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Hannah Griffin taking decade of ACHA experience to UJ women's hockey

Apr. 12—JAMESTOWN — The University of Jamestown women's hockey team officially has its second head coach in program history.

"Honestly just the support of the university and the town," Hannah Griffin said about why she wanted the job. "It's a fantastic community and university as well. I think there's so much potential for the program there and I think there's a lot of tools in place for success. We're gonna achieve some new firsts and have success with what the foundation is laid out with right now there."

During the interview process, Griffin said she met with Jimmies Athletic Director Austin Hieb, Jimmies men's hockey head coach Dean Stork, UJ President Polly Peterson and other members of the administration.

Prior to coming to UJ, Griffin spent four years in the ACHA as a player at Adrian College and six additional years there in various roles, including head coach for the ACHA Division I women's hockey team. She most recently spent one year as an assistant coach at Midland University.

"She's been an assistant and head coach for two schools that have had a lot of success in the ACHA and it felt like a really good fit for us," Hieb said.

Hieb said Griffin stood out from a group of applicants who were interviewed. During the hiring process, Hieb said he was looking for a candidate with ACHA experience, potentially head coaching experience and a coach who can build a program.

Griffin replaces Amber Schaack, who resigned after two seasons on March 15. Griffin will take over a roster that is expected to have 21 returners next year, including four of the top five points leaders and both goalies. The Jimmies have nine recruits committed for next year, according to the team's Instagram page.

"I want us to play tough," Griffin said. "I want the girls to have integrity off and on the ice and play hard, just a strong culture, a strong work ethic."

Griffin said she will start recruiting in the coming weeks. She said she is looking for a quality person, leader and talented player in her recruits.

During her time with the Midland Warriors, Griffin and her team played the Jimmies five times. Because of her time spent in the ACHA, Griffin said she has an understanding of how to recruit and how to play in the league.

"We just gotta keep working hard and keep recruiting," Griffin said. "They have a lot of great things in place, we just need to keep building on that and keep growing and keep getting better."

Griffin said she wants to continue to build a good foundation down for the future.

After falling one spot short of making the national tournament the first year and two spots short during the program's second year, Hieb said he hopes Griffin takes the program into the postseason.

"I think she wants to continue to build a great culture and just to continue to take that next step," Hieb said. " ... For a two year program, we've had, I like to think, a pretty good degree of success. We've been right on the outside of the national tournament in our first two years of existence. I think the goal over the next three to five years is to get us into being a perennial national tournament team and from there you keep climbing the ladder."

Two of the Warriors' games against the Jimmies came at John L. Wilson Arena, which allowed Griffin to see her future home and her future team.

"Just so supportive of the university, supportive of the hockey programs," Griffin said. "There's a really special community feel to it."

One of the things on Griffin's checklist is filling out her staff as she looks to hire a new assistant coach. Griffin said she will try to get the right person in as soon as possible.

"Somebody who honestly is hard working themselves and is passionate about the game and passionate about player development," Griffin said about what she wants from an assistant coach.

While she has not moved to Jamestown yet, Griffin said she has already met with her team and will spend the coming weeks getting comfortable in her new surroundings.