CHEERS to Plattsburgh State women's hockey coach Kevin Houle for capturing his 400th career win last week.

Houle has been at the helm of the nation's top women's Division III college hockey program for 17 seasons now.

His win-loss record is an astounding 400-50-25.

He's racked up seven East Coast Athletic Conference titles and two Northeast Women's Hockey League titles to go along with seven national titles.

There have been 26 Cardinal players that have earned All-America status under his tutelage.

The Cardinals are, without a doubt, the elite class of women's college hockey.

A lot has to go right to achieve the kind of success that Houle has in his career, and he has proven his ability to navigate the many obstacles that can crop up in any given season.

Injuries, illnesses, academic failure, inappropriate behavior and many other factors can easily derail a program or a coaching career, but that's not the case with the Cardinal women's hockey program.

Houle has steered the ship through whatever rough waters that have come his way over the years, and has reached the destiny of a national championship seven times.

Most coaches would be thrilled with the taste of one such title, so to do it seven times is astounding.

In order to cook a good meal, the chef needs to know what kind of ingredients to obtain.

Houle has shown his knowledge of identifying and recruiting the best talent in the country and beyond for nearly two decades.

A successful college hockey coach has to spend much of his or her spring and summer months traveling across the country and Canada searching for top players at showcase tournaments.

It can be long and tiring, but that's the kind of investment that is needed to achieve success, and Houle, with the help of his assistants over the years, has done it.

Whenever the Cardinals take to the ice, they usually are the more talented team, and it shows.

With all the success the program has seen since its inception in 2001, it still is baffling why the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena at the Plattsburgh State Field House is not jam-packed for each and every home women's game.

They are the best team in the country, play a terrific brand of hockey and ticket prices are more than reasonable. How can that not be attractive?

The Plattsburgh State men's hockey team is still a great draw in the area, and that's wonderful, but the women's team should be just as popular.

Maybe the hype of Houle's 400th win, and the impressive banner-raising ceremony for the team's seventh national title last year will be enough to spark more interest this season.

The coach and his players deserve it.


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