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Niagara coach Dave Burkholder (James P.McCoy)
Dave Burkholder had been Niagara’s head coach since the 2001-02 season (photo: James P.McCoy).

Dave Burkholder will not return as the head coach at Niagara, the school announced Monday.

This decision was reached after discussions with Burkholder “and careful consideration and review,” according to a press release.

The Purple Eagles upset RIT in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs two weekends ago and were then swept by Canisius last weekend to complete a 5-31-3 season.

“The ice hockey program at Niagara University is incredibly important to the university community,” said Niagara director of athletics Simon Gray in a statement. “Its success plays an important role in the vibrancy of our campus life, and that extends beyond the campus into our region. Much of that culture can be credited to Dave Burkholder’s legacy with our team. However, after recent discussions with Dave about the future of the program, both Dave and the university have decided that a change in leadership is best for the program.”

Burkholder had been the head coach of the Purple Eagles since 2001 and prior to that, he served as an assistant coach for Niagara for five seasons. He was a one-time Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year (2013) and was a two-time College Hockey America Coach of the Year (2006, 2007). He coached the Purple Eagles to 247 total wins, two CHA tournament championships, two CHA regular-season titles and one AHA regular-season title and three trips to the NCAA tournament.

“Dave has worked tirelessly for NU and has represented our mission well,” Gray added. “Dave has made an impact on a significant number of lives in the hockey community and has been an integral part of Western New York for more than 20 years. On behalf of the entire university, we thank Dave for his dedication and service to Niagara University.”

A national search for a new coach will begin immediately.

  • Jack Saviola

    This is a travesty on Niagara’s part. Dave Burkholder has seen the guts of the program cut out from under him by NU President Fr. James Maher. Since Maher’s arrival 5 years ago. Both hockey and basketball have gone from elite status among small school programs with consistent wining records, several championships and numerous Tournament appearances, to the absolute bottom of the respective sports. Hockey has finished dead last in Div I, two of the past three years.
    If Niagara insists on stepping away from maintaining competitive programs at the Division I level, It should be willing to admit that and move ahead with a downgrade to Division III, where it belongs.

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  • Jack Saviola

    This is a travesty on Niagara’s part. Dave Burkholder has seen the guts of the program cut out from under him by NU President Fr. James Maher. Since Maher’s arrival 5 years ago. Both hockey and basketball have gone from elite status among small school programs with consistent wining records, several championships and numerous Tournament appearances, to the absolute bottom of the respective sports. Hockey has finished dead last in Div I, two of the past three years.
    If Niagara insists on stepping away from maintaining competitive programs at the Division I level, It should be willing to admit that and move ahead with a downgrade to Division III, where it belongs.

    • I have profited 104000 dollars in 2016 by doing an online job and I did that by wo­rking in my own time for several hours each day. I followed a business opportunity I stumbled upon from company that i found online and I am so excited that i made such great money. It’s so user-friendly a­n­d I’m just so thankful that i discovered this. Check out what I did… http://gee­.­su/YUlaE

    • william.hardwick@mail.ru

      I’ve earned 104000 dollars in 2016 by working online from home a­n­d I manage to do it by w­orking part-time for 3+ h /daily. I used a money making model I stumbled upon online and I am so amazed that I was able to earn such great money. It’s very user friendly a­­n­­d I am just so grateful that i discovered this. This is what i do… http://www.wzurl­.­me/UhyySA

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  • Powers

    “The ice hockey program at Niagara University is incredibly important to the university community,”

    Well, the men at least. Niagara dropped the women’s team like a hot potato.

    Maybe Burkholder stopped getting top recruits because they saw how little the sport meant to the school.

  • Powers

    “The ice hockey program at Niagara University is incredibly important to the university community,”

    Well, the men at least. Niagara dropped the women’s team like a hot potato.

    Maybe Burkholder stopped getting top recruits because they saw how little the sport meant to the school.