The Connecticut Whale announced on Tuesday that the franchise has hired Ryan Equale to replace Heather Lindstad as the new head coach for the 2017-18 season of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL).
Lindstad left the team in order to pursue her business interests, according to the NWHL. Equale has level four coaching certification from USA Hockey and 22 years of experience coaching youth hockey in his native state of Connecticut. He will coach his first professional team this winter.
“It is a true privilege to be named head coach of the Connecticut Whale,” Equale said in a league press release. “As the father of three young children, accepting this opportunity was an easy decision. My children have been attending NWHL games since the inaugural season and love watching the talented women of this league – including a few that my children have been fortunate enough to have had as coaches over the years.”
Equale also played hockey at the University of Connecticut where he became a First Team All-American, the 1995-96 NCAA Division 1 scoring champion and the school’s third all-time leading scorer all in his senior year. He then went on to play professionally in the EHL and CHL before he fully committed to a coaching career.
“For the past ten years I have been focused on developing young women at the level from U12-U19 teams in order to help them achieve their academic and athletic goals,” said Equale. “That experience, coupled with my own experience as a professional player, is something that I’m confident will help build a positive culture of high performance, accountability and results.”
[More from Excelle Sports: NWHL signs partnership with Twitter for 2017–18 season]
Last season, the Connecticut Whale finished with a 5-12 record before heading into the playoffs and will look to improve those results in the coming year.