Adrian College women’s ACHA division II head coach Chaislyn Burgio will leave the hockey program. Burgio, a UMASS Boston graduate in her first ever season as a coach at Adrian College, informed her team and the athletic department on Tuesday, Oct. 16 that she would be leaving Adrian to pursue a head coach position at Oswego State University in New York.
Burgio was hired prior to this season to replace former women’s ACHA division II coach Samantha Fallon, who was relieved of her position after leading the Bulldogs to a 14-2 season.
The news comes as a surprise for the entire team, as sophomore captain Hannah Chase describes.
“Honestly when she told us my jaw dropped,” said Chase. “I’m not sure if anyone else on the team knew beforehand but it seemed pretty alarming for most of us.”
Obviously, such an announcement can come as a giant blow to a team’s moral, something that Chase and the other captains tried to prevent so the season could stay intact.
“There was a lot of negative response from the team,” said Chase. “Everyone assumed that we weren’t going to have a team or we were going to have to coach ourselves. The other captains and I met with coach Burger who told us to get the team on the same page, and state that just because we don’t have a coach now doesn’t mean we don’t have a chance.”
However, the lack of a coach didn’t last for long. Class of 2017 alum and former member of the National Women’s Hockey League’s Buffalo Beats’ Sarah Shureb now takes the reins as head coach. But Chase still notices a bit of a learning curve on Shureb’s shoulder.
“She (Shureb) kind of sits back and observes on the bench instead of giving out a bunch of pointers,” said Chase. “I think she’s still trying to figure us out.”
Even if there’s still a learning curve that needs to be tackled, the team’s record seems to say otherwise. The women’s ACHA division II team has an overall 6-1 record at the time of this writing. With such an impressive start, it doesn’t seem like the high expectations and goals the team set at the beginning of the season are going away anytime soon.
“I don’t think it’s solely dependant on the coach for our goals,” said Chase. “Everyone has their individual goals to accomplish. I would say our big team goal is to make it to nationals since that’s what everyone obviously wants to do.”
It’s important to remember that this isn’t the first bump in the road when it comes to coaching for this team. While it hopefully will be its last, the trials and tribulations of previous seasons have improved the resilience of the women’s division II hockey team, and they’re ready to focus on what matters most: the sport they love.
“I think we have a lot to improve on and a lot to show other people,” said Chase. “Nothing on our team has ever been set in stone, so we’ll figure it out. Everything will be good.”