OXFORD, Ohio – A former standout at Miami University on the ice, Derek Edwardson will now make a different impact for the RedHawks’ hockey program as he was named Miami’s volunteer assistant coach, head coach Enrico Blasi announced Tuesday. Edwardson, a 2004 Miami alum, begins his duties immediately.
As Miami’s volunteer assistant coach, Edwardson will work with players on the ice, helping in skill development and contributing to in-game strategy. He will also work a lot with video, helping break down film and scouting opponents. In addition, he will help coordinate the Jr. RedHawks program and other community service outreach. Edwardson replaces Tommy Hill, who was named Miami’s director of hockey operations earlier this month.
"It is always special when we are able to welcome back a member of our program,” Blasi said of his former player. “Derek embodied everything you could ever ask for in a student-athlete. Not only was he a big-time player for us, but he was also a great student, captain, and model citizen. I have no doubt he will be a valued member of our staff as he begins his coaching career, and we are all very excited to welcome him back home."
Edwardson begins his coaching career after completing a nine-year career in professional hockey. The Morton Grove, Ill., native spent the past four seasons in Italy after a two-year stint in Germany and three years playing in the United States. Last season, Edwardson suited up for Cortina, totaling 47 points (17g, 30a) in 47 games, and played a total of 176 games in Italy’s top division over four years, compiling 169 points. He helped HC Bolzano to a league championship in 2011-12, while also representing the Italian National Team in 21 games, including seven at the 2012 World Championships.
Prior to Italy, Edwardson skated two years with Heilbronner Falken in Germany, appearing in 114 contests while racking up 89 points, including 35 goals. Before heading overseas, he spent three seasons between the ECHL and AHL following his collegiate career. His first year out of Miami, he played in 69 games with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the ECHL, totaling 64 points. He then suited up for the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL the majority of the next two seasons, while also playing in 21 AHL contests with the Portland Pirates and Milwaukee Admirals. In his two years in Las Vegas, Edwardson tallied 134 points in 145 games.
While at Miami, Edwardson had a stellar four-year career from 2000-04, earning four letters as a center while racking up 120 points in 135 games, scoring 38 goals and adding 82 assists. As a senior, he was named a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist, Second-Team West All-America and First-Team All-CCHA. A two-time captain, he was also selected the 2003-04 CCHA Player of the Year, becoming, at the time, just the second Miami player to ever earn the honor. He compiled 17 goals and 31 assists in his final year as a RedHawk, picking up team MVP honors, as well.
Edwardson earned his bachelor’s degree from Miami in exercise science in 2004. He was tabbed First-Team Academic All-CCHA as a senior and also took home Miami Hockey’s Scholar-Athlete Award.
Despite entering his first year as a coach at Miami, Edwardson is very familiar with the RedHawks’ staff. He was one of Blasi’s first recruits when Blasi was named head coach, playing under him for his entire Miami career. Edwardson was also in the same class as current assistant coach and former Miami goalie Nick Petraglia, as well as current Miami strength and conditioning coach Matt Cady, a former RedHawk forward. Edwardson and his class helped Miami reach the NCAA Tournament in 2004 for the first time under Blasi and first time in seven years.
Edwardson has a wife, Stacy, and a six-month old baby, Gracie.
Miami opens a new era of RedHawk Hockey in 2013-14, as the program begins its inaugural season in the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), of which Miami is a founding member. Miami opens the season with an exhibition game on Saturday, Oct. 5 against Windsor, before beginning the regular season with a home-and-home series against in-state rival Ohio State. The RedHawks play in Columbus Oct. 11, before welcoming the Buckeyes Oct. 12. Miami then kicks off its new conference with the first ever NCHC game on Friday, Oct. 18 against North Dakota at Steve Cady Arena.
The NCHC is an eight-team hockey-only league consisting of Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan, along with Miami. The conference boasts a combined 17 NCAA Championships, 50 Frozen Four berths, 12 Hobey Baker Award winners, including SCSU’s Drew LeBlanc this past year, and 266 All-Americans. The teams have also produced 295 players that went on to play in the NHL. The new league will reward fans every weekend with fast, exciting, action-packed hockey that pits several of the top teams in the country against each other. The NCHC also has agreed to a television deal with CBS Sports Network, assuring at least 18 league games will be broadcast to a national audience this coming season, including the NCHC opener between Miami and North Dakota.