Back in May, Johnson & Wales University hired Katherine Hannah to be its next head coach of the women's ice hockey program. After previously coaching the women's ice hockey team at Lindenwood University-Belleville for five seasons, which ended up closing in 2020, Hannah decided the east coast was a good spot for her next, and maybe final, coaching stop. She describes Providence as "a great location where I can see myself staying for a long period of time." Moreover, Hannah shares that JWU's administration and its sense of community is what prompted her to take the job.
On October 1, the team began practices in small pods due to COVID restrictions. Prior to this, she relied on virtual team meetings to stay connected. Hannah understands that these are difficult times, mentioning, "I make sure to send text messages and call the girls on the team to let them know that we are a community and that I'm there for them if they need me." A strength and conditioning program she supplied to team members in the summer allowed them to get some workouts in and be prepared for a potential season, which is still yet to be determined. She is just now getting a sense of what her team will look like in the future.
The athletes, Hannah cites, is why she became a coach. "I had many coaches who were a huge influence on me personally, and to be a part of someone's life and make an impact in it means so much to me," she says. "Getting to be a part of helping somebody achieve their goals, and just supporting them in general, is what motivates me to do my job," adding that the relationship between a student-athlete and their coach is one of give and take.
While she compiled an 86-33-9 record during her tenure at Lindenwood University-Belleville and made several championship tournament appearances, she doesn't see those as her greatest accomplishments. She describes "taking a team, changing the culture and making it a special place to play" as her best achievement during her time at Lindenwood. But, what gives her the greatest satisfaction is "witnessing student-athletes that go on to do great things and being a part of their journey." Hannah hopes to continue her success here at JWU by making this an incredible place to play hockey. While the main goal is to win a championship, what matters most to her is pushing her athletes to become better as players and as people.
An update from the NCAA DIII championship committee should be coming soon on the status of winter sports competitive seasons. Regardless of its decision, Hannah will continue to develop her athletes on the ice in preparation for her first season as JWU head coach, whenever that turns out to be.