May 9, 2014 Updated: May 9, 2014 at 6:26 pm
Coach Mike Haviland liked what he saw while coaching former Colorado College players in the pros.
It convinced him the private school could be a good fit for hm. Fans, alumni and players hope the Stanley Cup-winning assistant coach’s hopes are proven right after the hire as head coach of the Tigers was announced Friday.
Haviland coached former Tigers defenseman Gabe Guentzel in Norfolk during the 2012-13 season and worked with Capitals blue-liner Jack Hillen during a rehab stint with Washington’s American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey, Pa. this past season.
Former CC center Mark Cullen was one of his assistant captains in Norfolk during 2005-06.
“Meeting those three showed me the kind of players on and off the ice that CC produces,” Haviland said. “When the job came open, I reached out quickly. CC is one of the top Division I programs in the country and I thought it would be a great fit.”
Haviland, whose 15 years in the pro coaching ranks include serving an assistant with the 2010 NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks, is the 14th coach in CC’s 75-year-old history.
The 46-year-old replaced Scott Owens, who resigned after 15 seasons at his alma mater following a 7-24-6 campaign.
The new coach signed a multi-year deal with CC late Thursday and declined to disclose financial details, as per college policy.
“They certainly took care of me and my family,” he said. He and his fiancée Kristin have six children. Three each from a previous marriage.
The likely pay range is $225,000 to $275,000 a year, judging from the top five reported salaries in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Haviland has college experience at the Division III level. As an assistant at Elmira (N.Y.) College, he helped his alma mater to a 51-12-2 record and two ECAC Division III championships from 1996-1998. He recorded 51 points (27 goals) during his senior season with the Soaring Eagles.
That experience taught him how to balance education and success on the ice.
“I want to help develop them on and off the ice,” he said of his players. “My intention is to win a national championship and I believe we will.”
This past season, Haviland’s Hershey Bears (39-27-5-5) fell two points shy of the playoffs. A Manhattan native who grew up in Middletown, N.J., Haviland served as assistant in Norfolk the previous season (37-34-4-1).
He was a Blackhawks assistant from 2008-12. The NHL franchise went 187-101-40 over those four years.
“Mike has won championships at multiple levels and has always produced winning programs,” CC athletic director Ken Ralph said.
His career mark as a minor league coach is 348-185-71. He won two ECHL titles (2003, 2005) with Trenton (2004-05) and Atlantic City (2001-04). He moved up to AHL Norfolk for two seasons (2005-07) and broke single-season wins and points records, which earned him the 2007 Coach of the Year award.
He moved to Rockford (Ill.) when the Blackhawks affiliated with that team. The IceHogs advanced through two playoff rounds before he joined Chicago as an assistant.
Haviland was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1990. He played one season with AHL Binghamton (1989-90) and split the 1990-91 season with ECHL Richmond and Winston-Salem.