The United States Hockey League announced today that Waterloo Black Hawks head coach and general manager P.K. O'Handley has been named 2018 USHL Coach of the Year and 2018 USHL General Manager of the Year as determined by a vote of League general managers.
O'Handley led the Black Hawks to a 38-14-6-2 record in 2017-18, the best mark in the USHL, and gave the Black Hawks the Anderson Cup for the first time since 2013-14 and the third time in team history. The 84 points the Black Hawks amassed was the second-highest point total in club history, and the 38 wins Waterloo accrued was tied for the fourth-highest win total in the history of the organization going back to the 1979-80 season.
The team also had a strong balance of offense and defense, finishing in the top-five in the USHL in both goals for (199) and goals against (150), led by USHL Forward of the Year Jackson Cates, All-USHL Second Team member Jack Drury, USHL Defenseman of the Year Ben Finkelstein and goaltenders Jared Moe and Matej Tomek.
The Black Hawks were consistently strong all season long, as they never played under .500 over the course of a month. The worst monthly record for Waterloo was in October, when the team finished with a .500 record of four wins and four losses. The second half of the season was where the Black Hawks really did damage. O'Handley's club picked up seven victories in both February and March after winning five games in January, and finished April with a 5-0 record on their way to the Anderson Cup. The Black Hawks finished the regular season as the hottest team in the USHL, ending the year with points in each of their final 16 games of the regular season.
In addition to his work behind the bench, O'Handley and his staff did a tremendous job of building the roster of the top regular season team in the USHL. In addition to developing players such as Cates and Drury, O'Handley picked up Finkelstein in mid-January from St. Lawrence University. The Florida Panthers prospect and Boston College commit blossomed on the blue line in Waterloo, winning USHL Defenseman of the Week five times as well as USHL Defenseman of the Year honors. O'Handley also drafted both Tomek and Moe in the 2017 USHL Draft, giving the Black Hawks one of the top goalie duos in the USHL.
O'Handley has been with the Waterloo Black Hawks since the 2002-03 season, following seven years with the North Iowa Huskies and four seasons with the ECHL's Florida Everblades. He leads USHL coaches all-time with 1312 games coached and 684 wins, and was the first coach to earn 600 career USHL victories. He led the Black Hawks to the Clark Cup in 2004 as well as the Anderson Cup in 2007, 2014 and 2018.
2017-18 is the second straight season that the USHL Coach of the Year and General Manager of the Year are from the same organization, as Sioux City Musketeers head coach Jay Varady and general manager Mark LeRose won their respective awards after leading the team to the Anderson Cup in 2016-17.
This is the fourth time that O'Handley has been named USHL Coach of the Year (2003, 2007, 2014) and the third time he has been named USHL General Manager of the Year (2003, 2012). 2017-18 marks the second time O'Handley has been named Coach of the Year and General Manager of the Year in the same season, as he previously won both awards following the 2002-03 campaign.
O'Handley is one of six coaches/general managers in USHL history to win both awards in the same season, joining Jon Cooper (Green Bay Gamblers - 2009-10), Mike Hastings (River City Lancers - 2001-02, 1996-97), Steve Johnson (Lincoln Stars - 2000-01), Bob Ferguson (Des Moines Buccaneers - 1991-92, Sioux City Musketeers - 1985-86) and Frank Serratore (Austin Mavericks, 1984-85). O'Handley, Hastings and Ferguson are the only three coaches/general managers in USHL history to win both awards in the same season twice.