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Shawhan, MTU agree to 3-year extension

Michigan Tech head coach Joe Shawhan, center, is shown during a Dec. 7, 2018 game at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. Shawhan signed a three-year extension with Tech, the university announced on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Courtesy Photo/Michigan Tech University)

HOUGHTON — Joe Shawhan signed a three-year contract extension to remain as Michigan Tech’s hockey head coach.

The university announced the move on Tuesday.

“Joe understands and is passionate about our hockey tradition, cares deeply about our student-athletes and their success on and off the ice, and is committed to excellence in all areas of the program,” MTU athletic director Suzanne Sanregret said. “I look forward to continuing to support him and his vision for Huskies hockey.”

Shawhan was an assistant at MTU from 2014-17 before being hired as head coach to replace Mel Pearson. Shawhan tied a program record for a first-year head coach with 22 wins. Tech won the Jeff Sauer Trophy as WCHA Playoff Champions and reached the NCAA Tournament for the 13th time.

“I want to thank Suzanne for her support,” Shawhan said. “(Shawhan’s wife) Laura and I love this community and the people. It’s home for us. With regards to hockey, what’s most important to me is to be part of something special. Michigan Tech hockey is supported in the Copper Country with passion and enthusiastic expectations to be among the best in the nation. I look forward to continuing the work with our great student-athletes to achieve just that.”

Since taking over four years ago, Shawhan has coached eight players who have gone on to sign NHL contracts. Six different Huskies were named to the All-WCHA Teams and the Huskies have been ranked in the top 20 each year. Shawhan’s teams have also won the 55th annual Great Lakes Invitational in 2019, the Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA playoff champions, MacNaughton Cup as regular season WCHA champions and were briefly ranked the No. 1 team in the country.

Next season will be a new challenge for Shawhan as the Huskies navigate their first season in the revived CCHA. The Huskies look to move forward without highly touted forward Carson Bantle, a 2020 Arizona Coyotes draft pick who entered the NCAA transfer portal after the season. TJ Polglaze transferred to the University of St. Thomas and Cooper Watson is also on the portal.

The Huskies return Trenton Bliss, Arvid Caderoth, Colin Swoyer and Brian Halonen — 93% of their scoring production from last season. In goal, MTU returns Blake Pietila, a Mike Richter Award finalist last year.

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