Jeff Heimel, head coach of the University of Providence hockey team, announced his formal resignation Monday, effective June 30.
Heimel, who has been the head coach since the team's inception in the 2018-19 season, amassed a record of 54-37-3 as the head coach of the Argos. Heimel led the Argos to three ACHA Division II National Championship appearances and a Mountain West Collegiate Hockey League Championship title during his four-year tenure.
"It's been a really special time," Heimel said. "From the beginning it was always a great fit. This community is a really special community. To play a part in growing hockey in Great Falls was a special experience."
“What made it the most special was I think the great players I’ve coached over the years. You know it was a fun ride. Looking back on it from start to finish, coming off St. Louis, there was an opportunity to reflect on the last 15 years of coaching. Seemed like God was leading me just to take a break and spend some more time with my family. Just came out of reflecting on the last few years and nationals this year and just decided that yeah, it was the right time,” Heimel said.
"We would like to thank Jeff for all he has done for Argo hockey and Argo athletics," athletic director Doug Hashley said in a news release from the school. "He found success in our program in a short period of time and made the University of Providence a household name in the hockey realm. We wish him all the best moving forward in whatever comes his way."
Heimel joined the University of Providence hockey program after spending the past six years as the head coach of the Great Falls Americans. Prior to the Americans, he spent a year coaching the Cheyenne Stampede and Phoenix Polar Bear. Over the eight years he coached in the junior hockey ranks, he recorded a lifetime record of 255-119-25.
Heimel used the relationships he had made with players in the junior hockey ranks as he began to recruit for the Argos. Several players who have played for the Argos during Heimel's tenure also played under him with the Americans. The relationships he developed with the players will be the most lasting part of his tenure, he said.
"We started something and we hoped it was going to go well," Heimel said. "Then we got this group of guys that made the experience that much better. It's been a pleasure coaching them. They earned so much of what we accomplished. To do what we did was special. It was a group effort. There's so much that goes into that that I'm proud of. It was a pleasure to be a part of it. There's so much there that they should be proud of. I am certainly thrilled to have been a part of that ride. It was a really special time for me."
The search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
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