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Miami Athletics names Chris Bergeron head hockey coach

Miami Athletics announced this morning that former Bowling Green State University (BGSU) head hockey coach and Miami alumnus Chris Bergeron is Miami hockey's head coach.

"I would like to thank President Crawford, David Sayler and Steve Cady for all of their support through this process and for the opportunity to be a part of Miami Hockey again," Bergeron said in the announcement. "Janis, our boys and I are extremely excited to be returning to Oxford. Miami University holds a special place in all of our hearts. We are looking forward to starting this next journey in our lives."

The announcement comes only 18 days after long-time head coach Enrico Blasi was fired, and 10 days after former associate head coach Peter Mannino was named interim head coach.

Bergeron spent the past nine seasons coaching the BGSU Falcons of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Falcons were 171-154-44 all time under Bergeron, and most recently finished 25-11-5 (16-8-4 WCHA).

The University of Minnesota Duluth beat the Falcons' 2-1 on Saturday, March 30, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and ended BGSU's historic 2018-19 season - the Falcons' tournament appearance was their first since 1990.

Miami offered Bergeron a contract on Wednesday, according to College Hockey News, and Bowling Green offered Bergeron a new contract on Thursday, according to The Toledo Blade.

Bergeron ultimately decided to return to his alma mater.

"We are excited to welcome Chris, along with his wife Janis, and his two sons, Logan and Connor, back to Miami University and the Oxford community," Miami athletics director David Sayler said in the announcement.

Bergeron played for the RedHawks from 1989-93 and served as a two-year team captain. From the 1990-91 through the 1992-93 season, Bergeron played with Blasi. The two helped the RedHawks to the program's first Central Collegiate Hockey Association Championship in 1992-93.

After his collegiate career, Bergeron played professionally for seven years before returning to Oxford as an assistant coach for the 2000-01 season.

Bergeron coached under Blasi for 10 seasons and helped the RedHawks to a 226-139-37 overall record and 161-83-28 conference record. The 'Hawks made six NCAA Tournament appearances, two Frozen Four trips and two first place finishes in the CCHA with Bergeron as an assistant.

He was part of Blasi's inception of "The Brotherhood."

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"As a successful student-athlete, captain and assistant coach here at Miami, it is evident that Coach Bergeron has played an integral role in the past success of this program," Sayler said. "I look forward to working with him as we focus all our efforts on becoming more competitive within the [National Collegiate Hockey Conference] and on the national level."

The Brotherhood has struggled of late and just finished its fourth consecutive season under .500 with a 11-23-4 overall record and 5-17-2 NCHC record.

A 15-game winless streak and nine-game losing streak defined the RedHawks' 2018-19 season. The last time Miami was winless for 15 games was during the 1990-91 season, when Bergeron was a sophomore.

Bergeron is also familiar with tough seasons as a head coach - the Falcons won 10 games during his first season at the helm of the program and suffered three under-.500 seasons before Bergeron pulled the Falcons to an 18-15-6 record in 2013-14.

After that season, Bergeron led his team to five straight 20-plus win seasons, a WCHA Championship in 2016-17 and this year's NCAA Tournament.

Bergeron is unfamiliar with the NCHC, as it was established in 2011 and hosted its first games during the 2013-14 season when Bergeron was coaching Bowling Green.

For the past three years, an NCHC team has won the NCAA National Championship, and five of the eight NCHC teams, including No. 1 St. Cloud State, were ranked in the USCHO.com's top-20 poll during the last week of the season.

The last time a WCHA team won a national title was in 1994, but two of the 10 WCHA teams were ranked in the USCHO.com's poll, including the No. 15 Falcons and No. 3 Minnesota State.

Blasi's RedHawks and Bergeron's Falcons played each other last November. Miami won 6-3 on night one and tied BGSU 2-2 on night two.

Bergeron will be introduced to the Miami community at a press conference at 1:30 p.m. on Monday at the Goggin Ice Center. The conference will be streamed live on MiamiRedHawks.com.

simansec@miamioh.edu

@emilysimanskis

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