MIH: Hynes takes over the reins

After Wilkes University’s inaugural men’s ice hockey season, head coach Brett Riley stepped down from his position.

Riley accepted an assistant coaching position at Division I Colgate University, a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).

Following this announcement, Wilkes began a national search to find a replacement for Riley. Ultimately, they decided to promote someone who was already familiar with Wilkes’ program: assistant coach Tyler Hynes.

Hynes, the youngest coach in NCAA hockey, is from Guilderland, New York, and learned to love the game at a very early age. 

“I first started playing when I was four years old,” said Hynes, noting that this love of playing hockey eventually developed into a love of coaching. 

Although he is young, Hynes began working camps and doing youth clinics while he was still playing to begin his coaching career.

However, Hynes shares that being a coach isn’t all about putting W’s in the win column, rather it’s about establishing a rapport with the players and impacting their lives in a positive manner. He notes that the most important part of coaching is connecting with the players and building relationships with them.

“Most coaches don’t do it for wins and losses, they do it to have an impact on young men’s lives,” reflected Hynes, citing this as his favorite aspect of being a coach.

It seems that this has worked in Hynes’ favor, as in the short time that he has been at Wilkes, he has gained a lot of respect from the players. 

Sophomores Michael Gurska, Ryan Galvin, Chris Dalfarra and Danny Reidel were all under the command of Riley and Hynes last season. With Hynes now in control, the men are excited to get back on the ice and play under his direction. 

“I think Coach Hynes is going to do a terrific job with us, and a lot of guys are really excited for him,” said Gurska with a general statement regarding the team. 

Galvin agrees with this mindset, noting that Hynes is super positive and brings a level of energy that the team feeds off of.

Looking forward to this season, Reidel believes that there is potential for Wilkes to be better than their 16-8-2 inaugural season. 

“We’re looking forward to being better than we were last year,” said Reidel. “We still have a lot to prove as a team, and I’m looking forward to getting it started.”

According to Dalfarra, the Colonels have already gotten things underway. The players are currently working out, skating and doing community service to strengthen the team’s bond and prepare for the season.

With the second season quickly approaching, Hynes notes that he’s focused on establishing team systems, their identity as a team and how they want to play overall.

Practices are set to begin on Oct. 14 with the Colonels first game following two weeks later on Nov. 1 against SUNY Canton.