Former two-year Notre Dame captain, T.J. Jindra `07, returns to South Bend this season as he will serve as the hockey team's volunteer assistant coach.
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson made the announcement in August. Jindra wil take over from another former Notre Dame standout - Mike McNeill `88 - who has served as a volunteer assistant the past four years (2006-10).
In making the announcement, Jackson said, "T.J. has worked hard the last two years at Shattuck St. Mary's to obtain coaching experience to prepare for this move. It's something that he's wanted to do, but he wanted to wait until the last class that he played with graduated. Mike (O'Neill) has graciously stepped aside to allow T.J. the opportunity to pursue his coaching dreams."
"T.J. was instrumental as a captain and as a leader in the transition that helped us become a championship-caliber program in his final two seasons (2005-07). He had a lot to do with the change in the culture and the foundation of what we started. He will be valuable in his ability to relate with the players and help them understand what's important, in what it takes for us to have success," added Jackson who begins his sixth season behind the Notre Dame bench.
McNeill, who's full-time job is the director of hockey operations at The Ice Box, a South Bend-area rink, also is involved with USA Hockey, serving on the Youth Council's Executive Committee. He joined Jackson's staff to start the 2006-07 season.
"Mike is a permanent member of our family as an alum and I can't say enough about the great job he did for us as our volunteer assistant coach," said Jackson.
"We appreciate all that he has done and conceivably he could be back with us in the future. Mike was a huge part of our program and the success that we achieved over the last four years. I appreciate his dedication to the program, especially since he has a full-time job and a family."
Jindra returns to Notre Dame after spending the last two seasons at Shattuck St. Mary's Prep School in his hometown of Faribault, Minn., where he was the Boys Prep Assistant Coach. In his two seasons with the Sabres, Shattuck was 82-23-13 and advanced to USA Hockey's Tier I National Tournament, losing in the quarterfinals both years.
At Notre Dame, the 27-year old Jindra played in 150 career games, scoring 12 goals with 24 assists for 36 points. A strong, two-way player with the Irish, Jindra was a defensive-minded forward who was one of the CCHA's top penalty killers and a top shot blocker during his career. His top season offensively came in his freshman year when he had four goals and six assists for 10 points and helped the Irish to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
Where Jindra excelled was in the leadership department on and off the ice. A team captain in his final year of junior hockey with the Omaha/River City Lancers in the USHL, Jindra served as the Irish team captain in each of head coach Jeff Jackson's first two seasons behind the Irish bench. As a junior, in 2005-06, he is credited with helping change the culture of the Notre Dame hockey program. In his senior year, he helped lead the Irish to a school-record 32 wins and the program's first-ever CCHA regular-season and tournament championship.
Jindra graduated from Notre Dame in May of 2007 with an accountancy degree from the Mendoza College of Business. He worked for a year for the Walsh Group, a Chicago-based construction contractor.