Over the weekend, the Harvard University women’s hockey coach picked up her 338th win to become the winningest coach in women’s Division I hockey. With a 5-1 victory over Princeton in the ECAC quarterfinals on Feb. 26, Stone surpassed the University of Minnesota's Laura Halldorson’s previous record and solidified her name in the record books. The legendary coach is one of just three female Division I coaches to reach the 300-win benchmark.
Born and raised in New England, Stone has compiled an outstanding list of awards and honors at the helm of her sixteen-year Harvard tenure. The latest accomplishment is proving why she’s recognized as one of New England Hockey Journal's “Top 50 Most Influential People in New England Hockey."
After taking the reigns from John Dooley in 1994, her impact on Crimson’s bench was immediate. In just four years she steered Harvard to their first national title in 1998 — the same year she more than doubled her team’s wins from the previous year (14-16-0 to 33-1-0). Since then, she’s captured six ECAC Championships, five Ivy League Championships, and 10 Beanpot titles, while appearing in seven NCAA tournaments and six Frozen Fours.
After creating a national powerhouse from ground up, the Crimson have soared under Stone’s guidance. Not only has she redefined the team’s boundaries, she’s helped produce some of the best female players in the world. Nine Olympians have donned Crimson stripes, five of which played in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Six of the total twelve Patty Kazmaier Award winners (the Hobey Baker of female hockey) played for Harvard, not to mention twenty-one All-Americans, eight ECAC Hockey Players of the Year, and nine Ivy-League Players of the Year.
With a 338-142-27 career record, Stone’s individual statistics reside in their own hemisphere. Atop the list are three ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year awards, two ECAC/KOHO and New England Hockey Writer’s Coach of the Year awards, American Hockey Coaches Association Women’s Coach of the Year, New England College Athletic Conference Women’s Division-I Coach of the Year, and former president of the American Women’s Hockey Coaches Association.
When Stone’s journey began sixteen years ago she envisioned success from day one. She looks at each season as a chance to improve and continuously push herself and team.
“Each year presents a new opportunity to reinvent yourself and adapt from the previous year," Stone said. "I strive to create an environment that is both fun and challenging for the team. I want the players to be able to look back and say they’ve had the most incredible experience possible.”
Stone’s players admire her for investing in them as people and not just hockey players. Many of them walk away with life-long lessons. Senior goaltender Christina Kessler says Harvard has been more like a family rather than a team.
“When I was first looking at schools, I wasn’t even planning on coming to Harvard. After I came on my visit and met Coach Stone, I had committed before the end of the trip. I was sold on her as a coach and as a person. I wanted to be part of what she created [program] and stood for. You can tell that coaching isn’t something she has to do but instead loves to do”, said Kessler.
Senior forward Randi Griffin admires the honesty and integrity Stone represents.
“She constantly pushes us to be the best as possible at all times both on and off the ice," Griffin said. "She demands we settle for nothing less than we’re capable. As a senior, this is a lesson I will apply to everything I take on in life."
Stone has helped raise the bar for women’s hockey across the nation. She’s been a true pioneer to the game and the sport owes her tremendous gratitude. With a plentiful hockey career ahead, Stone is hungry for more. This is only the beginning of her records and accomplishments.
In addition to increasing Harvard’s impressive repertoire, an Olympic coaching appearance could be on the radar. An active member with USA hockey, Stone is continuously giving back. Whether she’s leading Team USA to a gold medal at the Four Nations Cup (2008), attending national selection and development camps, or giving back to the community, she is the epitome of a true New England hockey role model.
The No. 4-ranked Crimson will be looking for their 11th ECAC title and their eighth NCAA appearance beginning with Clarkson in ECAC semifinal action this Friday night. They are 0-1-1 on the season against the Golden Knights.
Photo of Katey Stone courtesy of Kevin Burns Photography.