As expected, 10-year NHL veteran Shjon Podein has been named the next head boys hockey coach at .
Podein, who lives in St. Louis Park and has taken over the local youth hockey programs in the summer, was rumored to be the next head coach as soon as Tim Donahue announced that 2010-11 would be his . Athletic director Andy Ewald said the move was made official earlier this week.
"As a department, we're very, very excited for what it brings," Ewald said Wednesday.
Podein could not immediately be reached for comment, but he did say in an earlier interview with St. Louis Park Patch that he would be thrilled to become the next boys hockey coach.
“If this does happen,” Podein said, “I’d be very excited for the opportunity.”
The team struggled to a 2-23 record this season, but Ewald said he thinks Podein, who won a Stanley Cup in 2001, will bring instant credibility and excitement to the program.
But the athletic director said he also thinks Podein has what it takes to sustain himself as a coach, even after the honeymoon period is over.
"Once you get past that, he's a very good hockey coach and he has a great hockey mind," Ewald said.
Podein said he's in it for the long haul.
"It won’t be me coming in for a year or two and putting my stamp on it,” Podein said. “We’re trying to build for 10 to 20 years. That’s what we’re talking about.”
And Podein should have some tools to build with — while the high school team struggled, the local Bantam A team, consisting of 14- and 15-year-olds, recently made a . Ewald said he hopes the hiring of Podein convinces some of those teens that may have been on the fence to decide to go to St. Louis Park.
"Obviously, there is some good young talent there," Ewald said.
Podein also has the blessing of the man he's replacing.
“He’ll do marvelous things with this program," former coach Donahue said.
Ewald said Podein is currently in the process of putting together a staff, while the department is working on next year's schedule. The new head coach will not be able to work with players until June 1, Ewald added.