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Potulny steps down

Wildcats hockey coach leaves program. Rick Comley returns to bench in interim role

14 Oct 16: The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers host the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in an exhibition matchup at the Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, MN.

By Journal Sports Staff

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University Athletics announced Tuesday that hockey coach Grant Potulny will be stepping down in order to pursue a position in professional hockey and that Athletic Director Rick Comley will be taking over as the interim head coach, effective Tuesday.

A NMU press release says that a national search for a new coach will commence immediately.

Associate head coach Byron Pool and assistant coach Nick Peruzzi have also stepped down to accept coaching positions elsewhere.

“Grant is a very good hockey coach and professional teams have realized that,” said Comley. “On behalf of Northern, I want to thank Grant and his staff for their outstanding work with the Wildcat Hockey program, and wish them great success with their new teams.”

Potulny’s time at the program began back-to-back 20-win seasons and chalked up for seasons with more than 20 wins since taking the role during the 2017-18 season.

This past season saw the Wildcats finish 12-16-6 overall, with a 10-10-4 conference record.

“Like Rick, I want to also thank Grant for his strong seven seasons at Northern, and thank Byron and Nick, too,” said NMU President Brock Tessman in a press release.

“Men’s ice hockey is one of NMU’s premier athletic programs and the only one at the NCAA Division I level, so it is incredibly fortunate to have one of the greatest coaches to ever stand behind NCAA Division I hockey bench here to guide our current and incoming players during this transition, and to work on the logistics of preparing for next season while we complete the national search this summer. Thank you, Rick. Wildcat Hockey is in great hands until we choose our new coach.”

Longtime Wildcats coach Rick Comley will return to the role in an interim basis. Comley is NMU’s first and longest-serving coach in program history and was inducted into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. Comley was the coach for the Wildcats 1991 national championship winning squad and has been retired from coaching since 2011.

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

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