Leon Abbott

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Leon Abbott
Playing career
? Alberta
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1969–1972 RPI
1972–1973 Boston University
1976–1979 St. Lawrence
Head coaching record
Overall 87–117–7

Leon Abbott is a former college ice hockey coach who is most remembered for being fired by Boston University six games into the 1973–74 season for violating NCAA eligibility rules.[1]


Abbott began his coaching career after graduating from McGill in 1964.[2] He coached briefly for a small college in Alberta before moving to take an assistant coaching position at St. Lawrence.[3] In 1969 Abbott was offered the top job at Rensselaer, taking over from Garry Kearns, and after a poor first season, returned the Engineers to winning ways with 16- and 17-win seasons, making the ECAC tournament in consecutive seasons.[4]

Abbott received his big break in 1972 when Jack Kelley stepped away from Boston University to pursue a professional coaching career and Abbott was given the job to replace him.[5] The Terriers were coming off back-to-back National Championships[6] and didn't take much of a step backwards with their new bench boss, finishing the season at a 22-6-1 mark, but after the season the NCAA forced BU to forfeit 11 wins due to ineligible players.[7] While that decision meant little in and of itself as the Terriers had already finished their season, the team and Abbott himself were placed under heightened scrutiny by the NCAA. Early in the following season, two players (Peter Marzo and Bill Buckton) were ruled to be professional athletes by having accepted money to play amateur hockey, a violation of NCAA regulations.[1] While federal court judge Joseph L. Tauro later reinstated the players, the damage had been done. After a 4-2 start, Abbott was fired by BU and replaced by his assistant, Jack Parker.

After the season Abbott returned to his undergraduate alma mater, Alberta, and assumed head coaching duties until he was offered a third NCAA job, this time by St. Lawrence.[3] The Saints had been slipping in the standings and were looking for someone to return them to their earlier glory but bringing Abbott back to Canton didn't work out as expected. In three seasons Abbott posted a record of 28-59-2, finishing well out of the conference playoffs each year. Thing began to look up at the beginning of his fourth campaign as the Saints won their first three contests, but everything went south after as they dropped eight straight matches. The final straw was a 12-3 trouncing by Clarkson on December 1 after which Abbott stepped down as head coach.[8]

Head coaching record[edit]

References: [7][8][9]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
RPI Engineers (ECAC Hockey) (1969–1972)
1969–70 Rensselaer 8-15-1 3-13-1 15th
1970–71 Rensselaer 16-7-2 7-5-2 8th ECAC Quarterfinals
1971–72 Rensselaer 17-9-1 9-7-1 7th ECAC Quarterfinals
Rensselaer: 41-31-4 19-25-4
Boston University Terriers (ECAC Hockey) (1972–1974)
1972–73 Boston University 11-17-1^ 9-8-1^ 8th ECAC Quarterfinals
1973–74 Boston University 4-2-0† 3-1-0†
Boston University: 15-19-1 12-9-1
St. Lawrence Saints (ECAC Hockey) (1976–1980)
1976–77 St. Lawrence 8-20-0 3-17-0 16th
1977–78 St. Lawrence 12-18-0 8-14-0 13th
1978–79 St. Lawrence 8-21-2 5-18-1 15th
1979–80 St. Lawrence 3-8-0‡ 0-4-0‡
St. Lawrence: 31-67-2 16-53-1
Total: 87-117-7

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

^BU forfeited 11 wins after the 1972-73 season due to an ineligible player. Record without forfeits is 22-6-1 (13-4-1 ECAC).

†BU fired Abbott on December 21, 1973. Jack Parker finished the season. BU credits the first six games of the 1973-74 season to Abbott and the remaining 25 games to Parker.

‡Abbott stepped down from his position mid-season


  1. ^ a b "BU drops Abbott as ice coach". The Montreal Gazette. 1973-12-24. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  2. ^ "Leon Abbott Historical Record". College Hockey News. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  3. ^ a b "Abbott Quits Spot as Larrie Coach". Schenectady Gazette. 1979-12-05. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  4. ^ "Leon Abbott Year-By-Year Coaching Record". USCHO.com. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  5. ^ "Boston University Men's Hockey Team History". USCHO.com. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  6. ^ "NCAA Division 1 Tournament". College Hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  7. ^ a b "2009-10 Boston University Media Guide: History" (PDF). Boston University Terriers. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  8. ^ a b "2014-15 St. Lawrence Saints Media Guide" (PDF). St. Lawrence Saints. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  9. ^ "2009-10 RPI Engineers Media Guide" (PDF). RPI Engineers. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 

External links[edit]