‘This is a special place’ — Noreen ready to lead Miami hockey

The Report

OXFORD — Anthony Noreen knows where the Miami hockey program used to be. He also knows where it needs to be.

“This is a special place,” said Noreen, who was hired as Miami’s new hockey coach last week and introduced Tuesday afternoonduring a press conference at Goggin Ice Center’s club lounge.

“It’s something I’ve felt, and I’ve told a lot of people this, walking through the hallways of that locker room and seeing the pictures and feeling the aura of what Miami hockey is — it’s special. It doesn’t become special overnight.”

Noreen takes over for Chris Bergeron who was let go last month after five seasons and will aim to lead Miami to its first winning season since 2014-2015.

“People want to see Miami get back to where it should be,” Noreen said. “People believe in this place. It’s on me to sell a little bit of a dream right now and tell them, ‘It is going to get there.’

“We also have to face facts. We need to get better. I need to be better. But also, we need to be better on the ice. Sometimes, that’s maybe a new voice. Sometimes, that maybe is a different skillset, and that’s OK.”

Noreen, 41, the seventh head coach in Miami hockey’s history, has been the head coach of the Tri-City Storm in the United States Hockey League since 2017 and has also served as the Storm’s President of Hockey Operations since 2019.

Noreen had a 236-126-24 record with Tri-City, making him the winningest coach in franchise history. He led Tri-City to the playoffs in all seven seasons (except the 2019-20 postseason, which was canceled due to COVID).

“What I think we found was somebody with contagious energy,” said David Sayler, Miami’s Director of Athletics. “It’s somebody who is willing to engage in conversations and really dig deep into somebody about why they really want to be a hockey player — and be an elite hockey player.

“This program is very important to me,” Sayler added. “… It just hasn’t been where it needs to be, and that ends today. This program is going to be a competitive program in the NCHC, and we’re going to compete for an NCAA Tournament bid. That’s the expectation, and that’s where we’re going. No ifs, ands or buts. So, it’s exciting for me to feel that energy and feel that passion.”

Noreen led the Storm to two Anderson Cups (2019 and 2022) and was named coach of the year in both seasons.

Noreen has coached 34 NHL draft picks in seven seasons with the Storm. Tri-City has produced more than 100 NCAA Division I hockey players during that time. He was the U-18 coach of team USA for the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and coached the 2018 USA Junior Select Team for a gold medal in the World Junior A Challenge.

Noreen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Interpersonal/Organizational Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he began his coaching career as an assistant. He served as a team captain at his alma mater in his junior and senior years.

“The future is upon us now,” Sayler said. “And it’s up to everybody here to help support the program and support Coach Noreen as he goes through the process.”

Noreen will continue with the Storm through the remainder of the USHL postseason before officially assuming his role at Miami.

Noreen said he was excited to meet some of the players Tuesday. He communicated with them prior through Zoom.

“I assured them, that myself and the staff, our No. 1 objective will be to support them,” he said. “Our No. 1 objective will be to develop them. Our job, and what I see our staff’s job is, is to use everything within your power to develop your players as people, as leaders and as hockey players. That’s our job.”

Noreen described his coaching format as being disciplined, while playing the game with an up-tempo pace. He preached wanting to mold reliable teammates and being connected as a unit.

“The goal is to have an identity,” Noreen said. “The goal is for you to walk in on a Friday or Saturday night or a Tuesday afternoon in practice or someone who played in the NHL for 20 years or the opposing team or someone who is seeing their first hockey game, to all say the same thing about the team on the ice.

“It’s ultimately my job to set a standard, and my standard is extremely high,” Noreen added. “It’s not for everybody. But we will live by that standard. We will hold them accountable to that standard. It will be uncomfortable to get to that standard. But I tell you what, there will be nobody in the world that they will ever meet or ever be around that will support them and have their back in reaching that standard than I am, and my staff is.”

Noreen said the support from Miami alumni has been the most impressive thing he’s experienced since his involvement with hockey and that it’s a reassuring notion as he aims to bring back a championship culture to Oxford.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Noreen said. “I’m extremely appreciative to them because as much as I know how much this place means to them, their outreach to me and welcoming me here, has meant an unbelievable amount to me.

“I look forward to it. I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to meet everyone and be a part of it. The games are going to be great, but today is what matters. Then tomorrow, tomorrow is what matters. We’re going to keep working at it bit by bit to make not just you guys but the alumni and everybody that’s a part of this program proud.”

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