North­eastern Uni­ver­sity men’s hockey coach Greg Cronin is heading back to the pros.

On Monday, North­eastern Ath­letics Director Peter Roby announced that Cronin has accepted an offer to become an assis­tant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League.

Roby praised Cronin for his work, both on and off the Matthews Arena ice.

I want to thank Greg for the incred­ible work he has done on behalf of this Uni­ver­sity and our student-​​athletes,” Roby said. “He has taken our hockey pro­gram to new heights. He’s advanced our rela­tion­ships with alumni and friends of the pro­gram and he’s helped reshape our arena into one of the finest hockey venues in the nation.”

Cronin’s new posi­tion with the Leafs marks a return to pro­fes­sional hockey. From 1998 to 2003, he served as an assis­tant coach for the New York Islanders; from 2003-​​05 he served as head coach of the Islanders’ top Amer­ican Hockey League affil­iate, the Bridge­port Sound Tigers.

In six years behind the bench for North­eastern, Cronin rebuilt the Huskies into a national con­tender. He amassed an overall record of 84–104-29, including 71 wins over the last four seasons—the most vic­to­ries over any four-​​year period in club history.

In the last three sea­sons, the Huskies qual­i­fied for the NCAA Tour­na­ment for the first time since 1994, twice reached the Hockey East semi­fi­nals and earned two trips to the Beanpot Championship.

In the 2008-​​09 cam­paign, Cronin’s crew climbed to No. 2 in the national rank­ings and tied the ’81–82 club record for vic­to­ries in a season with 25. Cronin’s coaching job earned him the Bob Kullen Hockey East Coach of the Year award.

Under Cronin’s watch, 11 Huskies were drafted or signed by NHL clubs – including former Hockey East Player of the Year, Brad Thiessen – who served as a backup goal­tender for the Pitts­burg Pen­guins during the tail end of last season.

A national search for Cronin’s replace­ment will begin imme­di­ately. Assis­tant coach Sebastien Laplante, who joined the North­eastern coaching staff in 2008, will serve as the interim head coach and will be a can­di­date for the full-​​time posi­tion. Laplante played for the Huskies from 1989 to 1993.

We look for­ward to building upon our recent suc­cess,” Roby said. “We will move quickly in our search, but will be thorough.”