The FAU Hockey Club has announced that they will be adding Erik Kirtman as their defensively-focused assistant coach.
Kirtman played defense for FAU from 2002-2005, including their first-ever season in the American College Hockey Association in 2002.
“It was such a good experience,” Kirtman said, reflecting on his time at FAU. “Not only with the school, but just being on the college scene and traveling with the guys and all that. I saw how much joy my coach got out of it, and I am looking forward to making some new experiences with the guys.”
FAU Hockey taps FAU Hockey Alumni for role of Assistant Coach! Erik Kirtman played for FAU during their 1st season as part of the ACHA in 2002 and continued until 2005. https://t.co/I6tcyRIeDy @SECHChockey @achahockey @achamensd3 pic.twitter.com/J391Jynxrd
— FAU ICE HOCKEY CLUB (@FAU_Hockey) June 8, 2020
He started his coaching career in 2016 at North Broward Preparatory School, where he coached middle school students for two years. In 2019, he moved up to their high school program and won a state title.
Kirtman, who just turned 36, thinks his age is a useful asset that he and new head coach Vin Morris can bring to the team as an assistant coach.
“I think I can relate to them more,” said Kirtman. “I’m not a 55 to 60-year-old coach, myself and [Morris] are of the new mindset where we’re not such a dictator. You’re a coach first, but you also listen too, you know your players and you learn from them and they learn from you.”
Kirtman’s new style of coaching brings a player-friendly style and brings a nuanced style of play to the team.
“It’s almost like a hybrid game now where it’s a lot faster,” Kirtman said. “If you play defense you’re obviously expected to play offense now as well, you’re not just a typical stay at home defenseman anymore.”
Kirtman wants to help the defensemen on the team play a more two-way style of hockey, helping out both offensively and defensively where the defensemen don’t just pass the puck up and wait, but bring the puck up the ice and make a play.
Kirtman also feels that his unique experience of playing on that FAU team will help navigate the Owls through each opponent they play.
“I was in their shoes and we’re going to be playing the same teams with the same caliber of players,” Kirtman said. “I experienced it, and it was a great experience. I can teach these guys what I learned from the three years I was there.”
Colby Guy is a staff writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs.