HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey team's uniform will feature a commemorative "JA" patch for the remainder of the 2011-12 season. The patch is in remembrance of the late Jim Armstrong, the former head coach of the men's ice hockey team, who passed away on Jan. 22, 2012. The patch will make its debut when the Bobcats host Harvard on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center, in an ECAC Hockey match-up to be aired live on New England Sports Network (NESN) in high definition.
"Jim laid the groundwork for where our program is today," head coach Rand Pecknold said. "We wanted to do something to remember Jim and recognize all of his accomplishments and commitment to Quinnipiac."
Armstrong won 140 games during a 14-year coaching career at Quinnipiac from 1980 through 1994, making him one of two coaches in the program's history to win 100 games. During that span, Quinnipiac had a winning record in five consecutive seasons, beginning in 1984-85 and running through 1988-89. In 1985-86, Quinnipiac made its first postseason appearance as it faced St. John's in the first game of the ECAC Tournament. Armstrong also led Quinnipiac to the 1986-87 ECAC Tournament finals and the 1987-88 semifinals.
"The entire Quinnipiac University community wishes Coach Armstrong's family our deepest sympathies," Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald said. "For 14 years, Coach Armstrong's coaching and leadership put Quinnipiac in an excellent position to transition our men's ice hockey program to the NCAA Division I level and ECAC Hockey. We are all very grateful for everything that Coach Armstrong has done for our student-athletes and Quinnipiac University."
Armstrong's 1981-82 team broke the Quinnipiac record with 129 goals scored that season while the 1984-85 (146), 1985-86 (151) and 1986-87 (186) teams also topped the program's goals-scored record. In 1986, Quinnipiac won a program-record 22 games during the 1986-87 season, while also scoring a program-record 185 goals. That record stood until the Bobcats' second year at the Division I level when Quinnipiac scored 195 goals in 1999-2000 and 2000-01.
Individually, 12 of Armstrong's players rank among Quinnipiac's Top-25 scorers of all-time, while eight – Russ Certo '82, Bill Verneris '82, Michael Barrett '85, Ed Muzyka '86, Richard Ciardiello '87, Richard Buckholz '88, Bob Serenson '88 and Todd Johnson '90 – have been inducted into the Quinnipiac Athletics Hall of Fame.
Armstrong also enjoyed a 11-year playing career that lasted from 1963 to 1974 that saw him play for the New Haven Blades, Long Island Ducks and Rhode Island Eagles of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL); the Toledo (Ohio) Blades and Saginawn (Mich.) Gears of the International Hockey League (IHL); and the Seattle (Wash.) Totems and Salt Lake (Utah) Golden Eagles of the Western Hockey League (WHL).