Year 4 of the Chris Bergeron era begins on Saturday, which means all of the players on Miami’s 2022-23 roster — including 10 newcomers — were brought in by the head coach and his staff.
Miami also has has four new additions to its coaching roster, and all of the moves occurred in the last two months. That includes the replacement of three-year assistant Eric Rud with Zack Cisek just weeks ago.
“We got fortunate, quite honestly,” Bergeron said. “We lost some really good people and we were able to replace them with really good people, and I think that talks a lot about Miami University and the people here, and people want to be a part of it.”
Cisek joined the team earlier this month after spending four seasons at Lake Superior State in the same role. He was a volunteer assistant for Miami in 2015-17 and he and his wife are both MU postgrads.
“The Eric thing, the timing was different, for sure, and late, but that was no one’s fault — we were lucky enough to get Zack Cisek to join our program,” Bergeron said. “We feel like we basically hit the ground running with him. It was a little bit different, but we got through it OK.”
Cisek is just 30, a generation behind the Bergeron-Rud-Barry Schutte coaching trio of the past three seasons. But many NCAA teams have opted for an older assistant/younger assistant combination to expand their recruiting matrix and provide different perspectives to recruiting and coaching.
“Definitely a different point of view is what we were looking for when I hired Eric, because Barry and I have been together so long,” Bergeron said. “I think when we went into this process, we wanted the best person, regardless of age. However, when we found Zack and started to hear his point of view – he’s 30 years old. He’s definitely different than Barry and I, and that’s a good thing. He relates to these kids, they relate to him. I still like to think that I relate to them a little bit but I understand that there’s quite a difference in age there.”
Cisek’s hiring was triggered by Rud’s acceptance of the head coaching job at Sioux Falls of the USHL in August.
Also this summer, Jonathon Elliott was named director of hockey operations, replacing Jimmy Spratt after he was brought on as an assistant coach at USHL Green Bay. Keith Parker joins the RedHawks as the team’s strength and conditioning coach, and former MU club team head coach Justin Camuto is the RedHawks’ newest goaltending coach.
Miami’s incoming class consists of nine freshmen and a senior transfer goalie, giving the team 17 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goalies.
With opening night just five days away, Bergeron’s biggest early takeaway from the 2022-23 RedHawks is the energy rejuvenation.
“There seems to be a confidence there,” Bergeron said. “When nobody pushes back, of course you can be confident. It’s easy to be confident when your record is 0-0. And I think there’s a bit of self-belief in the group, something else which will get tested here real soon.”
VFTG breaks down the 2022-23 roster by position later this week in Parts II-IV.