Hockey prepares for new coach, new season

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

With its first season back from suspension in the books, the U hockey club has turned its focus on the future.

“We expect to be one of the powerhouses in the state (next year),” said hockey club president Jason Petho, who believes the Utes have a good shot at reaching the regional tournament.

The Utes will have a new coach at the helm after the team asked former coach Bob Wilkinson to step down.

“We greatly appreciated what he had done for us, but we felt at this time it was better to go another direction,” Petho said. “The new coach is still being approved by administration.”

Last year, the Utes were not allowed to go on any overnight, out-of-state road trips. Next year, they’ll be allowed two road trips. The current players, none of which were connected with the events that caused the club to be suspended, are still trying to earn trust from administrators in the wake of the hockey club’s 2003 expulsion.

Petho believes that traveling together will help the team grow closer.

“We believe that travel out of the state is a privilege,” he said. “When you travel with a team is when you bond.”

The Utes will lose just two players, including starting goalkeeper Nick Cogswell, to graduation. Ten to 15 players will return to the team, which hopes to carry a 30-man roster next year. Twenty-one players suited up for Utah last year.

Tryouts for the U hockey club will begin on Aug. 13 and will last one week. Prospective players will meet at Steiner Ice Rink.

“Information will be posted throughout the rinks in the valley,” Petho said.

Over the summer, the Utes will be meeting twice a month for on-ice practices and will have off-ice conditional practices once or twice a week, Petho said.