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Canisius College inks hockey coach through 2016-17 season

After leading the Canisius College hockey team to its most successful season in school history, Dave Smith has signed a contract extension that will keep him as head coach of the program through the 2016-17 season, Director of Athletics Bill Maher recently announced.

Smith is set to enter his ninth season in charge of the Golden Griffin program after leading Canisius to its first conference championship during the 2012-13 campaign.

Smith has continued to lead the Golden Griffin program to new heights as head coach. During the 2012-13 campaign, Canisius won its first Atlantic Hockey title with a 7-2 win over Mercyhurst, advancing to the NCAA East Regional Semifinal. The Griffs also finished the season ranked 19th in the final USCHO.com Division I poll, the program’s highest placement in the national rankings.

Success off the ice has become just as common under Smith’s watch. The hockey team currently owns a cumulative GPA of 3.42 – the highest of any team at Canisius – and three student-athletes have been honored as Atlantic Hockey Top Scholar Athlete in the last seven seasons.

In addition, Canisius received national attention after the success of 2011 graduate Cory Conacher. The 2009-10 Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year, Conacher became the first Griff to play in the National Hockey League when he totaled 29 points in 47 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators this past season.

Overall, 19 Griffs have signed professional contracts after playing under Smith at Canisius, highlighted by Conacher and defender Carl Hudson inking NHL deals. Hudson became the first Griff to join an NHL franchise when he signed with the Florida Panthers after graduating in 2010.

Before joining Canisius, Smith spent three seasons as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Mercyhurst College, helping the Lakers to two league titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances. He has also served stints as an assistant coach at both Bowling Green and Miami.

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