Opening Faceoff: Union men’s hockey assistant coach Manastersky named Brock University men’s hockey head coach

TJ Manastersky is leaving his position as Union men's hockey assistant coach to become head coach of the Brock University men's hockey team in St. Cathariens, Ontario. (Union Athletics photo)

TJ Manastersky is leaving his position as Union men's hockey assistant coach to become head coach of the Brock University men's hockey team in St. Cathariens, Ontario. (Union Athletics photo)

TJ Manastersky won’t be returning to the Union College men’s hockey team as the Dutchmen’s second assistant coach under new head coach Josh Hauge.

But Manastersky isn’t going to be unemployed. Last Thursday, he was named the head coach of the Brock University Badgers men’s hockey team in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The Badgers play in U SPORTS, Canada’s governing body for college sports. Manastersky is familiar with U Sports. His father coached the York Lions, and he had uncles who played hockey for the Queens Gaels.

I’ve been a fan of U SPORTS my entire life,” Manastersky said in a press release. “The opportunity to coach at that level and pursue a national championship is a dream come true.”

Manastersky did not return a phone call from The Daily Gazette seeking comment. In a text message, Hauge said, “Really happy for TJ and I think he will do a great job at Brock. We wish him the best as a head coach and in his coaching career.”

Manastersky was hired by then-Union head coach Rick Bennett last June to fill the opening created when Jason Tapp left for Dartmouth after the 2019-20 season. The Dutchmen didn’t play in the 2020-21 season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to Union, Manastersky was the head coach at Curry College from 2012-21.

Manastersky, who recently served as an assistant coach for the Hungarian Under-18 national team at the World Championships, is heavily involved in social media. He started the website, which features links to a blog, his “Coaching Project” podcast, a newsletter and a YouTube channel.

“You can use social media as a tool,” Manastersky told The Daily Gazette shortly after he joined Union. “What I found is that it’s also a great way to learn. What sort of started for me getting into some of that media stuff was when the pandemic hit. I always had these thoughts of maybe I’ll do a podcast, and I’ve always enjoyed writing. I was an English major in college [at SUNY Oswego]. I had a little bit more time on my hands a year and a half ago when the pandemic really hit.”


Goalie Connor Murphy was named the Union men’s hockey Most Valuable Player at the team’s recent awards function.

Murphy, who is from Hudson Falls, started all 37 games in his first season with the Dutchmen after transferring from Northeastern. He posted a 14-18-3 record with a 2.66 goals against average, a .919 save percentage and three shutouts. He set a team single-season record by making 1,060 saves. He was third in the country in saves.

Six other awards were given out.

  • Josh Kosack, who won the Hockey Humanitarian Award in April, was named the winner of Charlie N. Morrison Award, given annually to a player who participates in extracurricular activities while demonstrating academic interest and achievement. Kosack raised over $45,000 for the COCOA House in Schenectady through his Kozi’s Kids Foundation. Kosack was also named the ECAC Hockey Student-Athlete of the Year in March.
  • The Scott Richardson Unsung Hero Memorial Award was given to seniors Ryan Sidorski and Fletcher Fineman. Sidorski, a defenseman, skated in 35 games this season and had three assists while logging over 20 minutes a game. Sidorski has one more year of eligibility and is transferring to North Dakota.

Fineman saw his senior campaign unexpectedly cut short, but stayed involved with the program, finding other ways to assist the team. 

  • Defenseman Brandon Estes won the Coaches Award. In his final season with the Dutchmen, Estes led the team in scoring with seven goals and 22 assists. He is the first Union defenseman to lead the team in scoring since Jeff Sproat in 1999-2000. Estes played in 10 games for the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners, who are coached by former Union player Jay Varady. Estes had three assists.
  • First-year defenseman Cullen Ferguson was named Rookie of the Year. Ferguson had 10 assists in 37 games, and he played more than 20 minutes a game in the second half of the season as his play improved.
  • Forward Liam Robertson won Most Improved Player. The second-year player Robertson led the Dutchmen with 13 goals and was fifth in points with 19. He led the team in power-play goals (eight), game-winning goals (five) and scoring the game’s first goal (eight).
  • Goalie Merek Pipes collected his third straight Thomas Van Arden Dukehart Academic Award, which goes to the player with the highest grade-point average.


Union men’s hockey head coach Josh Hauge continues to get player commitments for next season.

Hauge added three more players last weekend. They are forwards Chris Theodore, Josh Nixon and Ethan Benz.

