A man who knows all the in and outs of college athletics with be taking over as the new assistant UAA hockey coach.
T.J. Jindra spent his college years playing at Notre Dame as a right winger (2003-07). In 2006, as a junior Jindra was named captain of his hockey team, and stayed as captain through his senior year. He later moved on the coach at Shattuck St. Mary’s where he coach for two years, then went back to Notre Dame to work in the Academic Services for Student Athletes office and volunteer coach.
This was a follow up to a successful high school hockey career in Minnesota, after which he played two years in the USHL for the Omaha Lancers.
Now Jindra, 29, will take over as the assistant coach at UAA.
“He is from the mid-west and has ties to the USHL (United States Hockey League), and there is a lot of positives in that, that will help enhance our program and I think he kind of fits the mold and criteria of what we are looking for as a coach.” Head Coach Dave Shyiak said.
He feels he will be able to relate to the student-athletes and hardships in which they endure, making him a perfect fit for the team, as well as he has been a leader on every team he has played for, being captain for his high school, junior and college teams, according to Jindra.
The program at Notre Dame (ND) was one similar to the program at UAA. Before Jindra’s time at ND, their hockey program had very limited access and had never advanced to the NCAA tournament.
“When I graduated I was part of two NCAA tournament appearances. I was very fortunate my senior year to be part of a team that was not even ranked in the preseason top-20, yet we finished the last seven weeks of college hockey s the number one team in the country” Jindra said.
The lepercon, went on to win the schools first Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) regular season regular season championship, and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time.
“I think this experience of what we did to help change the culture at Notre Dame to what it is now is very beneficial for a program that wants to do these kinds of things.” Jindra said.
The hope to help UAA like he did ND is partially why Jindra chose to move out of the mid-west for the first time in his life, according to an excited Jindra.
This job is one that will keep Jindra busy for his first Alaskan winter, but he is no stranger to time at the rink.
“Coming from a small town like Fairbaut, many times our parents would drop us off at the local outdoor rink where we would spend most of the day playing pickup games.” Jindra said, who is the youngest of three.
He doesn’t just play hockey though, he enjoys golf and lying back to watch a movie.
Jindra is someone who truly “loves” college athletics and the life lessons taught along the way.
“I know that my time at Notre Dame was the best four years of my life, and I’m excited to continue working in this environment helping young men reach their potential academically and athletically at UAA.”
Both Shyiak and Jindra believe he should slide smoothly into his position, however he has yet to get a reaction from the plays, as Jindra won’t be here until mid-July. “It shouldn’t be a problem, hockey is hockey and coaching is coaching.” Shyiak said.