|Alma Mater:||York (Ontario) '05|
A long-time goaltender instructor and local coach, Leon Lifschutz returns for his eighth season as an assistant coach for the Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey team in 2019-20.
The Purple and Gold started 3-3 in 2018-19 en route to its highest win total in 11 seasons, including a 5-2 victory over eventual New England Women's Hockey Alliance (NEWHA) Tournament runner-up Franklin Pierce University. Saint Michael's tied Division I Sacred Heart University, 1-1, in mid-January before downing Post University, 5-1, in the opening round of the NEWHA Tournament, advancing to a semifinal against eventual champion Saint Anselm College. The Purple Knights set a school record for longest shutout streak during the season while tying a mark for shutouts.
The 2017-18 Purple Knights opened the year with back-to-back wins, while their biggest victory of the year was a 1-0 upset of Division I Sacred Heart University on Jan. 12. In the opening round of the NEWHA Tournament, Saint Michael's knotted the game with three minutes to go before falling at Franklin Pierce University, 2-1. The Purple and Gold suffered seven losses by two goals or less, playing 20 of their 27 games in the new NCAA Division I/II NEWHA.
Saint Michael's put together a 3-1 run toward the end of January in 2017-18 that included scoring the final five goals in a 5-2 win over Castleton University and breaking out for a six-goal third period during an 8-2 victory against Nichols College. Between Jan. 20 and Feb. 17, the Purple Knights went 4-5 while averaging 3.1 goals, with two losses coming by 3-2 margins. In all, 10 setbacks during the season were by two goals or fewer.
A 3-2-1 stretch toward the end of the 2015-16 season began with the Purple Knights' school-record-tying third shutout of the year and concluded with the fifth-seeded Purple and Gold's 5-2 upset victory over No. 4 Sacred Heart University, a Division I institution, in the first round of the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Open Tournament. That triumph was the first win-and-advance postseason victory in program annals. Saint Michael's recorded its highest goal (45), assist (62) and point (107) totals in five years, and its best win figure in eight winters.
The Purple Knights counted among their highlights in 2014-15 a 1-1 tie with Division I College of the Holy Cross and a 3-2 victory over eventual Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East Tournament runner-up Castleton University. Donovan's charges set a school record for goals-against average (2.95), matched the second-lowest save percentage in program annals, and recorded their highest win, goal, assist and point totals since 2010-11. The Purple Knights matched their best ECAC East win total since 2007-08. Nine of their setbacks came by two goals or fewer.
Thanks in large part to Lifschutz's work with the Purple Knights' goaltenders, Saint Michael's posted a then-school-record 3.27 GAA during the winter of 2013-14, while its .909 save percentage was good for second. Saint Michael's yielded two goals or fewer on 10 occasions, while 11 losses came by two goals or less. During the campaign, the Purple and Gold picked up its first win ever over New England College en route to its best ECAC East finish in three years. The season ended with the Purple Knights tying Sacred Heart during the ECAC Open Tournament third-place game.
In 2012-13, the Purple Knights yielded three goals or fewer 15 times en route to posting a school record for save percentage (.917) and a then-record 3.41 GAA. Capping the success was a momentous 2-1 victory on Feb. 16 over Manhattanville College, which was receiving national votes and had defeated national power Norwich University the night before.
Lifschutz came to the program with experience in leadership and teaching, including serving as the club sports coordinator at the University of Vermont since 2007 and the head coach of the Burlington High School varsity boys' ice hockey program between 2009-10 and 2012-13. He also holds a Level 3 coaching certification from USA Hockey.
In his four years at Burlington, Lifschutz guided the Seahorses to postseason appearances each winter. As the club sports coordinator at UVM, Lifschutz is responsible for the supervision of the university's 55 club sports. He also teaches CPR and first aid classes in the position, and has taught a sports management class at the institution since 2011.
Prior to his work as a high school coach, Lifschutz was the head instructor at Saves Goaltending, where he conducted a variety of training programs for ice hockey goalies between 2001 and 2006. Many of his disciples graduated to play junior and college hockey. During the 2006-07 school year, Lifschutz was a teacher in the Milton Town School District, where he eventually coached from 2007 to 2009.
Lifschutz co-founded the Northern Vermont Wildcats midget program in 2007, serving as the president and head coach until 2011.
A former junior hockey player for the Alliston (Ontario) Hornets, Lifschutz completed his bachelor's degree in history at York (Ontario) University in 2005. He went on to earn his master's degrees in secondary education and social studies at D'Youville (N.Y.) College in 2006 and has begun pursuit of additional degrees from UVM.