Former Gophers assistant and St. Paul cop heads east to take over Elmira program
After making his reputation as a recruiter at Hamline and spending a year with the Minnesota Gophers, Jake Bobrowski has put law enforcement behind him for good and will run his own college women's
ELMIRA, N.Y. — If you have concerns about how Jake Bobrowski might handle the increased stress of being a head hockey coach for the first time, keep in mind that he walked away from a slightly higher-stress position to make his living at the rink.
As recently as five years ago, hockey was still a part-time gig for Bobrowski, a St. Paul native who worked full time as a police officer in his hometown. Now, after an extended stint as Natalie Darwitz’s assistant coach with the women’s hockey program at Hamline, and a season as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Gophers women’s program, Bobrowski quietly announced this week that he will be the new head coach at Elmira College in New York.
“It’s crazy, especially for a born and raised Minnesotan,” Bobrowski told The Rink Live by phone from his new office this week. He said the opportunity came up quickly, with the Eagles’ former head coach, Tim Crowley, leaving Elmira for an assistant coach position at Cornell in the last week.
“It’s not great timing for anybody, the new team or the old team, but the more I talked about it with my wife and family, I felt it was something I just needed to take a shot at,” Bobrowski said.
Working with Darwitz at Hamline, Bobrowski was the recruiting talent behind the Pipers rise from MIAC also-ran to the NCAA tournament. He did the same in his lone season with the Gophers.
“He’s really good at developing and building relationships. That’s his foundation, and through that he does a phenomenal job getting the players to understand the system and what they need to do better,” Darwitz said. “He’s by far the best recruiter that I have ever seen. He develops relationships not only with the player and their family, but contacts within the family. The hockey world is so small, and he goes above and beyond.”
For Gophers head coach Brad Frost, it’s the latest assistant coach to get the chance to run their own program.
“He’s somebody that’s ready to be a head coach and it’s an exciting time for him,” said Frost, who will need to fill an opening on his staff with the season just weeks away. “When you look at assistants we’ve had in our program, they’ve been successful wherever they’ve gone.”
Bobrowski inherits an Eagles team that went 25-4-1 last season and advanced to the D-III Women’s Frozen Four. He admits that even as he gets to learn a new recruiting territory, it’s a dream come true after wearing a badge and fighting crime for a living previously.
“Even five years ago, at the police department, I would not have really thought I’d be making coaching a career, but the opportunities at Hamline and with the Gophers made retiring from the police department possible,” Bobrowski said. “Stressful situations, conflict resolution, developing relationships. Many years on the streets of St. Paul will help with all that.”