American Hockey Coaches Association Salutes Christopher Gurry ’66
Andover’s former varsity hockey coach named recipient of 2011 John Mariucci Award
February 03, 2011
— The American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) has recognized Christopher Gurry ‘66, instructor in history and social science, for his 25-year career as coach of Andover’s boys' varsity hockey team. The John Mariucci Award, named after the “godfather of U.S. hockey,” is given each year to a secondary school hockey coach who “best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and enthusiasm” of the former University of Minnesota coach.
“For Chris to receive the Mariucci Award is the culmination of an extraordinary career as a teacher, coach and mentor,” said Dean Boylan, Gurry’s assistant for two years who now serves as the boys' varsity hockey head coach. “His dedication to the sport and to the coaching profession is well known throughout all of amateur hockey.”
Gurry, who was a star hockey player for both Andover and Harvard, began his coaching career at West Point as an assistant to the legendary Jack Riley, coach of the gold medal-winning 1960 Olympic hockey team. Gurry returned to Andover in 1974, as a history instructor and assistant coach to Ted Harrison '38. In 1980, he took over the reigns as head coach, where he remained for the next 20 years.
Gurry called the award “a complete surprise,” having retired from coaching in 2000 to focus on his sons’ hockey playing. “For me, this award is a recognition of the Phillips Academy program over the years, and I’m honored to be part of that legacy, which was started by Ted Harrison and now continues thanks to Dean Boylan.”
When asked to review memorable moments and teams, Gurry had many stories about the Exeter rivalry over the years and players who continued to excel at the college level and beyond. Several teams — like the 1995-1996 team that made it to the New England Championship finals — quickly came to mind, but Gurry asserts he remembers each and every team, each having a “personality of its own.”
Having served 37 years as a history instructor and house counselor at Andover, Gurry cherishes the many friendships he’s forged with former students, but it is his relationships with former players that have mostly endured. “As a coach you build close relationships based on the camaraderie within the team. You are constantly dealing with the hopes and expectations of each player and the team. There are many challenges that bring players and their coaches together. I will always cherish the years that I coached the varsity team at Andover.”
“Chris has an astute hockey intellect, but his most important legacy will always be the relationships he has maintained with his former players,” said Boylan. “His contributions to the sport are enormous and all of us at Andover are so proud that he will be honored with this award.”
The AHCA will officially present Gurry with the John Mariucci Award in late April at the group’s annual convention in Naples, Fla.