Today, Metropolitan Riveters general manager Kate Whitman-Annis named the team’s next head coach. Ivo Mocek, 31, will be the third head coach in Riveters franchise history.
“I met with a lot of strong candidates, but Ivo’s passion for hockey, his knowledge of the game, and his commitment stood above the rest,” the Riveters’ general manager shared in the league’s press release. “I liked his philosophy on team-building, and I was really impressed by his vision for our club. After Ivo accepted the position, I had him speak individually with some of our players. Those conversations, and the reaction of the players to him, were even more proof to me that Ivo is the ideal person to lead the Riveters.”
Mocek, who was born in the Czech Republic, spent the majority of his playing career in his home country. However, he wrapped up his pro career in the FHL (Federal Hockey League) playing for the New York Aviators and has coached locally with the North Park Hockey organization in addition to private coaching at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. The Riveters new coach was also a member of the Czech national team between 2004 and 2008 and was a first round QMJHL draft pick in 2005.
Mocek will be the second European head coach in NWHL history, following former NHL defenseman Thomas Poeck who coached the Boston Pride during the 2017-18 season. Unlike Poeck, Mocek has previous coaching experience and it appears he has been following the league since its first season. According to his coaching profile on Chelsea Piers, he’s been coaching since 2010.
“Our team will be relentless, organized and prepared, and we are determined to recapture the winning mentality of the Riveters when this team won the Isobel Cup,” Mocek shared in the league’s release. “I love this game so much, and my respect for these players is enormous, being a big fan of the NWHL since day one. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get on the ice in a few weeks and get to work with the Riveters. I promise you — we will be a team that will make our fans proud.”
After a disappointing 2018-19 campaign, a new face with a lot of passion and energy might be just what the Riveters need behind the bench and in the locker room. The appointment of a new bench boss might also spark a new wave of signings, which is good news for a team that hasn’t made a signing since June 18.
“I was immediately blown away by Ivo’s energy and his plans for our team,” long-time Riveter Madison Packer shared. “He is a knowledgeable guy with a great philosophy on how to operate a team. He will have an immediate impact on the culture of the organization, and he’ll be able to make a real difference as our team continues to rebuild this offseason.”
One thing to keep an eye on will be whether or not Mocek will be able to attract some international talent. Last season, European stars — including Czechs Kateřina Mrázová and Denisa Křížová — made a big splash in the NWHL. With so many roster spots up for grabs on the Riveters, there is definitely an opportunity for new talent to make an impact.
Getting Mocek in place now is definitely a step in the right direction after the Riveters waited until Sept. 20, 2018 to find Chad Wiseman’s replacement last year. With Mocek in place, the Connecticut Whale are now the only NWHL team without a head coach.