Western women's hockey names Dave Barrett head coach, Chris Higgins associate coach

Western women's hockey names Dave Barrett head coach, Chris Higgins associate coach

LONDON, Ont. – There will be a new look behind the bench of the Western Mustangs women's hockey team this season, as the Mustangs announced a number of changes to the team's coaching staff, including the hiring of a full-time associate coach.

"This is a great opportunity for our women's hockey program," said Thérèse Quigley, director of Western Sport and Recreation Services. "Adding a full-time associate coach through a partnership with the Coaching Association of Ontario and the Quest for Gold program will allow us to provide a better experience for our student-athletes, allow us to continue to compete on the national stage and continue to provide the leadership in developing women's hockey."

The search for this new position will begin immediately, and successful candidates must possess an NCCP Level 2 or higher coaching certification as well prior experience coaching an elite hockey program.

Interested applicants can apply at the following link: http://www.uwo.ca/hr/working/staff/index.html

Along with the new full-time associate coaching position, Dave Barrett has been named the team's new head coach after serving as co-head coach this past season. Barrett takes over for longtime coach Chris Higgins, who will be retiring from his role as head coach to become the team's new associate coach, recruitment and development.

"Chris has built our women's hockey program to a new level and has completely transformed our team since he became head coach in 2010. None of this would be possible without his leadership over the past few years," said Quigley. "In his five seasons as head coach he has made a significant impact at Western and in CIS women's hockey as a whole. His knowledge of the game, his ability to inspire and mentor young talented student-athletes is incredible."

In his new role Higgins will focus on continuing to build the women's hockey program and also lead the team's recruitment efforts, two things he's excited to continue working on.

"Throughout my time with the team I've been thrilled to see the program grow the way it has," said Higgins. "Last year we showed that we can compete with the top teams in the nation, and I look forward to continuing to build the program into the best in the CIS."

Barrett, who was named OUA Coach of the Year alongside Higgins this past year, will lead the team as head coach this season, guiding the Mustangs as they defend their recently won OUA and CIS championship titles. Along with serving as the team's bench boss, he'll also serve as mentor to the new associate coach once they are selected.

"I am excited for the opportunity to continue building upon the tradition of the Western women's hockey program," said Barrett. "The energy surrounding the program, given our success last year, is at an all-time high. I look forward to collaborating with administration, coaches and players as we seek to repeat that success, both on the ice and in the classroom."

In addition to his time with the Mustangs, Barrett is a former CIS coach with the Mount Allison Mounties in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference, serving as co-coach of the Mounties men's varsity program from 1996-98. Prior to joining Mount Allison, Barrett spent four seasons as the head coach and general manager of the St. Michael's Buzzers in both the Metro Junior 'A' Hockey League and Ontario Provincial Junior 'A' Hockey League. He then returned to the Junior A ranks in 2001-02 as the head coach of the Truro Bearcats in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League. Along with his coaching responsibilities with the Mustangs, Barrett is also a part-time lecturer at the Ivey Business School.

Prior to beginning his coaching career Barrett played for the Sheridan College Bruins in the Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association, from 1985-88 and served as the team's captain for his final three seasons. An OCAA First Team All-Star in 1987-88, Barrett is ranked 11th on Sheridan's all-time scoring list with 104 points.

"Dave's on-ice and tactical knowledge are second-to-none, and we're excited that he'll be behind the bench again this season," said Quigley. "He was a crucial part of our success this past year and we're looking forward to seeing him lead our team as they defend their OUA and CIS titles."

Barrett and Higgins will assume their new positions immediately, while the new associate coach will join the team's staff later in June.