Source: Dan Elliott, UBC Manager, MediaRelations
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds Department of Athletics andRecreation is proud to announce Tyler Kuntz as the new head coachof the men’s hockey program. Formerly the full-time assistant coachover the past four seasons, Kuntz takes over a Thunderbirds teamthat upset Saskatchewan in the Canada West playoffs, before losingto the eventual CIS Champions from Alberta in the conference semifinals.
A former defenceman for the Thunderbirds, Kuntz played fiveseasons for the blue and gold from 1999 to 2004. Following hiscareer at UBC he played professionally in Germany, Japan, and theCentral Hockey League for two seasons. This will be his first jobas a head coach.
“I’m very excited to take on this role.” said Kuntz. “This is agreat opportunity for our program to make strides both on and offthe ice towards a reputation of excellence.”
“Tyler is most deserving of this opportunity to lead theUBC men’s hockey team into a new era,” said Theresa Hanson,Associate Director of UBC Athletics. “With his connection tothe alumni, his familiarity with our current group of players andthe athletics administration, not to mention his passion for thegame, Tyler was the ideal fit for this position. We look forward towatching him grow as a coach, while taking this program to a newlevel of success.”
After acting as a player/coach in both Germany and Japan, Kuntzreturned to UBC in 2006 where he spent two seasons as the assistantcoach. He then left to pursue other business endeavors, only toreturn in 2010. He spent the last four years working under MilanDragicevic, who was dismissed this past March following theThunderbirds exit from the playoffs.
Kuntz, a native of Lumsden, Saskatchewan, is eager for theopportunity and believes his transition from assistant to headcoach shouldn’t be a problem, just as long as the players arewilling to put in the work.
“I’m always going to be the hardest working guy on the team andI am committed to the effort required to achieving success on theice, in the community, and in the classroom.”
The Thunderbirds haven’t won a Canada West championship since1971. Kuntz hopes to change that under his watch, believing he hasthe right group to do it.
“This upcoming season will be the best team we have had on theice in a long, long time, ” said Kuntz. “You look at what webrought in over the last two years in terms of players, they areall top recruits – they just need some seasoning.”
Kuntz’s first order of business is to continue withrecruiting while setting a new standard for UBC hockey.
“We need to hit the refresh button and set the bar high,” saidKuntz. “It starts with communicating with the players, give themour plan for next season and give it to them early so they canprepare this off season and be ready to hit the ground running comeSeptember.”