A few weeks ago, another Riley joined the coaching bench in College Hockey at the Division One Level. Brendan became the new assistant for AIC under the tutelage of Eric Lang. Brian Riley, Head Coach of Army West Point and a very proud father had some things to say. “You watch your kids chase their dreams.” Riley was honored to have the announcement happen the day after his birthday. As to who Brendan will learn from Brian said that “I can think of no better mentor to have than Langer.”
“The first game ill probably peek over there.”
Riley finished with a nice sentiment and a bit of humor for the AIC-Army West Point game happening on October 28. “I’m sure his mom will be in the stands, heck she will probably be rooting for him.”
Brendan took the time to answer some questions about being an assistant coach at AIC.
What does it mean to be an assistant coach?
“It means the world to be able to coach at a place like AIC. I am lucky enough to be the beneficiary of a lot of people’s hard work and success before me. I think being an assistant coach is about a lot of different things, but most importantly it is about helping the players reach their maximum potential as a student athlete and as a person. As an assistant coach you have to wear a lot of different hats, but ultimately everything comes back to creating the best possible experience for the student-athletes. “
What’s your primary role as an assistant coach on gameday going to look like?
“My primary role on game day will be to prepare the team in the best possible way for our opponent. That could mean showing video of the visiting team tendencies or even making changes to our own gameplan. I will also be specifically responsible for the forwards and the power-play when it comes to personel and bench management throughout the game.”
In recruiting where will you be focused on?
“Both Woody(Assistant Coach Matthew Woodard) and I will be focused on a large number of leagues not just throughout North America, but Europe as well. We will never put a line through a player based on what league they are playing in and I think our recruits have reflected that in years past. I think traditionally the leagues we get a majority of our first year players from is the USHL, NAHL, and BCHL. It will be my job to become an expert on the player pool in these leagues to find the best fit for our program. It will also be very important to develop relationships with the coaches and advisors of the players throughout these leagues.”
What does having the opportunity to work for Coach Lang and now be on the bench for games against your dad mean ?
“Working for Langer has always been a goal of mine, ever since he took the AIC head job years ago. He has created a winning culture that can go toe to toe with some of the blue bloods in college hockey and no matter where you are, that is tough to do. Despite being an amazing hockey coach, it is even more rewarding and fulfilling to work for such a good person. He exemplifies what it means to be a leader of men and I have learned a great deal from him already in one season with the AIC staff. (On coaching against his dad after playing against him for for years at Mercyhurst ) Probably not the answer most people expect to hear, but I would actually prefer not play or coach against my dad anymore. For 5 years now there have been games against each other where one of us has to go home unhappy. Ultimately we both want the best for each other and winning hockey games is both of our livelihoods. It certainly is a cool and unique experience and I am lucky to have this opportunity to look across and see my dad on the other bench. “
What has been your favorite thing about learning from Coach Lang?
“My favorite thing about learning from Langer is that I know I am setting myself up for success. The success he has had over the past 6 seasons proves that he is doing things the right way. Being able to be a part of that/learn from that has and will continue to be very impactful throughout my career as a coach.”
What’s been your most favorite off ice moment with the team last season?
“There was a lot to be happy about and celebrate both on and off the ice this past season. It is tough to have any bad days around this group. Getting to see the guys in the locker room each day is always the highlight of my day. Being able to connect with them as a person is the most rewarding aspect of coaching. Some cool memories that stick out are our team’s Thanksgiving Dinner in Buffalo at our hotel and our trip to NCAA Regionals in Allentown, Pa. Our guys know how to make the best out of any situation, so there were lots of laughs and cool moments between all the practices, workouts, and games.”
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