Jeff Kampersal enters his 15th year behind the bench of the Princeton women’s hockey team. Kampersal’s tenure as head coach has been marked by the team’s best-ever ECAC finish of second in 2006 and an Ivy League title that same year. Kampersal has also led Princeton to an additional two top-three ECAC finishes and three 20-win seasons.
The 2009-10 Tigers finished 13-14-2 overall, ending a streak of nine-straight season in which the Tigers finished above. 500. Princeton placed sixth in the final ECAC standings and garnered a playoff berth for the ninth straight season. During the season, Kampersal was selected to coach the ECAC All-Star team in its exhibition game against the U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team.
A season earlier, Princeton recorded its ninth straight winning record and its third top-three ECAC finish under Kampersal. Princeton won 18 games to place third in the final ECAC standings after being selected sixth in the league’s preseason poll. Princeton’s successful season helped Kampersal claim the ECAC Coach of the Year award for the third time in his career.
In his 14 years as Princeton’s head coach, Kampersal’s teams have averaged better than 17 wins per season, more than four wins more per season than in the first 17 years of the women’s hockey program. In 14 seasons, he has a 217-170-40 record behind the Princeton bench.
The 2008-09 Tigers earned home ice in the ECAC playoffs for the fifth time in Kampersal’s tenure. Princeton’s 18 wins ranked fourth in program history for wins in a season. One season earlier in 2007-08, Princeton won 14 games. The 2006-07 Tigers finished the season 16-12-3, tying the sixth highest win total in program history. Kampersal has been the coach for the eight of the 10 best seasons at Princeton in terms of wins.
He led the 2005-06 Tigers to a program-high 21 wins, an Ivy League championship, a second-place finish in the ECACHL and Princeton’s first NCAA tournament berth. The 2005-06 season was the best in Princeton history. In addition to setting a program record for wins in a season, Princeton was home to both the Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year, Kim Pearce and Annie Greenwood. Princeton had two first-team All-ECACHL selections and placed two players on the ECACHL All-Rookie team. Kampersal was named the ECACHL Coach of the Year as well for the second time in his career.
In 2002-03 and 2003-04, Kampersal led the Tigers to back-to-back 20-win seasons. 2002-03 was then the most successful season in program history, as the Tigers finished 20-9-2 and reached the ECAC semifinals. 2003-04’s 20-11-0 record was just slightly off the pace of the previous season.
Kampersal spent the summers of 2004, 2005 and 2006 serving on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women’s Select Festival. In 2001-02, Kampersal was named the ECAC North Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 15-11-3 record, then his best mark in his six seasons behind the bench.
Princeton had earned five consecutive playoff berths when Kampersal took the coaching reins prior to the 1996-97 season, and the Tigers did not miss a beat under his leadership. During his first campaign he led the team to the ECAC quarterfinals, only to be topped by an appearance in the ECAC semifinals the following season and a quarterfinal appearance in 1998-99. Princeton narrowly missed the postseason in 1999-00 and 2000-01 before returning in each of the last six years.
During his tenure Kampersal has had four players in contention for the Patty Kazmaier Award, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in women’s intercollegiate hockey. The award is named in honor of the late Patty Kazmaier, who was a four-year letterwinner and All-Ivy League honoree for Princeton from 1982 through 1986. Ali Coughlin, a second-team All-America in 1997-98, was one of 11 nominees in 1997-98 and 1998-99. Andrea Kilbourne, who took a year off between her junior and senior years to play for the U.S. in the 2002 Olympics, was a top 10 candidate in 2000-01 and 2002-03. Gretchen Anderson, a first-team All-Ivy and All-ECAC player her senior season and the Tigers seventh all-time leading scorer, was a candidate in 2003-04. Pearce was a candidate in 2006.
A 1992 graduate of Princeton, Kampersal served as the men’s hockey team’s captain as a senior. An All-Ivy League and All-ECAC selection, Kampersal shares the school record for consecutive games played with 107 (tied with Mervin Kopeck ‘95). He also was awarded the 1941 Championship Trophy, given to the Princeton player who best represents the winning spirit of the 1941 championship team. Kampersal played high school hockey at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Mass., and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in November of 2009.
A 10th-round selection of the New York Islanders in the 1988 NHL entry draft, Kampersal played for the ECHL’s Richmond Renegades and the AHL’s Capital District Islanders.
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