Ohio State women’s ice hockey coach Nate Handrahan has already begun preparing for next season.
Hired Monday and holding his first team meeting today, Handrahan said he has no time to waste.
“I’ve always been one to swing for the fences,” Handrahan told The Lantern on Wednesday. “I’d like to put us in position to be in the Final Four in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this year. I’d like to be a team in consideration for the national tournament this year. I didn’t come to finish middle of the pack.”
Handrahan, who leaves Robert Morris University after coaching the women’s hockey team for five years, said he believes winning begins when the lights are low and the stands are empty.
“You can expect intense practices, up-tempo, upbeat,” Handrahan said. “When you’re prepared, it gives you a mental edge in your ability to get the game done and win. We will be a very prepared team in every game that we go into.”
Handrahan said his two oldest daughters, Haylee, 8, and Mara, 5, already play hockey.
Meanwhile, Lila, 3, is “chomping at the bit to get on the ice.”
Handrahan replaces Jackie Barto, who resigned last month. Prior to Handrahan’s hiring, Barto had been the only coach in program history, which began in 1999.
“I was pretty shocked when coach Barto retired from the position,” Handrahan said. “She’s done a great job with it and getting (the program) to its point right now.”
Despite the big shoes the new OSU coach said he has to fill, he said he’s ready to handle the pressure.
“Every coach at different times feels pressure, but I’ll tell you what — I don’t feel any more pressure than I put on myself,” Handrahan said. “I always have the expectation that we’re going to go out and win.”