WESTFIELD, Mass. — Westfield State College has announced the hiring of Jerry Keefe as the head coach of its men’s ice hockey team.
Keefe’s college career was at Providence and he played professionally for five years. He was an assistant coach at Mass.-Boston last season, and coached the U.S. Select Under 17 team at the National Festival in St. Cloud, Minn., and Team New England at the USA Hockey Festival.
“I am pleased to have someone with Jerry’s hockey pedigree leading our program,” said Westfield State athletics director Richard Lenfest. “Being a former player in such competitive arenas as Hockey East and the AHL will certainly help him with recruiting and attracting quality student-athletes to Westfield State. Jerry is professional, enthusiastic and brings an enormous amount of energy to our department. We are excited to have him as a member of our athletics family.”
The Westfield State ice hockey program will return to varsity status during the 2008-2009 academic year after a 20-year hiatus. Westfield State has fielded an established and a competitive men’s ice hockey club program since 1999, and the Owls will continue to play at the club level during their transitional 2007-2008 season.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for myself and my family, and I am very excited about re-starting a varsity hockey program that has had great success in the past,” said Keefe, who is a full-time employee at Westfield State, also serving as the athletics facilities manager.
Keefe is a native of Lowell and attended Matignon High School in Cambridge, Mass., where he was a three-time all-scholastic player and a member of a state championship team.
He played for the U.S. National under-17 team in 1993, and the U.S. under-18 team that won a silver medal in Japan in 1994.
In 1995 he was the team MVP and the leading scorer for the Omaha Lancers, national runners-up in the United States Hockey League.
Keefe played four years at Providence College, graduating with a business degree in 2000. He led the Friars in scoring in 1999 when he was named New England’s most improved player. He finished his collegiate career with 98 points in 102 games.
Professionally, Keefe played a year in the AHL with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, two years in the ECHL, and two years in the British Super League.
“I have been fortunate to have played for some great coaches throughout my career who have taught me how to be successful, and I look forward to bringing that same mentality to my players at Westfield State,” said Keefe. “I want a hard-working, disciplined team that is hard to play against every night.”