After officially joining the United States Hockey League last month, the new Member Club in Muskegon, Michigan has named Kevin Patrick as its head coach to lead the team when it takes the ice for their inaugural USHL season in 2010-11.
"We are thrilled to have Kevin Patrick lead the Muskegon organization during our first season in the USHL," said team owner Josh Mervis. "His knowledge of the game and superb track record of recruiting student-athletes made him the ideal person to help develop a culture of success both on and off the ice in Muskegon. The organization is very fortunate to have someone of Kevin's caliber, who comes from one of the top NCAA Division I programs in the nation, taking on this leadership role."
Patrick has spent the last five seasons in the role of assistant coach for the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team. In his first year with the Badgers, he helped guide the team to the sixth NCAA championship in school history posting a 30-10-3 record. The team finished second this season in the WCHA and has compiled a 107-70-22 during Patrick's five seasons with the program.
"I am truly excited for the opportunity to be the leader of the Muskegon team and to be a part of the premier junior hockey league in North America as it begins its next venture into the state of Michigan," said Patrick. "It is a great opportunity for me to be in a passionate hockey community as I know the people of Muskegon will be great fans and supporters of the USHL."
Prior to his tenure at Wisconsin, Patrick served as assistant coach at Bowling Green State University (2002-05) and Union College (1998-2002) while also coordinating the recruiting efforts at both schools. His stints with both programs were marked by improvement as Bowling Green went from eight wins in his first season to 16 wins in his final season, and Union jumped from three victories in his first season to 13 victories in his final season at the school.
The announcement also marks the return of Patrick to the USHL as he spent the 1997-98 season as assistant coach and assistant general manager for the Green Bay Gamblers. He has also been actively involved with USA Hockey, coaching at Select Festivals in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2009.
"I have recruited extensively in the USHL over the last 12 years and now it will be great to come back as a head coach to such a great league," said Patrick. "The USHL has continued to set itself apart with outstanding organizations that are run with a high degree of professionalism and quality coaches that develop these young men both on and off the ice."
As a player, Patrick was a four-year letterman at the University of Notre Dame. The defenseman was a captain for the team during his final two seasons before graduating with a bachelor's of science degree in pre-professional studies in 1992. He played one season of professional hockey before beginning his coaching career at Deerfield Academy (Massachusetts).
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)