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Thursday, June 28, 2007

UMD Lands JULIE CHU as Assistant Coach

Kevin Pates Duluth News Tribune
Published Thursday, June 28, 2007
Julie Chu’s playing credentials are impeccable.

Now she’s going to add coaching to her resume.

The former Harvard hockey star and two-time Olympic medalist became an assistant coach with the Minnesota Duluth women’s program this week. She begins work Aug. 27.

Chu, 25, played four years at Harvard through 2006-07 and was named the 2007 Patty Kazmaier Award winner as the top player in Division I. She replaces Joakim Flygh, who, coincidentally, accepted an assistant coach position with Harvard.

“After graduating [June 7] I was looking at options and trying to decide what to do and where to go. Luckily the job at UMD opened up,’’ Chu said by phone Wednesday. “Coaching is something I’d like to get into and UMD fit the mold of what I’m looking for right now. It has a great hockey tradition.

“I will be able to get some great coaching experience and, at the same time, I’m going to continue to train to play at the national level. My goal is to play in the 2010 Winter Olympics.’’

Caroline Ouellette moves up to the No. 1 UMD assistant under head coach Shannon Miller, while Chu is No. 2.

Chu, a center from Fairfield, Conn., had 66 points in 30 games in 2006-07 as Harvard went 23-8-2 and lost to eventual Division I champion Wisconsin 1-0 in four overtimes in the NCAA quarterfinals in Madison. She finished third in school career scoring with 88 goals and 196 assists for 284 points in 129 games, and played on U.S. Olympic teams in 2002 (silver medal) and 2006 (bronze).

“Julie will be a fantastic role model for our players,’’ said Miller, working at a hockey camp this week in Steamboat Springs, Colo. “Like Caroline [Ouellette], she’s a high-performance athlete who knows how to be successful.’’

Miller said there were approximately 12 candidates for UMD’s assistant coaching job and Chu accepted the position Monday after a three-week search process.

Chu’s off-ice duties will include mentoring and team-building with UMD’s players, and assisting strength and conditioning coach Justin May, Miller said. On ice, she’ll provide individual player feedback. She earned a degree in psychology and was named Harvard’s 2007 woman athlete of the year.

In addition to coaching, Chu says she hopes to play part-time with the Minnesota Whitecaps of the Western Women’s Hockey League, and for the U.S. in the 2007 Four Nations Cup (Nov. 7-11 in Leksand, Sweden) and the 2008 World Championships (April 4-13 in Harbin, China.) She also plans to train with Ouellette, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a candidate for the 2010 Canadian Olympic team.


* Flygh, 29, assisted with the Bulldogs for three seasons and was hired at Harvard as an assistant under coach Katey Stone. Melanie Ruzzi, formerly an assistant at Amherst (Mass.) College, also was hired as a Harvard assistant this week.

The Bulldogs were 72-26-9 during Flygh’s tenure, including a 2007 Division I second-place finish. The native of Tyringe, Sweden, played four seasons as a defenseman at New England College.

Former Harvard assistant Claudia Asano was named head women’s coach at Union College of Schenectady, N.Y., in April. Former UMD player Michelle McAteer, a Harvard assistant in 2006-07, might join Asano at Union, Miller said.