UWSP narrows hockey head coaching search to three - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UWSP narrows hockey head coaching search to three


STEVENS POINT – The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has named its finalists to be interviewed for the head men's hockey coach/associate lecturer position, according to the search and screen committee. The three candidates are A.J. Aitken, associate head coach at St. Norbert College; Ryan McKelvie, assistant coach at the University of Alaska-Anchorage; and Jasen Wise, head coach at Marian University.

Aitken recently completed his eighth year as a full-time assistant coach with the Green Knights, his third as associate head coach. Central to the program's recruiting efforts, Aitken has been a part of two NCAA Division III Championship teams including winning the 2011 title with the Green Knights. With St. Norbert, Aitken has coached in six Frozen Fours and five NCAA Championship games. During his time with the Green Knights program the team is 196-32-18.

A native of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Aitken played for Division I Michigan Tech from 1997-2000, competing in 140 games scoring 14 goals and 17 assists. He served as team captain his junior and senior seasons and was twice named Academic All-WCHA. After graduation Aitken played professionally in the Central Hockey League from 2000-2003 and won two CHL Championships with Memphis. 

The community is invited to an informal open forum with Aitken on Tuesday, May 3 from 3-3:45 p.m. in the warming room at K.B. Willett Arena.

McKelvie recently completed his first season as assistant coach for the University of Alaska-Anchorage. As part of the UAA staff he helped the Seawolves finish with their best regular-season winning percentage since the team joined the WCHA in 1993.

He joined the staff at UAA after serving two seasons as the associate head coach of the Wenatchee Wild of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). McKelvie helped lead the team to a NAHL Regular Season Championship, two NAHL West Division Playoff Championships, a national runner-up finish, and two NAHL Organization of the Year awards.

McKelvie also served as the graduate assistant coach at Bemidji State for two years from 2006-08. While with the Beavers he worked under three-time CHA coach of the Year and three-time Penrose Coach of the Year finalist Tom Serratore, and one of college hockey's top-five all-time winningest coaches, R.H. Peters.

A native of New Brighton, Minn., McKelvie played at Minnesota State from 2002-06. He was the first three-year captain in the history of the program, appearing in 132 career games. He earned his bachelor's degree in physical education in 2006 from MSU and is currently working on a master's degree in sports science from Bemidji State.

The community is invited to an informal open forum with McKelvie on Monday, April 25 from 3-3:45 p.m. in the warming room at K.B. Willett Arena.

Wise recently completed his seventh season as head coach at Marian University. During the 2010-11 season, his team achieved a No. 15 ranking, the first time the team appeared in a national poll. His team also won four games over nationally ranked teams. In 2009-10, Wise led the Sabres to their most successful season in school history, finishing 20-7 overall and posted an 18-2 mark in the MCHA. The team also set a school record with 15 straight victories. The team finished one game short of the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance the past two seasons, falling to Adrian in the league's title game. Wise was named the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association's Coach of the Year in 2010, the second time he was selected for the award during his tenure. His teams improved from 9-18-2 his first season in 2006 to back-to-back 19-plus win seasons in 2010 and 2011.

Prior to Marian, Wise spent five years as the assistant coach at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. Before coaching at the Division III level, Wise spent two seasons in the USHL, playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and the Rochester Mustangs, making National Tournament appearances in 1990 and 1991. In his two seasons, he scored 22 goals, recorded 29 assists and had 140 penalty minutes.

A native of West Anchorage, Alaska, Wise played collegiately at the Division III level at the University of St. Thomas. He captained the team his junior season as the team went on to secure a MIAC title. That came after two seasons at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he was an assistant captain on a squad that made an NCAA Tournament appearance. Wise recorded 110 career points in 107 collegiate games. He graduated from St. Thomas in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and earned his masters in educational leadership from St. Thomas in 2005. 

The community is invited to an informal open forum with Wise on Monday, May 2 from 3-3:45 p.m. in the warming room at K.B. Willett Arena.

Courtesy: UWSP Sports Information

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