Union has announced that Chris Ardito and Breanne Wilson-Bennett have been named assistant women’s hockey coaches.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by some great assistant coaches, and I’m really excited to work with Chris and Breanne,” said Union head coach Josh Sciba in a statement. “Going through this process, it was very important to me that our new coaches be energetic about learning and improvement, possess a vast knowledge of the game, have an eagerness to develop/connect with our players in a purposeful way, and have a passion for bringing innovative ideas/perspectives to our staff.”
Ardito brings almost a decade of coaching experience to Union. Ardito spent the last three years at Vermont Academy as the head girl’s hockey coach. Prior to his time in Vermont, he spent eight years as a partner and head instructor at Connecticut Crease, working with goaltenders of all ages and abilities.
Ardito also spent six years with the Yale women’s hockey team, first as a volunteer assistant, and then as their goal and analytics coach.
At the professional level, Ardito served as the GM of the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale and also worked with the St. Louis Blues in analytics within their goalie department.
“I’d like to thank Josh Sciba, Joanne Little, and the rest of the Athletic Department,” said Ardito. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with such a talented group of athletes and dedicated coaching staff. The women’s hockey team has made great strides over the last several years under Josh’s leadership, and I hope to do my part to help the Union women’s hockey program grow.”
Wilson-Bennett comes to Union after spending the last two years as the head of player development at Hyperfit Elite Training Center. She was also the assistant coach of Durham West Lightning Women’s Hockey Association, guiding players through the NCAA recruitment process.
As a player, Wilson-Bennett saw success on the ice at Colgate, serving as assistant captain in 2017-18, and helping guide the Raiders to the 2018 Frozen Four as the national runner-up. Wilson-Bennett was named to the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team and the All-USCHO second team. She ended her collegiate career with 101 points (49 goals, 52 assists) in 147 games.
Wilson-Bennett skated for the Toronto Six of the NWHL during the 2020-21 season. She scored four points (two goals, two assists) in six regular-season games, including the first individual multi-goal game in franchise history, and also recorded two points (goal, assist) in the postseason. In addition, Wilson-Bennett played overseas for the MoDo Hockey Dam of the Swedish Women’s Hockey League, registering 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 21 games.
Prior to her time at Colgate, Wilson-Bennett won a gold medal with the Team Canada U18 team at the 2014 IIHF World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
“I am so excited to be a part of the Union women’s hockey family,” said Wilson-Bennett. “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with a coach as knowledgeable and passionate as Josh. I learned so much from him as a player and I know that as a coach I will learn even more. I can’t wait to get on the ice with this wonderful group of young women and I believe they have what it takes to become a winning program.”
“Chris and Breanne are great fits and their values align well with what it means to be a coach at Union College,” Sciba added. “They will not only help our players have fun becoming better people and athletes, but they will help me become a better coach as well. It’s an exciting day for Union women’s hockey.”