Michael Barrett has called Quinnipiac University home for 20 years.
Barrett, a 1985 graduate of Quinnipiac, was a standout player on the men’s ice hockey team during his four collegiate years, and is currently a member of Quinnipiac’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Holding several positions at Quinnipiac, one included an assistant coaching position for the men’s ice hockey team. Barrett was also named head coach for the women’s ice hockey team at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.
Now, Barrett will rejoin the Quinnipiac family as head coach for the women’s ice hockey team, after Amanda Adams vacated the seat following the Bobcat’s inaugural varsity season last year.
“I held a variety of positions [at Quinnipiac], but coaching is my passion,” said Barrett. “The people are great, all of my best friends work here. It was the right thing at the right time.”
Senior co-captain Serena Hillman admitted she had concerns about playing for a male coach, but said Barrett is very open to coaching and working with female players.
“He is very structured, organized, and dedicated,” said Hillman. “You can see how much he cares about the program and the school.”
On January 31, the Bobcats took on the Pioneers of Sacred Heart, which Barrett described as an “awkward experience.” Quinnipiac easily took the win, 8-0.
“It was nice to score some goals,” said Barrett. “It was needed.”
Freshman Candace Boyles produced a hat trick, while Caitlin Peters added two tallies, and Gillian Gallagher, Debbie Beaudoin, and Jamie Baer each had one goal a piece.
Hillman, who had assists on two of Boyle’s goals, came into her senior season looking to be a part of a competitive team, which Barrett echoes as a goal.
“We’re a much better team than we were the first half of the season,” said Barrett.
He said despite illness and injuries, the Bobcats are making strides, often outshooting their opponents. However, despite the improved play, the Bobcats are often still found on the low end of the score, usually by the narrowest of margins.
“While you achieve a goal of being in games we weren’t in last year, you want to win,” said Barrett. “It’s a harder pill to swallow when you only lose by one goal.”
Barrett and Hillman shared the same high moment of the season, a 2-1 victory over Niagara. The Purple Eagles played in the Frozen Four last season, so the victory is an incredibly sweet memory for player and coach alike.
When asked about the future of Quinnipiac women’s hockey, Hillman said she would like to return as an alumni to find the Bobcats at the top of a league, and help them develop.
Barrett, who will be a part of the Bobcat’s future, said he can see a vision similar to Hillman’s, filled with much success.
“I see us building on progress, building on positives,” said Barrett.
Assistant coach Lisa Giovanelli has been playing a huge part in the Bobcat’s future, traveling over the United States and Canada meeting with recruits. Giovanelli, who played collegiately at Northeastern University, brought a Division I experience to the young Quinnipiac team.
As for Coach Barrett, he is looking forward to even more success for next season.
“The returning players are used to my style,” said Barrett. “With a year of experience and new recruits, I think we’re moving the in right direction.”
With a tough schedule left, including games against University of Maine, University of New Hampshire (who is ranked fifth nationally), and two more contests against Niagara, the Bobcats are looking to further improve their 5-19 record.
With talented players, such as Hillman and a committed coaching staff led by Barrett, the Bobcats will be a successful and fun team to watch in Quinnipiac’s future.
The Bobcats will play at home to the Providence College Friars on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Northford Ice Pavilion in North Haven, Conn.