S. Burlington Thursday, April 16th
BURLINGTON, Vt. - Late Wednesday night, the University of Vermont made it official, hiring Winnipeg Jets assistant coach Todd Woodcroft as the new head coach of the Catamount men's hockey program.
"It's humbling.", said Woodcroft. "It's honoring. There aren't really words to express how it feel."
Woodcroft comes to Cat Country with an impressive resume. The 47-year old native of Toronto has been an assistant coach with the Jets for the past four years. Prior to that, Woodcroft had stints as a coach or scout for four other NHL franchises, and served on coaching staffs on the international level for Canada, Belarus, Switzerland and Sweden. This will be Woodcroft's first opportunity as a head coach, and his first in college hockey.
"This is something I've been working over twenty years to get to this point. I always knew that I wanted to be on a small college campus, and running my own program. Being able to share the things that people have shared with me about coaching and teaching players.", said Woodcroft. "When they leave this team, they are going to leave it better than they found it, because they are so fortunate to have this opportunity to play at the highest level of college hockey, and to have so many fans and a great place like the Gut, this is fantastic."
That lack of experience in college hockey makes this somewhat of an outside of the box hire for UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman, but Schulman says it was the total package that Woodcroft brings to the table that made him the right choice.
"His contacts in North America and overseas that I think will open up new avenues of recruiting for us,", said Schulman. "And, really, his ability to sort of push the status quo, both in our program and, I think, in college hockey generally, it's something that I was drawn to and, quite frankly, made him stand out amongst a really strong group of candidates."