Updated: May 14, 2014 at 7:20 am
The Colorado College athletic department and its hockey fans were brimming with excitement after the public welcome of Mike Haviland.
None were more amped than the players themselves, especially after they met the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program's 14th coach.
"Everyone's got more fire and more determination going into this offseason," sophomore center Cody Bradley said. "Everyone knows they have a clean slate with a new coach and system."
The prospect of a fresh start is appealing to Hunter Fejes, who suffered through a sophomore slump (one assist) before an injury ended his season.
"We are all excited by that idea," he said. "We all want a coach to help us develop and lead the program in the right direction."
Haviland stressed better communication between the coaches and players under his leadership during Monday's players meeting and to the approximately 250 people attending the welcome event Tuesday at the El Pomar Sports Complex.
"My door will be open to them every day," he said.
That pleased his new players.
"He was really open right off the bat," junior defenseman Ian Young said. "Nothing will work if we all, as a team, do not develop a great relationship with him. He stressed an open-door policy. It was really great to know he will be available for us whenever we need him."
Haviland was enthused by the players' reaction to his approach and expectations. He expects them to be the hardest-working team in the nation and to use an up-tempo style to dictate play.
"I want teams adjusting to us," he said. "It's my job to create a winning atmosphere and attitude."
The Tigers were 7-24-6 last season.
"They all gave me a wide-eyed look and were very excited to get started," Haviland said. "As a coach that is all you want. It is going to be a long summer until we can practice."
Bradley said everyone on the team is excited.
"Everyone has bought into it," he said. "Everyone is going to the offseason upbeat and ready to work hard."
Haviland got the fans abuzz as well, stressing a new standard for the program that includes "contending for national championships every year."
"I am committed to winning like the school is," Haviland said. "If (2014 NCAA champion) Union can do it, there is no reason CC cannot.
"The pressure of that doesn't bother me. I am very passionate about what I do. We will work hard and have fun along the way."