Chris Donovan M'06, the only head coach in the varsity history of the Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey program, enters his 15th season at the helm of the Purple Knights in 2014-15. Donovan heads into his 24th year of coaching overall, with the 2015 calendar year his 16th guiding college women's teams.
The Purple Knights posted the best goals-against average (3.27) in school history during the winter of 2013-14, while their .909 save percentage was good for second. Saint Michael's yielded two goals or fewer on 10 occasions, while 11 losses came by two goals or less. During the campaign, the Purple and Gold picked up its first win ever over New England College en route to its best Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East finish in three years. The season ended with the Purple Knights tying Division I Sacred Heart University during the ECAC Open Tournament third-place game.
In 2012-13, Saint Michael's turned in one of its best defensive seasons, yielding three goals or fewer 15 times en route to posting school records for goals-against average (3.41) and save percentage (.917). Capping the success was a momentous 2-1 victory on Feb. 16 over Manhattanville College, which was receiving national votes and had defeated national power Norwich University the night before.
The squad was beset by injuries in 2011-12, eventually losing 11 contests by three goals or fewer, including six by one or less. The Purple Knights advanced to the Saint Michael's Holiday Classic title game, coming within 3-1 of Division I Sacred Heart University during a setback. In 2010-11, Donovan helped lead Saint Michael's to the first postseason victory in program history, as the Purple Knights defeated Sacred Heart, 9-2, in the ECAC Open Tournament.
In 2009-10, Donovan's squad won the Saint Michael's Holiday Classic for the first time in program history, as the Purple Knights defeated Colby College and Plymouth State University to claim the title. The victory over the Mules was the Purple and Gold's first ever against a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) institution.
In 2008-09, Donovan's team won six games, including four in the ECAC East, after notching eight victories the prior campaign, as each of the Purple Knights' wins during 2007-08 was in conference. Saint Michael's finished just below .500 in the ECAC East, going 8-10-1 behind the first victories in program history versus the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Norwich University, and the University of Southern Maine.
After playing an abbreviated six-game varsity schedule during 2000-01, their first season of varsity play, the Purple Knights earned their first win against a varsity squad on Jan. 4, 2002, blanking Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 4-0.
In the past 14 years, Donovan has recruited players who have earned four ECAC East All-Conference honors, three ECAC East All-Rookie Team laurels, and 64 ECAC East All-Academic accolades. His players have been named ECAC East Goalie of the Week six times, Rookie of the Week six times and Player of the Week five times.
In 2005-06, goalie Annice Mason '06 was nominated for the 2006 Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented annually to college hockey's finest citizen. Another goalie, Marcy Ring '05, was previously nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year. Donovan's rosters have included players hailing from as close as neighboring New England states, Ontario and Quebec, and ranging from as far away as California, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
Donovan has an extensive hockey background, including coaching and evaluating at the USA Hockey Player Development Camp for girls ages 13-18 for the past 11 years, and coaching at a regional player development camp. He was a member of the coaching staff at the Phillips Exeter Academy Hockey Camp during many summers until 2005, and on-ice director of the staff as a member of the Breakaway Hockey Camp for Girls held each summer at Cairns Arena until 2006. In 2005 he was a coach at the Cornell Hockey Camp.
He served as an assistant coach for the Saint Michael's men from 1991-92 to 1993-94. In 1995, Donovan took over as coaching director for the Vermont Northern Lights women's program. He worked with the 13-15 age group, which was the district regional runner-up one year, and worked with the 16-19 group who were the district regional runner-up for two consecutive years.
Donovan played for Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, Mass., and went on to play at Norwich from 1969-70 to 1972-73, serving as captain of the Cadets in his senior year. A 1973 graduate of Norwich, Donovan holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in secondary education, and earned his master's degree in administration from Saint Michael's in May of 2006. He resides in Hardwick, Vt. As of the summer of 2013, eight of Donovan's former Saint Michael's players were currently coaching at the youth, high school or college level.
|2009-10||3-20-2||1-17-1||SMC Holiday Classic
|2010-11||6-19-2||4-12-2||First Postseason Win in Program History|
|2011-12||3-22-1||2-15-1||SMC Holiday Classic Finalist|
|2013-14||3-19-4||2-12-2||SMC Holiday Classic Champion|