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 adding 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's program will be exceptional."
The Colonels will begin play in the 2017-18 season and their addition run 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 of the 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.
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