Theodore and Nixon are transfers. Theodore played for American International. He was tied for third in scoring this past season with 10 goals and 29 assists in 35 games. He scored AIC’s first goal of the game a team-leading four times, and was tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals. He had a +10 defensive rating. Theodore has one year of eligibility remaining.

“Thanks To AIC for a great 4 years, I am excited to announce that I will be transferring to do my 5th year at Union College. Pumped to get things started and to be a Dutchmen,” Theodore tweeted last Saturday.

Nixon joins Union from Lake Superior State and will have three years of eligibility left. He had eight goals and 12 assists in 37 games. Nixon tormented the Dutchmen in an Oct. 23 game in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, when he collected a goal and three assists in the Lakers’ 5-2 victory over the Dutchmen. He had an assist in the Lakers’ 7-4 win over the Dutchmen the previous night.

Benz comes to Union from the North American Hockey League’s St. Cloud Norsemen. He had 21 goals and 30 assists in a combined 64 games for the Norseman and Chippewa Steel this past season. The Norseman acquired Benz in a trade late in the season.

“I am very thankful for the support and guidance from family, coaches, teammates and friends throughout my life and hockey career. I am excited to continue the journey and honored to announce my commitment to play Division 1 hockey and further my education at Union College,” Benz tweeted last Saturday.

Benz is the second player from the Norseman to commit to Union. Defenseman Nick Young is the other player.


Meanwhile, former Dutchmen forward Gabriel Seger has found a new place to play.

College Hockey Insider reported Thursday that Seger is transferring to ECAC Hockey rival Cornell. Seger was Union’s third-leading scorer this season with seven goals and 14 assists. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

In a weird way, Seger going to the Big Red sounds like the completion of a trade between Union and Cornell. The Dutchmen recently received a commitment from Cornell forward Ben Tupker, who, like Seger, has two years of eligibility left.

Seger is the second Dutchmen to transfer to another ECACH school. Forward Collin Graf is heading to Quinnipiac.


While we still wait for the Union men’s hockey schedule to be finalized, the Dutchwomen released their 2022-23 schedule Wednesday. And it will be a challenge.

The Dutchwomen open the season with a six-game road trip, starting Sept. 23-24 with two games at New Hampshire.

“We need to return some favors for some of the teams we played last year,” Union head coach Josh Sciba said Thursday. “We were at home quite a bit last year, so a lot of the teams we’re playing from a non-conference perspective are on the road this year. It’s going to be a challenge. It will be good for the kids to be immersed right into a road trip mentality. It’s good for the camaraderie of the group.”

That won’t be the only six-game road swing for the Dutchwomen. They have another one Dec. 8-Jan. 7.

The Dutchwomen will face RIT in their Messa Rink at Achilles Center opener Oct. 21 against RIT. They open ECACH play Oct. 28 at Clarkson. The Dutchwomen’s first conference game will be against Harvard on Nov. 4.

Union and RPI will tangle in conference games Nov. 11 at Houston Field House and Nov. 12 at Messa Rink. The Capital District Mayor’s Cup meeting at MVP Arena will take place Jan. 28.

Sciba said that assistant coach Breanne Wilson-Bennett is leaving the program to play in the Premier Hockey Federation.


Home games in CAPS

e-denotes ECAC Hockey game

Times TBD


23 — at New Hampshire; 24 — at New Hampshire; 30 — at Holy Cross.


1 — at Holy Cross; 7 — at Providence; 8 — at Boston U.; 21 — RIT; 22 — RIT; e-28 — at Clarkson; e-29 — at St. Lawrence.


e-4 — HARVARD; e-5 — DARTMOUTH; e-11 — at RPI; e-12 — RPI.


e-2 — QUINNIPIAC; e-3 — PRINCETON; e-9 — at Brown; e-10 — at Yale; 16 — at Franklin Pierce; 17 — at Franklin Pierce.


e-6 — at Cornell; e-7 — at Colgate; e-13 — ST. LAWRENCE; e-14 — CLARKSON; e-20 — at Dartmouth; e-21 — at Harvard; 24 —SYRACUSE; 28 — vs. RPI in Capital District Mayor’s Cup at MVP Arena.


e-3 — YALE; e-4 — BROWN; e-10 — at Princeton; e-11 — at Quinnipiac; e-17 —COLGATE; e-18 — CORNELL.

Categories: College Sports, Sports, Union College

Leave a Reply