Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Behind the Bench - With Patrick Foley!

Hi Patrick, uh, I mean Coach Foley! The UNH Men's Hockey Blogger Guy here! Would you mind answering some questions for me and Wildcat Nation? Let's start with how are you? What are you doing?

[TUMHBG], I appreciate you reaching out to me and it's my pleasure to answer some questions regarding the UNH hockey program and my own career for your website. I am currently coaching with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and have loved everyday of it since I started in 2005.

Could you imagine fan bloggers maintaining websites about the team when you were playing for our 'Cats?

When I was playing at UNH the big website that most fans utilized was USCHO.com. This was obviously a forum for fans across the country to express their thoughts on their favorite team in college hockey, or express some unfriendly comments about their rivals. However I think having a website solely dedicated to the UNH hockey program is a great addition, provided these sites maintain the same integrity and honesty that coaches work hard to instill in their players at UNH and in other programs across the country.

So, fill Wildcat Nation in as to what you are up to these days. (Feel free to add personal information such as marital status if you would like)

I am not married [Hear that ladies?! There may still be a chance! Sorry, I couldn't resist adding this!], and currently reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I am coaching with the National Team Development Program. My playing days after UNH ran shorter than I ever anticipated due to the high number of concussions I encountered throughout my career. When it was time to make a decision and end my competitive hockey days, I needed some time to get away from the game I loved and invested so much time in. I was hired by the Boston Red Sox and worked in their front office in several capacities before I received a call from the National Program to investigate my interest in a vacant coaching position in Ann Arbor. After making a visit to the NTDP facility and speaking with my family and friends I knew it was time to start my career in coaching. My experience thus far has been far more than I could have asked for. The players have been extremely coachable and just good character players which makes coaching them more enjoyable. The international experience as well as the NCAA competition and the domestic junior teams that we face have exposed me to many diverse levels of hockey. The pinnacle of my brief coaching career came last year when we won the 2005 U18 World Championship in Sweden.

What do you think about your time at UNH? Did it help you in any way concerning your current position? Do you still maintain contacts at or from UNH?

My time at UNH was more than I could have ever asked for. I consider myself fortunate to be part of some successful teams at UNH, as well as receiving a great education from such a strong institution as UNH. The support from the New Hampshire community and the fans who support the hockey program is something that me and my family will always cherish and remember from my years at UNH. The lessons and experience that I gained from the great coaches and players has been instrumental in my own coaching career. I stay in touch with all the coaches at UNH, (Coach Umile, Coach Lassonde, Coach Borek, and Coach Churchard), I even stay in touch with Coach McDonnell with the football team. These are great coaches with so much to offer and UNH is so fortunate to have them leading the way in the coaching profession. My relationship with Coach Umile is a very strong one, that developed with our player coach relationship and has stemmed well beyond that. I try and use him to make decisions that I face on our daily basis with our players here in Ann Arbor and we often talk just to say hello and make sure either one of us hasn't completely lost our minds to the coaching world. I also stay in touch with many of the guys I played with. We seem to have several weddings that we attend ever year that brings a lot of us back together. This summer Mike Souza got married and it was great to be with guys such as , John Sadowski, Dan Enders, Jason Shipulski, Sean Austin, Matt Swain, Tim Walsh. Preston Callander was also married this summer (ironically on the same day) so it was great to be with guys like, Mich Mounsey , Steve Saviano, Josh Prudden, Matt Hoppe, Tyler Scott, Darren Haydar, Mike Ayers. I keep in touch with a lot of the players , I keep in touch via email or phone with Mark Mowers, Lanny Gare, Kevin Truelson, and many other guys. The annual Friends of UNH Hockey Golf Tournament has been a great time for all of us to keep in touch with each other and get together.

Well, congratulations to Mike and Preston - I wish you the best - that's great to hear! Alright, let's get back to the NTDP. Has the NTDP changed much since your days playing there?

The NTDP has changed immensely since I played here in 1998. It has been 10 years since the inception of the program. When we first started the program it was highly criticized and had many unproven aspects of whether the philosophy of the program would work. I think it is safe to say that after 3 U18 World Championships, hundreds of high NHL Draft picks, and a slew of impact collegiate players, as well as several Olympians in Torino, Italy, that those who had doubts have them no more. We have adapted and changed our development curriculum a little over time, however I credit Coach Jeff Jackson (now with Notre Dame), with staying with his vision and idea at the beginning even when many doubted this great program.

So tell us, what do you know about James VanRiemsdyk? Does he have a nickname that you could throw us here in Wildcat Nation?

James VanRiemsdyk or (aka Reemer), is a very talented offensive player that will be a great addition to next year's team. He is a great kid with great hockey sense, he should be an exciting player for UNH. He also knows that he will be on the same playing field as the rest of the freshman class that report for duty in September, and is confident he can help the team in the role that best fits the dynamic of next year's team.

Alright! Thanks so much for your time! It was great to hear from you and Wildcat Nation wishes you good luck with the rest of your season! Hope to see you at the Alumni Game in the fall!

This concludes our first edition of Behind The Bench!

If you have any questions for Coach Foley please post them in the comment section and he will respond as he is able.


So, in light of my conversation with Coach Foley I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any dishonest statements, like my recent sarcastic posts that at best lack integrity and make a promise to try to conduct myself in a way appropriately respectful of the coaches and the team that I love. Thank you Coach Foley! I will do my best to honor the honesty and integrity of the UNH Hockey Program!

Additionally, any errors in transcriptions, etc. are mine in the making - anyone wishing to point out any inaccuracies need only make a polite request - not that I've received anything other - pointing out the offending material.

Go 'Cats!


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