Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UAA's New Assistant Coach: Louis Mass

Photo Credit: Dennis Sorenson
This morning UAA Head Coach Matt Thomas introduced Louis Mass as his new Assistant Coach following the departure of T.J. Jindra at the end of the season.  The last time I had any association with Louis in a hockey context we both had hair on the tops of our heads.
He played youth hockey with my nephew/adopted brother way way way back in the day. They were quite often defense partners on a couple of Alaska All-Star Bantam/Midget teams. He was kinda gangly back then but a solid defenseman who could lay on a big hit and crank the puck to the net from the line.

Louis is a good hire for one main reason. The path to ongoing success for UAA has always been to keep as many D-1 bound Anchorage kids as possible. Dave Shyiak was unsuccessful building any sort of positive relationship with the Anchorage hockey community. It started badly for Dave when he didn't keep Kowal and Morris as assistants. And it pretty much got worse from there. Their dismissals were handled badly by Shiak and Steve Cobb and the resentment felt by those guys reverberated throughout the hockey community for a very very long time.

The result is that more than at any period in UAA's hockey history good local players left the state for other D1 schools. Some percentage of that is always going to happen. But when every good local player doesn't see UAA as a viable option there's a problem. That's no longer a problem for UAA. Coach Thomas already recognizes that capturing the elite Anchorage players should be a goal. This hire reflects that and is a great step forward to helping UAA better acquire the pieces of the puzzle it needs to build success in the long term. 

Mass will be focusing on defensive coaching and penalty killing. God knows with the number of penalties we've taken the last couple of years that having a good penalty kill is pretty important. And the more help this coming season that Mantha get's in front of him the better. Mantha's going to stop 9.25 shots out of every 10 so the GAA is going to be all about how many shots get through to him.  Let's hope Louis has some ideas to help lower the goals against.

Congrats to Louis on the new gig. I wish him (and I'm sure all UAA fans do as well) the best of luck.


Suze said...

Welcome Louis, we are excited to have you on our team!! I am seriously in hockey withdrawal now that the Stanley Cup playoffs are over. Sigh. There's always golf I guess. :)

arcticfox said...

"Louie Louie" ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♭ .. Hurray for Louis Mass!!

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