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Take two: Cronin officially leaves Northeastern to become assistant coach with Toronto Maple Leafs

by Joshua Kummins

Northeastern University Director of Athletics Peter Roby announced today that head coach Greg Cronin has accepted an offer to return to professional hockey as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.

A nationwide search for Cronin’s replacement will begin immediately, but assistant coach Sebastien Laplante, who played at NU from 1989 to 1993, will serve as the interim head coach. Laplante joined Cronin’s staff in 2008 as an assistant coach and will also be a candidate to take over the position full-time.

Cronin was named head coach at Northeastern in 2005. During his tenure, he elevated the program to new heights and collected 71 wins over the previous four seasons — the most over a four-year period in program history.

“I want to thank Greg for the incredible work he has done on behalf of this university and our student-athletes,” Roby said in a press release announcing Cronin’s departure. “Greg has been a tireless worker, both on and off the ice. He has taken our hockey program to new heights. He’s advanced our relationships with alumni and friends of the program. And he’s helped reshape our arena into one of the finest hockey venues in the nation.”

Over the last three years, the Huskies made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1994, qualified for the Hockey East semifinals twice and earned two trips to the Beanpot championship game at TD Garden.

Cronin’s new role with the Maple Leafs marks a return to professional hockey. He served as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders for six seasons from 1998-2003 and was the organization’s director of player development for three years (2002?05). He was the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

Former Islanders and Providence Bruins head coach Ron Gordon, a native of Easton, Massachusetts, will join Cronin on the bench. Gordon was a goaltender for Boston College from 1982 to 1986, posting a career mark of 64-35-3. He’s a former Hockey East First-Team All-Star in 1986 and he played a huge role in the Eagles’ first place finish in the ECAC East Region in 1983-84.

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