Litke replaces McCabe as Finlandia men’s head coach

Finlandia has announced that former North Dakota captain Dane Litke is the new head coach of the Lions’ men’s team.

Litke replaces John McCabe, who guided Finlandia to a 20-77-2 record from 2010 to 2014.

“I have appreciated the hard work John and his staff have put into our men’s ice hockey program the last four years,” Finlandia director of athletics Chris Salani said in a statement. “He has been a good representative amongst his peers on behalf of Finlandia within the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. However, we felt the timing of this transition is necessitated by the opportunity for our men’s hockey program to become a more competitive and viable member of the strongest NCAA Division III hockey conference in the country.”

Litke last coached during the 2011-12 season with the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League and has also coached juniors in the America West Hockey League and in the ECHL pro ranks.

“With our athletics programs moving in such a positive direction, I couldn’t be happier to recognize Coach Litke as our next head men’s hockey coach,” Salani added. “Dane has had tremendous successes as a head coach at the Junior A level and we needed to identify a coach like Dane, who has both the experience and hockey network that will allow our men’s hockey program to grow and succeed within the NCHA. His hockey knowledge, detail to discipline and winning character will be a tremendous fit for our hockey team and hockey community.”

Litke played at North Dakota from 1993 to 1997, captaining the team to an NCAA championship in his senior season, and also played five seasons of pro hockey in the ECHL and Central Hockey League.

“I am very excited about becoming Finlandia’s head hockey coach,” Litke said in a statement. “This is a great opportunity for my family and I want to thank Chris Salani, Dr. Lenny Klaver and President Dr. Philip Johnson for their trust in me.”