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The Roar Returns

Tigers excited, optimistic about first season with new coach

Mike Haviland brings a wealth of experience and endless enthusiasm to his role as Colorado College head coach

Mike Haviland brings a wealth of experience and endless enthusiasm to his role as Colorado College head coach

For more than 75 years, Colorado Springs residents have flocked to Colorado College hockey games to cheer on their beloved Tigers.

his season began with an extra buzz after highly regarded Mike Haviland took over as the program’s 14th head coach. Haviland brings a wealth of experience that includes a 2012 Stanley Cup championship as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, as well as a high energy level he hopes will become contagious with his players.

Haviland, a 20-year veteran in the coaching ranks, has high aspirations for this year’s Tigers.

“We believe winning’s a habit, and when you create that winning environment and culture as a staff, it’s contagious,” says Haviland, who most recently served as head coach of the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. “I think it spreads. That’s the message we’ll have each and every day.”

Colorado College’s hockey program is known for winning, making trips to the Frozen Four in 1996, 1997 and 2005, as well as making 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and winning six league championships in the last two decades alone. Throw in eight Gold Pan trophies since 2000 for winning the season series against heated rival Denver University, and excellence had become commonplace for the Tigers.

But the last two years left much to be desired. CC followed an 18-19-5 record during the 2012-13 season with an abysmal 7-24-6 mark last season in the newly founded National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and longtime coach Scott Owens was relieved of his duties.

Despite the recent hard times, Haviland believes he inherits a Tigers program that has a strong foundation.

“This is a team that last year lost 17 one-goal games,” he says. “As a coach, you look at it and say you can make a difference, and we can. There’s something here to build with, and we feel that, maybe with a change in the systems and change in thought processes from our side as a staff, we believe that we can win right away here. That’s the plan.”

Haviland brought on assistant coaches R.J. Enga and Gene Reilly, as well as Director of Hockey Operations Chris Kawano, to help implement his coaching philosophies and direct the program. Consistent guidance and instruction are key elements of what Haviland wants to bring to CC.

“One of the things about my staff and I is that we are teachers, and we’re going to teach the game every day,” Haviland says. “I know we’ll put good habits into each and every one of our players, and you have to do that at every level. I know we can make this team a better team right from the start.”

Haviland wants his Tigers to be the aggressors on the ice and more proactive than reactionary.