After just one season in Hershey, Head Coach Mike Haviland is taking a new career path. Haviland has left Hershey to become the new Head Coach of Colorado College. “I’m excited, I really am,” said Haviland in a phone interview. “The opportunity to work with one of the top programs in all of college hockey and the chance to work with a school that’s committed to excellence in academics and in hockey. They are a school that’s committed to winning a national championship. It’s a opportunity that I couldn’t pass down.”
Haviland will replace longtime Colorado coach Scott Owens, who finished with a record of 7-24-6. “This is a new chapter in my life. When you go to a college game, the electricity in the building with the students who come to the game, who sing and cheer through the whole game. It’s a different atmosphere than the pro game. I think the college hockey game has come leaps and bounds in the last couple years. You’re seeing four, five, or six guys drafted a year and guys leaving early to sign to play pro hockey”
Haviland came to Hershey with plenty of experience, but despite a record of 39-27-5-5 and 24 home wins, but failed to make the playoffs. Coaching in Hershey was still a great experience for Haviland. “I loved it, the fans were amazing, the best fans in the American Hockey League. It’s a first class organization. It was an honor to coach an historic franchise with the Hershey Bears. It’s something I’ll never forget and will always be a part of me. I wish we would have had a better finish at the end. You see what’s going on in the playoffs now, with three of the top teams out in our division.”
The Washington Capitals firing of Adam Oates and George McPhee certainly made Haviland’s position with the Bears uncertain. The Bears coach is an employee of the Capitals, although Hershey has a big say in who will be hired. The Bears hope to have a new coach in place shortly.