Welcome to the Power Play! Our first installment of our “interview-based” articles features Miami Women’s Club Hockey Head Coach Scott Hicks. The Lady RedHawks take on defending National Champion Michigan State this weekend at The Goggin, so we thought this would be a perfect time to introduce you to Coach Hicks and the Ladies’ Team!
I had asked Scott these questions on the eve of the team’s trip to Buffalo, NY for the Buffalo Blizzard Tournament. The RedHawks started out the tournament against Ohio State, falling 4-1 on October 21st. The next day, Miami took on host school Buffalo, as well as Colorado State, winning over Buffalo 3-1 and CSU 4-1 to take their spot in the Finals on Sunday. Having just lost to Ohio State, the RedHawks were very familiar with their opponent in the Championship game. The RedHawks came back strong and took home the trophy with a 3-1 victory. On a weekend where the RedHawks got their first ever win, they earn sweet, sweet redemption against Ohio State, and took a giant step forward as a program.
Here is the first part of our interview with Da Coach, and next week, we’ll have the second part. Thanks Coach, and Go RedHawks!!!
Redskin Warriors (RW): First of all, give us an update on how the team got started. Most casual fans didn’t even know that Miami even had a Women’s team. Where did you come from? Did the administration come to you to start a team? The other way around? Or did Miami students come to the table with the idea?
Scott Hicks (SH): Well, we got started sometime in 2009 by a trio of students: Natalie Dillion, Jess Wood, and Liz Wardlow. They were a little unorganized, but got a group of girls together. In the summer of 2010 Kevin Ackley and Dan Daikaiwa got involved and really helped them organize and get sanctioned with the university. They called me in August to gauge my interest in being involved and I came on board at that point. So it was a collaborative effort, but driven by the students more than anything, and I think all of us who came on board saw the value and need for a program like ours.
RW: Being a club hockey team, you probably don’t have a very large budget for recruiting. How do you recruit new players, and how are you growing the team?
SH: You’re right we don’t have a large recruiting budget, its virtually at a $0 balance. This is the biggest struggle we have, all recruiting is done on our own time and own dime. This season we were lucky, most of the girls we brought in contacted us with interest and we went from there. But moving forward we hope word of mouth gets out, as well as people close to the program and alumni passing along talented players. But we think our biggest recruiting tool will be our newly formed Women’s hockey camp. It was held for the first time ever this summer and we had 83 girls attend our camp which is part of the prestigious Miami Hockey Schools. (You can check out all info about the team by clicking here.)
We had such a huge interest in that camp that the director of the camp has decided to extend it to two weeks next year. So we are really going to count on this camp to bring girls onto campus and find talented players to come to Miami. We actually got our first commitment from someone who attended our camp over the summer so that is extremely encouraging for us.
RW: Tell us about the team. How many players do you have on the team? Where did the ladies come from? Be honest – were there any Synchronized Skating Team cast-offs?
SH: This year we have 16 girls on our roster. Our numbers aren’t where we would like them to be but we are a second year program and really trying to build from the ground up. It is taking time to get the girls we want here and that want to be here but I would expect our numbers to continue to grow over the next few years as we brought in 6 freshmen this coming year. Our girls actually come from all over the country. We only have 2 girls out of 16 from the state of Ohio. We brought in freshmen this year from Chicago, Phoenix and Connecticut, as well as the Cleveland area. All of these girls come from amateur hockey programs – we don’t have any figure skaters on our roster. Some come from prep school programs, public high school programs, as well as U-19 programs from across the country.
RW: What are the skill levels on the team? Have all of these women played competitive hockey? Are their skill levels similar, or is there a large spread from the top line on down?
SH: Skill level has increased tenfold from last year. We have girls who have D-I experience – having transferred in girls who played competitive Women’s hockey and some who played against boys growing up. Along with our skill level going up the gap from top to bottom has closed dramatically, which in turns makes us a much better program.
RW: We’ve seen a couple tweets from you and the team (@CoachMUwmhockey and @MiamiWHockey) about The Sisterhood. How is that catching on? Are the ladies embracing their version of The Brotherhood?
SH: All of the girls involved in our program are buying in and that is the biggest thing. I know we’re not necessarily trying to copy the men’s program but I for one respect coach Blasi and all he has done, and I think using a program like that as a template is a smart thing to do. Not only that, but it gives our girls an identity and something people can relate to. We really try to create a family atmosphere with our program and these girls have gotten really close in such a short period of time.
RW: Have you ever been kicked out of a game? Any YouTube videos of you bowing to the referees a la Rico Blasi that we need to search for?
SH: HAHA! To answer your question, no I have yet to be kicked out of a game. Although I am sure there are some officials in the area who would like to kick me out of a game, but I don’t have any YouTube moments as of yet.
Don’t forget, Coach Hicks has his shot at YouTube fame on Friday night as the RedHawks face off against defending national champions Michigan State at 9:15 PM and again Saturday at 12:15 PM. Both games will be played in Steve Cady Arena and admission is free. Go ‘Hawks!!!
To read the second part of our interview with Coach Hicks, please click here.