Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Former Gambler Joins Coaching Ranks

Former Green Bay Gambler, A.J. Degenhardt, has been named head coach of the Twin Cities Northern Lights. The Northern Lights play in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

Lights appoint Degenhardt head coach

May 21, 2008

The Twin Cities Northern Lights have announced that Adam (AJ) Degenhardt has been named the team’s head coach for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

In addition, former Lights head coach Eric Fink, who recently accepted the assistant coach position with the Owatonna, Minn., team in the Tier 2 Junior A NAHL, has graciously agreed to serve as the Lights’ coaching mentor as Degenhardt prepares for the fall.

“I’m pleased to announce the coaching ensemble for the upcoming season” said president-GM Ross Smith. “They each bring different skills and passions, so we’re looking forward to a summer together exploring how to re-craft our program to highlight each person’s strengths."

Degenhardt, from Middleton, Wis., was a full-scholarship, four-year letter winner with the University Wisconsin-Madison program that won the 2006 NCAA national championship. As a Badger student-athlete under coaches Mike Eaves and Mark Osiecki, Degenhardt became k
nown for his hard work ethic, community service leadership and advocacy for drug-free activities.

Before joining the Badgers, Degenhardt played two years with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL for a total of six years under the tutelage of Osiecki, who praises Degenhardt’s eagerness to learn and then teach the game while helping players find the appropriate balance of time and energy to succeed at higher levels.

Since college graduation, Degenhardt has been coaching at Verona High School, the Madison Stars AAA program and the Inside the Red Hockey School in preparation for a full-time coaching career.

Fink was named MJHL Coach of the Year and helped lead the team to two national tournament appearances before becoming assistant coach position with the Southern Minnesota Express and then with Augsburg College last season.

“Since he and Josh Hauge helped formed the team in 2002, they’ve both been a tremendous resource,” Smith said, “so we’re excited to have Fink formally mentoring our new staff as they prepare for their new roles.”

Also noteworthy, Hauge was recently named the head coach of the NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs after serving as the team’s assistant coach for several years.

Smith publicly thanked former head coach Tony McGee for his year of service with the Northern Lights.

“We wish Tony and his family well as he continues his full-time employment and pursues other opportunities,” said Smith.

The Lights other coaching and support staff will return with some adjustments of responsibilities.

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