Most hockey fans may remember the Boston Pride’s new head coach as “Thomas Pöck” from his days playing in the NHL, but the former defenseman goes by “Poeck” today after the teams he played for couldn’t get the umlaut mark right on the back of his jersey.
Poeck has spent the last four years playing hockey in his native Austria. He is only 35-years-old but has a wealth of experience playing elite hockey. He has experience playing in Massachussetts thanks to his college hockey days at UMass Amherst.
After going undrafted Poeck was signed by the New York Rangers and played seven years in the AHL and NHL before taking his talents to Europe. While in the NHL he played in the Rangers, Islanders and Avalanche organizations.
“It’s great to be back in the Boston area with my family, to have the privilege of coaching these talented woman, and to be part of an outstanding franchise like the Pride,” Poeck shared in the NWHL’s press release. “I’ve had the chance to work with many excellent coaches over 14 years in the pros and believe I have a lot to offer these players. Together, we’re going to work hard to bring the Isobel Cup back to Boston.”
Poeck replaces the popular Bobby Jay who stood behind the Pride’s bench for the franchise’s first two seasons. Poeck has some big shoes to fill on a franchise that is known for its excellence on the ice.
“It was a tremendous honor and privilege to coach in the NWHL and to lead the Boston Pride!” Jay stated in the league’s press release. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the ladies I coached and they always gave me and the franchise everything that was asked and more. Unfortunately, my full-time job has required more of me. And on a personal level, raising two young girls, it became more difficult to commit to the time and energy the Pride need and deserve.”
Dani Rylan issued the following statement about Jay’s decision to leave the team:
“Over two years, Bobby Jay made an everlasting impact on the Boston Pride and the NWHL. His passion for the game is contagious and he is one of the best people you could ever hope to work with. We wish Bobby and his family the best.”
Poeck met his wife at UMass Amherst and he calls Wilmington, Massachusetts home. In his playing career he made a name for himself as a puck-moving defenseman with offensive upside. That mentality should be a good fit for the aggressive, explosive hockey that the Boston Pride have become known for.