Upland Country Day School’s Boys Varsity Ice Hockey traveled to Connecticut last weekend and returned with three team victories, giving Varsity coach Court Dunn his 400th career win as an Upland hockey coach.
During the two days of play, the Upland team defeated Brunswick School 3 -2, Greenwich 7- 6 in sudden death overtime, and New Canaan 6 -2.
Court Dunn has been involved in coaching youth hockey his entire career. He has been a teacher and hockey coach at Upland for the past 43 years, where he was instrumental in establishing the school’s 35-year hockey exchange program with Finland. Court has also directed many skating and coaching clinics, and coached at all age and ability levels. He has served as hockey chairman at the Chester County Skating Club in Kennett Square.
In addition to Upland teams, Dunn has coached teams from Unionville Ice Hockey Club and Chester County Skating Club. As Upland’s varsity hockey coach, Court has led his teams to play locally and internationally, including Finland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Belgium, Holland, The Czech Republic, Germany, and Russia.
In 1996, Dunn founded the European Hockey Connection (EHC) as a way to bring the teaching methods of top European Olympic hockey coaches to the United States. As the director of EHC, Court has directed hockey clinics and camps in the local area, in Oregon and as far away as Weiden, Germany. He has also worked with Olympic and World Championship great Juhani Wahlsten, in Turku, Finland at the Great Skate Hockey Camp, and has worked closely with famed Canadian hockey coach Tom Molloy in camps and coaching symposiums throughout North America.
In 1997, Court Dunn was presented with the Finnish Central Sport Federation’s Silver Cross, for his “notable work contributing to the athletics in Finland.” Today, in collaboration with professional educators, authors and coaches in hockey, as well as other sports, Court continues to work to bring about a broader understanding and support of the basic premise of youth hockey – for young athletes to love the sport.
Many players who worked under Coach Dunn have gone on to play at higher levels, including New England prep schools, Division I and Division III colleges, as well as in the Finnish Elite and Minor Hockey Leagues and in Minor Professional Hockey.
At Upland, a K-9 school in Kennett, it is common to get nearly 100 players returning to campus each year for annual alumni games. Now, in addition to EHC, Court acts as a representative for IEMS (International Education Management Systems) and the European Hockey Academy. In his presentations, he continues to support the teaching methods developed and refined by Juhani Wahlsten and Tom Molloy – the ABC’s of International Ice Hockey.
He credits the influence of European coaches, philosophies, and practices on much of his success as a hockey coach. Dunn credits hockey giant, former Upland Head of School and founder of the Upland Ice Rink bearing his name, Jack Cleveland, with providing the guidance and inspiration to work with young people through coaching ice hockey.
The Upland hockey season continues on Dec. 13 at the Upland rink with a game against Notre Dame School. Brunswick, Greenwich and New Canaan Schools will travel to Kennett Square for Upland’s Annual Hockey Invitational Tournament on Jan. 17 and 18.