Courtesy of Nina Lindberg

Following a considerable six-week search process, Yale Athletics has appointed Mark Bolding as the next head coach of the Yale women’s hockey team. Coming from Norwich University, he sports 266 career wins and is a four-time American Hockey Coaches Association National Coach of the Year award winner.

After a disappointing 2018–19 campaign and a lack of recent success, former coach Joakim Flygh decided to resign in late February. He was hired in 2010 and finished with a record of 87–182–32. As far as his postseason record, Flygh made the ECAC tournament four times. Yet, those tournament bids never led to considerable success past the early rounds. This year, the Elis finished 8–18–3 and lost out on a postseason berth, which was shortly followed by Flygh’s resignation announcement.

“After meeting Coach Bolding yesterday, I must say that each and everyone of us is excited to start this journey with him,” defender Saroya Tinker ’20 said. “We look forward to the ways in which he is going to enhance and better our program and turn us into the winning team we know we can be. His intensity and high standards are what we need to move our program to the next level and Yale women’s ice hockey welcomes him into our family!”

Bolding brings a winning attitude and a sterling resume to his new post at the helm of the Bulldogs. He spent 12 years as the coach of the Cadets, posting an overall record of 266–68–22 at his alma mater. Under his leadership, Norwich reached the Division III Frozen Four on seven separate occasions.

Norwich’s 2013–14 season remains a highlight of Bolding’s illustrious career so far. In that year, the Cadets went an unbelievable 16–0–0 on the year, the first team in NEHC history to do so. Norwich also impressed in 2017–18 when the team finished 14–0–0. Needless to say, there is much to be excited about in New Haven with Bolding taking over.

“To be able to join the Bulldog Athletics family while having the chance to work at one of the finest academic institutions in the world is truly a blessing,” Bolding said in an official press release. “I am really looking forward to working together alongside these amazing student-athletes to build a proud and committed hockey program.”

Adding to the excitement is the immense amount of young talent that Bolding will inherit on the Yale roster. The Bulldogs relied immensely on the production provided by their fearsome first years last season. Forward Rebecca Vanstone ’22 was recently named to the All-ECAC Rookie Team after leading the Elis in goals and total points with 13 and 21, respectively. Forward Claire Dalton ’22 also had a standout rookie season, notching 18 points and a team-high 13 assists.

While Yale has a promising squad to build around, it will lose significant contributions from its graduating seniors heading into next season. Captain and forward Emma Vlasic ’19 scored eight goals in her final season, as she finished second on the team in that category. The captain led from the front, missing no games during the 2018–19 season. Fellow forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 also leaves big shoes to fill in the Eli attack. She missed just one game last season, scoring three times and assisting six goals.

Bolding had a serious connection to Norwich, so his coming to Yale marks a significant turning point in his life and career. He began as a player for the Cadets, defending the blue line all four years. He was subsequently named team captain and held that position for three out of his four seasons. Throughout his illustrious collegiate career, Bolding tallied 94 total points. In 2005, he was voted into the Norwich University Athletic Hall of Fame.

“We are thrilled to have Mark leading our women’s ice hockey program,” Director of Athletics Vicky Chun said on Wednesday. “He has a proven track record of success and I am confident our program will rise to new heights. We introduced him to the team yesterday and everyone in the room was excited to get going.”

Bolding’s coaching career has been on a upwards trajectory since he began and he will look to continue that success at Ingall Rink. Bolding first served as an assistant coach for the Norwich men’s hockey team for two years. In his first year with the coaching staff, Bolding used his charisma and love for the game to bring in a stellar recruiting class that set the Cadets up for success. Just three years later in 1999, he won the national title with Norwich.

Mark Bolding is the 11th coach in Yale women’s ice hockey history.

Eamonn Smith | eamonn.smith@yale.edu