Yale women’s ice hockey head coach Joakim Flygh resigned from his post effective early Thursday morning.
After a disappointing season for the Bulldogs (8–18–3, 7–12–3 ECAC Hockey) that saw the squad lose three of its last five must-win games and miss out on the conference playoffs for the first time since the 2015–16 campaign, Flygh resigned from his position on Wednesday. Flygh, who coached the squad for nine years, helped the team reach the ECAC playoffs in four of the last six, with all four appearances resulting in first round exits by a combined margin of 34–6 in eight games.
“I want to thank [Joakim] for his hard work and service to our university and department,” Director of Athletics Vicky Chun said in a press release. “I wish him and his family the very best moving forward.”
None of the members on the team’s roster responded to requests for comment on Flygh’s resignation.
Despite entering the 2018–2019 season with high hopes, the Elis took a step back from their performance in the previous season. The 18 losses this year marked the highest number of defeats for the Bulldogs since the end of the 2013 season. Yale finished ninth out of the 12 teams in ECAC Hockey. Only the top eight teams in the conference get to duke it out in the postseason for a shot at the conference title.
Yale finished the season ranked seventh in goals per game with an average of 2.14 scored, fifth in power play percentage at an impressive 15.8 percent mark, ninth with 2.83 goals allowed per game and ninth in save percentage at .910. These numbers tell the story of a program caught in mediocrity — good enough to compete year in and out for the last spot in the postseason but never close to capturing the ultimate prize.
The Elis lost 11 of their first 13 games by an average margin of 2.36 goals. Still, Yale managed to shock defending national champion No. 5 Clarkson in mid-November in a 5–1 thrashing, giving the Bulldogs one of the biggest wins in program history. The Clarkson upset proved that Yale was capable of conquering any challenger, but Yale’s latent talent was underutilized for vast stretches in the early months of the season.
“I’m thankful for the opportunities I have had in this game,” Flygh said. “I care deeply about women’s college hockey and the value of athletics in our educational institutions. I wish former, current,and future Yale women’s hockey Bulldogs well.”
In particular, the ferocious first-year foursome of forwards Rebecca Vanstone ’22, Claire Dalton ’22 and Charlotte Welch ’22 alongside defender Emma Seitz ’22 saw little action in the early part of the year. Yale’s young offensive nucleus proved to be too skilled to sit on the bench for a significant portion of the year, and all four players became crucial contributors to the team as the year developed.
Vanstone led the Elis in points and goals, while Dalton ranked second. Welch tied with forward and captain Emma Vlasic ’19 for third, and Seitz boasted the fifth-most points despite spending her time on the back lines.
Yale women’s ice hockey has historically struggled to put together complete seasons. The program has only advanced past the first round of the ECAC postseason once. Led by Vlasic and company, the Elis possessed both the senior leadership and the youthful talent necessary to make noise in a competitive league.
This will mark the second time this academic year that Chun will be tasked with searching for a new head coach following the resignation of women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith this past fall.
Bentley Long | firstname.lastname@example.org