The University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team has rounded out part of its coaching staff for the 2014-15 season, and beyond. Fernando Pisani, who served as the second assistant coach last season, has become the full-time assistant coach, replacing Ryan Marsh who joined the Oil Kings.
“We are excited to have Fernando join the Bears program full time,” said third-year Golden Bears head coach Ian Herbers. “It is a natural progression for us. He was a second assistant last season so he understands our systems, philosophy, and culture. Plus, he has a great relationship with the players and staff. Fernando is very knowledgeable and passionate about the game. He was an instrumental piece in our run to win our 14th national title last season. Fernando's background of playing college hockey, working his way through the minors, playing in Europe, and having a good NHL career is a perfect fit for our program. His experience, work ethic, and details will be a continued asset in developing our players.”
The Edmonton-born Pisani was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1996 NHL draft (#195 overall), but first played four years of NCAA Division 1 hockey with the Providence College Friars before joining the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Hamilton. After years with the Bulldogs, including a 24-goal and 60-point season (2002), Pisani made the jump to the Oilers. He played 462 games in the NHL, as well as 33 playoff games including 24 during the Oilers memorable 2006 Stanley Cup run in which Pisani scored 14 goals and 18 points to help Edmonton to Game 7 of the final. He also played a handful of games in the Swiss and Italian professional leagues during the 2004-05 season.
The Golden Bears begin their Canada West and CIS title defence over the September 26-27 weekend, when they open the 2014-15 season on the road in Vancouver against UBC. They will raise their CIS record 14th national championship banner to the rafters of Clare Drake Arena over the October 3-4 weekend, when they host the Lethbridge Pronghorns. Pre-season action starts September 12, with a tournament in Regina, while the Bears will host the annual Brick Invitational tournament on the September 19-20 weekend.