The WCHA announced Wednesday the creation of the Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy, which honors the late Wisconsin coach and be awarded to the league’s men’s postseason tournament champion, beginning with this year’s playoffs. The Sauer Trophy replaces the Broadmoor Trophy, which has been awarded to the WCHA’s tournament champion since 1985.
“This is a truly proud and joyful day for the WCHA,” Bill Robertson, WCHA president and men’s league commissioner, said in a release. “Jeff Sauer embodied all that is wonderful about hockey and everything we strive to represent as the WCHA. A legendary coach and ambassador for the game, Jeff was, above all, a wonderful person. All who knew him are better for the experience, and Jeff’s legacy – his passion, generosity, camaraderie and commitment – live on today. We are thrilled to introduce this new tournament championship trophy as a tangible reminder of Jeff Sauer’s enduring impact on our league and our sport.”
Sauer, who died Feb. 2, 2017, at age 73, was associated with the WCHA for six decades, beginning with his playing career at Colorado College in the 1960s. The St. Paul native coached in the conference for 31 seasons, from 1971-82 at Colorado College and from 1982-2002 at Wisconsin. From 2003-17, Sauer served in various consulting capacities to the commissioner and association office.
The only WCHA head coach with 30 years behind the bench, Sauer is the league’s all-time winningest coach with 665 victories – the 10th most in NCAA men’s hockey history. A two-time WCHA coach of the year, Sauer guided his Colorado College and Wisconsin teams to a pair of league regular-season titles and six WCHA playoff championships. He also coached in 12 NCAA tournaments, advancing to the Frozen Four three times and winning the 1983 and 1990 national championships with Wisconsin.