Late Wednesday evening, the University of Vermont Catamounts named Winnipeg Jets assistant Todd Woodcroft as the team’s new head coach. Woodcroft, 47 will be the fifth head coach in 57 years of UVM hockey’s existence.
The Toronto, ON. product joined the Jets organization following three seasons as Director of Scouting with the Calgary Flames. Woodcroft also spent four years scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, earning a Stanley Cup ring in the process. He appeared on the scene in the 2000-01 season with the Minnesota Wild, where he worked for five years as the team’s video coach. Woodcroft spent the past four seasons with Winnipeg.
“It is with great pride that I accept the position of head coach of the men’s ice hockey team at the University of Vermont,” Woodcroft said in a team-issued press release. “I would like to thank President Garimella and Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman for leading a thorough search and this opportunity. I am extremely humbled and very honoured to lead the Catamounts. From day one, our fans can expect a program that will emphasize excellence in the classroom, service to the community and a team that will compete in every game and ultimately at a championship level.”
With a new title and a hefty pay raise, Woodcroft and family will move roughly 2,400 kilometres southwest to Vermont, where he will be faced with a challenge of revamping a struggling hockey program. In taking over from head coach of 17 years Kevin Sneddon, Woodcroft will look to help the Catamounts to the playoffs for the first time in two seasons, including the 2019-20 season that saw the team go 5-23-6, while collecting just two in-conference wins.
“As we begin an exciting new chapter in the long, proud history of our men’s hockey program, it’s a pleasure for me to welcome Todd to the University of Vermont and the Catamount Athletics family,” Todd Schulman, Director of Athletics said in the release. “Todd’s experiences in hockey at the highest level, in the NHL and internationally, combined with his personal integrity and a strong desire to coach in a college setting that values academic excellence and personal development alongside high-level hockey, made him standout among an outstanding pool of candidates.”