Story by Lauryn Wood, Reporter
Aquinas College has hired a new hockey coach for the men’s team: Kyle Gagneau. At the age of 33, Gagneau has played hockey for 28 years and coached for 17. Gagneau started coaching when he was 16 years old at a Chelsea, MI, hockey camp. He continued to work there nearly every summer until the end of his college years. As of last year, he coached a squirt team (9 to 10-year-old age group), assistant coached both the men’s and women’s hockey teams, ran his off-ice hockey gym and managed his skating treadmill business.
Born and raised in Garden City, MI, Gagneau was introduced to hockey by his dad. From there his passion for the sport grew. His parents were supportive of his decision to play hockey, they would drive him a half hour to practice. He decided to go to Michigan State to pursue a kinesiology degree specializing in health promotion and cognate health. While at school, he still kept the sport in his life by participating in local men’s league hockey.
“It is important to me to make an impact on people’s lives,” Gagneau said. “When they start playing together really well, they learn the importance of the five-man game.”
Being named the Aquinas College’s men’s hockey coach will be Gagneau’s first-time head coaching at the collegiate level. Leading up to this role he has gained experience by assistant coaching under former Aquinas College women’s hockey coach Lisa Brown-Miller and under former Aquinas Colleges men’s hockey coach Jordan Permoda. When the men’s head coaching spot became available back in the spring, Gagneau saw it as “an opportunity to grow my career as a coach.”
“I have big shoes to fill,” Gagneau said.
Gagneau revered Permoda’s passion for the game and how he built up the Aquinas College men’s hockey program. He hopes to continue to grow it by recruiting more skilled players from Michigan. Gagneau wants to move the team up in the rankings and hopefully make them a national contender during his duration as head coach. Currently, the team is facing a short bench (a lack of players), but Gagneau only expressed optimism stating that he is “excited for the upcoming season.”