Former Boulder Hockey Club executive director Amidon recognized with AHCA award
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The American Hockey Coaches Association announced Wednesday this year’s recipients of its highest honors, nine individuals who have made unique contributions to men’s and women’s amateur hockey in the United States.
“Our awards committee once again did a fantastic job of identifying eight worthy honorees, from a cross-section of men’s and women’s hockey programs across the country,” said AHCA executive director Joe Bertagna. “Collectively, these honorees have roots in Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Vermont. They join a long line of individuals who have left their mark on our game.”
Among those recognized is Michele Amidon, a current Denver resident, who was awarded the Women’s Ice Hockey Founders Award, honoring a member of the hockey community or college coaching profession who has contributed to the overall growth and development of the sport of women’s hockey in the United States through their enthusiasm, passion and selflessness.
Amidon has enjoyed a unique career in hockey, serving and excelling at just about every level possible.
Amidon is currently a female hockey advisory committee member for the NHL and NHLPA, the NHL female ambassador for the Colorado Avalanche, the community relations specialist for South Suburban’s Sports Complex and the 8U director for Arapahoe Hockey Association.
Most recently, Amidon spent three years as the first-ever executive director of the Boulder Hockey Club.
Amidon attended NCAA Division I St. Lawrence University, where she played soccer and hockey. A three-time MVP in hockey, she was voted ECAC Rookie and Player of the Year in hockey, was named the ECAC Most Valuable Player as a junior, and was tapped for the ECAC All-Star Team as a senior. She was inducted into the St. Lawrence Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. A 1994 graduate of SLU, Amidon was a four-year letter winner and three-year captain of the SLU women’s ice hockey team.
A former U.S. Women’s National Team player, Amidon spent nine seasons (1998-2006) as the highly successful coach of the Bowdoin women’s hockey team prior to joining USA Hockey’s national office staff.
Bowdoin began its rise to national prominence during the 2001-02 season, a year in which Amidon guided the Polar Bears to a school-record 23 victories, the NESCAC championship and the school’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.
For her efforts, she was honored as the NESCAC Coach of the Year. The 2002-03 campaign brought even more success, as Amidon guided Bowdoin back to the NCAA tournament and a third-place national finish. That year, she was named both the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year by the American Hockey Coaches Association and the NESCAC Coach of the Year.
Amidon also has coaching experience at the international level, having served as assistant coach with the U.S. National Women’s Under-22 Team that competed in the 1999 Christmas Cup in Fussen, Germany. In addition, she has been involved as a head coach and director of USA Hockey’s Player Development Camps for more than a decade.
Amidon has a multitude of international playing experience on her resume, including winning a silver medal as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 1992 IIHF World Women’s Championship. Amidon began her duties as USA Hockey’s first-ever director of women’s hockey and general manager of the Women’s National and Olympic Teams in August 2006. In early 2008, after Amidon had been in her role with the national governing body for just a year and a half.
Team USA captured gold medals at both the IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship and the IIHF World Women’s Championship. Then at the 2008 Women’s Four Nations Cup, Team USA earned its first championship since 2003. In 2009, both the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team and the U.S. Women’s National Team successfully defended their World titles. Her tenure culminated at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, where she oversaw the women’s team as it garnered the silver medal.
Amidon also served as a member of the IIHF Women’s Committee from 2008-2012. Post the Vancouver Olympics, Amidon jumped at the opportunity to become a regional manager of the American Development Model for USA Hockey in August 2010. In this role, Amidon helped to provide a blueprint for optimal athlete development focusing on age-appropriate training utilizing long-term athlete development principles.
In nominating Amidon for this award, current Williams College coach Meghan Gillis beamed about Amidon.
“Michele Amidon has campaigned publicly for female opportunity as an athlete, coach, and in leadership roles her entire career,” Gillis said. “She has done this, primarily; through 26 years of working in athletics as a collegiate head coach at Bowdoin, as the director of women’s ice hockey for USA Hockey, as the executive director of a youth association and by volunteering on committees, councils, boards and on the ice.
“These experiences span from youth hockey all the way to the NHL, all with the focus of creating, growing, leading and running high profile events within the sport of ice hockey.”
(Jan. 21, 2021)