The unprecedented success of the Yale hockey program since Keith Allain ‘80 took over in 2006 has elevated the Bulldogs to be recognized among the nation’s perennial powers. The numbers tell the story of Yale’s ascension in the Allain era.
Allain, Yale’s Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, took a team that was seeded 15th overall in the NCAA Tournament to a 2013 Frozen Four title after wins over three top seeds and a No. 2 seed. His Bulldogs won twice in OT (Minnesota, UMass Lowell), came from behind to beat North Dakota, and beat No. 1 Quinnipiac 4-0 at Pittsburgh for the national title.
Prior to that, he led the Blue to the best win percentage (.752) among Division I teams from 2008 to 2011 while coming within a game of two straight Frozen Four appearances.
The 2010-11 campaign had been the program’s best. Allain’s squad set the school record for wins (28-7-1), became the first Bulldog team to be voted No. 1 in the national polls (2 straight months), held the top PairWise Ranking for most of the year, won four straight conference playoff games to capture the ECAC Hockey Championship and beat Air Force in OT at the NCAA East Regional as the top seed in the 16-team field. In addition, the Blue ended the season with Division I’s top offense, defense and winning percentage.
Allain's 2009-10 team became Yale's first to take consecutive ECAC Hockey regular-season titles and have 20-win seasons. The Elis, who led the nation in scoring and finished with a No. 5 ranking in the polls, capped it off with a 3-2 win over North Dakota in the NCAA Northeast Regional at Worcester, Mass, that was considered the greatest win for the program to date. Yale fell to eventual national champion Boston College the next day despite scoring seven times.
The 2008-09 Tim Taylor Award as ECAC Hockey’s Coach of the Year went to Allain after he led Yale to a 24-win season, Yale’s first ECAC Tournament Championship and a No. 5 national ranking. That season College Hockey News named him national coach of the year.
The current Yale head coach replaced his original mentor, Tim Taylor (1976-2006), whose first team included Allain. Taylor hired Allain to be his assistant from 1982 to 1985 before the prized pupil left the collegiate game to coach and scout in Sweden. He completed his 16th overall year at Yale in 2014-15: four as a student, three as an assistant coach in the early 1980s and nine as head coach. Only Taylor (337, 28 years) and Murray Murdoch (278, 27) have more wins at Yale than Allain, who owns a 20-16 ECAC post-season record (6-4 in NCAAs).
Allain, a former NHL and Olympics assistant, was named the 11th head coach of the Yale men's program on April 15, 2006. Allain is the third Yale graduate to take the position and the first since Holcomb York '17 led the Bulldogs from 1930 to 1938 (Lawrence M. Noble '27 coached the Elis from 1928 to 1930).
The starting goalie on four Bulldog squads, Allain owns the fourth-most (31) wins for a Yale netminder and ranks fourth at the school with 2,337 career saves. He owns four of the top 10 Yale single-game save totals, including 55 stops in a 7-3 loss at Minnesota on Dec. 28, 1978. Allain played two years (1980-82) of professional hockey in Sweden before suffering a career-ending injury.
Allain, the goalie coach for the St. Louis Blues from 1998 to 2006, watched his netminders give up the fewest goals in the NHL in 1999-2000, claiming the William M. Jennings Trophy. That season the Blues captured the President's Trophy for the best regular-season record in the league.
His professional hockey coaching experience also includes serving as a scout for the NHL's Nashville Predators in 1997-98 and a four-year (1993-97) stint as an assistant coach for the Washington Capitals, where he helped Jim Carey win the 1996 Vezina Trophy.
His extensive international coaching career includes serving as an assistant coach for the United States Olympic Team at the 1992 (Albertville) and 2006 (Torino) Games. He was an assistant for teams that played in the 1996 (won championship) and 2004 World Cup of Hockey. His involvement with USA Hockey includes guiding the U.S. as head coach at the 2001, 2002 and 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships. He also assisted with the 2005 and 2006 U.S. National Teams at the world championships.
Allain is a Worcester, Mass., native who has six brothers (five of them played college hockey) and a father who had played professionally in the old Eastern League. He and his wife, Mi, have three children: Josefine, Julia and Niklas.
1976-80: Attended Yale
1980-81: Professional player in Sweden
1982-85: Yale Assistant Coach
1985-86: Professional player/coach in Sweden
1986-89: Worked in the investment business
1989-91: Head Coach Jarfalla Hockey Club Sweden
1989-93: European Scout for Washington Capitals
1989-94: Assistant Coach Washington Capitals
1997-98:Professional Scout for Nashville Predators
1998-06: Assistant Coach St. Louis Blues
2006-07: Became Yale Head Coach
ALLAIN'S INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE
Years: Position, Team, Tournament
2011: Head Coach, U.S. Junior National, World Championships (Bronze)
2006: Assistant, U.S. National, World Championships
2006: Assistant, U.S. National, Olympic Games (Torino)
2005: Assistant, U.S. National, World Championships
2004: Goalie, U.S. National, World Cup
2002: Head, U.S. Junior National, World Championships (4-1-2)
2001: Head, U.S. Junior National, World Championships (5-2)
1996: Assistant, U.S. National, World Cup (1st)
1995: Head, U.S. National 17, Mexico Cup (2nd)
1994: Head, U.S. National 17, Pacific Cup (2nd)
1991-92: Assistant, U.S. National, Olympic Games (Albertville)
1990: Assistant, U.S. National 17, Summer Challenge
Articles on Allain
• NHL.com: Allain's arrival rejuvenates Yale
• New Haven Register: Allain Era Starts With Fond Memories
• Hartford Courant: Allain's Allegiance Brings Him Back as Yale Coach
• CSTV.com: True Blue, and a Dream Come True
• ESPN.com: Blues Assistant Allain Named Yale Hockey Coach
Keith Allain/USA Hockey Feature on Versus: