The most recent offseason has been a time of upheaval for the men’s ice hockey team.
Though Keith Allain ’80 remains at the helm for his 10th season as head coach, he will have two new assistant coaches following the departures of Dan Muse and Jason Guerriero. Muse, who had been an assistant for the Bulldogs since 2009, was named head coach of the Chicago Steel, a member of the United States Hockey League. He was promoted to associate head coach following the Elis’ national championship in 2013 and now moves to his first head coaching position. Guerriero, who brought six years of professional experience to the bench, left Yale for the same position with Brown after two seasons in New Haven, opting to be closer to his family, who are located near Boston.
“There will be a lot that we will miss with the departures of Dan and Jason,” Allain said. “They were two talented coaches who understood our culture, knew exactly what type of student athletes we needed to recruit, and what type of people would be successful in our hockey program.”
Defender Ryan Obuchowski ’16 said the team was surprised by the moves of the coaches, but the players understood their respective situations and that moving coaching jobs is part of the game.
Obuchowski added that with the departure of Muse, the team will miss “a hell of a penalty kill coach and a great video guy.” As for Guerriero, Obuchowski said, the team will miss his understanding of the areas to score on a power play.
Their departures also speak to the recent success of the Bulldogs, who have won three straight Ivy League Championships. Additionally, the Elis have made five appearances in the NCAA Tournament since 2009, with the most recent coming in 2015 when Yale fell to eventual runner-up Boston University in the first round.
“The fact that they were recruited away from Yale is a direct result of the success of our program,” Allain said. “We are proud of the fact that over the last seven years, four of our assistant coaches have received head coaching opportunities. We have a growth mentality within our program, and each of us, myself included, strives to get better each and every day. These guys came in worked at their craft and developed into head coaches.”
The team, however, returns a familiar face to the sidelines, as Josh Siembida, who has served as a volunteer goalie coach for the last three seasons, steps into the role of assistant coach.
Allain notes that Siembida has worked tirelessly and been instrumental to the Bulldogs’ success. His promotion to an assistant coaching role will be a natural transition, as his experience with the team means that Siembida already understands the program and will fit in immediately.
“Josh was a goalie and he understands the movements of goalies, so hopefully he will help the boys score some [goals because] God knows we need to score more goals than last year,” Obuchowski said.
A vacant assistant coaching position still exists, as Guerriero did not finalize his move to Brown until Aug. 31 following the departure of Bears assistant Mark White. Allain currently has plans in place to fill the vacancy and mentioned that it will be exciting to bring fresh energy into the program and someone with a different perspective.
Even with the changes on the sideline, goalie Alex Lyon ’17 said the team is prepared to handle the challenges associated with adjusting to a new coach before the start of the season. Forward John Hayden ’17 added that though the team would miss the coaches, the team’s mentality and goals heading into the season would not change.
“Our focus doesn’t change; we are committed to building a team that will consistently compete for championships,” Allain said.
The Bulldogs open their season against Princeton on Oct. 30.