The Wolverine

October 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 59 of 75

60 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2017 HOCKEY PREVIEW BY ANDREW VAILLIENCOURT I t's the start of a new era for the Michigan hockey program. Legendary head coach Red Berenson retired at the end of last season after spending the last 33 years behind the bench at Yost Ice Arena, making way for the school to hire Mel Pearson away from Michi‑ gan Tech. Pearson was announced as the new U‑M head coach April 24 after six sea‑ sons at the helm of the Huskies. Un‑ der Pearson, Michigan Tech posted an overall record of 118‑92‑29, includ‑ ing 75‑35‑14 over the last three sea‑ sons; reached the NCAA Tournament two out of the past three years; and won both a WCHA regular‑season title and conference tournament title. His accolades up north don't stop there. The Huskies finished each of the previous three seasons ranked among the nation's top 20, and were ascended to No. 1 in the country for the first time in school history in No‑ vember 2014. Pearson was named WCHA Coach of the Year twice dur‑ ing his six seasons in Houghton. Pearson isn't an unknown in Ann Arbor, however, because he spent 22 years as a Michigan assistant under Berenson. His selection as the new coach made almost too much sense. An assistant coach from 1988‑99 and associate head coach from 1999‑2011, Pearson was a large part of Michi‑ gan's college hockey dominance that included two national championships and 11 Frozen Four appearances. Now he has the opportunity to do it as the lead man — and is aware of what that means. "Pressure is something you put on yourself," Pearson said. "There might be some outside pressure, but nothing like the pressure you put on yourself to do well and to win for Michigan. I can't pick or choose who I follow, obviously I'm aware of that, but being here for so long I under‑ stand what the expectations are here. "I'll be fine with that. It'll be hard to be patient some nights when things aren't going as well, but I un‑ derstand it's a process." Since taking over, it's been a busy summer full of recruiting and learn‑ ing for Pearson. He's been trying to show his face out and about around Ann Arbor more while he gets reac‑ quainted with the area, and he noted he's enjoyed getting to know his players on a personal level after only coaching against them last season. "There's a lot of good pieces here," Pearson said. "I know most of the players because I played against Michigan three times last year when I was up at Michigan Tech, so I'm pretty familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of most of the players." Michigan finished last season with a disappointing record of 13‑19‑3, so the coach knows his Wolverines likely are not going to be highly rated going into the season, but he does think his team has the ability to catch oppo‑ nents off guard once they get going. "It's a little bit of a process, and then we have to get an identity of what we're going to be as a team," Pearson said. "So, until we get there, our expectations are really just to improve every day and maybe sur‑ A New Era Michigan Hockey Moves Forward Under First-Year Head Coach Mel Pearson Pearson served as a Michigan assistant from 1988-2011, and helped the Wolverines to a 667-243-71 mark, 11 Frozen Fours and two NCAA championships during that time. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - October 2017