CHATHAM, NJ - Among his cherished memories from his time as the Chatham High ice hockey coach and his tenure as the CHS athletic director, Harvey "Hutch" Cohen lists participating in New Jersey's very first state championship game as one of the top highlights.
"There are so many great memories," Cohen said. "We played in the first-ever state championship ice hockey game in 1976, Chatham Township vs. Brick and we lost in overtime. We were the Mennen Cup champions and they were the Gordon Cup champions."
Cohen is well aware of how much the NJSIAA ice hockey tournament has grown since that inaugural state final 41 years ago. That's because he's currently a member of the NJSIAA Ice Hockey State Tournament Committee.
"I'm still involved and I have a good time doing it," Cohen said. "It's what I do."
Already a member of the New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, Cohen recently was honored for his time as the Chatham Athletic Director with his induction to the Director of Athletics Association of New Jersey (DAANJ) Hall of Fame.
Cohen, the Chatham AD for 18 years, managed the dual role of AD and head ice hockey coach with remarkable efficiency. He won 547 career ice hockey games, No. 2 on the state's coaching list, and won the Public B state championship in 2011. His induction into the DAANJ Hall of Fame is a tribute to his dedication.
"Time management at its best," Cohen said of his dual roles. "I had a terrific administrative assistant, Ginny Leslie. She made it all possible. She did all the things that she does that helps make everything work."
He started as the Chatham Township ice hockey coach in 1972 and his 39 years as the coach carried over into the merger of the township and borough into one high school.
"Actually, I’m a blessed person," Cohen said. "I got more out of the relationships with my players than they did from me. The proudest moment for me is when I get to see kids I coached and reminisce about the times we’ve had.
"I was blessed because when I came here Chatham Township had great hockey players and the parents were willing to spend the time driving their kids all over supporting the program. I'm still friendly with my first captains - Cary Kimmel and Tony Fox."
A number of Cohen's former Chatham players have gone on to become ice hockey coaches, for example Dave Hansen at Madison High and Michael Young at Sparta High. Cohen points with pride to Alex Rauter, who played for Cornell in the 2017 ECAC Championship game on Saturday night. Rauter played three seasons for Cohen, culminated with the 2011 state championship.
"Alex Rauter went on and made himself into a great ice hockey player," Cohen said. "I was blessed being able to coach some terrific kids who were dedicated. My son played on the team for four years."
Cohen coached Chatham to five Mennen Cup Championships and also co-authored a book The Scholastic Ice Hockey Playbook, which he wrote with Mike Morreale, who now writes for NHL.com.