Wiedler introduced as UVM men’s hockey interim coach

Former assistant will serve as head coach for at least the 2023-24 season
Former assistant will serve as head coach for at least the 2023-24 season
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 11:39 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Back on July 18th, UVM announced the firing of men’s hockey head coach Todd Woodcroft. The same day, Athletic Director Jeff Schulman announced that assistant coach Steve Wiedler would take over the head job on an interim basis.

Wiedler spoke to reporters for the first time since that announcement on Wednesday. he declined to touch on anything related to the investigation and subsequent firing of Woodcroft. Instead, he says he’s focused on keeping a program that has improved its win percentage by more than 100 points each of the last two years pointed in the right direction on the ice.

“We’ve been building towards something for three years,” Wiedler said. “Obviously I came in as a part of that staff, and I’ll forever be grateful to Todd for giving me that opportunity to come to Catamount Country. And I’m tasked with rebuilding this program and getting it back to its rightful place in Hockey East, redefining that standard for our players, and giving them answers on the process for how we’ll go about winning here at UVM.”

This is Wiedler’s first head coaching job, but he says most of the day to day activities are nothing new for him.

“As an assistant coach or an associate head coach, a lot of the responsibilities, I’ve had experience in before,” Wiedler said. “A lot of my responsibilities at AIC when we were rebuilding that program are kinda similar to what we’re doing right now.”

The Cats have already seen one prized recruit, Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Alex Bump, enter the transfer portal since Woodcroft’s firing. But Wiedler is confident in the right guys sticking around.

“What I know about that group when I walk in that locker room is they’re here for the right reasons,” Wiedler said. “But also they have pride in that logo. They want to be here. They beilieve that Burlington is the destination. That this is no longer a stepping stone for what’s next, and that’s gonna be a big emphasis of ours.”

Wiedler says he’s spoken with a number of former players as well as former head coaches Mike Gilligan and Kevin Sneddon, trying to recapture some of the things that enabled previous Catamount teams to succeed both in conference and at the national level.

“Gilly and Sneddy, they’re unbelievable resources to lean on,” Wiedler said. “Guys that had great success while they were here, and what it is about UVM that makes it tick when it’s going really well, what were the positive notes that you focused on.”

Wiedler emphasized that regaining energy and enthusiasm from the community will be critical for the Cats to get back to a high level, and that his group will have to earn that with their play. But Wiedler believes the groundwork they have laid over the past couple years will start to pay off with a lot of talent having gained valuable experience.

“The guys that we brought in in our first recruiting class are now starting to get older,” Wiedler said. “It’s very tough to win when you’re young, epecially in a league like Hockey East. But in the NCAA as a whole, when you’re young it’s tough to win. But it’s nice to see the maturation of those players, and I’m excited to see what they can do this year as a group.”