OGDEN, Utah – The Utah Amateur Hockey Association will present Weber State University head hockey coach Joe Pfleegor with the Coach of the Year award Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Maverik Center in West Valley City. The ceremony will take place in the Centennial Room on the fourth floor.
Pfleegor volunteered as coach of the WSU’s club hockey team from 2000-06, first as an assistant and then as the head coach. He left in 2006 but returned to lead the team through its very successful 2012-13 season.
Pfleegor coached the Wildcats all the way to the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s national tournament, where they finished with a 1-1-1 record. The club completed the season with a record of 26-10-3, putting it in the top 10 teams in the nation.
“I can’t lie to you — winning this award is a great feeling,” Pfleegor said. “But the real credit goes to the players, the coaching staff, the school and the community.”
Team captain Braxton Green said as soon as Pfleegor returned as head coach, he promised players they would compete at the national level.
“He said he’d go out and find the right players for us to be competitive, and he promised us from day one that we were going to go to nationals, and he kept that promise,” Green said.
Pfleegor said in order to make it to the national tournament, they had to be ranked in the top 10 teams. In order to accomplish that, however, they had to play top 10 teams from the previous season.
“I would try to schedule elite teams, and they’d say, ‘We don’t want to play you. You’re not ranked, and we beat you last year 16 to nothing,’” Pfleegor said. “But I guess I won the conversations, so the majority of our games were against teams ranked in the top 10.”
For the upcoming season, schools such as Arizona State University and San Jose State University have jumped at the chance to meet the Wildcats on the ice.
“This year he promised us we’re going to win a national championship,” Green said. “I believe in him. He’s everything you’d want in a coach.”
After 26 years of coaching every level of hockey from pee-wee players to the Ogden Mustangs, Pfleegor plans to remain in the sport and fight for a national championship. His love of the game and his players will keep him volunteering as head coach as long as he is able.
“These boys deserve the recognition,” Pfleegor said. “This team last year was special. For their peers, the school and the community to recognize their success, that’s very special to all of us.”
The Wildcats will open the 2013-14 season at home on Sept. 13 against Utah State University at home.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
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