Boys hockey: Former Clarkson, St. Lawrence coach named to lead Northwood Prep

Massena native and former Clarkson and St. Lawrence men’s hockey coach Mark Morris is Northwood School’s next head hockey coach, Northwood announced Tuesday.

Morris, a former athlete and coach at the prep school in Lake Placid, will serve as the leader of the team for a second time, coaching there also from 2004-06. The school is scheduled to play in the newly created Prep Hockey Conference that will include six of North America’s top prep hockey programs.

“Northwood’s focus on integrity and a commitment to excellence are among the many reasons the school holds a special place in my heart, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as a hockey coach and mentor to further grow its rich tradition,” Morris, 63, said in a statement.

Morris, the all-time wins leader as a coach at Clarkson, most recently worked as the head men’s hockey coach at St. Lawrence University in Canton from 2016-19. He also coached for the Manchester Monarchs and Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League and was an assistant coach for the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

“However impressive is his breadth of experience and (won-loss) record, it’s more significant at our age level that Mark is truly one of the game’s best teachers,” said Northwood’s Head of School, Mike Maher. “ … At every level he has coached, the players stay on the same page and compete with intensity, character and sportsmanship.”

Morris, who played college hockey at Colgate University and played professionally for the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL, began as an assistant coach at SLU with head coach Joe Marsh. He then was hired by Clarkson as head coach in 1988 and led the Golden Knights for 14 seasons, recording a 306-156-42 record and was named ECAC coach of the year twice, leading the Golden Knights to three ECAC tournament titles and nine NCAA Tournament berths.

Clarkson dismissed Morris in 2002 after an incident with player Zach Schwan during a morning practice, prompting an investigation by the school. Clarkson fired Morris after he declined to take part in the university’s investigation.

Morris then worked as a volunteer coach with the Vancouver Canucks and as an assistant with the Saginaw Spirit junior team. He moved on to Northwood Prep the following year. He was then hired by the Los Angeles Kings to coach the Manchester, N.H., team. Morris coached there from 2006-14, developing many of the players who won the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup for the Kings, and recording a 339-223-67 career mark.

Morris moved on to work as an assistant with the Panthers for one season and then coached the AHL’s Checkers before being hired by SLU in 2016.

Morris replaced Canton native Greg Carvel at SLU and his first Saints team went 17-13-7 in 2016-17. But after several player departures, the Saints went 8-27-2 in 2017-18 and was 6-29-2 in 2018-19. Morris was investigated by the school in 2017-18 for alleged mistreatment of players but he was cleared.

Morris’ college coaching record stands at 331-196-51.

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