The National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association's sport committee on hockey announced six new NJCAA Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductees at its annual meeting recently with two of those members associated with the Kats.
Gary Rost and Steve Mullen will receive the ultimate accolade as the NJCAA closes its chapter with ice hockey after competing in five different decades.
Rost is the Kats' longtime coach who was behind the bench for Erie's two national championships in 2011 and 2015. More recently, Rost guided the Kats to back-to-back national champion runner-up accolades the past two seasons and has been with Erie's hockey program in some coaching capacity for almost its entire duration since its inception in the 1970s.
Mullen is being acknowledged for his administrative expertise that expands beyond his years of service with Erie, as he is also being recognized for his contributions as an athletics administrator with Hudson Valley Community College prior to joining the Kats' athletics department.
Joining Rost and Mullen are Scott Oliver (Minnesota-Crookston), Matt Alvery (Hudson Valley), Craig Chamberlain (Monroe) and Travis Rybchinski (Dakota College at Bottineau). All but Mullen are acknowledged for their coaching accolades.
The committee also summarized the past season that included official placement in the national tournament, all-tournament team members and all-Americans.
Erie finished as national runner-up to Dakota College at Bottineau, while Hudson Valley finished ahead of Mohawk Valley in the four-team round-robin tournament format. The schedule worked out as one game determined the national champion, while the other decided third place. The Kats dropped their contest to the Lumberjacks 7-4, while the Vikings beat the Hawks 8-4 to finish behind the Kats.
The 2017 NJCAA Hockey All-Tournament team consisted of three Kats, three Lumberjacks and one Viking. Michael Krause, Brendan McFall and Christian Nati were the Kats to make the NJCAA's final tournament team.
The dozen 2017 Hockey All-American team was led by Dakota College with five selections. Both Erie and Hudson Valley placed three on the list, while Hudson Valley secured the final spot. Only Krause repeated as an all-tournament and all-American selection for Erie. Region III Player-of-the-Year Anthony Cybulski and Alex Suchan were the other Kat selections.
Hockey committee chairmen Gary Broadhurst, Kevin Salisbury and Rybchinski also recognized Broome Community College Athletic Director Brett Carter for his hospitality in hosting the national tournament throughout the years.