A highly regarded teacher on the Winnipeg Jets’ coaching staff is leaving to take over the bench of an NCAA Division 1 college team in New England.
Todd Woodcroft is the new head coach of the University of Vermont men’s hockey program, the school announced late Wednesday.
Woodcroft, who was in his fourth year with the Jets, built an extensive NHL and international hockey resumé over 20 years. But this will be his first gig as head coach.
“Todd’s experiences in hockey at the highest level, in the NHL and internationally, combined with his personal integrity and a strong desire to coach in a college setting that values academic excellence and personal development alongside high-level hockey, made him stand out among an outstanding pool of candidates,” Jeff Schulman, the university’s director of athletics, said in a statement.
Working with the Jets’ staff, Woodcroft normally observed games from the press box for 40 minutes and then went behind the bench for the final period.
“We wish you all the best, Woody!” the Jets said, on the team’s Twitter account.
In assuming the position in Burlington, Va., about 150 kilometres south of Montreal, Woodcroft will have his hands full. The Vermont Catamounts were dead last in Hockey East with a 2-18-4 conference record this season.
“I am extremely humbled and very honoured to lead the Catamounts. From Day 1, our fans can expect a program that will emphasize excellence in the classroom, service to the community and a team that will compete in every game and ultimately at a championship level,” Woodcroft said in a statement.
The Toronto product served as the Minnesota Wild’s video coach from 2000 to 2005 and spent the 2005-06 season with the Washington Capitals. He also served three seasons with the Calgary Flames as the team’s scouting director and professional scout before joining the Jets.
Woodcroft was Sweden’s special assignment coach at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and has also worked for the national programs of Switzerland and Belarus. He won a Stanley Cup as a European scout with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012.
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