Riders’ Carlson Named USHL Coach of the Year

By Jeff Johnson, SourceMedia Group

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By James Steward

Well deserved honor for Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach/general manager Mark Carlson. His club won the Anderson Cup for most regular-season points, setting the franchise record for wins (42) and tying the mark for points (90).

Here is the press release from the USHL:



MARK CARLSON NAMED USHL COACH OF THE YEAR

RoughRiders head coach earns award for the second time

Chicago, IL – The United States Hockey League today announced that Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Head Coach and General Manger Mark Carlson has been named the 2010-11 USHL Coach of the Year, as determined by a vote of the League’s coaches and general managers.

Carlson led the RoughRiders to a historic season as they finished with the USHL’s best regular season record of 42-12-6 (90 points) on the way to capturing the second Anderson Cup title for the organization. The 42 victories equaled the team’s 2004-05 Anderson Cup win total, and the 90 points in the standings established a new record for the RoughRiders. Their 12 losses were the fewest in a USHL season for the team.

“Mark has established a standard of excellence during his career in Cedar Rapids that is unmatched in the USHL,” said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince, “and that extends to every phase of the RoughRiders organization. It was a special year for the team on the ice, but just as impressive is what his players contributed this year to the classroom and the Cedar Rapids community. My office announces this award, but it comes to Mark from his peers in the USHL coaching ranks. There isn’t a higher honor to receive than that, and we here join the League’s coaches and general managers in saluting him.”

Cedar Rapids had the best home record in the League (25-2-3) after winning their final 10 home games of the season (February 25th to April 9th), setting a new team high for longest home winning streak. The RoughRiders scored the second most goals in the USHL during the regular season (212) and gave up the third fewest (151). Following their coach’s standard of discipline, the Riders were also the least penalized team in the League, averaging just 11.33 penalty minutes per game.

In addition to team success, several RoughRiders enjoyed individual achievement under Carlson’s guidance. Two players – Justin Kovacs and Jayson Megna – finished in the top 10 in USHL scoring while goaltender Brady Hjelle led the League with 40 victories, establishing a new USHL record for victories in a season. Megna and Hjelle were both recently named to the All-USHL First Team.

A total of 16 players who spent time in Cedar Rapids this season are committed to NCAA Division I hockey programs. Forward Michael Parks was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and three others players – Josiah Didier (D), Sam Warning (F), and Alex Lyon (G) – are listed among the top North American prospects by NHL Central Scouting heading into the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Carlson has been the only head coach in the 12-year history of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and has amassed a 406-247-62 record. He reached a personal milestone this season, collecting his 400th win on March 22nd in a 2-1 shootout victory versus the Des Moines Buccaneers. He is just one of seven coaches in USHL history to accumulate 400 wins, joining P.K. O’Handley of the Waterloo Black Hawks and Kevin Hartzell of the Sioux Falls Stampede as the only current coaches in the League to reach that total.

It was also a banner year for USHL players that once played for Carlson in Cedar Rapids as eight former RoughRiders played in the NHL during the 2010-11 season, including three that made their NHL debut – Alex Stalock (San Jose Sharks), Tommy Wingels (San Jose Sharks), and Richard Bachman (Dallas Stars). Two Riders alumni are currently competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs – Teddy Purcell (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings). Another former RoughRider earned college hockey’s top individual award as Miami University senior Andy Miele was named the 2011 recipient of the Hobey Baker Award, the fourth USHL alumni to win the award.

It is the second time that Carlson has been named the USHL Coach of the Year. His first received the honor following the 2004-05 season when he led the RoughRiders to their first-ever Anderson Cup and Clark Cup titles.

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its ninth season as the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league in 2010-11. With over 250 players this season already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 18 NHL Entry Draft picks currently on League rosters, the USHL is the nation’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com.

It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.

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