BOSTON — Boston University announced today that Brian Durocher, the current associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the men’s hockey team, has been hired as the first head coach for the new women’s varsity team, which is scheduled to begin play in 2005-06 with a Division I schedule and a slot in Hockey East.
Dating back to 1973, women’s hockey had been a club sport for the university. Most recently, the club has belonged to the American Collegiate Hockey Association, a collective of men’s and women’s club teams. Now the Terriers join New Hampshire, Providence, Maine, Northeastern, Connecticut, and Boston College in Hockey East. Vermont is also joining the league in 2005-06. The fledgling varsity team is slated to play its home games in Walter Brown Arena. The men’s team will move to the new Harry Agganis Arena in January 2005.
“The motivation is first and foremost the opportunity to run your own show — be a head coach,” Durocher said. “I’ve been in this a long time — 26 years as an assistant coach — and I think when you look down the pike from a realistic standpoint, I would never delete myself from consideration as a head coach in this profession. But I’m also in the position that if [Terrier men’s hockey coach] Jack [Parker] were to leave in three, four, five years, I’m on the far side of 50, and you start to get a little long in the tooth in some people’s eyes.”
Durocher said this provided him with a chance to be a head coach, and assured him of doing it in a place he loves.
“My playing days, my two sessions as assistant coach at Boston University speak volumes for my interest and belief in this university,” he said. “I think that brings some continuity to one’s life. In this biz — which can be very transient — I have a chance to look down the road and say I could end my career if we do a good job with things at Boston University.
“Last, I think it’s the quality of life that I believe a head coach has that’s a little different than the assistant. The assistant does almost everything that the head coach does, from strength training to academic overview to planning for games to video, etc. But then all of a sudden the assistants have this one dynamic that’s pretty crazy in college hockey right now — the recruiting and traveling. I think I’ve done that long enough, and hopefully this will give me a chance to take over as a head coach and maybe generate a different quality of life.”
Durocher acknowledges that he will face some different challenges in adjusting to the women’s game, but he generally believes that the similarities strongly outweigh the differences.
“I think it’s very similar minus the physical contact,” Durocher said. “I don’t think it takes that long to segue into that dynamic, because in the perfect world I think we’d all like to have a team that’s fancy enough or skilled enough to play without the brute physicality that goes on in the men’s game.
“I think I’ve watched enough having coached at Brown, where they have a very good women’s team, and watching the club team here over the years. I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of what goes on in the game; now it’s a matter of getting up to speed on the recruiting end of it because I’ll do that for one year almost by myself — trying to figure out how to split hairs in terms of who’s got the personality or the heart or the character to be the better player of the options you have to recruit.”
Durocher will devote the next year to recruiting, fundraising, scheduling, and hiring assistants. He has a good blueprint in mind in terms of what his coaching philosophy will be.
“I hope that we’ll always be a real good skating team,” he said. “Skating and puck possession are two dynamics that you’d love to have on any team, and that would be something I would like to have here at Boston University. I don’t think that we could parallel the men’s team, because the men’s team has always been a physical, forechecking team. Our job will be to try to emulate them in success and championships, and, more than anything else, having quality people leave this program and move on into the professional world after graduation.”
Durocher hopes that some of the current club players will be able to step up and make the team.
“I don’t think you find out until you get them on the same ice surface,” he said.
Realistically, he hoped that perhaps three to five club players could make the varsity team for the inaugural season.
Durocher was a goalie for the Terriers and co-captain of their 1977-78 national championship team. In addition to his assistant and associate coach duties at BU, he served as interim head coach at Colgate through much of the 1991-92 season after the untimely death of coach Terry Slater in 1991-92.
BU is expected to name former Terrier co-captain David Quinn as the new associate head coach, replacing Durocher. However, there has not yet been an official announcement to that effect. Quinn is currently the head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 team, and he was formerly the assistant head coach and head recruiter for Nebraska-Omaha.