The UOIT Ridgebacks men’s hockey team has named Curtis Hodgins its new head coach after Craig Fisher stepped down due to a series of concussions.
Fisher will remain a part of the Ridgebacks as the day-to-day hockey operations coordinator for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Hodgins brings a wealth of experience to the Ridgebacks as he has spent 20 years in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and other leagues like the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
From 1998-2000 Hodgins was the assistant coach of the Oshawa Generals and more recently was the head coach of the Whitby Fury (OJHL) and Cobourg Cougars (OJHL).
“Getting to work at the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) level, with older athletes on a higher level was intriguing and something I needed to jump on,” says Hodgins.
“The transition from the OJHL to the Ridgebacks was painless and the players responded well to the change,” says Hodgins.
Ridgebacks’ captain, Luke Van Moerkerke, says having a new head coach adds some new energy to the team.
“Under coaches you are used to, you get comfortable and when there is a change at the coach’s position everyone feels like they need to step their game and compete for ice time.”
Second year defenseman Jason Shaw says it is important to have Fisher remain with the club because he was the key to bringing this team together. Fisher was responsible for the recruitment of a large portion of the Ridgebacks roster over the past two years.
Shaw also says there is not much difference since the coaching change, “He (Hodgins) has come in here and has done the things we have asked of him and all of the guys have done the things he has asked of us.”
Hodgins has not tried to change too much about the team.
He says he has made some minor adjustments to the style of game the Ridgebacks play and says the team has bought into the system he has put in place.
“We had gone through a bit of a culture change over the past year and a bit but Curtis has brought a lot of benefits to that culture change and he has been able to take advantage of what Fisher had put in place,” says Van Moerkerke.
Hodgins kicked off his tenure with the Ridgebacks with two consecutive wins against two top-five teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Ridgebacks next home game is Thursday December 3rd at 7:30, located at the Campus Ice Centre.