Steamboat Springs Dave Strang has been named the head coach for the newly created Steamboat Springs boys hockey team, Athletics Director Bruce Crowhurst announced Friday.
Strang is currently the director of player development for the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association, but his role with the local club program is not expected to conflict with his new position within the high school.
In fact, it could enhance his effectiveness as a coach.
"He knows all these kids," hockey supporter Bill Krueger said. "He's worked with them since they were 8 or 9. He's excited about it. It didn't have any bearing on the decision to hire him as a coach, but he is really in charge of his own farm system now."
Crowhurst said he, and the rest of the hiring committee, worked closely with the local hockey association through the entire process. Not unlike Steamboat's tennis community, the hockey base in town is well organized and well funded, so it wasn't unique to seek outside input for the hire.
"We have several associations we work with," Crowhurst said. "It's not unique in the way it's being done. It's helpful that the sport is already strong. The adjustment will just be at the high school setting."
This is something Krueger and Crowhurst felt confident Strang will make.
Strang has coached in Denver and was the director of coaching for Vail's program. He has worked camps and taken teams to Europe. In fact, Strang was currently at a hockey camp in Toronto and efforts to contact him were unsuccessful.
"Hockey is his life," Krueger said. "It took a long time to make the choice because everyone was very qualified. Dave caught the committee's eye, and I think he is a good choice."
Four candidates initially applied for the vacancy, and Crowhurst previously said he hoped to have the position filled at the beginning of June. Schedule conflicts with the candidates and search committee, coupled with the quality of the candidates, pushed the selection back more than a month.
After a month of thorough reference checking, interviews and discussion, Crowhurst said Strang emerged as the right person for the job.
"This was a tough, tough decision," he said. "Everybody was great. Overall, his enthusiasm was a cut above."
Crowhurst added that in reference checking everyone seemed to agree Strang was the type of coach that would go out of his way, even at his own expense, to make the program better.
The official start date for all high school winter sports is Nov. 14. The opening game is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 5, but the official schedule has not been released, Crowhurst said.
Steamboat will play all its home games at Howelsen Ice Arena.
Now that the head coaching vacancy has been filled, attention will shift to appointing assistant coaches and selecting uniforms.
"I'm very excited about it," Crowhurst said. "I'm ready to see the kids on the ice"