After completing two seasons with the Golden Hawks, Mark French will be departing to pursue a professional coaching opportunity in the ECHL.
French came to Laurier in time for the 2002-03 season from the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) North Bay Centennials where he served in the dual role of Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach. Prior to that French was a head coach with the Hawks’ division rivals, the Brock Badgers in 1998-99.
Following a season in 2001-02 that saw the Hawks post a 8-14-2 record and having missed the playoffs, French joined the Hawks to post a regular season record of 22-19-4 over the past two seasons. In each season he led the team to the playoffs and posted first round victories over the Badgers both years, then losing in the division final versus the York Yeomen, who this year went on to capture the Ontario Championship’s Queen’s Cup.
“Mark French’s strong leadership at Laurier has put our hockey program back on the path of national respectability” stated PETER BAXTER
, Director of Athletics and Recreation. “Through the hard work of both Mark and his staff, he has laid a solid foundation for the future by recruiting top student athletes. On behalf of the Laurier Athletic Department, the team, and Hockey Alumni, I wish to sincerely thank Mark for his contributions to the men’s hockey program and wish him the best in his new post within the professional ranks.”
A former University hockey player for the Badgers, this jump to coach in the professional ranks will be his next step in his coaching career. Most recently French added some international flavor to his resume when he was an assistant coach with Canada’s Under 18 World Championship team that competed in Minsk, Belarus this past spring.
“Throughout my career I have grown through my coaching experiences, and Laurier has become a big part of that”, explained Mark French. “I am extremely grateful to Laurier for the opportunity to run a University program in which I was able to implement my vision. And to my staff, the players and the alumni I am thankful for their support! Though it was a tough decision to leave Laurier, this was the right opportunity for me to obtain a goal of mine to coach professionally.”
An announcement by French’s new team in the ECHL will be made in the coming days. At the same time Laurier will be conducting an immediate search for a replacement coach, with plans to announce this person by the end of August.