Wilkes University adds men's and women's hockey
Compiled by D3hockey staff
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The list of Division III ice hockey-playing institution keeps on growing as Wilkes University will be added both men's and women's programs, it was announced on Tuesday.
"Adding men's and women's ice hockey to Wilkes University's NCAA Division III sports roster helps fulfill several strategic initiatives," University President Patrick F. Leahy said. "It will attract talented students both nationally and internationally and allow us to work with an outstanding community partner like the Penguins. Their commitment to growing ice hockey in the community ensures Wilkes' program will be exceptional."
The Colonels will begin play in the 2017-18 season and their addition runs the total number of varsity offerings by the university to 23. The men's team will become just the fourth Division III team within the state of Pennsylvania, while the women will become the fifth to call the Keystone State home.
Wilkes has formed a loose affiliation with the American Hockey League's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins organization that will allow it's programs to practice and play at the Toyota SportsPlex at Coal Street Park.
"The Penguins are looking forward to helping Wilkes University develop a successful and prominent program in Division III hockey," said Jeff Barrett, chief executive officer, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. "They have been a leader both academically and athletically in Northeast Pennsylvania. Adding Colonels hockey to the Toyota SportsPlex along with other youth programs such as the Junior Pens and Wyoming Seminary teams will allow children in the community to pursue their hockey dreams throughout their formative years and into adulthood."
Potential conference affiliations were not mentioned for the Colonels, whose primary affiliation is with the Middle Atlantic Conference. A national search for the program's inaugural head coaches is set to begin immediately.
LaCour moves back east to lead Johnson and Wales
Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff
Providence, RI- After spending a season away from Division III hockey as an assistant coach at Bemidji State, former Division III goaltender and coach James LaCour is home again. Johnson and Wales today announced the hiring of LaCour as the fifth head coach of the school's men's hockey program. LaCour replaces Erik Noack, who left the Wildcats to fill the vacancy left by John Rolli's retirement at UMass Dartmouth.
“We are excited to have James join our staff as our head men's ice hockey coach,” Athletic Director Jamie Marcoux said in the school's release. “He has worked with some excellent hockey programs and coaches in his tenure as an assistant. He has tremendous knowledge, a genuine excitement and love for the game and is ready to take over the reins for the Wildcats.”
Bemidji finished with a record of 17-16-6 overall and 11-12-5 in the WCHA under his guidance in 2015-16, a mark that was good enough to assist in qualifying for the conference tournament. The Beavers lost in a quarterfinal series to Bowling Green by a two games to one margin. LaCour primarily worked with the team's goaltenders, and was also the team's assistant in charge of hockey operations.
Prior to Bemidji, LaCour spent the prior three seasons as an assistant coach at Williams under Bill Kangas. The Ephs won 48 games in his three year tenure, and Lacour's assistance helped to lay the groundwork for the first NCAA tournament appearance, and tournament victory, in school history in 2016. The Ephs had postseason success in LaCour's presence as well, advancing to the NESCAC championship game twice and reaching the semifinal on an additional occasion.
As a player, LaCour played four seasons at Salem State under Bill O'Neill. He spent his senior season as the team's starter, going 12-5-1 en route to the 2011 MASCAC championship game. He played a portion of his first three seasons as well, including a night in the Fall of 2009 where LacCour, as a junior, backstopped the Vikings with 31 saves en route to a shocking 3-0 shutout win over St. Norbert at the St. Scholastica tournament. After earning a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Salem in 2011, LaCour also enjoyed a brief professional career in the French third division.
LaCour inherits a Wildcats team that went 11-11-4 in the 2015-16 campaign, and includes all-conference netminder Joey Ballmer. In addition to starting his own career as a head coach, LaCour will also lead the Wildcats into a new era of hockey, as the teams of the former ECAC Northeast transition to the Commonwealth Coast Conference this fall.
Noack tapped to replace Rolli at UMass Dartmouth
Courtesy of Megan Erbes, UMass Dartmouth
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Director of Athletics Amanda Van Voorhis announced the appointment of Erik Noack to serve as the fourth head coach of the Corsair men’s ice hockey program today.
“Erik exuded a passion and love for the game throughout the interview process,” Van Voorhis said. “His values are our values - community service, academic success, the whole development of student-athletes, and competitive success. His approach mirrors the NCAA Division III philosophy and he epitomizes the mission through his actions on and off ice. A tremendous leader in his own right, he's equipped with the skills of a mentor and well versed in the challenges student-athletes face. He's a proponent of relationship building, communication, empowerment, and student-athlete leadership. I anticipate this will be a smooth transition and look forward to the future of UMass Dartmouth Hockey.”
Noack joins UMass Dartmouth after spending the past 13 seasons as the head men’s ice hockey coach at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. Under his leadership, the Wildcats experienced tremendous growth and improvement as a program, as Noack compiled a career record of 148-172-21. After posting a 1-22-2 in his first year, Noack led the Wildcats to an eight-win turnaround with his own recruits in the 2004-05 season and qualified for the ECAC Northeast playoffs. As a result, he was named the ECAC Northeast Co-Coach of the Year in 2005 and two student-athletes were named to the All-Rookie Team. The Wildcats have enjoyed regional success ever since, achieving a program-best record of 18-8-1 in 2013-14, including a regular-season upset of No. 7 Williams. Noack led his charges to the ECAC Northeast playoffs in 11 of his 13 seasons at the helm.
Through the recruiting efforts of Noack and his staff, Johnson & Wales was home to three American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-Americans and four ECAC Northeast Players of the Year, while nine players signed a professional contract in the past two years alone. In 2008, Matt McGilvray became the program’s first-ever conference Player of the Year and All-American, while Jeremiah Ketts, a two-time ECAC Northeast Player of the Year, became the program’s first two-time AHCA All-American (2011, 2012). Most recently, Josh Obregon garnered All-America accolades in 2014. In addition, Noack’s players consistently performed in the classroom, achieving a 3.46 team GPA last year.
Prior to his time at JWU, Noack was an assistant coach at SUNY Fredonia during the 2001-02 season under longtime Blue Devils head coach Jeff Meredith. The 1998 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology played five years of professional hockey in both the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) before entering the coaching ranks.
Noack attended Kimball Union Academy and played junior hockey for the Cornwall Colts (CJHL) before beginning his collegiate career at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he played defense and served as a captain his senior season. In 113 career collegiate contests, he registered 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points. The Tigers were a Division III perennial powerhouse during his tenure, posting an overall record of 83-25-11 between 1995 and 1998, earning three NCAA tournament appearances, and advancing to the 1996 championship game.
A native and resident of Barrington, R.I., Noack earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Johnson & Wales in 2004.
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