Heading into the new NCHC conference for the 2013-14 season and looking for a new assistant coach to replace the departed Steve Johnson, Nebraska Omaha is set to hire Castleton State College head coach Alex Todd.
A native of Rice Lake, Wis., Todd confirmed the move to Bucky's 5th Quarter on Friday. Todd noted the opportunity to coach with a legend like Dean Blais was something he couldn't pass up.
"When you’re in hockey for so long you get to see how people carry themselves, and I really respect him," Todd said Friday. "I really like my situation here in Vermont, but this was an outstanding opportunity."
A four-year letter-winner at Union College, Todd spent parts of four seasons playing professional hockey after graduation between the WCHL (now the ECHL) and the CHL.
After hanging up the skates, Todd took an assistant coaching job at Utica College for the 2004-05 season. The next year, Todd took over the head coaching duties at division 3 Castleton, where he has compiled a record of 114-78-21 in eight seasons behind the bench.
According to his bio on the Castleton website, Todd has assisted with USA hockey player development camps in the Central States District, and the Mid America Bantam Camp in addition to being involved with the USA Hockey national festivals, coaching at each level, the 14’s, 15’s, 16’s and 17’s over the last eight years.
Todd coached the Spartans to a program record 22 wins during the 2010-11 campaign, and was named ECAC-East coach of the year.
Nebraska Omaha was on the hunt for an assistant when Johnson announced he was leaving the school after just one season in late May. The departure from the Mavericks' program seemed mutual, according to quotes in the press release by head coach Dean Blais.
"Steve had decided to go in another direction with his career, and we wish him the best of luck," Blais said at the time. "He was a valuable member of our staff and did a great job working with our players. We’ll begin looking for another high-quality coach to fill that position immediately."
Todd will join the Mavericks' staff along with Blais and asisstant coach Troy Jutting, who joined the program last season after being fired as head coach at Minnesota State.
No specific coaching roles have been settled on yet, according to Todd.
"We’re really excited with the group of guys that we have returning, and coming in," Todd said. "That's our first priority. We think we have a special group and we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves in spots too quickly."
Todd is expected to fly to Omaha Tuesday from his home in Vermont to finalize paperwork at UNO.
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