December 04, 2017 06:41 PM
(ABC 6 News) – Following a 4-16 start to the 2017-2018 season, the Rochester Ice Hawks are apparently making a change on the bench.
Ice Hawks President and General Manager Michael Fatis confirmed Monday the team is parting ways with head coach Eric Hofmann and assistant coach Vinnie Susi.
“This has been a very difficult season," Fatis said in a statement. "We need to turn the team around. Coaches Hofmann and Susi have worked hard but the team is mired in 4th place in the NA3HL’s Central Division.”
Before the Ice Hawks released their statement, Hofmann tweeted on Monday morning that he had been “fired” as Ice Hawks head coach--which is where he said he first found out he had been let go.
“We are concerned with player morale," Fatis went on to say in the same statement. "This is an organization that has enjoyed great success and has, perhaps, the best facilities, player services, medical/athletic training services, housing program and fan/community support in the league. We intend to return to (the national championship level). This is the first step forward.”
After a 4-4 start to the season, the Ice Hawks have lost 12 straight games and have been outscored 83-18 during that stretch.
Later on Monday morning, Hofmann tweeted again, saying "it's official, I have been terminated from the @icehawks organization. I would like to say Thank you to everyone involved. I truly wish the best to the players and the Rochester community."
Hofmann took over as head coach after long-time head coach Nick Fatis stepped down on Nov. 16 of last year. Since that time under Hofmann’s watch, the Ice Hawks have gone 12-39 on the ice.
Rochester currently sits in fourth place in the NA3HL Central Division standings behind the North Iowa Bulls, La Crosse Freeze, and the Wisconsin Whalers. Through 20 games, the Ice Hawks have been outscored by an average of 3.5 goals per game.
As ABC 6 News previously reported, the Ice Hawks will hire Chris Blaisius as the team’s next head coach. Blasius previously served as the head coach of the Willmar War Hawks before stepping down on Nov. 19. According to the team, he'll focus primarily on player recruitment and development.
Blaisuis has experience as a junior hockey player, USHL experience (front office), and coaching experience in the NAHL and NA3HL--he's also a former Ice Hawks scout who Fatis said has "multiple connections" in recruiting.
The former Ice Hawks scout will have assistance from former John Marshall/Lourdes girls hockey head coach and current Dodge County assistant girls hockey coach Bob Montrose. The Ice Hawks said Montrose will be coordinating the new coaching staff and aiding in the transition.
The Ice Hawks said all coaching moves are "effective immediately."
Updated: December 04, 2017 06:41 PM
Created: December 03, 2017 11:00 PM
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