MARQUETTE, Mich. – Walt Kyle, the head hockey coach at Northern Michigan University, announces the appointment of Joe Shawhan to the full-time assistant coaching role which was vacated when Rob Facca left to take a similar position at Western Michigan University.
“We were really blessed to have Rob Facca a young, energetic, smart coach as part of the coaching staff. We wish him and his family all the best with the move to Western Michigan,” said Kyle. “Equally as important is to have Joe Shawhan waiting in the wings. He is a proven coach not only in NCAA Division I hockey but was successful at levels we recruit. His knowledge of hockey and his work with the goaltenders will benefit the program.”
Shawhan has been part of the Wildcat hockey program for the past two years. He served as a volunteer assistant coach for the 2008-09 season and was the director of hockey operations this past season (2009-10). During his tenure with the ‘Cats the team has made two trips to Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA Championships and a NCAA tournament appearance.
Shawhan served as an assistant coach at Lake Superior State for three seasons (2005-08). With the Lakers the team earned consecutive home-ice playoff berths and a trip to the CCHA Championships in Detroit for the first time since 1996.
Shawhan spent 10 years (1995-05) as the head coach and general manager of the Soo Indians. During his tenure with the Indians they were one of the most successful junior hockey programs in the country. He went 474-162-43 on the bench, to become the winningest coach in the history of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), which included three league titles and multiple national tournament appearances. Over 100 of his former junior players went on to play collegiate hockey. Former ‘Cats from the Indians have included Ray Kaunisto, Chris Gobert, Juha Allen and Bill Zaniboni.
His most notable former player is current Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who was named the MVP of the hockey competition at last winter’s Olympic Games in Vancouver. Miller played two seasons for Shawhan prior to attending Michigan State University where he was named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey in 2001.
He has been an active member of USA Hockey in the roles of educator, evaluator and coach. Shawhan has instructed at coaching symposiums, evaluated and coached at USA Hockey festivals and represented USA Hockey internationally guiding the U.S. National Junior Team twice in competition including a silver medal at the 2004 Viking Cup in Alberta.
Shawhan played his collegiate hockey at Lake Superior State, where he earned four letters, as he recorded 1,130 saves and posted a career goal-against average of 3.83 with the Lakers. For the 1985-86 season he led the CCHA in both GAA and save percentage. Shawhan left the LSSU program tied for first all-time in career GAA.
He graduated from NMU, Summa Cum Laude in 2009, with a bachelor’s degree in technical and applied sciences. Shawhan and his wife, Laura, have three children, Mia, Jordan and Rachel. Mia and Jordan are both attending NMU.
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