LA CROSSE, Wis. - In her first public appearance since purchasing the Coulee Region Chill last week, Michelle Bryant announced the hiring of John Hamre as the team's head coach and general manager.

"His coaching experience is fantastic," Bryant said. "When we were looking over resumes, his stood out."

Hamre most recently served as an assistant coach with the NAHL's Michigan Warriors. He was previously a head coach at a high school in the Twin Cities and has served as an assistant on multiple Division One programs.

"It's very exciting, but I'm taking one step at a time," Hamre said. "We're truly going to do our part to make this a special team that can connect with the community."

AJ Degenhardt, a La Crosse native, will serve as the team's assistant coach. He played on the 2006 Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey team that won the National Championship.

"AJ obviously has some local roots," Hamre said. "I'm really excited that he's willing to join the staff. We're fortunate to have him."

Hamre said he has spoken to many of the players on the current roster, but the team will hold open tryouts July 18-22 at the Omni Center.

"There's a quick turnaround on what needs to be done," Hamre said. "I'm not naive to that at all."