Photo by Sports Information

Olympic champion Haley Irwin named Rams assistant coach

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams women’s hockey team is excited to announce the appointment of Olympic gold medalist Haley Irwin as the team’s new full-time assistant coach.

Irwin is a three-time Olympian, representing Team Canada at the 2010, 2014, and 2018 Olympic Games, winning two gold and one silver medal. She has also represented Canada at five World Hockey Championships, winning one gold and four silver medals.

“I am so very excited to have someone of Irwin’s experiences join our program,” said Rams head coach, Lisa Haley. “She has been a proven winner and leader at every level. Having personally coached her at both the World Championships and Olympics, I am fully aware of the character and integrity Haley brings to the table…[and] I know she will bring that same blend of talent, grit, and passion in her role as our full-time assistant coach.”

Coach Haley first coached Irwin in 2011 at the IIHF World Championship, before teaming up again at the 2013 World’s and 2014 Olympic Games.

Following the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Irwin began to shift her focus to coaching and giving back to the game. Prior to joining the Rams, Irwin has been in coaching roles with various teams including the Barrie Jr. Sharks, the Edge School, the Midget AAA Fire in Calgary, and with teams at the Team Alberta Challenge and the Alberta Winter Games.

“I am very excited to be joining the Rams family [and] I’m ready to get things started, to meet the players, and to help guide them through the season,” said Irwin.

When asked about her style, Irwin cited hard-working while having the ability to have fun.

“The players can expect me to show up every day with a positive attitude and strong work ethic. I like to have a balance of work and fun. I value accountability, respect, work ethic, and I am someone who will hold myself and the players to a high standard,” said Irwin.

Irwin joins the Rams during a positive timeframe in the program’s history. Ryerson is coming off its best season, having reached the semifinals of the OUA McCaw Cup playoffs in 2018-19.

“During the interview process it was clear [Irwin] had an instant connection with the players she worked with on the ice, and she had clearly done her homework and knew that she was joining our program on the cusp of some very promising years,” added head coach Lisa Haley.

Irwin played her collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). With the Bulldogs, Irwin won the NCAA national championship in 2007-08, leading the team in scoring as a rookie with 60 points in 37 games. Her UMD career spanned four seasons in five years, excluding the 2009-10 season when she redshirted to be at centralized camp with Hockey Canada prior to the Vancouver Olympics.

The Thunder Bay, Ont. native turned professional in 2012 when she first suited up in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) with the Montreal Stars. Irwin was selected third overall in her draft year, was a two-time league all-star, and reached the Clarkson Cup final three times in her four seasons in the CWHL. She finished her career with the Calgary Inferno in 2017-18.

Irwin will officially join the Rams staff on August 1, 2019 but will attend Hockey Canada’s U18 High Performance camp as a camp coach from July 30 - August 12 before settling into her Ryerson duties.

The Rams open their 2019-20 schedule with a non-conference game against the Montréal Carabins on Friday, September 13 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The puck will drop on the regular season over a month later on Friday, October 18 when Ryerson visits the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.

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