The Weber State University hockey team announced last week that head coach Joe Pfleegor was stepping down from his position due to work-related commitments.
“We are sad to announce our head coach Joe Pfleegor has stepped down,” a post from the Weber State men’s ice hockey Facebook page read. “Thank you for all the many years of your service coaching the team and everything thing you have done for the program and the team.”
Pfleegor started working with the team in 2000 under then head coach Rob Larsen for about four years before taking over the head coaching position. Pfleegor stepped down in 2006 due to work commitments, but returned to the team as head coach in 2012.
“When I came back for the second time they had about a core of about five seniors, who when they approached me to come coach them. I knew the first thing I had to go out and do was recruit,” Pfleegor said. “I love to recruit kids, I have a bunch of channels and I’d go out to a lot of different showcases. I went to Florida, (Las Vegas), Colorado and in that first year we had about 20 new players.”
Those who played for the team under Pfleegor could tell that he had a passion for the game and for improving the team.
“You could tell his love for the game,” said WSU defenseman and team captain Jake Webber. “He wasn’t getting paid but he went out of his way to fund our program and keep us going.”
Senior right wing Phil Jennrich said that Pfleegor made a huge impact in his time with the Wildcats since returning in 2012.
“He took a team that had maybe won three games the year before and took us to nationals his first year (back as head coach) and back to nationals after becoming league champions his second year,” Jennrich said.
With Pfleegor stepping down, assistant coach Clay Hobbs has stepped up to take over as head coach. Hobbs got his first few games of head coaching experience over the weekend as the Wildcats lost to Utah State 3-1 on Friday and defeated BYU 4-3 on Saturday during the inaugural Wasatch Cup.
“Clay is a great guy,” Webber said. “He’s a bit tougher, but that is good for us.”
The Wildcats’ next game will be next Thursday at 7 p.m. when they play Montana State in Provo for the first game of the Mountain West Championships.