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Former LSSU goaltender Joe Shawhan joins Laker coaching staff

Joe Shawhan

Aug. 26, 2005

SAULT STE. MARIE - Former Lake Superior State goaltender Joe Shawhan has joined the Laker hockey coaching staff as an assistant coach, giving the LSSU program a staff made entirely of Central Collegiate Hockey Association alumni.

Shawhan, who played for the Lakers from 1982-87, joins new head coach Jim Roque, who was an LSSU player from 1983-87. Returning assistant coach Tim Christian played at Ferris State from 1991-95.

"As a youth I idolized the Laker players - Don Muio, Tom Davies and Ian Ward - those kind of guys," said Shawhan, a Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., native who spent the last 10 seasons as head coach of the Soo Indians Junior A hockey program. "That was the pro team to us prior to all of the access to TV that we have now. The Lakers were the team for all of the kids."

Shawhan totaled 1,130 saves and posted a career goals-against average of 3.83 during his collegiate career. He is tied for 10th on LSSU's career goals-against list. In 1985-86 he led the CCHA in both GAA and save percentage. From 1988 until 1995, Shawhan served a variety of roles with the Lakers, from radio analyst to volunteer coach.

"I was very fortunate while I was at Lake Superior State to be under a couple pretty good task masters," Shawhan said in reference to former LSSU coaches Frank Anzalone and Jeff Jackson. "Frank brought in the good elements of discipline, work ethic and attention to detail. Jeff maintained that and brought the game to another level with the ability to express creativity within the game. Both of them ran successful programs, so I had a template to work off of when I got to juniors. With the Indians, really nothing was different from what I learned within their programs."

Shawhan and Roque were both involved with Laker hockey during its greatest decade, which included three NCAA championships.

"It wasn't by accident that the Lakers won," Shawhan said. "People think that they don't really know why they won. But when you see the attention to detail and the atmosphere they created, you could see that the Lakers operated in a way that guaranteed success."

Shawhan carried those characteristics over to the Soo Indians while serving as head coach and general manager. He became the winningest coach in the 30-year history of the North American Hockey League, amassing an overall record of 474-162-43, including two 50-win seasons, six 40-win stints and two seasons with over 30 victories.

Under Shawhan's guidance, the Indians never recorded a losing record, captured three NAHL titles and earned three tips to the USA National Tournament. They placed second in 2003 and third in 2005.

Shawhan was 6-0 in NAHL All-Star contests. He served as head coach twice and assistant coach once for the NAHL's entry in the USA Hockey Top Prospects Tournament and captured the title in all three appearances. In 2002, he served as the assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team entry into the Viking Cup Tournament in Camrose, Alta. In 2004 he was the U.S. head coach and led the team to a silver medal.

"I want to say thank you to the NAHL and Sault Tribe for giving me a great opportunity, and to Cleveland for being so patient," said Shawhan, who turned down an offer to coach the NAHL's Cleveland Barons in order to join the Laker staff. "I thank all of the people who supported the Indians for the 10-year period. One of the most-difficult scenarios in this process was leaving something that I helped build, but I'm thankful I will have the opportunity to bring that excitement to LSSU.

"The people who were with us in building that, all of the fans and the community, can be a part of the continued growth of Laker hockey. When I was with the Indians, walking through the stands from the lockerroom to the bench during home games, I became used to seeing those people and they became friends. I look forward to seeing those same people again. I hope they appreciate Laker hockey as much as they appreciated Indians hockey. We need their support."

The Indians placed more than 100 players into college hockey programs during the past decade. The most-notable was goaltender Ryan Miller, who went on the Michigan State and won the 2001 Hobey Baker Award. Several former Soo Indians have gone on the play at LSSU, including current Lakers Dominic Osman, Justin Gutwald and Marty Gurnoe.

Ticket information: For season tickets, contact the Norris Center Ticket Office, 906-635-2601. Season tickets, which include 19 home games, are $140 for adults and $78 for children. The Lakers open their season on Friday, Oct. 7, with an exhibition game against York.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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