The wait is finally over, Riveters’ fans: two weeks before the start of the season, we have a coach.
Former NHL defender and Montreal native Randy Velischek will be the second head coach in Riveters history. Velischek played in 553 NHL games (509 regular season, 44 playoff) for the Quebec Nordiques, New Jersey Devils, and Minnesota North Stars. After retirement, he spent 11 years as a color analyst for the Devils. He is currently the hockey director at Twin Oaks Rink in Morristown, N.J., and has 28 years experience coaching boys’ youth hockey. This will be his first time coaching women’s hockey.
Along with Velischek, the Riveters announced Kate Whitman Annis as their new assistant coach. A New Jersey native, Annis played hockey for Deerfield Academy and Wesleyan University. She helped Wesleyan win three conference titles. She coached at the Essex Hunt Club and Bridgewater Sports Arena before landing the job of head coach of girls’ varsity ice hockey at the Pingry School. (Velischek also worked at the Pingry school in 2007-08.)
On Monday, Sept. 17, the pair were introduced to the team. “I’m honored to coach these outstanding, dedicated, inspiring hockey players,” said Velischek. “I’m well aware of the program Chad [Wiseman] started, and the successful and positive culture he created. It’s my responsibility to continue the Riveters’ tradition, and help every one of these gifted athletes maximize their potential. I’m very proud to be a part of it.”
The Riveters open their 2018-19 campaign on the road against the Minnesota Whitecaps Oct. 6. It will be a test of Velischek’s readiness when the new team in the league hosts the championship-winning team with a new coaching staff.