Entering his 11th season as the head coach of the Western New England University men's ice hockey team in 2019-20, Greg Heffernan continues to build the Golden Bears into a Commonwealth Coast Conference contender.
Western New England's 2018-19 campaign was highlighted by a 4-1 stretch in December and January. The Golden Bears defeated Salve Regina 7-4 on January 25 at the Olympia Ice Center, before closing out the season with a 4-3 senior day victory over Endicott on February 16. Individually, Matt O'Dea was named a semifinalist for the Joe Concannon Award, and Tyler Hines was recognized as the CCC Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Fourteen student-athletes received CCC Academic All-Conference accolades for posting a GPA of 3.30 or higher.
Western New England reached the CCC Tournament for the second straight year in 2017-18 and posted its highest win total (nine) since the 2013-14 campaign. The Golden Bears opened the season with consecutive overtime victories, including a 3-2 triumph over eventual national runner-up Salve Regina University at the Olympia Ice Center on November 3rd. Western New England began its second semester slate with a 4-0-1 mark and secured a spot in the CCC playoffs with a 6-2 win over Becker on Senior Day. Matt Audet was recognized as the CCC's Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while junior Steve Beck garnered All-CCC third team honors.
Western New England made its return to postseason play in 2016-17, as Heffernan led the Golden Bears to an 8-16-2 record (5-12-1 CCC) during the first CCC hockey campaign. The season was highlighted by the team's Rutland Herald Invitational championship during Thanksgiving Weekend, which featured victories over Castleton and Tufts.
The Golden Bears had a school-record 17 student-athletes named to the 2013-14 All-ECAC Northeast Academic Team for second place behind the conference leader of 19. Western New England fashioned a 7-3 record by December for the first time since the 1998-99 season on the way to a third-straight double-digit win season for the second time in program history.
In 2012-13, Western New England led the league with 12 academic all-conference student-athletes and advanced to the postseason for the fourth straight year.
The program had a breakthrough season in 2011-12 with a 14-12-1 record (.537) for its best winning percentage in 18 years. The Golden Bears reached the ECAC Northeast Semifinals--losing to top-seed and NCAA tournament participant Wentworth, 5-3, on the road--after going 8-5-1 for a .607 clip during conference play. WNE was cited for All-ECAC Northeast and academic all-conference honors 11 times.
That success started with the 2010-11 campaign when Western New England posted an 8-17-1 record for its most wins in four seasons and a five-game improvement from the previous year. WNE also qualified for the ECAC Northeast playoffs for the first time and captured the Pepperidge Farm Face-Off Classic hosted by Worcester State.
Heffernan joined the Western New England athletics staff after serving as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Fredonia State University for the three seasons. While at Fredonia, Heffernan helped the Blue Devils to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) championship in 2007 and an appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Heffernan also administered a national charity event “Pink the Rink” to raise money for breast cancer awareness. The event was featured in over 80 newspapers worldwide and also appeared on national networks including CNN, NBC, and ESPN.
Prior to Fredonia, Heffernan served as head coach and general manager of the Cleveland Barons Under-19 AAA hockey club where he compiled an impressive 77-48-17 record for a .602 winning percentage. During his tenure, the Barons won back-to-back Ohio state championships in 2005 and 2006.
Heffernan was a graduate assistant and video coordinator at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., from 2002-04. The Lakers were Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) champions in 2003 and appeared in the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship Tournament.
Heffernan is a 2002 graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics. He received his master's degree in organizational leadership from Mercyhurst.
Heffernan played 18 games of professional hockey in the United Hockey League (UHL) and Quebec Semi-Pro Hockey League (QSPHL) from 1999-2001. At Concordia, he played three seasons in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), Canada’s Division I hockey league.
The Greg Heffernan Coaching Record (10 seasons)
|2009-10||3||21||1||.140||2-12/7th||Season-high 12 goals vs. D-II Assumption|
|2010-11||8||17||1||.327||5-9/6th||Pepperidge Farm Classic Champions|
|2011-12||14||12||1||.537||8-5-1/4th||Best win % since 1994, ECAC-NE Semifinals|
|2012-13||11||15||0||.423||8-6/4th||15 ECAC-NE/Academic All-Conference selections|
|2013-14||10||14||1||.420||4-9-1/7th||17 Academic All-ECAC Northeast|
|2014-15||5||16||3||.271||5-9/7th||13 Academic All-ECAC Northeast|
|2015-16||2||19||4||.160||1-13-2/9th||8 Academic All-ECAC Northeast|
|2016-17||8||16||2||.346||5-12-1/8th||CCC Tournament Appearance|
|2017-18||9||14||3||.404||4-12-2/8th||CCC Tournament Appearance|
|2018-19||8||17||0||.320||3-14/7th||14 Academic All-Conference selections|
|Totals||78||161||16||.337||45-101-7 (.317)||6 Conference Tournament Appearances|