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Longtime Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson elected to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Recently-retired Gordon “Red” Berenson, who spent 33 seasons as the head coach for the University of Michigan men’s hockey program, was one of five elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Thursday as part of the Class of 2018.

Berenson, who attended and played collegiately at Michigan from 1959-62, earned All-American honors twice as a player before moving on to a lengthy 17-year career in the NHL with four different franchises, including parts of five seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.

Berenson retired from playing in 1978 with the St. Louis Blues and immediately moved to behind the bench. He spent one year as an assistant with the Blues before earning the promotion and earned ‘Coach of the Year’ honors in the 1979-80 campaign. After spending four seasons as a coach for St. Louis, Berenson then coached for two seasons with the Buffalo Sabres before returning to his alma mater in 1984.

That is where he spend the next 33 years of his coaching career, building Michigan into the decorated and perennial power they are today.

Under his leadership, Michigan won more than 65 of their contests and participated in the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Tournament 23 times, 22 of which came consecutively from 1991-2012, still the all-time record in college hockey history. Also during that 22-year run in which the Wolverines were the premier program on the ice, Berenson guided them to 11 Frozen Fours and three national championship games, two of which they came out victorious in 1996 and again in 1998.

Berenson is just one of four college hockey coaches to rack up at least 800 wins in their career.

Already a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame, and the U of M Athletic Hall of Honor, Berenson is one of just of four former ice hockey players at Michigan that were captains during their playing time and eventually went on to coach at the school. He will become the sixth former Wolverine ever to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, the first since John McInnis in 2007.

Joining Berenson as part of the 2018 class of inductees include:

  • Natalie Darwitz; former captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team (2007-10), three-time Olympic medalist, and eight-time IIHF World Championships medalist
  • Leland Harrington; nicknamed “Hago,” he is best known for being the first American-born player to record a hat trick in the NHL; also known for his development and growth of hockey in the greater Massachusetts area
  • David Poile; currently the longest-tenured general manager in NHL season, spending the last now 21 seasons with the Nashville Predators (has been their only GM since joining the league in 1997) and the 15 seasons prior with the Washington Nationals
  • Paul Stewart; was the first American-born referee to officiate 1,00 NHL games and still is the only American to both play and officiate in the NHL

Hall of Fame enshrinement will take place on Wednesday, December 12 in Nashville. You can click here for ticket purchasing and other information regarding the event.

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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