Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson isn't thinking about retirement
AnnArbor.com file photo
Red Berenson has been coaching hockey at Michigan for almost three decades. This week will mark his 11th Frozen Four at the school, but the 71-year-old legendary coach realizes these chances are starting to dwindle for him.
With his team a few days from playing top-seeded North Dakota in Thursday's Frozen Four semifinals (8:30 p.m., ESPN2), he didn’t want to speculate on whether this might be his final run.
“I’m not thinking that way,” Berenson said as he sat in his comfortable blue chair in the Michigan hockey office on Monday.
“I’m just thinking we have to have a good game on Thursday. It’s not about me, it’s not about the future.
“I’ve got two more years on a contract and, right now, I intend to fulfill them. But you don’t know how many chances, I’m running out of chances to get to the Frozen Four and to win a championship.”
Berenson already has two NCAA titles from 1996 and 1998, but this is only the second time one of his teams have been to the Frozen Four since the Wolverines made three straight trips from 2001-03.
The Regina, Saskatchewan native is sixth all-time among college coaches with 727 wins and has a career record of 727-338-73 with 21 straight appearances in the NCAA tournament.
So he, along with his team, recognize the importance of reaching the Frozen Four and the opportunity it presents. If nothing else, Berenson has been stressing it throughout the past two weeks.
“It’s part of the game, part of life,” Berenson said. “You don’t get a second chance to be a teenager, either, but this is the way it is.
“I’m trying to enjoy this and want our team to understand this is an opportunity. It’s not just another hockey game or another trip. It feel the same way. It’s an opportunity, let’s take advantage of it.”