Pine-Richland welcomes new hockey coach

Saturday, July 14, 2018 | 12:45 AM

Back in 2006, Jordan Yoklic helped lead the Pine-Richland hockey team to a state championship as a senior player under the watchful eye of coach Jim Black.

Now, 12 years later, Black is handing the head coaching reigns over to Yoklic, who was named coach at his alma mater after Black stepped down after a two-year stint at the helm.

“Playing for coach Black and sharing that state championship together back in 2006, I was able to learn from him as a player. I carried on hockey through juniors and college, and when I finished, I realized I wanted to keep on with coaching the sport,” Yoklic said.

“He helped me get into coaching after I graduated college, and I was able to learn under him once I became a coach, myself. He’s a great guy and a great mentor, so I’m just fortunate to be able to take over for him, and I’m excited to get to work at the school where I was able to play the sport I love.”

Between 2006 and now, Yoklic spent his college days playing for Ohio University in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Upon graduation, the former Ram returned to coach at his alma mater at the freshman level. From there, he worked his way up the ranks from assistant junior varsity coach to the head JV coach.

Yoklic spent last season as an understudy and assistant coach for Black’s varsity team at Pine-Richland. After the 2017-18 campaign, Black decided to step down. By then, Yoklic made for an easy hire as his former coach’s successor.

“It’s a special thing. Looking back, to put myself back in the skates as a high school player at Pine-Richland, I never would’ve thought I’d have the chance to take control of the organization as the varsity coach,” Yoklic said.

“So, it’s just pretty neat. And I’m fortunate enough to do it with a good group of coaches, a good group of parents and a great group of players, as well.”

The varsity staff under Yoklic will include assistant coaches J.R. Hess and George Saad, both of whom have coached at the school in previous seasons with Black and Yoklic.

Offseason workouts under the Yoklic regime for Pine-Richland have already begun as the new lead coach for the Rams has his eye on continuing the program’s tradition of success that he once helped add to as a player.

“Pine-Richland has a great, great history. There’s been a lot of good leadership from a coaching standpoint. The board has been great, and the players, parents and everything about it has been tremendous,” Yoklic said.

“My goal is to keep it moving in the right direction. We want to have that organizational goal. All the teams, we want them jelling. We’re all in it together. That’s the mentality we have.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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