An unusual start to a new role

Meet new women's hockey coach Troy Ryan.

- September 23, 2020

Troy Ryan assumed the roll of head coach of the women's hockey program in July.
Troy Ryan assumed the roll of head coach of the women's hockey program in July.

Troy Ryan assumed the role of head coach of the Dalhousie Tigers women’s hockey team in July fully understanding the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. The COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing and no one really knew what that would mean for the 2020-21 season.

“I know there are lots of questions around competition and what that looks like for us, but it’s completely out of our control so it’s not our (the team’s) focus at all right now,” says Ryan.

Ryan’s initial plan for the team is focused around four objectives, the first of which is to establish trust and build relationships with student-athletes and staff. The second is to support his athletes as they adjust to the ‘new normal’ as both university students and hockey players. Building habits and expectations both on and off the ice and getting involved in the community round out his focus right now.

“I often speak with student-athletes about gratitude and how important it is, especially in difficult times,” adds Ryan. “I strongly believe that right now our entire program is just grateful that we have the support of Dalhousie University, and the department of athletics & recreation. For us to have the opportunity on a daily basis to go to the rink or high performance room and improve our program is very important right now. The primary goal is to provide a detailed development opportunity for our student-athletes.”

The current head coach of Hockey Canada’s national women’s team and former director of high performance for the Atlantic region, Ryan is a Canadian Coaches Association certified Chartered Professional Coach (ChPC). He’s been working with the women’s national program since 2017, serving as an associate coach with the national women’s team and the head coach of the national development team in 2019. He was also an assistant coach with Canada’s silver medal-winning team at the 2018 PyeongChang, South Korea Olympic Winter Games.

Before coming to Dalhousie, Ryan was the head coach, general manager, and president of the Maritime Hockey League’s (MHL) Campbellton Tigers from 2013-16. He also spent two years (2009-11) with the Metro Marauders of the MHL, serving as their president, general manager, and head coach before serving as the head coach of the St. Thomas Tommies (AUS) men’s hockey team for two season between 2011-13.

“We are thrilled to add Troy to our coaching roster and have him take the reins of our women’s hockey program,” says Tim Maloney, executive director of athletics and recreation. “Troy’s coaching experience speaks for itself from his lead role with Canada’s Olympic Women’s Hockey Team to his experience at all levels of the game, but what excites us most is the quality of person Troy is. He will be an invaluable asset to our program, and we are excited to welcome him to the Tigers Family.”

Looking a little more into the future, Ryan knows that rebuilding a women’s hockey program does not happen overnight. He’s looking for players who are committed to being great teammates and who understand that being a Tiger means you work to be a complete student-athlete - focused on academics, athletics and community involvement. They also need to have the drive to compete and win at the conference and national levels.

“We will take our time to ensure we are adding the right people (student-athletes and staff) to this program so we can have long-term success. I am very pleased with the current group’s eagerness to get better. They have been fun to work with and we are just getting started. The leadership group of the more senior players has been amazing to work with during this time of transition.”

With all national fall sport championships cancelled and AUS conference regular season and postseason competition suspended until January 2021, it is still uncertain what lies ahead. A decision is expected to be made sometime this fall. Until then, Ryan and his players will continue to train within COVID-19 health regulations and Hockey Nova Scotia’s Rebound Plan for return to play to be ready to go when they get the chance to play.

“Overall, I’m excited for both the opportunities and challenges that come with this position,” concludes Ryan. “Working with student-athletes during such impactful years is a very special honour that I take great pride in. I’m thankful for the opportunity and proud to be a part of the Dalhousie community.”


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