The University of St. Thomas announced on Friday morning that former Miami head coach Rico Blasi will be the new head coach for the Tommies men’s hockey team as they transition into Division I next season.
St. Thomas placed a heavy emphasis on finding an experienced “program builder” to guide the program as they move from Division III into Division I next season. Blasi has plenty of experience, serving as head coach at Miami for 20 seasons from 1999 to 2019, including presiding over far and away the most successful period in Miami’s history. The RedHawks made 10 NCAA national tournaments over a 12-year period, including back-to-back trips to the Frozen Four in 2009 and 2010.
More recently, Blasi served as associate athletic director for men’s and women’s hockey at Providence, overseeing administrative and management duties for the program.
Blasi will head to St. Thomas with a near blank slate. There has arguably never been a better time for a team to start fresh in D-I college hockey with hundreds of players opting into the NCAA’s transfer portal to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility and penalty-free transfer allowed by the NCAA due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Though the Tommies won’t have the ability to compete for an NCAA Tournament bid for five years due to NCAA rules on opt-ups, they should have the ability to be almost immediately competitive in the newly-formed CCHA if they are able to find the right players.