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Saratoga hockey coach Torres will not return

Saratoga hockey coach Torres will not return

State title winner wanted one more season
Saratoga hockey coach Torres will not return
Dave Torres led Saratoga to a state hockey title in 2013.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

A state championship-winning ice hockey coach will not be returning to the Saratoga Springs High School bench come this winter season.

Dave Torres, who served as the Blue Streaks varsity co-head coach with Tim Horst last season, was informed by school administrators that he would not be brought back after putting in an application to continue his stint with the program.

Horst also applied for the position and is expected to be named the head coach at the Saratoga Springs City School District Board of Education meeting Aug. 22.

"Both Dave and Tim expressed interest to be the head coach," Saratoga athletic director Nick McPartland said. "The teacher contract gives certain applicants preference."

Horst works in the business department as a computer science teacher at Maple Avenue Middle School in the Saratoga Springs School District. Torres retired in July 2018 after serving 28 years as the district's attendance officer.

"Under the teacher contract, when I retired, I lost my good standing," Torres said. "It wasn't my choice. I wanted one more year. The teacher contract states he [Horst] gets it over me. A teacher has first preference."

"Our coaching recommendations all go through the athletics office," McPartland said.

Horst and Torres led the Blue Streaks to a 15-6-0 record during the 2018-19 season, which ended with a 4-3 overtime loss to Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa in the sectional quarterfinals.

"We had a good season, although it didn't end the way we wanted," Horst said. "The kids worked hard. The younger kids got some good experience. It's something to build on."

Horst did not get into specifics as to why he opted to take on the head coaching role in a solo capacity.

"I am really focused on moving forward," said the 40-year-old Horst, who played college hockey at New Hampshire. "It's a great program with a huge history. My focus is on the kids and the program."

Horst has an extensive hockey coaching background. His resume includes a stint at Albany Academy and he has worked with high school-age players at the USA Hockey National Development Camp. He also served as an assistant with the Skidmore men's team and the RPI women's team.

"Dave is more that an adequate coach. Same as Tim," McPartland said. "Our program will be in good hands."

"I'm just excited to get started in this historic program," Horst said. "I am going to try to keep it going in the right direction. That's my focus. I take it as a big responsibility."

Torres began his head coaching term at Saratoga in the 2011-12 season, and guided the Blue Streaks to a state championship the following season and a 22-3-1 record.

"I did not step down," the 57-year-old Torres said. "I wanted to stay one more year and coach the guys I brought up when they were freshmen. "

Torres led the Blue Streaks to four Capital District High School Hockey League regular season titles, four Section II crowns and four regional championships, the last of those coming in 2016 when they later bowed out in the state semifinals.

"We never focused on winning first," Torres said. "We wanted to build a family atmosphere. We focused on team building and chemistry, and the wins came as a result."

Following Saratoga's state title in 2013, Torres was selected the Division I Coach of the Year by the New York State High School Hockey Coaches Association. Additionally, Blue Streaks forward Tyler Bullard was named the Division I Player of the Year by the organization.

"You don't have a program without the kids," Torres said. "I coordinated and organized. They played the game."

Torres served as an assistant coach at Saratoga for several years before taking the lead role, and was on its staff when the Blue Streaks claimed their first state championship in 1999.

"I had an eight-year run. I had a great run," said Torres, who put together a 121-52-10 record with the Blue Streaks. "We put Saratoga back on the map with a bunch of good kids."

MORE COACHING MOVES

Alaina Lange has stepped down as Schalmont High School's varsity girls' soccer coach and has taken the same position at fellow Colonial Council member Lansingburgh.

Lange, who was approved unanimously by the Lansingburgh school board at its May 29 meeting, guided the Sabres for six seasons, which included an unbeaten state championship run 2015.

"She was a great coach for us," Schalmont athletic director Matt Ronca said. "She did a great job of getting them ready for college, instilling discipline. I know she will do a great job at Lansingburgh. She will be missed."

Schalmont put together a 112-7-3 record with Lange in charge, and reached five Section II Class B championship games. Four of those teams won area titles, and the 2015 edition claimed the state title while going 24-0. Lange was named the Class B Coach of the Year afterward by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports.

Schalmont finished 17-2-1 last season after a 4-3 in double overtime loss to Holy Names in the Section II Class B final.

Lange led her first Schalmont edition to a Section II championship and 20-1 record in 2013, and Schalmont strung three Section II titles from 2015-17.

Lange did not return calls from The Daily Gazette seeking comment.

Ryan Fries, a Schalmont physical education teacher, has been tabbed as the high school's new varsity girls' soccer coach. Fries led the Schalmont modified boys' soccer team last fall.

Numerous coaching moves have taken place over the past few months. Mike Grasso was named Niskayuna's new varsity boys' basketball coach, and former Mohonasen boys' basketball coach Josh Peck has taken the same position at Shaker. Bob Leto, Jim Robare and Sean Thompson were among Section II's new varsity football coaches named, at Scotia-Glenville, Gloversville and Fonda-Fultonville, respectively.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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