Miami launched what it described as a “national search” for a new men’s ice hockey on Tuesday coach after athletic director David Sayler announced the dismissal of long-time coach Enrico Blasi – two wins short of 400 in his 20 seasons with the RedHawks.
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“This is a difficult day for Miami Athletics and our hockey program,” Sayler said in a statement. “The hockey program has had strong historical success under the guidance and leadership of Rico. In addition, Rico is an exceptional person of character and devotion. In recent years, Miami hockey has fallen short of expectations, both within our conference and nationally.”
The RedHawks finished 11-23-4 overall and 5-17-2 in the National College Hockey Conference (NCHC) this past season, extending to four their streak of consecutive losing seasons since their last winning season in 2014-2015.
“The NCHC is the strongest conference in hockey and it’s imperative that we become more competitive for conference championships and NCAA appearances,” Sayler said.
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Miami was a combined 398-311-76 in 20 seasons under Blasi, a Miami graduate. He was a five-time conference coach of the year and was named National Coach of the Year for the 2005-2006 season. He guided the RedHawks to the NCAA Tournament 10 times, including two Frozen Four appearances, capped by the 2009 championship game in Washington, D.C., when Miami lost a two-goal lead to Boston University in the final minute of regulation and fell in overtime.
Since joining the NCHC six years ago, Miami was 45-84-15-10 in conference play. The RedHawks finished second in the NCHC regular season during the 2014-2015 season and won the conference tournament that same year to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. That remains Miami’s lone top-half conference finish in the NCHC.
“I want to thank Rico and his family for their service and commitment to Miami University and the broader Oxford community,” Sayler said in the statement.