NU Club Hockey: Remembering The Legacy of Larry Brzeczkowski
Earlier this month, former Head Coach Larry Brzeczkowski tendered his resignation to Niagara University after an illustrious 26-year career on Monte Eagle Ridge. The impact he’s made on the NU community and the several hundreds of players who have battled under his command is simply indescribable. Despite everything that he was able to build, accomplish and duplicate as the second-most winning coach in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, the affluence of character he radiates on a daily basis will forever solidify his legacy behind the bench at Dwyer Arena.
Director of Recreation and Club Sports, Derek Puff had this to say about his longtime friend and co-worker:
“We will miss Larry greatly. He bled purple for 25 years and poured his heart and soul into building the ACHA hockey program into what it is today. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for him and the work that he has done in his time at NU.”
Brzeckowski graduated from Buffalo State College with an ACHA National Championship and a scoring title in 1993. He would later parlay the success he established as a player into a program that has grown to incredible heights under his reign. It is no secret that the respect he’s garnered from players, coaches and even officials directly stems from his seemingly never-ending selfless approach to the game.
For 26 straight years, he has put the physical and mental well-being of his players at the forefront of every season. In doing so, he was able to generate a lifetime worth of memories for each and every Purple Eagle to lace up in our room.
When diving into the analytics, Larry essentially defines what it means to be a successful collegiate hockey coach. In a single career, he created a program that once rostered 13 players a night and evolved it into a premier destination for collegiate athletes hailing from all over the globe.
From 2013 through 2017, Brzeczkowski bossed the bench in 5 straight NECHL Championship games, securing 3 of them. When referencing individual game performance, he fell just 1-goal shy of securing a victory against a #1 seed in 2014 (Arizona State).
In order to take an ACHA Division 1 program to new heights, breaking into the National Tournament is a must. Brzeczkowski would accomplish this feat on 4 separate occasions in the last 7 years, alone. He would eventually break through to the semi-final round with a 7-2 victory over the Robert Morris Colonials on Thursday, March 5th, 2015.
Fast-forward to the 2019-2020 season, He would lock-up his 4th Northeast Collegiate Hockey League Championship in just 7 years. The victory punched the team another ticket to their 5th ACHA National Tournament appearance since 2013.
With all of the accolades mentioned above, none are more impressive than his 345 wins in ACHA play. He currently ranks second only to University of Rhode Island Head Coach Joe Augustine on the all-time wins list … someone he considers a great personal colleague and friendly foe.
Despite all of his on-paper accomplishments, the countless amount of victories he’s secured in the hearts of so many is what he will always be remembered for. Larry has served as a father-figure, player representative, spokesperson, role model, friend, sponsor and colleague to an infinite amount of people throughout his career with the Niagara University Purple Eagles. His philanthropic nature will live on through the charitable donations the team will continue to make on an annual basis. The most notable foundation being that of Suneel’s Light – An organization dedicated to funding the research currently being conducted to help eradicate Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy from the world.
Larry Brzeckowski bleeds purple. He is the heartbeat of our team and will go down as the single most important person to ever come through our program. The team will host a game in his honor, each and every year, beginning this season. We are currently working with Larry to determine an exact date and time.
Larry, from all of us … Thank you. We love you. You gave us everything … everything.