Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kochan named assistant coach with Rangers

Former NHL and Northern Michigan University goaltender Dieter Kochan has been named assistant coach for the Marquette Rangers.

Kochan replaces Adrian Fure, who is leaving the area to pursue professional interests outside hockey.

The one-time NMU Wildcat is happy to be back in a hockey town, one with a very loyal following to the sport.

"This is a smart hockey town," Kochan said. "The fans here were great to play in front of; they know the game and will support all the hockey programs in Marquette. I'm looking forward to seeing ice in Lakeview Arena this fall and am anxious to coach at this level. To work with goaltenders and share what I've learned will be fun and will benefit all the players donning the Rangers sweater."

"This is just the next step in our evolution as an organization," said Rangers director of hockey operations Rich Tegge. "With the strides we have made as an expansion franchise, adding a quality person like Dieter to compliment our coaching staff will be huge for our players and organization. Dieter’s playing experience and knowledge of the game will be a tremendous asset toward helping our players excel and reach the next level of their careers, be it college or pro.”

The Madison, Wis., native was Vancouver's fourth round selection (98th overall) in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He spent three seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning (including a stint with the IHL's Detroit Vipers) and also spent time in the Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders systems and was on the 2002 Calder Cup championship team with Houston in the AHL.

Kochan played at NMU from 1993-1997 under current NCAA champion Rick Comley, who is head coach of the Michigan State Spartans. Kochan is fourth all-time in the NMU record books in both games played (106) and saves (2,797) and is first all-time with five assists in a season and seven assists in a career.

Professionally, Kochan played in 379 games and had a career best season with AHL Bridgeport in 2003-2004, when he went 20-17-7 with a 1.87 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. That season he shared the AHL's Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Trophy with teammate Wade Dubielewicz as the goaltending tandem that had the fewest goals against.

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