By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
The Muskegon Lumberjacks have filled their head coaching vacancy with the hiring of Todd Krygier.
Krygier, 47, played in the National Hockey League with the Washington Capitals and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. His last game in the NHL was a loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals with the Capitals.
Krygier was hired from a list of “dozens of candidates,” said team president Tim Taylor.
“Todd Krygier has been the driving force in the success of building teams and developing talent since he retired as a professional player in 2000,” Taylor said. “Todd has been where our student-athletes are and he accomplished what they are dreaming of.”
Most recently, Krygier was the head hockey coach at Novi High School. He is familiar with the Muskegon area after bringing his high school team to Muskegon for a tournament hosted by Reeths-Puffer High School. Krygier is friends with Rocket coach Eric Sikkenga.
“For me, it was making a transition of, how can I help and what is the best way to use my skills and experience from the NHL to the minor leagues, to the national team to college hockey,” Krygier said. “Who can I help the most to prepare for that?
Krygier comes to Muskegon after coaching youth hockey, high school hockey and travel hockey.
“I get them right before the USHL,” said Krygier. Now he’s looking forward to hitting the ice next week when the Lumberjacks’ training camp commences.
“I am into teaching and developing kids,” Krygier said. “It’s my way to pay back all the people who invested in me over the years.”
“It’s the right hire,” said Lumberjacks president Tim Taylor. “We want to be about the state of Michigan, we want nothing more than to have local grown, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Michigan-born players playing in Muskegon, Michigan in the USHL.”
Krygier is ready for his first USHL coaching job.
“I don’t feel uncomfortable or intimidated,” said Krygier. “I am more familiar with the NHL and the AHL and college hockey because that’s where I spent a lot of time. I went through junior hockey so I know what it’s all about.”
Krygier said his team would work hard, be gritty, and off the ice, make good choices.
“I’ve played in just about every system there is to play within,” he said. “And there are not too many systems that I haven’t coached. Nothing changes.”
A lot has happened in a big hurry for Krygier, who was hired Wednesday night and introduced as the Jacks’ coach on Thursday afternoon.
“It was been a whirlwind with an ownership change and a coaching change,” Krygier said. “I was hired (Wednesday) night, and being here today and getting ready for camp … this is part of the job. I’m looking forward to getting on the ice.
“I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity and I am thankful to Tim (Taylor) and the new ownership team in Muskegon for this opportunity,” Krygier said. “I could not be more impressed with Tim and the new ownership group and I am excited about the privilege, the honor and responsibility to further develop the skills and character of Muskegon Lumberjack student-athletes.
“We will compete with honor and integrity and we will do everything in our power to make the Muskegon community proud to be associated with the Muskegon Lumberjacks.”
Krygier received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut in 1987 and is married to Kim. They have five children: Brock (20), Natalie (18), Grace (14), Cole (12) and Christian (12).