BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University Head Men’s Hockey Coach Tom Serratore has announced the hiring of Eddie Olczyk (OHL-chek) as an assistant coach. The former NCAA Division I player joins the BSU coaching staff after coaching stops at Division I and Division III programs on the east coast.
"Eddie has great presence and a great demeanor about him, qualities that have earned him a lot of respect in college hockey as an up-and-coming recruiter,” said Serratore. “He also has a tremendous work ethic. Eddie has spent the last two years as a recruiting coordinator and has developed relationships with coaches all over the United States. He understands the game and what it takes to recruit players who can have an impact and develop in our program.
Serratore added, “Eddie comes to Bemidji State with high praise from his peers and mentors. We’re excited to have him be part of Beaver hockey.”
Olczyk most recently served as assistant coach at Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y. In one season with the Purple Eagles, he aided in the planning of practices, teaching and development of players, and recruited across North America. In addition he served as the team’s academic coordinator and was responsible for all facets of its travel.
"I am thrilled to be joining the Bemidji State University family. This is an amazing opportunity to work for a fantastic hockey program and University,” said Olczyk. “Bemidji is a special place and I am eager to roll up my sleeves and get to work.
“I want to thank Tom Serratore and Travis Winter for their support during this process. A special thank you also goes out to David Burkholder, Tim Madsen, and Niagara University for giving me an opportunity to grow and develop as a coach and individual.”
Prior to his time at Niagara, Olczyk spent one season (2014-15) as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Utica College, a Division III men’s hockey program in Utica, N.Y. As a part of the Pioneers’ coaching staff, Olczyk oversaw the defensemen, led their power-play unit and was responsible for recruiting forward Hayden Dawes, the 2015-16 ECAC-W Rookie of the Year and an all-rookie team honoree. He also developed and implemented the team’s pre-season and in-season weight training plan and coordinated the team’s community service initiative.
As a player, following three seasons (2006-09) in the United State Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers and Waterloo Blackhawks, the Long Grove, Ill. native was a four-year letterwinner (2009-2013) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he earned a spot on the Hockey East All-Academic Team. Olczyk was also named to the Ledyard National Bank Classic All-Tournament Team after leading the Minutemen past Bemidji State, 4-3, and netting an unassisted, short-handed goal as UMass claimed the 2012-13 Classic title.
Olczyk graduated from UMass in the spring of 2013 with a degree in psychology.
Beyond collegiate play, Olczyk played for the Bloomington Thunder of the Southern Professional Hockey League, where he logged 54 games during the 2014-15 season. Playing professionally, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Ed, who played 16 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins, won a Stanley Cup, and later served as head coach of the Penguins.
Olczyk replaces Ted Belisle, who left the program after 13 years to take a role on the Los Angeles Kings’ scouting staff.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).