Belmont Hill varsity hockey coach Brian Phinney was recently named 2022 Prep Hockey Coach of the Year by New England Hockey Journal. The hockey team had a remarkable season and qualified for the New England Elite 8 Tournament. They went on to defeat St. Sebastian’s in the quarterfinals at Belmont Hill, then traveled to Avon Old Farms where they scored a semifinal victory. In the finals, they hosted Salisbury School and fell short with a hard-fought loss. The team’s final record was 17-3-3.
Coach Phinney admits to being pleasantly surprised with this honor from New England Hockey Journal. He believes that much of the team’s success was due to the hard work of the players, and, more specifically, the leadership of the senior class. “They helped to build and solidify a thick team culture, and that culture was what drove our team,” he states. “We, as coaches, just gave the boys space to find their way. It is obviously an honor to be recognized, but it’s the full group of players and coaches that deserve the recognition.”
At Belmont Hill, Coach Phinney is an associate director of admissions, a history teacher, and a Form I head advisor. He coaches lacrosse as well. Coach Phinney began his tenure as varsity hockey coach in 2021. Prior to Belmont Hill, he served as an assistant coach at Middlebury College, as well as at the Salisbury School. He also spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at UMass-Amherst. A native of Vermont, Coach Phinney played his college hockey at Middlebury College where they won two NCAA titles, including during his senior year when he was captain and All-American. He also played lacrosse at Middlebury, capturing an NCAA title during his freshman year. After graduation, Coach Phinney played four seasons of professional hockey in Sweden.
He says that the most rewarding part of coaching at Belmont Hill is getting to be a part of each player’s journey and helping them along the way. “I am just getting to the point where I have been at Belmont Hill long enough to have my former Middle School history students on the varsity hockey team,” he notes. “Seeing them grow and develop as student-athletes over that time span is pretty special.”