‘It’s so rare’: Quinnipiac athletes and coaches react to Pecknold’s milestone 600th win


Cameron Levasseur

Quinnipiac men’s hockey head coach Rand Pecknold has led the program since 1994.

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

It’s an illustrious milestone: hit 600 career home runs and the team will mob you on the field, score 600 touchdowns and the game will stop to recognize you. But for Quinnipiac men’s hockey head coach Rand Pecknold, his 600th career win was business as usual.

When Pecknold reached the 600-win plateau Friday night after a 5-0 beatdown of Sacred Heart in the CT Ice semifinals, he was more focused on the game the following day.

“We’ve had a lot of really good players over the years and a lot of really good assistant coaches that do a great job,” Pecknold said. “It’s a nice reward, but we’ve got to reload here and get ready for 601.”

That’s just who Pecknold is. That’s how he’s always been since beginning his Quinnipiac career in 1994. Back then, the Quinnipiac College Braves were a Division II program that boasted only two of its current head coaches — Pecknold and women’s basketball’s Tricia Fabbri.

“Rand and I have been here the longest, he was here a year before I was,” Fabbri said. “We have a very unique bond … to watch what he’s been able to do with his program and bring it to No. 1 in the country. I think it’s so rare in college athletics, it’s something we both cherish.”

Since his hiring, Pecknold has helped put Quinnipiac hockey on the map. With two nationally-ranked programs, the notion that “Quinnipiac is a hockey school,” would not exist without Pecknold.

The man behind the Bobcats’ bench now becomes the third head coach in NCAA Division I history to record 600+ wins with one program, joining BU’s Jack Parker and Michigan’s Red Berenson. He also climbs to 11th all time on the Division I collegiate hockey coaching leaderboards.

“He is so supportive of our team,” Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey head coach Cass Turner said. “Whenever we need something, he’s there for us.”

Graduate student forward TJ Friedmann has been able to reflect on his last five seasons with Pecknold behind the bench. From his time as a freshman in 2018-19 to now, he has seen the development of the program from a first-hand view.

“He does a real good job … You can see the success of the program over the last few years,” Friedmann said. “He does a great job with the development side of things.”

Sophomore forward Collin Graf, who transferred from Union this past summer, feels the same way about his new coach.

“I think he’s great,” Graf said. “Whether it’s before the game or during the game … he’s always ready to do video, whether personally or as a team.”

Graf is new to Hamden, but his teammate Friedmann has a fair share of Pecknold memories – so much so that he isn’t able to pick a favorite.

“It’s tough to pin down just one,” Friedmann said. “You spend five years at a place and days start to blend together. We were here our freshman year for his 500th … I don’t know if I can pin down one specific memory.”

While the days may blend together for some, Pecknold has certainly not lost his competitive fire as of late. From coaching Team USA at the latest World Juniors to making time for his kid’s youth hockey teams, Pecknold just loves the sport.

“He is a student of the game (and) has grown so much as a coach and just loves the game,” Turner said. “He’s worked very hard for it.”

Pecknold’s career has been filled with these accomplishments, whether it is a conference title or being named the 2016 Spencer Penrose Award winner as the nation’s top head coach. The one thing that eludes him is the national championship trophy, something that the current Bobcats have in mind.

“We got our five trophies we want to win throughout the year,” Friedmann said. “It’s always fun … working our way down the checklist.”

When the team begins to ramp up for the ensuing ECAC Hockey playoffs and NCAA Tournament, regardless of any pregame nervousness, the Bobcats will be in good hands.

Why? Because it doesn’t matter if it is a regular season game at M&T Bank Arena or a postseason appearance in Lake Placid. For Pecknold, it will just be another rung on the ladder on the road to the next achievement.