The University of St. Thomas announced Tuesday that it will upgrade women’s hockey, which has been played as a club sport the past two seasons, to varsity status beginning in 1998-99.
The Tommies’ first head coach will be Tom Osiecki, who coached the Burnsville High School girls’ team to state runner-up honors in 1996 and the Burnsville boys’ team to state championships in 1985 and 1986.
Osiecki received his bachelor’s (1964) and master’s degrees (1968) at St. Thomas, and has worked the last 32 years at Burnsville. After serving as a professional scout for the National Hockey League’s Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars from 1990-95, Osiecki returned to coaching in 1995 to help found the Burnsville girls’ varsity program.
St. Thomas will join fellow Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools Augsburg, Gustavus Adolphus, St. Benedict, St. Mary’s and St. Catherine as schools with varsity women’s hockey teams next season.