New era begins for Saint Mary’s hockey programs

Sarah Murray, Ryan Egan bring plenty of experience

It’s a changing of the guard for both hockey programs at Saint Mary’s this winter. On the women’s side, the Cardinals have brought in Sarah Murray, who’s taking over a college team for the first time.

Murray is a Faribault native who won two state titles at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and two national titles as a defenseman for Minnesota-Duluth hockey. After a nine-year professional playing career, she became the head coach for the South Korean national team, and even coached the Unified Korean team at the last Olympics.

“Four years ago I could have never imagined coaching in Korea, let alone coaching with North Koreans and coaching in the Olympics. It was an incredible experience,” Murray said.

“[Saint Mary’s] has had male coaches for a while, so just having that female aspect, bringing that helps me relate to the girls a little bit more. I also have the experience coaching internationally, playing in college. Hopefully I can bring some of my experience and help them that way too. It’s going to be a lot of figuring out what’s working, what’s not working, reassessing.”

The men’s team has a new head coach as well in Ryan Egan, who local hockey fans might remember as head coach and GM of the Coulee Region Chill in 2016 and 17. Egan rejoins the Cardinals after serving as an assistant coach from 2009 to 2014.

Egan will bring a different style of play than what the athletes are used to, but it’s all in pursuit of continuing momentum from the team’s seven conference wins last year.

“He’s implementing a lot of new strategies and things like that that’s kind of taking an adjustment, but overall it’s definitely good for us,” senior Jack Stang said.

“I inherited a group that made playoffs last year within our conference,” Egan said. “They won seven games in conference. I think our expectations are to continue to build on those seven wins in conference.”

Both programs are still searching for their first win of the year. They’ll start conference play Friday night.

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.