Peter Van Buskirk enters his 18th season as the head coach of the Holy Cross women's ice hockey team in 2017-2018. He has accumulated a 278-140-29 (.665) record over 18 seasons with six NEHC Open Tournament titles behind the Crusader bench.
Van Buskirk and the Crusaders earned a 22-5 overall record in 2016-2017, including a 14-3 NEHC mark and an 11-1 record on home ice. From Feb. 25, 2015-Feb. 4, 2017, the Crusaders had a 24-game winning streak at the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex, which stands as the longest home winning streak in the program’s history. Holy Cross made its ninth-straight appearance in the NEHC Open Tournament title game and 12th all-time appearance to the championship, but fell in overtime to St. Anselm. Five Crusaders earned conference accolades, as Kara Violette was named NEHC Player of the Year and first team All-NEHC. Joining Violette were Sam Girard and Isabela Bagi, who each were named second team All-NEHC. Elizabeth Scala earned third team All-NEHC honors and Hannah Gillis was selected to the NEHC All-Rookie team. Violette and Scala were both named to the NEHC Open All-Tournament team.
In 2016, Van Buskirk led the Crusaders to a perfect 12-0-0 record at home and earned his sixth NEHC Open Tournament Title with a 4-3 OT victory over St. Anselm. It marked Holy Cross' eighth-straight appearance in the title game, and their 11th all-time appearance in the championship. Kara Violette was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, and both Elizabeth Scala and Tessie Salatas were named to the NEHC Open All-Tournament team. The Crusaders finished the season with a 24-3 overall record, notching their ninth consecutive season with a winning percentage of .648 or higher. Izzy Bagi was named to the All-New England team, as well as first team All-Conference. Mackenzie Boardman was named second team All-Conference and Julie Matthias was named to the All-Rookie team.
Van Buskirk led Holy Cross to an ECAC Open Tournament Title in 2015 with a 4-1 victory over Franklin Pierce. It was the Crusaders' seventh straight appearance in an ECAC Open Championship game, and their fifth Championship victory. Senior Goaltender was named Most Outstanding Player at the ECAC Open Tournament with a .958 save% and a 1.00 GAA, while senior forward Mary Klimasewski and sophomore defenseman Isabela Bagi were named to the all-tournament team. The Crusaders finished the season with a record of 18-7-3.
In 2011, the Crusaders won the ECAC Open in a shoot out over St. Anselm. Senior Jocelyn Kratchmer was named tournament MVP, marking the third consecutive season a Crusader had garnered the award. Kratchmer and Hochkins were named to the All-Tournament team, and the duo was joined by senior Emily Henry on the All-ECAC East team. Hochkins also earned RBK All-America honors and New England All-Star honors for the second consecutive season.
Van Buskirk coached the Crusaders to the 2010 ECAC Open title and a second place finish in the ECAC East. At the 2010 American Hockey Coaches Association convention, Van Buskirk was honored with the John “Snooks” Kelley Founders Award. Named after the famed Boston College coach, the award honors those people in the coaching profession who have contributed to the overall growth and development of the sport of ice hockey in the United States.
During the 2008-2009 season, Van Buskirk led the Crusaders to an ECAC East regular season title, an ECAC Open championship, a school record 24 wins (24-2-1) and was named the ECAC East Coach of the Year. Holy Cross’ 117 single-season goals scored ranked number one all-time at Holy Cross, its 37 single-season goals allowed were the fewest all-time and its seven shutouts were second all-time. Van Buskirk coached the ECAC East Rookie of the Year, had three student-athletes make the ECAC East all-conference team and had five student-athletes named to the ECAC East All-Academic team.
Van Buskirk’s success did not occur overnight, as during the 2002-2003 season he helped the Crusaders compile a 17-7-1 overall record and win the ECAC championship title in only their fourth season as a varsity team.
Van Buskirk has been affiliated with the Holy Cross ice hockey program for over 30 years. From 1979-1988 he served as the men’s head coach before returning to the bench as an assistant from 1991-1996 and head coach again for the 1996-1997 season. Van Buskirk is Holy Cross’ second most successful men’s coach, with a record of 167-146-8 throughout 10 seasons.
During his tenure as head coach of the men’s team, Van Buskirk guided the Crusaders to eight ECAC East playoff appearances and also earned College Coach of the Year honors in 1983. He reassumed the men’s head coaching duties for the 1996-1997 season, guiding his squad to a 14-13-0 mark and earning a fourth consecutive trip to the ECAC East Tournament. Prior to coming to Holy Cross, Van Buskirk served as the head coach at Hudson High School from 1973-1979. During his tenure, he guided the Hawks to five Central Massachusetts titles, three district crowns and a Division I State Championship in 1978. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at St. John’s High School in 1972.
A 1965 graduate and two-sport athlete at the University of New Hampshire, Van Buskirk served as a lieutenant in the Army Infantry from 1966-1968. He also holds his master’s degree in education from Boston State College.
Van Buskirk is a member of both the Hudson High School and University of New Hampshire Athletic Halls of Fame. In addition to coaching, Van Buskirk has served as the director of several hockey schools. From 1976-1979, he served as the director of the Los Angeles Hockey School and the Squaw Valley Hockey School.