Woodbury girls hockey: Rivard steps down as head coachCiting the hope to spend more time with her family, in particular her two young children, Shantel Rivard has stepped down as head coach of the Woodbury girls hockey team.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Citing the hope to spend more time with her family, in particular her two young children, Shantel Rivard has stepped down as head coach of the Woodbury girls hockey team.
Rivard spent the past two season as the Royals’ head coach.
“It was 100 percent for family reasons,” Rivard said. “I want to be able to see my kids.”
Rivard has two boys – Drake, 5, and Ryker, 3. Both are just starting school and starting to play hockey.
Wanting to give Woodbury ample time to find a replacement, Rivard made Woodbury Activities Director Jason Gonnion aware of her decision on Tuesday, Feb. 7, after the Royals’ final game of the year.
“I told Jason right after our last game and told the team the next afternoon,” Rivard said. “So, then everyone knew.”
In 2007 Rivard and husband Peter moved from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Woodbury when he accepted a position as director of coaching for the Woodbury Soccer Club.
The move was perfect timing, Rivard said, because it allowed her to stay home with their small children while the family settled into Woodbury. However, in the fall of 2009, Rivard got back into coaching with the Under-12A Woodbury girls hockey team.
Then, in June, a few months after the Minnesota State High School League announced the split of the Woodbury and East Ridge high school cooperative, Rivard was hired by then-activities director Jason Schultz as head coach of the Royals.
However, with Peter also gone at night as director of coaching for the Woodbury Soccer Club, the three-month hockey season was “intense” Rivard said.
“You can’t know and expect things you haven’t lived before,” Rivard said. “I thought it would be easier when the kids went to school, but it actually became even more challenging.”
Prior to coaching Woodbury, Rivard spent more than 10 years with some of the top collegiate hockey programs in the country. After a collegiate playing career with Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Rivard began coaching in 1997 as an assistant coach for the University of Maine women’s hockey program and was eventually promoted to associate head coach. In 2002, Rivard was hired as the head coach of the North Dakota Fighting Sioux women’s hockey program.
She doesn’t see herself completely stopping coaching all together.
“I’ll still help with our intro-to-hockey programs in the fall and spring and, this winter, I’m sure I’ll be on the ice coaching Drake as well,” Rivard said. “I’m sure I’ll always be involved with the girls program in some way too.”
This past season, Woodbury battled a shortage of players and numerous injuries to key players and struggled to a 3-22-1 overall record, finishing last in the Suburban East Conference with a 2-16 mark.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Rivard said. “In my mind I’m doing it for the right reasons. But, I’ve become attached to the girls and this program and see great things for this program in the future.”