Josh Brandwene has been elected into the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Hall-of-Fame as the lone member of the Class of 2009. The induction ceremony will be held Friday, April 24, 8:30 PM in the Immokalee Room at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. The Hall of Fame celebration is co-sponsored by USA Hockey.
Josh’s role with the ACHA came full-circle: first as a player (Penn State University); second as a coach (West Virginia University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Michigan-Dearborn); and finally as an executive, serving as the President. During Josh’s 4-term Presidential tenure (1997-2004), the membership of the organization more than tripled, from a mere 83 teams in 1997 to a staggering 278 teams in 2004. At 7 years, he is the longest serving President in the history of the ACHA. He was re-elected a remarkable 3 times and became the first President to serve more than 1 term as President. Josh is credited with the modernization and massive growth of the organization. Some highlights of Josh’s many accomplishments include: the addition of a third division to the Men’s side (Division 3) in 1999; the formation of a Women’s Division in 2000; membership in USA Hockey, including a representative on the USA Hockey Adult Council; membership for all ACHA teams and coaches in the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA); moving the ACHA Annual Meeting from Chicago, IL to Naples, FL, in conjunction with the AHCA; start-up and increased presence of the organization via its website at www.achahockey.org; and the modernization of the ACHA brand with a new logo in 2003.
Josh’s collegiate playing and coaching career includes 14 years spent in ACHA programs, including Penn State University, West Virginia University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
As a player, Brandwene was a standout defenseman for Penn State University. In his four-year career, he was a member of the 1990 National Championship team, was Team Most Valuable Player and 1st Team All-Tournament his senior season, and broke the career record for points by a defensemen at Penn State University (previously held by former Penn State Head Coach/ player and ACHA Hall-of-Fame member, Joe Battista).
Brandwene began his coaching career immediately after graduation from Penn State University as the Head Coach at Farmington High School (FHS) in Connecticut in 1991. His three seasons at FHS included the program’s first state tournament berth in five years and a 1993 trip to the state tournament semi-finals. During his time at FHS, Brandwene was also a two-time Gold Medal winning coach at the Nutmeg State Games.
Brandwene left FHS in 1994 and spent the next 10 seasons leading three different ACHA programs. As the Head Coach at West Virginia University for two seasons, he led the program to its first ever bid to the ACHA National Tournament as the #7 seed, and won the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association (ECHA) Regular Season Championship in the program’s first season in the league. In 1996, Brandwene was named Head Coach and Youth Hockey Program director at the University of Delaware. In seven seasons at the University of Delaware, the team won three consecutive ECHA titles (before leaving the league to become independent), and went to seven consecutive ACHA National Tournaments, including a runner-up finish in 2001, and a second final four appearance in 2003. Brandwene also served as an assistant coach for Team United States at the 2003 World University Games in Tarvisio, Italy. Brandwene coached his 10th season of ACHA hockey in 2003-04 as the Head Coach at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, helping the program to a 20-win season and its first winning season in three years. While at Michigan-Dearborn, Brandwene notched his 200th career ACHA coaching victory with a 6-2 win over Saint Louis University.
In 2004-05, Brandwene began a three-year stint as the Head Boys’ Varsity Ice Hockey Coach at the Northfield Mount Hermon School. Brandwene led the program to the New England Prep School Hockey Conference-East Championship (2004-05), and wins over Deerfield, Choate, Exeter and Andover in the same season (2005-06), the first Northfield Mount Hermon team to accomplish this feat since 1992. In three seasons with the program, Brandwene coached and helped place over 20 graduating student-athletes who have gone on to play Junior A and collegiate hockey.
In 2007, Brandwene and his family moved back to central Connecticut. He now works at Kingswood-Oxford School and is the Head Coach of the Girls Varsity Hockey Team at Kingswood-Oxford. Brandwene resides in West Hartford, CT with his wife Leona and 4 ½ year-old daughter Sophie.