PITTSBURGH — Nearly 30 years ago, on the eve of changing arenas, Colorado College turned to a young coach with a proven track record to revitalize their hockey program. Over the next two decades, Don Lucia and then Scott Owens would lead the Tigers. The result was six conference titles, three Frozen Four trips and a reappearance of CC on the college hockey map.
With a new on-campus arena set to open in the fall, the Tigers appear to be attempting to run it back this week, bringing in hot young coach Kris Mayotte to run their program. With the college hockey world gathered in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Mayotte was announced as the person to lead the Tigers into the next era of their historic program.
Mayotte, 38, comes to Colorado Springs from recent assistant coach positions at Michigan under Mel Pearson and at Providence under Nate Leaman. With the Friars, he was part of the staff that won the 2015 Frozen Four.
“I am honored and humbled to become the next head coach at Colorado College and continue the historic tradition of Tiger Hockey,” Mayotte said in a statement released by CC. “I am energized by all that CC has to offer and the vision for the program and look forward to being a visible leader on the campus and in the community. The addition of Robson Arena is a game changer and we have all of the pieces in place to build a championship program. I look forward to continuing the high standard of excellence, on and off the ice, at Colorado College.”
Mayotte, who played goalie at Union (2002-06) as a collegian, replaces Mike Haviland, who was 67-153-22 in seven seasons with the Tigers. Mayotte will be the 12th coach in the history of the program — a list that includes legendary college hockey coaches like Lucia, Bob Johnson and Jeff Sauer.
The move comes just months before the Tigers move into their new home rink, bringing the program on campus for the first time. Robson Arena will be an intimate facility with permanent seating for about 3,400, which is less than half the capacity for Broadmoor World Arena (7,343), where the Tigers have played since the late 1990s and have struggled to sell out.
CC athletic director Lesley Irvine said that in many ways it is a new beginning for the hockey program, which is the sports showpiece for the small college that is Division III in most other sports.
I would like to congratulate Kris and Juli Mayotte on accepting the Head Hockey Coaching position at Colorado College . Thank you for your time that you spent with us at Michigan . I wish you great success in your new adventure . Go Tigers!— Mel Pearson (@CoachPearsonUM) April 8, 2021
“We are thrilled to welcome Kris to the Tiger family,” Irvine said. “Kris is the right leader at the right time for the Colorado College hockey program. I learned quickly why he was known as a rising star. He is a winner, a relentless recruiter and an exceptional leader. Kris is a liberal arts graduate who understands combining academic and athletic excellence. He is positioned to be an outstanding head coach as we plan to move the program forward and open the doors of Robson Arena.”
After being an every-year contender for WCHA titles under Lucia and Owens, the Tigers struggled to find their footing under Haviland in the NCHC. They finished last in the eight-team conference four times, and only advanced to St. Paul for the semifinals of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff once (2019).
In addition to his work with Michigan and Providence, Mayotte has been an assistant coach for Team USA on a trio of World Junior teams, winning gold twice and bronze once. Minnesota Gophers coach Bob Motzko was the head coach for two of those World Junior teams, and praised CC for picking Mayotte, noting that Motzko got his first head coaching job because an athletic director gave an opportunity to an assistant coach.
"Just a fantastic hire by CC," Motzko said. "Kris is one of the top up-and-coming coaches in college hockey and will do outstanding work with the Tigers."
With the Wolverines, Mayotte's responsibilities included goaltending and the penalty kill.
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“Colorado College is getting a great coach and a great person in Kris Mayotte,” Pearson said. “He is a rising star who has helped produce a winning program everywhere he has coached. Kris is very detail oriented, well organized and made our team better. He is a tireless recruiter and opened up new areas for us on the recruiting trail. One of his greatest strengths is building relationships with his players.”
Previous coaching jobs held by Mayotte include two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at Cornell, and two seasons at St. Lawrence under Greg Carvel, who more recently has coached UMass to consecutive Frozen Four trips.
CC will formally introduce Mayotte in a press conference after the Frozen Four.