National Champion Ice Hockey Coach Greg Carvel to be Featured Speaker at UMass Amherst Commencement on May 14

National Coach of the Year to speak on resilience and perseverance in difficult times
Greg Carvel
Greg Carvel

AMHERST, Mass. – Greg Carvel, head coach of the 2021 NCAA Division I national champion men’s ice hockey team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will be the commencement speaker at the university’s undergraduate ceremonies on Friday, May 14 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Carvel guided the Minutemen to their first NCAA championship during his fifth season as coach. Known for recruiting high-character players capable of playing at the highest level, Carvel has transformed a once-moribund program into one of national excellence through his team’s commitment to resilience and perseverance in difficult times, the theme of his remarks. He is also a UMass Amherst alumnus, earning a master’s degree in sport management in 1998.

Due to pandemic restrictions, Undergraduate Commencement this year will take the form of four smaller and short ceremonies. Carvel will speak in person at all four ceremonies over the course of the day. The university will welcome a limited number of registered guests — two people per graduate — to the events. A number of public health protocols and COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of attendees, including social distancing and facemask requirements.

Each ceremony will run approximately 40 minutes and will also feature UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, who will confer degrees, and a student speaker. The ceremonies will also be livestreamed on the commencement website.

Subbaswamy said, “It has been such a pleasure to watch Greg Carvel lead his team of young men from the bottom of Hockey East to the top of college hockey. He is the best college hockey coach in the country. He coaches character as hard as he coaches skill. And he brings a work ethic, a savviness and an intellect that you would expect from a UMass Amherst alum.”

UMass claimed the university’s first NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championship, defeating St. Cloud State, 5-0, on April 10, 2021. Carvel was the 2019 Spencer Penrose winner and 2021 Spencer Penrose runner-up, awarded annually to the top NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey coach by the American Hockey Coaches Association. He also garnered recognition from College Hockey News and, honored as the national Coach of the Year in 2021 by both media outlets. Carvel has coached the Minutemen to four of the top-10 winningest seasons in UMass' 91-season history. In addition to the program’s first NCAA title, Carvel led the Minutemen to their first NCAA Runner-up finish (2018-19), first Hockey East regular season (2018-19) and tournament titles (2020-21), and first Hobey Baker winner, as Cale Makar was the National Player of the Year in 2018-19.

Prior to his tenure at UMass, Carvel spent five years at St. Lawrence University as head coach of his undergraduate alma mater. Carvel, a former captain and the first CoSIDA Academic All-American in SLU program history, was named the 2014-15 Tim Taylor Award winner as Eastern College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

Before making his return to St. Lawrence, Carvel spent 15 seasons in the professional ranks, making two trips to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals while a member of the staffs of Anaheim and Ottawa. Carvel played one year of professional hockey in Sweden and then became assistant athletic director and assistant hockey coach at Canterbury Prep. While pursuing his master’s degree at UMass, he was an assistant coach at Amherst College in 1996.

Carvel and his wife, Daina, an Amherst native, are parents to Kathryn, Ava and Drew.

About UMass Amherst Commencement

Credentials are required to cover the ceremonies. To make arrangements, please contact the Office of News and Media Relations at

Media are invited to attend their choice of two of the commencement events at McGuirk Alumni Stadium:

  • Noon: Featuring the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Humanities and Fine Arts and College of Education
  • 3 p.m.: Featuring the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, College of Engineering, University Without Walls and Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration candidates