Union women’s head coach Josh Sciba’s summer vacation will be ending a little early, but he doesn’t mind.
On Wednesday, Sciba was named an assistant coach for the United States women’s hockey team that will compete in the IIHF Women’s World Championship Aug, 25-Sept. 4 in Herning and Frederikshavn, Denmark.
Sciba will be working with head coach John Wroblewski, assistant coach Shelley Looney and goaltending coach Alli Altmann.
Naturally, Sciba is excited and happy to be part of the team.
“It’s humbling for sure,” Sciba said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Just to be part of it, it’s going to be an amazing experience. Just to work with the players and to learn from the staff. … I feel like every time you go there, you’ve learned so much from the whole staff, so it’s pretty cool. And then just working with the players competing for a gold medal. It’s a pretty cool experience.”
While Sciba is making his first appearance on the U.S. Women’s National Team staff, he is no stranger to working on the international level. Sciba was an assistant coach on the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2020 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia. He served in the same capacity for the 2019 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team after making his USA Hockey coaching debut in the 2018 Under-18 Series vs. Canada.
Sciba wasn’t sure if his previous international coaching experience played a role in him joining Wroblewski’s staff, but it certainly didn’t hurt.
“I can’t speak to what USA Hockey would do in terms of determining this,” Sciba said. “But I think certainly anytime that you can give back to USA Hockey [is good]. I’ve played with USA Hockey, I did summer camps every year, and I feel like it’s so important just to be around that environment. I think I’ve always told them that I’ll push pucks at any level just to be a part of all that stuff.
“It’s awesome just to be part of it, and now obviously, working my way up to the national team is certainly a goal for myself, and definitely something that I want to make sure that I’m going to give [it] my best effort.”
Sciba said it would be fun if he could be the head coach of the national team some day.
“When I feel like I’m prepared to be able to do that, I’d love to be able to do that eventually,” Sciba said. “But I think this is a goal for anybody. I think it’s like the players who want to go to national teams, I think coaches want to coach for their country and represent their country at the highest level. Anytime you can do that, it’s an absolute privilege.”
Sciba will first head to Buffalo on Aug. 7 for workouts. The team will head to Denmark about 10 days later.
Once the tournament is over, Sciba won’t have much time for a break. Shortly after he gets back, it will be time for the Dutchwomen to start preparing for the 2022-23 season. The Dutchwomen open the season Sept. 23 at New Hampshire.
“We’ll do some staff stuff before I take off probably here in July,” Sciba said. “We’re pretty much preparing all summer, and I think we’ve got that on course to make sure that we’re ready to welcome our players back. … When the girls get back, they come back probably around Aug. 30 or so, and we’ll get going on the ice probably when school starts. It’ll be a pretty easy transition. We’ll be well prepared by that time. So, when I step foot back on campus, it’ll be a seamless transition. We’re already ready to go. I’m not too worried about that. I’m more concerned about making sure our staff is ready to welcome them back, and I think we’ll take care of that through the next month or so.”
As far as replacing assistant head coach Breanne Wilson-Bennett, who recently left to play in the Premier Hockey Federation, Sciba said he hopes to have someone in place soon.
“We’re going to just be posting the job probably within the next week, and then I think it’ll go pretty quickly,” Sciba said. “Honestly, we’ve had some conversations with some people, but I think officially [it’ll] probably be about a good month to get everything situated here.”
CHEREPAK COMMITS TO RPI
Carson Cherepak, a goalie for the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, has committed to RPI for this season.
Cherepak posted a 30-7 record with a 2.21 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and six shutouts. He won the Ed Belfour Award as the league’s top goalie and was a first-team all-star. Cherepak was named the MJHL playoffs MVP in helping the team win the Turnbull Trophy.
Even though his team was eliminated in the semifinals of the Centennial Cup, which is Canada’s Junior A national tournament, Cherpak was named the tournament MVP and top goalie after posting a 1.19 GAA and a .961 save percentage in five games.