Holy Cross taps longtime Quinnipiac assistant Riga as Crusaders’ new men’s hockey coach

Bill Riga served on the Quinnipiac staff from 2008 to 2021 (photo: Quinnipiac Athletics).

Holy Cross announced Tuesday that the school has named Bill Riga as the next head men’s hockey coach.

Riga, who joins the Crusaders after 13 years at Quinnipiac, the last seven as the Bobcats’ associate head coach, replaces David Berard, who stepped down in April before being named Providence’s associate athletic director for men’s and women’s hockey this week.

“Bill Riga is the right person at the right time to lead our men’s ice hockey program,” Holy Cross director of athletics Marcus Blossom said in a statement. “He is a tireless recruiter, committed teacher and extremely competitive coach who has contributed to great successes as an assistant. He is ready for this moment. I am excited to welcome Bill and his family into our community, and I look forward to partnering with him as we elevate Holy Cross men’s ice hockey.”

“It is an honor and a blessing to be the next head men’s ice hockey coach at Holy Cross,” added Riga, a native of Westborough, Mass. “My family and I are grateful and humbled by this amazing opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started creating relationships with our student-athletes, members of our campus community, and our alumni who love this program.

“I would like to thank Fr. Boroughs, Marcus Blossom, Nick Smith and the entire search committee for having the faith in me to lead this program into the future. This is truly a homecoming for me, and I’m eager to lead our great student-athletes in relentless pursuit of excellence on the ice, in the classroom and in the community.”

Riga, who served as the Bobcats’ recruiting coordinator, also was the vice chair of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee, where he was one of three Division I coaches responsible for developing and implementing rule changes across the NCA, from 2016 to 2020.

“We are thrilled for Billy and Kim,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold. “He has been phenomenal at Quinnipiac over the past 13 seasons and was a key factor in our two Frozen Four runs and our 286 wins in 13 years. I wish Billy the best of luck at Holy Cross. He is an excellent coach, a great friend and he will be missed at Quinnipiac.”

Before joining the Bobcats, Riga served as an assistant coach at Union from 2003 to 2008.

Other stops for Riga include the EJHL’s Boston Jr. Bruins, where he was the associate head coach, and the Rivers School (ISL) as the head boys’ hockey coach and director of hockey.

A 1996 graduate of UMass Lowell, Riga was a four-year letter-winner for the River Hawks, playing in two NCAA tournaments and earning his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology. He went on to earn his master’s in organizational leadership from Quinnipiac in 2015.