YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown Phantoms assistant coach Rob Rassey is heading back to the Northeast to take the next step in his coaching career. Rassey has parted ways with the Phantoms in order to accept a position with the Harvard University Men’s Hockey Team, Phantoms head coach and general manager Anthony Noreen announced today.
“I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be prouder of Rob,” Noreen said. “He’s been a big part of our success over the past two years. He’s a good coach, a good person and more than anything, a good friend. I’m extremely thankful for him and all the work he’s put in. He’s a guy who deserves this chance and I believe he’s fully ready to embrace it and have success at the next level.”
Rassey leaves the Phantoms organization after an impressive tenure as both a coach and a player. He joined Phantoms staff in September 2011, prior to Noreen’s first season as head coach, and played a vital role in the franchise’s monumental strides during the past two seasons in the USHL.
“I will be forever indebted to the Phantoms organization for giving me an opportunity as a player and then coming back and giving me my first opportunity as a coach,” Rassey said. “I owe everything to Anthony, [owner] Bruce Zoldan and [vice president] Bill Weimer for giving me the opportunity. I’ll always be a Phantom.”
Rassey helped coach the Phantoms to a 32-21-7 (71 points) record and the franchise’s first Clark Cup Playoff appearance in 2011-12. This past season, he helped the Phantoms take the next step with a 37-27-0 (74 points) record and second consecutive postseason berth and saw the team advance to within a game of the Clark Cup Finals, falling in a decisive Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual champion Dubuque Fighting Saints.
A Shelby Township, Mich. native, Rassey also played for the Mahoning Valley Phantoms of the North American Hockey League from 2003-04 to 2004-05. He was voted captain both of his seasons and was an offensive force, recording 48 goals, 77 assists and 125 points in 111 career games in a Mahoning Valley uniform.
Following his Phantoms playing career, Rassey moved on to play NCAA Division I hockey at Northeastern University from where he was a four-year letterman from 2005-2009. During his collegiate career the Huskies improved from a three-win season his freshman year to a 25-win campaign as a senior – setting a university record and earning the school’s first NCAA tournament bid in more than 20 years.
After graduating magna cum laude in 2009, Rassey spent the next two seasons as a volunteer coach at his alma mater, helping the team compile a 30-31-10 record from 2009-2011. He joins Harvard staff led by Ted Donato, who is entering his 10th season as head coach at the prestigious Ivy League school.
“Harvard’s one of the most respected universities in the world and one of the most respected hockey programs in the country,” Rassey said. “Having the opportunity to work with the coaching staff there is going to be great. I’m extremely excited about it. That’s one of the great things about the USHL – it not only develops the players, but it develops coaches for the next level.”
Under Donato Harvard captured the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship in 2005 and qualified for the NCAA men’s hockey Tournament in 2004 and 2005. Last season the Crimson finished with a 10-19-3 overall record and a 6-14-2 record in the ECAC.
Harvard opens the 2013-14 campaign Saturday, Oct. 26 against Bentley College.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)