Coach Ken Fikis returns to the bench
When a team finishes their season ranked seventh in the nation, a coaching change is not usually a result. However, when CU’s club hockey coach Paul Sisson wanted to take time off, the job became wide open.
Sisson’s departure opened the door for the return of head coach Ken Fikis. Fikis was head coach in 2003, the year Buffs won the national championship in the American Collegiate Hockey Association division.
General Manager Everett Pfeiff said he is excited to have Fikis back on the bench.
“He has lots of expertise and tons of experience, and by having four coaches compared to two, there is more time coaching that will be going on,” Pfeiff said
The CU hockey team is also getting three new assistant coaches this year. Al Stone coached with Fikis on the championship team in 2003. Ian MacClure, who played junior college hockey, is another assistant. The last assistant, Zach Sanner, was the captain of the 2003 championship team.
Fikis said Sanner is a welcome addition to his staff.
“Zach Sanner was a very disciplined, hard-nosed player,” Fikis said. “He won’t take any garbage, and I think that is going to rub off on the team. They are going to find out real quick that he means business.”
CU’s hockey team has been a power for a long time, as it has been ranked in the top 10 for the last 12 years.
The Buffs have consistently had difficult schedules over the past decade and this season will be no different.
The Buffs play 32 games against ranked teams, including last year’s national champions, Davenport University.
Though tryouts just ended, Pfeiff said this year’s team will be very deep.
“Our strength is our depth,” Pfeiff said. “We can play four full lines, instead of just two. This is important because club hockey is hard hitting and there are lots of injuries.”
Fikis believes that this team is a contender, but it’s going to take some time for the players and coaches to get used to one another.
“I expect we are going to go to nationals and be a contender,” Fikis said. “I don’t think our record is going to be as good as last year because we are making some changes, and we have to make the kids understand that it’s a team sport. We are going to have some growing pains.”
The Buffs kick off their 2008 season Sept. 27 against Metro State.
Contact CU Independent Ryan Atherton at firstname.lastname@example.org.