The naming of Minnesota’s first women’s hockey coach will likely come at the end of October or early November, said Donna Olson, the chairwoman of the committee assigned to seek out candidates for the position.
The committee began with a pool of about 25 candidates. Olson said she expects to forward a list of finalists to women’s athletics director Chris Voelz this month. Voelz will make the final decision from that list.
Some reports suggested the department was ready to announce the hiring of a coach this week, but Olson said any decision made before the end of the month would be a bonus.
Although former Gophers and NHL coach Herb Brooks is apparently out of the picture, a few names are consistently popping up as potential coaches.
Doug Woog, coach of Minnesota’s men’s hockey team, mentioned ex-Gophers assistant Bill Butters as a good candidate for the position.
“I think Bill Butters would be great,” Woog said. “He’s a Minnesota guy and he’s very knowledgeable.”
Woog made it clear he was speaking personally and not necessarily as a representative of the committee. He said former Burnsville coach Tom Osiecki would also be a solid choice.
Woog added that he knows very little about another potential finalist, University of New Hampshire women’s coach Karen Kay.
The women’s hockey team will begin play next fall.
— Michael Rand