Forbes: Coach Rand Pecknold forged a perennial contender at Quinnipiac from humble beginnings

April 06, 2023

Coach Rand Pecknold speaks with the media.

When Rand Pecknold took over as head coach of the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team in 1994, he was still a full-time history teacher at North Haven High School. It was hard to fill the roster, much less attract premier talent. And in the absence of a home arena, booking ice time at local rinks was, well, complicated.

“I'm not gonna lie,” Pecknold told Forbes in a riveting profile published Wednesday, on the eve of the second-seeded Bobcats’ Frozen Four matchup with No. 3 Michigan (ESPN2, ESPN-Plus, 8:30 p.m.) “It was a grind. But my two biggest things when I took over my first year was I gotta get some recruits in because the team hadn’t been very successful in the recent years before I got here. And number two was we got to get a better practice slot. I remember in year two, we got a 9:40 p.m. slot at another rink. It sounds crazy, but man, it was 100 times better.”

The article by contributor Tim Casey, entitled “How Quinnipiac University Became A Men’s College Hockey Power, Advanced To Frozen Four,” traces the lineage of an unlikely contender from the unique vantage point of the program’s 56-year-old patriarch.

The Bobcats are making their third appearance in the national semifinals in the span of a decade, marking a stunning rise from the dregs of Division II to college hockey’s upper echelon. Pecknold was the caretaker for the transformation, which included the construction of the state-of-the-art York Hill facility where prospects from around the world come .

Still, it’s worth revisiting the humble beginnings that laid the groundwork for Pecknold’s team-first approach. There are no superstars. No outsized egos. The players uphold and enforce a code of conduct that was established long before they arrived.

“We win because of our culture,” Pecknold said. “We have this phenomenal culture. We recruit high character, high hockey IQ kids that come in and they’re very selfless. We play a really good team game. We’re very detailed. And that allows us to compete with the Michigans and Minnesotas of the world.”

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