The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs concluded their search for a new assistant coach on Monday by hiring former Bulldog standout Ashleigh Brykaliuk.
This will be Brykaliuk’s first time behind the bench as a coach. It will come after four years as a letterwinner at UMD and one professional season with the Vanke Rays of the CWHL.
UMD’s head coach Maura Crowell said they are thrilled to have Brykaliuk back. “She was a phenomenal player and leader as a Bulldog, and will continue to make a positive impact on the program behind the bench,” she explained. Crowell added that her experience with UMD, Hockey Canada, and the CWHL will be invaluable.
Skating at UMD from 2013 to 2017, Brykaliuk tallied 62 goals and 145 points in 146 career games played. She capped off her time at UMD with back-to-back 40-point seasons in her junior and senior years. She was named to the All-WCHA Second team in her final two years. Her senior campaign — when she captained the Bulldogs — was capped off with an NCAA Tournament trip when they hosted Minnesota.
Some other big names have gone from playing to coaching for UMD. Michelle McAteer was an assistant coach from 2008-2010. Maria Rooth, a two-time All-American, was part of the coaching staff in 2010-11. Caroline Ouellette, two-time Bulldog All-American and four-time Canadian Olympic gold medalist, became the first former Bulldog to join the coaching staff back in 2006, where she worked until 2008.
The 2017-18 season was a difficult one for the Bulldogs. UMD lost several players to graduation and centralization. Having Brykuliak back as a coach to bring leadership and the experience of competing for a national title will be a major key for UMD as they try to mesh players coming back from centralization with new faces in an increasingly tight WCHA.