ST. CLOUD, Minn. — R.J. Enga will not be able to be a coach for the St. Cloud State men's hockey team, but his experience is going to come in handy for the Huskies.
Enga, 49, was named as the team's new director of hockey operations and video coordinator on Wednesday. He spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach for Colorado College.
"We're really excited to get him and he's a huge hire for us," said Brett Larson, who is beginning his fourth season as Huskies head coach. "We grew up playing together on the US Select 16 and 17 teams, played against each other in college and played pro at a lot of the same levels. He and I coached a (USHL) Team USA World Junior A Challenge Team to a gold medal one year.
"I couldn't be more excited. It's a home run for us. It's just going to help our staff keep growing, help our team get better and our guys are going to love him."
In his new position, Enga cannot be a coach on the bench, though he can help out and be on the ice for practices. During games, he will be in the press box running the team's video, will be hooked up on a head set to assistant coach Nick Oliver on the bench and will make suggestions on whether or not the staff should challenge calls on the ice during games. He also will be in charge of the team's travel arrangements.
Before coaching under Mike Haviland at Colorado College, Enga spent three seasons (2011-14) as an assistant coach and director of player development in juniors for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. From 2009-11, he was an assistant coach for the Topeka Roadrunners of the North American Hockey League. In 2008-09, he was an assistant coach for Colorado College under head coach Scott Owens.
Before getting into coaching, Enga played pro hockey in North America and in Germany from 1995-2007. Prior to turning pro, he played for forward for Colorado College (1991-95) and had 61 goals and 143 points in 158 games.
Enga replaces Nick Tomczyk, who had the position for two seasons. Tomczyk has been named the head coach for the club team at Purdue University Northwest (Ind.), an American Collegiate Hockey Association member.