Aug 28, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The second Notre Dame Pro Hockey Camp kicked off with a surprise presentation on Monday evening at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Following a casual barbeque dinner in O'Brien's, senior associate athletics director and hockey administrator Tom Nevala ('90, manager) thanked the hockey Monogram winners who were back on campus, as well as the Monogram Club, which sponsored the dinner.
Nevala also spoke about the Club's letter jacket ceremony, a new tradition which was started in 2008 to honor first-time Monogram winners. Throughout the 97-year history of the organization, the Club has awarded a number of honorary Monograms as well, bestowing the honor upon individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to Notre Dame and had a significant impact on the University's student-athletes or athletic programs.
In recognition of his accomplishments and dedication to Notre Dame over the past eight years, the Monogram Club awarded its latest honorary Monogram to Fighting Irish hockey head coach Jeff Jackson. Executive Director Beth Hunter and University Vice President/Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick ('76) joined Nevala in presenting Jackson with his letter jacket and scroll.
Since arriving in South Bend in 2005, Jackson has transformed the Fighting Irish into one of college hockey's elite programs, winning the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) regular season title in 2006-07 and 2008-09, while also collecting three Mason Cup championships, in 2007, 2009, and most recently, this spring, with a 3-1 victory over Michigan.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of Jackson's tenure thus far came during the 2007-08 season, when the Fighting Irish made a sensational run to the Frozen Four in Denver, Colo., upsetting No. 1-ranked Michigan, 5-4, in overtime, before ultimately falling to Boston College in the championship game.
Three years later, the Roseville, Mich. native led Notre Dame back to the national semifinals in St. Paul, Minn., where they lost to eventual champion Minnesota-Duluth.
After posing for a photo with Hunter, Swarbrick and Nevala, Jackson said a few words to several of his former student-athletes who were members of those Frozen Four squads, expressing his gratitude for the contributions they had made to the program.
"You guys were a big reason why we had this building [Compton Family Ice Arena] built, and you will be the foundation of why we win a national championship," Jackson said. "It's going to come. It's going to happen, and hopefully sooner than later. You guys were a huge part of that and I owe you this--having the opportunity to wear this ND--which is extremely special to me, and I know is special to you."
A 1978 and 1979 graduate of Michigan State, Jackson's coaching career has included stops at Lake Superior State, where he won a pair of NCAA titles, a four-year stay as coach and senior director with the U.S. National Developmental Program, three season as the head coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm, and two as an assistant on an NHL bench, with the New York Islanders.