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Former QU netminder returning home as coach
Jamie Holden has done all he can to learn and teach the game of hockey. As a player, he would take the system books home to study the forecheck and defensive zone systems. During the summer, he coached goalie camps, teaching 5-year old kids to players nearly 30 years old.
So when the 2005 Quinnipiac graduate learned last month that the Quinnipiac women’s hockey team was looking for an assistant coach, he didn’t hesitate to apply. Holden was officially named to the position Sept. 5, joining head coach Michael Barrett and assistant coach Lisa Giovanelli for the team’s second season in the ECAC.
“This is an opportunity with a program that’s growing and is continually getting better, and that’s something I want to be a part of,” Holden said.
Holden holds the Quinnipiac career records for saves (2,879), goals against average (2.49) and save percentage (.921). He also backstopped Quinnipiac to its first-ever NCAA appearance as a freshman in 2002.
Holden was well-known around the athletics department for his achievements on the ice, but Barrett said he always kept in contact with the women’s hockey team.
“There are certain guys that are more outgoing and personable and take an interest in what you’re doing,” Barrett said. “Jamie was one of those guys.”
In addition to working with the goaltenders, Holden will be responsible for all of the team’s video, including analyzing opponents and breaking down team video for individual instruction with the players.
Holden said being only a year removed from playing college hockey should help him relate to the players better. A biology major, Holden was named Atlantic Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year during his junior season.
“I took a lot of pride in the school side of it,” Holden said. “I know most of the faculty, and I think that’s going to help me in the position of just making everyone comfortable and getting through the year with as few bumps as possible.”
Holden played last season in the San Jose Sharks organization, splitting time between Cleveland (AHL) and Fresno (ECHL). The American Hockey League is the top developmental league for the NHL and is considered one level below the NHL. The ECHL is two levels below the NHL.
Holden won five of his first six AHL games and was named AHL Player of the Week on Nov. 6. When two of San Jose’s goaltenders returned from injuries, Holden was assigned to Fresno, where he went 20-7-5.
He played in all 18 of Fresno’s playoff games as the team reached the Northern Conference finals before losing in double overtime of game seven to Alaska, which went on to win the Kelly Cup championship.
“Looking back on my own individual season, I thought I did what I set out to do for my own individual goals,” Holden said.
Last season, Holden played on a two-way AHL-ECHL contract. He said he planned on signing a two-way NHL contract this season, but that fell through at the last minute.
“Unless you’re on that NHL contract, it’s hard to move up,” Holden said. “I set a timeline with myself, my family and my agent, that if I had fallen off that timeline, then it was time to look in other areas for other opportunities.”
If the opportunity at Quinnipiac hadn’t arisen, Holden said he would’ve gone back to playing in the AHL or ECHL again this season, but coaching at Quinnipiac is a better opportunity for his future.
“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and it’s an opportunity I got this summer that I couldn’t turn down,” Holden said.