hockey playoffs every year, including four home-ice berths, made three conference championship tournament showings and advanced three times to NCAA Tournament during Kelly’s time with the program, beginning with the 2008-09 campaign. In 2013-14, the Green and Gold won the ECAC Hockey Regular Season title with a 16-2-4 league mark and capped off a 31-5-5 overall record with a 5-4 victory over two-time defending national champion Minnesota in the NCAA Championship game on March 23 to complete Clarkson’s best season ever.

“It’s going to be tough to see Matt leave Clarkson as he has been instrumental in helping our program capture our first National Championship,” stated Clarkson Head Coach Matt Desrosiers. “Although saddened by the news of his departure, I am excited for Matt and his family as they embark on this new journey. They have become great friends and will be missed around the rink and within the community. Everyone at Clarkson wishes Matt all the best on his new career path. We all know he will do a fantastic job and be greatly missed.”

With USA Hockey, Kelly will primarily be responsible for helping identify and develop players in USA Hockey’s active player pool for the women’s program. He will also help implement a long-term strategy to ensure continued advancement of the U.S. Women’s National Team program.

Kelly also helped to bring to Clarkson some of the finest student-athletes in the country. Numerous Golden Knights have earned all-star recognition along with excelling in the classroom and playing a prominent role in community service. Kelly’s responsibilities also included designing and implementing a comprehensive goaltending practice as well as providing one-on-one goalie specific training. He was also responsible for all aspects of video breakdown and analysis as well as maintaining academic support for the team.

He joined the Clarkson staff after spending the 2007-08 campaign on the women’s hockey coaching staff at Quinnipiac University. Prior to that, he started his coaching career at Wayne State University in Detroit where he was the volunteer assistant coach during the 2006-07 season.

Kelly was a four-year member of the Wayne State men’s hockey team as a goaltender, serving as a captain during his senior campaign in 2005-2006. That season, Kelly received College Hockey America All-Conference Second Team honors as well as winning the CHA/Easton Three Star Award and being named Wayne State’s Most Valuable Player. Kelly also was named to the CHA All-Academic Team, and the 2004 CHA All-Tournament Team. Kelly holds the Wayne State single-season marks for goals against average (2.54) and save percentage (.922). He played three years of Junior A hockey in the United States Hockey League prior to his collegiate career, splitting time between the Cedar Rapids Roughriders (1999-2000 and 2000-01) and the Topeka Scarecrows (2001-02).

A native of Hull, Massachusetts, Kelly graduated from Wayne State in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in media arts and studies. Kelly and his wife, Brooke, have a son, Colton, and daughter, Makenzie.

FOUR LADY KNIGHTS DRAFTED

Four recently graduated members of the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team, who helped lead the Golden Knights to the NCAA Championship title this past March, have been selected in the 2014 Canadian Women’s Hockey League Draft.

Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT), Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE), Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) were among the 58 players selected in the fifth annual entry draft for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which was held on August 19.

Rattray was the first selection in the second round, chosen by the Brampton Thunder. Gagnon went to the Montreal Stars with the fifth pick in the second round. Mercer and Howe join Rattray as Brampton draft choices, going as the first selections in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.

The 2014 CWHL Draft took place Tuesday night via conference call, with general managers from each team announcing which players they intend to sign in 19 total rounds, starting with Brampton, then followed by Toronto, Calgary and Boston, with Montreal concluding each round.

Recognized as the best player in Clarkson’s 11-year history, Rattray was honored as the top player in women’s hockey last year, winning the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. A first-team All-American and ECAC Hockey Player of the Year also highlighted her resume. She averaged over a point per game as Clarkson’s all-time leading scorer with 181 career points on 77 goals and 104 assists through 147 games and posted a +84. Rattray had 20 game-winners, 26 power-play goals and three hat tricks during her collegiate career.

Gagnon was the 2014 NCAA Tournament Elite 89 award winner, named the recipient of ECAC Hockey’s prestigious Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year Award, voted ECAC Hockey’s Best Defensive Forward, chosen as a Capital One Academic All-America® Division I Women’s At-Large first team and is ECAC Hockey’s representative for 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year. She skated in 148 career games at Clarkson, finishing with 33 goals and 36 assists.

As a two-year captain, Mercer led Clarkson to its two best seasons ever, capped off by the University’s first ever NCAA Championship in her senior campaign. She is Clarkson’s second all-time leading scorer with 150 points on 53 goals and 97 assists through 153 games. Mercer was a second-team ECAC Hockey All-Star forward.

A four-year starter in the Knights’ crease, Howe is Clarkson’s all-time winningest goaltender with a 90-32-15 career record, including 29 shutouts. She posted a .932 save percentage and a 1.57 goals against average. Howe was a three-time ECAC Hockey All-Star, twice won the league’s Goaltender of the Year honor and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team.

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