Bruce J. Crowder

A year after playing his last game in the NHL in 1986 for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bruce Crowder was hired by University of Maine coach Shawn Walsh as an assistant coach.

But it was when he took the head coaching job at UMass-Lowell and took up primary residence in Nashua, where he still lives today, that Crowder began leaving his mark on the state and college hockey landscape as a coach.

In five years at Lowell he was named Hockey East Coach of the Year twice (1994, ’96), took the River Hawks to two NCAA tournaments – their last ones until 2012 – and received the Spencer Penrose Award as NCAA Division 1 Coach of the Year in 1996.

He took over the Northeastern program for the 1996-97 season and spent nine seasons coaching the Huskies, winning another Hockey East Coach of the Year award in 1998 and coaching six All-Americans. He left college coaching with a record of 219-245-55.

After his collegiate coaching career ended, Crowder was hired by the Anaheim Ducks as the assistant coach for the AHL’s Portland Pirates. He spent two seasons with the Pirates before leaving the coaching profession. Several of the players he coached in Portland went on to win a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2006-07.

Crowder and his wife, Lucie, a Concord native, have called Nashua home for the last 24 years. Their sons, Kevin and Scott, both played high school hockey at Bishop Guertin High School, helping the program win a state championship in 2001.

It was his hockey that brought Crowder to the Granite State from his native Ontario, earning a scholarship to the University of New Hampshire. During his four years at UNH skating for the late Charlie Holt in the late 1970s, he scored 47 goals and collected 133 points. 

His pro career saw him play more 243 games in the NHL with the Penguins and Boston Bruins. Crowder scored 47 goals and 51 assists for a total of 98 points during a four-year NHL career.