Editor's note- After Harvard announced that Albie O'Connell, an assistant coach at Northeastern for three years, had been named the new assistant coach for the Crimson, we contacted WRBB, Northeastern student radio, for a little inside scoop about Harvard's newest hire. The following was written by Ben Horner, men's hockey broadcaster and the sports director over at WRBB.
It's hard to quantify what Albie O'Connell brings to a college hockey program. While you might be hard-pressed to find someone who would sing the praises of his coaching ability from a purely "X's and O's" standpoint, you certainly won't have to search hard to find a player to "pump his tires", to quote a certain NHL. goaltender.
O'Connell's biggest strength is his ability to connect with players on their level, speaking to them instead of at them, etc.. In short, O'Connell is at his best when he is recruiting players, selling the virtues of a program and university as a whole. During his time with the Huskies, it was not uncommon to hear stories of Albie being the one to do the majority of the recruiting, with players only meeting former head coach Greg Cronin at the very end of the process. One need look no further than the quick, impulse reactions of some of Northeastern's recruiting class following his departure to understand what a valuable asset Albie O'Connell is to a program.
-Ben Horner. WRBB