St. Cloud, MN – After 12 years with the St. Cloud State University Huskies and 23 years as a collegiate coach, Mike Gibbons announced his retirement on March 19th. On May 23rd, the Huskies announced the hiring of veteran hockey coach Dave Shyiak as Gibbons successor as Associate Head Coach. The 53 year-old Shyiak brings an extensive collegiate coaching resume most recently completing his 6th season as Associate Head Coach for conference rival, Western Michigan University.
In all, the Brandon, Manitoba native has been coaching at the collegiate level for 25 years and like Gibbons, got his early start as a coach at Northern Michigan University where he competed as a player and was a member of their National Championship team in 1991. His coaching has been almost exclusively at the collegiate level with the exception of two years as a junior hockey coach and one year as a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Shyiak spent 10 years as an assistant coach primarily under the legendary Rick Comley at Northern Michigan, his alma mater, before accepting the head coaching position at the University of Alaska-Anchorage in 2005. Historically, a difficult place to find success in the win/loss column, Shyiak nevertheless won 80 games over his eight-year tenure with the Seawolves. The high-water mark of 16 wins in 2010-11 is the second-most yearly wins in the teams history as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Perhaps his most visible success came that same year as the Seawolves finished that season strong winning nine of their last 14 games sweeping the University of Minnesota in the First Round of the WCHA playoffs at Mariucci Arena but ultimately losing to Colorado College in the WCHA Final Five play-in game. Shyiak spent two more seasons at UAA before working as a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013-14.
Shyiak was named associate head coach of the Western Michigan hockey team on Sept. 15, 2014 and he remained in that position until his hiring by the Huskies. During his time with the Broncos, the team has averaged 16 wins per season including 22 wins in 2016-17 and a trip to the NCAA tournament. While with the Broncos, he’s helped recruit five NHL draft choices including high-end players Hugh McGing, Wade Allison and Mattius Samuelson. Additionally, 90 WMU players earned NCHC All-Academic honors and 38 NCHC Scholar-Athlete status.
During his time as an assistant and associate head coach with Northern Michigan University, the Wildcats averaged 19 wins a season and twice made the NCAA Tournament. During his time at both NMU and UAA he helped recruit and develop 17 NHL draft picks and five NHLers. He also helped produce six All-CCHA selections, three CCHA All-Rookie selections, three All-Americans and one Hobey Baker candidate.
Coach Larson told me “We’re fortunate to have an experienced coach like Dave Shyiak join our staff. He’s one of the most respected guys in college hockey circles. His hard work and blue collar personality fits in nicely with the SCSU hockey culture.” He further stated ” I have known Dave (Shyiak) for a long time as a rival coach, and I really look forward to having him on our side of the bench as part of our staff in 2020-21.” He further described him as an excellent defensive coach and he’ll be particularly helpful in coaching strategy for the team both offensively and defensively away from the puck.
More background information on Coach Shyiak can be found in this extensive interview by Easty