New Tennessee Ice Vols head coach Cole Burkhalter is trying to get the team back to its winning ways.
The oldest college hockey program in the South hasn’t experienced a winning season since the 2008-09 campaign when they had an impressive 24 wins. Since that season, the highest win total the Ice Vols have had was 10 wins, and recent years have produced abysmal four and six win seasons.
But, this season, Burkhalter has the team off to a 2-0 start and thinks the team can get better through hard work and fierce competition within the squad.
“(Our goal is to) just to get better as a team every weekend. We’ve got a lot of guys. We’ve got probably 35 guys. Ten guys, or so that are battling for spots on the team every year, and they keep making our team better. Each practice, each time we get together, each time we skate, we just want to get better as a team.”
Another key for Burkhalter’s Ice Vols will be a more structured approach, and having more skill on the team helps, too.
“(There is) a lot more structure involved this year. We’ve been able to get some guys with some skill to come in here and step in and fill some gaps that we lost last year from some of our seniors, so just putting those pieces of the puzzle together again, and building that structure into the day-to-day lives.”
New skill was on full display Saturday night for the Ice Vols. Forward Chris Weilandt showed off his top-notch puck handling and cashed in with four points including an impressive goal when he split the Eastern Kentucky defense.
Before taking the position with the Ice Vols, Burkhalter spent time in the Boston Bruins and Knoxville Ice Bears front office. His experience speaks for itself. The only thing Ice Vols fans await now are the results.