Serge Lajoie, owner of a combined five Canadian university and Alberta College men’s hockey championship rings, has been named the 24th Head Coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey program.
He returns to Clare Drake Arena and the U of A after five seasons as Head Coach at NAIT where he led the Ooks to Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference titles in 2013 and 2015, and was named the ACAC Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2015. Those championship victories join his collection which also includes a CIAU championship from 1992, when he was a defenceman with the Bears, and CIS titles in 2006 and 2008 when he was an assistant coach at the U of A.
“This is truly an honour and privilege for me to return to a program that has had such a profound impact on my development as a player but more importantly my growth as a person,” said Lajoie. “I am very familiar with the high standards of performance at the U of A and I am excited to have this opportunity to work with the student-athletes, the coaching and training staffs, the Alumni Association, U of A Athletics and Stan in growing this rich tradition of excellence.”
“I am very pleased that Serge Lajoie has accepted our offer to become the new Head Coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears Hockey program,” said General Manager Stan Marple. “We have played together and won championships and coached together and won championships. Serge has an exceptional work ethic and he is very passionate about the Golden Bears hockey program.”
“He has already spent 10 years with this program,” Marple continued, “and he has won CIS titles with the Bears as a player and as an assistant coach. He also won two ACAC titles in five years as the Head Coach at NAIT. That kind of success does not happen by accident. I am very confident his track record of success will continue at the University of Alberta.”
Originally from Bonnyville, Alberta, Lajoie originally joined the Golden Bears hockey program in 1988 as a defenceman under the tutelage of Canadian hockey coaching legend, Clare Drake. In his five seasons with the Bears the smooth skating Lajoie racked up 141 points, including 105 assists in 198 overall games. In his final season (1993) he won the Mervyn “Red” Dutton Trophy as the Canada West defenceman of the year, the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy as the Canadian university men’s hockey player of the year, when he banked 50 points in 45 games and the Wilson Challenge Trophy as the U of A Male athlete of the year.
After graduating with an Education degree in 1993 from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Lajoie spent five seasons playing hockey in the German First Division, skating for EC Bad Nauheim and earning 165 points in 203 games. Upon returning to Edmonton he served as an assistant coach with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for the 2001-02 season. He was added to the Golden Bears coaching staff as an assistant in 2005-06 and stayed until 2009-10, earning his Master’s degree in the fall of 2010 before moving to NAIT.
He takes over the Bears bench following the departure of Ian Herbers who joined the Edmonton Oilers as an Assistant Coach after leading the U of A to back-to-back national championships in 2014 and 2015.