Finlandia is going to have a familiar face leading the team this season as the winningest coach in team history, Joe Burcar, has been hired as the Lions’ new head coach.
Burcar replaces Dane Litke, who stepped down for personal reasons earlier this summer after two seasons with the Lions.
“I am proud and excited to come back to Finlandia University,” said Burcar in a statement. “I love this community, the atmosphere of collegiate athletics, and the level of play you see in NCAA Division III hockey.”
Burcar’s initial stint at the school included a 104-96-11 overall record and a 2007 Harris Cup championship.
“Our team that year put together an incredible season,” Burcar added. “I have never seen Houghton County Arena that packed, that energetic. It’s my goal to bring that level of excitement back to our community, and that level of success back to our hockey team.”
The Lions have a combined record of 29-130-9 in the years since Burcar was coach.
“Joe is the right person to lead our men’s hockey program back to prominence,” noted Finlandia athletic director Kristan Schuster in a news release. “I’ve spoken with many of his former players and they all loved him as a coach. I’m beyond excited to see what he will do with this team.”
Burcar has been coaching in California since 2010, including working with the OC Hockey Club, Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Edison High School. In 2015, he led the Jr. Ducks to a state championship and a spot in the national semifinals.
Aside from coaching, Burcar has also been working with teams in the USHL, NAHL and BCHL as a scout.