A national search for a new hockey coach at Lake Superior State University is underway.
After a ho-hum, nine-year run as head coach of the Lakers, Jim Roque was fired from his position on Tuesday.
The dismissal of Roque ends an association with LSSU that dates back to 1983 when he was a freshman forward with the Lakers.
Since his Laker playing days, Roque had three separate stints as an assistant coach at LSSU before being elevated to head coach in 2005.
Roque was also an assistant coach at Clarkson University for six years.
In all, Roque has been involved at the Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association level for 27 years — four as a player and another 23 as a coach.
Roque’s tenure as Laker head coach started well with winning seasons in each of the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 campaigns. But since then, the Lakers have had only winning season in the last seven years and the team surprisingly missed the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs in 2013-2014.
In all, Roque’s nine-year record as Laker bench boss reads 136 wins, 165 losses, 46 ties and a .458 winning percentage.
LSSU athletic director Kris Dunbar, in stating that the search for a new hockey coach will begin immediately, noted that, “I appreciate how much Jim Roque loves Laker hockey and we thank him for what he has devoted to our program. I wish him the best but at this time we are choosing to move in a different direction with our leadership.”
As for who will replace Roque as head coach at LSSU, Laker assistants Tim Christian and Doug Laprade may or may not be given consideration by Dunbar.
Coaches who might well be what the Lakers are looking for include Joe Shawhan, currently an assistant at Northern Michigan University and Travis Winter, who is the head coach of the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Hockey League.
To be sure, Shawhan looms as a popular possibility.
A Michigan Soo native, Shawhan played for the Lakers as a goalie and later was an assistant coach at LSSU before moving to NMU in 2010.
Shawhan also had a spectacular eight-season run as a head coach in the NAHL with the erstwhile Soo Indians.
As for the 29-year old Winter, he is regarded as one of the game’s brightest up-and-coming coaches.
A former Division 1 forward and captain at Bemidji State University, Winter was an assistant coach for parts of four seasons in the United States Hockey League before moving to the NAHL late in the 2012-2013 campaign where he quickly turned around what was a struggling Aberdeen program.
Interestingly, Winter’s assistant in Aberdeen is Michigan Soo native Francis Anzalone. Anzalone is the son of former LSSU national championship coach Frank Anzalone.