Lake Superior State lands former AHL coach, NHL scout Holewa as new assistant

Lake Superior State announced the hiring of Doug Holewa to the coaching staff as a new assistant coach on Tuesday.

Holewa served as an assistant coach for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League the past three seasons and fills the vacancy left by Peter Aubry, who left in August for a position in the Chicago Blackhawks organization.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Doug and his family to Laker hockey and to Sault Ste. Marie,” said LSSU head coach Damon Whitten in a news release. “His role in the development of prospects within the New York Islanders organization stood out, as they’ve done an incredible job of developing many young players through the ranks of that franchise. With 18 freshmen and sophomores on our roster, assistant coach Rich Metro and I thought it was a huge benefit to bring in a guy with experience developing players.

“Also, with our senior and junior classes featuring guys who want to pursue professional hockey after they leave here, we thought having a guy with that kind of experience of developing players for the next level would also prove beneficial to our program.”

“I am extremely thankful to director of athletics [Kris] Dunbar and Coach Whitten for the opportunity to join their staff and a program steeped with so much tradition,” added Holewa. “For the previous three seasons, I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a great franchise that’s had a lot of success scouting and developing impact players at the NHL level. I am excited to bring these experiences, concepts and habits to Lake State.”

This past summer, Holewa was invited to the USA Hockey National Player Development Select 15 Camp held in Buffalo, N.Y., and was responsible for evaluating, scouting and ranking camp participants in preparation for the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, as well as the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Selection Camp.

Holewa also served as an amateur scout for the Islanders prior to being promoted to their AHL team’s coaching staff and began his coaching career while earning a master’s degree in social studies education from Columbia University in 2010, following a four-year stint as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

During that time, he became an assistant coach for the New Jersey Rockets, a Tier III team competing in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League. While earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from Connecticut College, Holewa earned four letters in hockey and lacrosse. After earning an undergraduate degree, Holewa joined the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry officer and while earning the rank of a captain, Holewa trained, evaluated and deployed an infantry platoon of 40 marines in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007.

“During our process of talking with Doug, we weren’t just talking hockey,” added Whitten. “He continuously preached the importance of forming good habits and he talked about wanting to join the Marines to see if he was a person who could handle that pressure. The habits and discipline that he learned is something he wants to help instill into our guys, and I think it’s important to have those characteristics before you can become a professional hockey player.”

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