The Indiana Ice is proud to announce the hiring of former head coach Charlie Skjodt (scott) to the position of Head Coach and VP of Hockey Operations. He replaces Jeff Blashill who has assumed the role of head coach at Western Michigan University.
Skjodt returns to a scene of past glory as he was instrumental in beginning the team's recent winning success in both the regular season and the playoffs.
"With the timing of Jeff's departure to WMU, we needed to find an experienced and qualified head coach with a winning track record, "said President/GM Paul Skjodt. "His record speaks for itself and we believe our organization should be a Clark Cup contender each and every year. Justin Lyle and Brad Lutsch both had a great teacher over the last two years, which will allow Charlie to have a seamless transition moving forward."
He was originally hired at the tail end of the 2006-07 season and led that squad to a final four appearance winning six of seven playoff games, including six straight victories and a four-game sweep in round one against Green Bay. His 2007-08 encore included an East Division Championship, 39-15-6 record and a franchise-best 22-4-4 mark at home.
"Though I was not behind the bench, I was still involved with the Ice and had the pleasure of watching Jeff (Blashill) take our team to the national championship and win it all, "said Charlie Skjodt. "We are very excited with the returning class and the new prospects coming in, along with our upcoming camps. I look forward to continuing the winning tradition."
The veteran bench boss helped mentor, train and develop defenseman John Carlson in 2007-08 that culminated with the Washington Capitals first round selection at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He was second among USHL defensemen in scoring with Skjodt and he now is a full-time member of the "Caps."
He also coached some of the most prolific players in Ice history including forwards Garrett Roe (LA Kings), John Kemp and Paul Carey (Colorado) and goaltenders Alex Kangas (Atlanta) and Scott Darling (Phoenix). The three forwards were three of the top five point producers in
2007-08 and Kemp finished tied for first overall. Kangas manned the nets during the 2006-07 playoff run, while Darling was the main netminder in 2007-08.
Skjodt has been a hockey fixture in Indianapolis both as a player and coach. He was a 1976 NHL Draft Pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs and is the second all-time leading scorer in Indianapolis Checkers history. He played junior hockey for the Windsor Spitfires and held the all-time rookie goal-scoring record for the club (41) for 33 years, until it was broken in 2007-08 by Taylor Hall (45), who is expected to go first or second overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Following the 2007-08 campaign, Skjodt took a leave of absence from coaching to attend to his business interests, but has regained his passion to be a head coach in the league. He will oversee the entire hockey operations department and announced that Justin Lyle has been retained as Associate Head Coach and Brad Lutsch has been promoted to VP of Player Personnel and will also continue his role as Assistant Coach.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)