Enering his third year as head coach of the Tufts University men's ice hockey program, Pat Norton has the Jumbos on an upward trajectory.
Bolstered by Coach Norton's strong recruiting class last winter, Tufts’ 9-8-1 conference record matched the program’s best since joining the NESCAC league in 2001. A pair of Jumbo wins came against league finalists Trinity and Hamilton. Five of the team's top eight scorers for 2016-17 were freshmen. With another strong recruiting class coming in this season, the Jumbos look to continue their climb in the competitve conference.
With 20 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and prep school levels, Norton was hired as the head coach of the Tufts University Men's Hockey program in August 2015. In his first season he guided the Jumbos to a competitive 10-10-6 finish in NESCAC. The team advanced to the conference semi-finals with an upset victory of #1 seed Williams College. Tufts also won Castleton's Rutland Herald Invitational that year.
Norton's first two seasons with the Jumbos have featured impressive athletic and academic recognition earned by his players. In 2016, goalie Mason Pulde achieved Academic All-America® honors as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Pulde also led NCAA Division III netmiders in save percentage that season with a .947 mark. Defenseman Sean Kavanagh was a two-time semi-finalist for the Concannon Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England at the NCAA Division II/III level. Last year, eight team members received NESCAC All-Academic honors for carrying grade point averages of 3.4 or higher.
A 1996 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he was a member of the hockey team, Norton began his coaching career as an assistant at Division III power Norwich University from 1996-2000. During his tenure with the Cadets, he was an integral part of three NCAA "Frozen Four" teams including the 1999-2000 squad which won the national championship. Norton moved on to assistant coaching positions at the Division I level with the University of Vermont from 2000-2003 and at Northeastern University for the 2003-04 season. While playing a key role in recruiting at all three of his previous collegiate stops, Norton developed a strong national network of contacts in the sport.
For 11 seasons from 2004-15, Norton was head coach of the hockey program at the Tilton School in New Hampshire. Members of the New England Prep Schools Interscholastic Hockey Association (NEPSIHA), Tilton competes at the highest level of prep school hockey. During Norton's tenure, the Rams were Lakes Region champions in 2010 and 2011 as well as New England Small School Semi-finalists in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
Norton has also been a USA Hockey New England District Coach and Evaluator since 1998.