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Michigan Tech Huskies’ hockey coach Joe Shawhan contract extended 3 years

Michigan Tech head hockey coach Joe Shawhan, left, talks with a referee on the ice around game time of a Huskies hockey game during the 2018-19 season. (Photo courtesy TechHockeyGuide.com)

HOUGHTON — Michigan Tech head hockey coach Joe Shawhan as agreed to a three-year contract extension, the university announced Tuesday.

Though the contract move was made in January, Tuesday’s announcement was made by MTU athletic director Suzanne Sanregret.

“I am pleased to announce that Coach Shawhan has agreed to continue to lead Michigan Tech hockey,” she said.

“Joe understands and is passionate about our hockey tradition, cares deeply about our student-athletes and their success on and off the ice, and is committed to excellence in all areas of the program.”

Shawhan became the Huskies’ 22nd head coach in May 2017 and led the team to a 74-64-13 record in his four seasons, three of them winning campaigns.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Cameron Heyward, left, and head coach Mike Tomlin leave the field before a game vs. the Bengals on Dec. 21 in Cincinnati. (AP file photo)

“I want to thank Suzanne for her support,” Shawhan said.

“(Shawhan’s wife) Laura and I love this community and the people. It’s home for us.

“With regards to hockey, what’s most important to me is to be part of something special. Michigan Tech hockey is supported in the Copper Country with passion and enthusiastic expectations to be among the best in the nation.”

Shawhan was an assistant coach at Tech for three seasons before his promotion to head coach.

He was hired in 2014 to work with goaltenders and defensemen after working with the hockey program at Northern Michigan University for six seasons.

Michigan Tech head hockey coach Joe Shawhan, left, foreground, and Arizona State assistant coach Alex Hicks exchange words after the Huskies' 5-3 win on Feb. 17, 2018, at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton. Moments later, Hicks and ASU head coach Greg Powers had Shawhan in a headlock as Powers and Shawhan eventually were separated by officials. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by David Archambeau)

At NMU, he was a volunteer assistant in 2007-08, director of hockey operations in 2009-10 and assistant coach for another four seasons.

He also holds a bachelor’s degree from NMU.

And previous to the Wildcats, he was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Lake Superior State, from 2005-08, and head coach and general manager of the Soo Indians Junior AAA team in Sault Ste. Marie from 1995-2005.

With the Indians, he compiled a 474-162-43 mark as the winningest coach in the history of the North American Hockey League.

Four of his players — Mitch Reinke, Joel L’Esperance, Dane Birks and Jake Lucchini — have signed NHL contracts, while several more did the same from his time as MTU assistant coach.

Tech has also earned berths in two NCAA tournaments, won the Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA playoff champion and McNaughton Cup as league regular-season champ, and been ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Four players from the 2020-21 team — Trenton Bliss, Arvid Caderoth, Brian Halonen and Colin Swoyer — return next season after earning All-WCHA honors in past years, along with Mike Richter Award finalist in goalie Blake Pietila.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@ miningjournal.net.

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