“It will be awesome to play for a guy who won the Stanley Cup and did it recently,” said incoming freshman Garrett Cecere, who finished this season as the No. 5 scoring defenseman (37 points, 34 assists) in the U.S. Hockey League. “I am looking forward to talking to him and finding out what he wants me to do to help the team win. I am very excited about coming this fall and playing for four years as a Tiger.”
Haviland, whose 15 years of pro coaching experience (20 overall) includes winning the 2010 Stanley Cup as a Blackhawks assistant, was announced as the 14th coach in program history on Friday morning.
“He has a reputation as a really good coach, a players coach and as a proven winner,” said 2014 CC graduate Dakota Eveland, who served as a student assistant the past two seasons. “We’ll see if he can deliver but all the alumni and players should be excited.”
The new coach’s experience includes two ECHL championships and an American Hockey League Coach of the Year Award in 2007. That success and an attention-grabbing Stanley Cup ring should prove to be a recruiting boon.
“After meeting Coach Haviland it was obvious that his character and personality are a perfect fit for our program,” said junior defenseman Peter Stoykewych, who served on the search committee. “He is a proven winner who has experienced great success with multiple organizations.”
Freshman defenseman Jaccob Slavin, last year’s leading scorer with 25 points, was impressed by Haviland when they met. Slavin also served on the search committee, which included alumni, faculty, staff.
“I think everyone will be happy on and off the ice,” the rookie said. “He’s a hard guy not to like. He emphasized education during the interviews. I think he will be able to handle that side of things.”
All-time leading scorer Dave Delich expressed what many alumni hope, even if they were not familiar with Haviland.
“I hope he has success,” he said.
Former Tigers defenseman Gabe Guentzel expects he will. He played for Haviland in Norfolk of the American Hockey League and almost did again in Hershey this past season.
“I loved him as a coach,” said Guentzel, who played this past season in northern Italy. “After he moved on, he was trying to get me to try out for Hershey. He would have been the only reason I would have stayed in North America. Wherever he has been, he’s succeeded.”
Players are relieved the month-long search to replace former coach Scott Owens concluded. Owens resigned on April 6 after 15 years leading his alma mater.
“Just talking about hockey with him (Haviland) got me excited for next season,” Stoykewych said. “I can’t wait to get on the ice with him.”