Sept. 12, 2013
Notre Dame, Ind. - Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson has announced that former Irish defenseman Brock Sheahan `08 will join his staff as a volunteer assistant coach for the 2013-14 season. Sheahan replaces Jason Nightingale who served as the team's volunteer assistant coach the last two seasons. Nightingale was hired by the Buffalo Sabres in August as a hockey data analyst on their coaching staff.
The 29-year old Sheahan returns to Notre Dame after playing professional hockey the past five years. He spent four seasons in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) playing one season with the Wheeling Nailers (2008-09), two seasons with the Cincinnati Cyclones (2009-11) and one with the Ontario (CA) Reign (2012-13). He also played one season in Germany with SC Riessersee (2011-12).
In making the announcement, Jackson said, "Having Brock (Sheahan) as our volunteer coach will be great; it's always good to have an alumnus of the program return. It will be similar to when T.J. Jindra came back."
"As a player, Brock was always willing to pay the price. He had a coaches' mindset from a players' perspective and was always willing to do the little things to be successful. He was a good student when he was playing and we are fortunate to replace Jason Nightingale, who did a great job for us the last two years, with someone like Brock. He will help our defensemen and help us with our leadership group, something he was a part of when he was here," added the Irish head coach.
A native of Lethbridge, Alta., Sheahan graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in finance from the Mendoza College of Business. He played for the Irish from 2004 to 2008 and was part of Notre Dame's first CCHA championship team in 2006-07 and first Frozen Four team the following year.
"I am excited to be back. It feels like home to me," said Sheahan.
"I spent four years here and made some great friends. We had some great teams and I met my wife here. I am really excited to be a part of this great coaching staff at Notre Dame."
During his Irish career, Sheahan played in 161 games, scoring four goals with 29 assists for 33 points. He collected 107 penalties for 220 minutes. A hard-nosed, tough defensive-minded defenseman, he was one of the leaders on two of the top defensive teams in the nation during his career. As a junior in `06-'07, he was fourth on the team with a +20 on a squad that led the nation in goals-against average with a 1.63 mark. That team went 32-7-3 on the way to the first CCHA regular-season and Mason Cup championships.
The following year as a senior, Sheahan helped the Irish to the Frozen Four championship game with a 27-16-4 record. The Irish gave up 2.10 goals-per game that year and he led them with a +21. He was selected as the winner of the William Donald Nyrop Award as that team's top defenseman.
"After I graduated, I knew I wanted to play pro hockey but the longer I was in it, I started to think that coaching is something that I would like to do," said Sheahan.
"I never saw myself as being one to sit behind a desk and have a nine-to-five job. As a player, I was always a student of the game. I learned a lot in my time in pro hockey and I know I have a lot to learn from the guys on the staff here."
Sheahan got his pro career started with the Wheeling Nailers where he was a teammate of former Irish goaltender David Brown `07. In his second season, he moved to Cincinnati where he spent two years with the Cyclones and in his first season, helped them to their second Kelly Cup championship (ECHL champs). In 2011-12 he played overseas in Germany for the second division team SC Riessersee before he closed his career last year, playing in California with the Ontario Reign (ECHL).
"The last couple of years, I have had a chance to accomplish some of my dreams. I wanted to play in Germany and got to do that, said Sheahan.
"I was in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and it was the most beautiful place in the world and I grew up an hour from the Rocky Mountains in Southern Alberta. Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany was my backyard in the German Alps. I had great teammates and got to live the German culture. It was a great experience."
Last season, Sheahan got to live out another dream as he got to play pro hockey with his younger brother, Brodie, with the Ontario Reign in Ontario, Calif.
"Growing up, we never really played together," said Sheahan.
"I was older than him and the last time we actually were on the same team together was when I was nine and he was seven, so it was another dream come true. My wife, Ashley, came out to live there and we had three other players from my hometown of Lethbridge, Alta., on the team, so we had a great experience. I didn't know it was going to be my last year playing, but I am glad that was the way I it turned out."
Sheahan is ready to make the move from player to coach and is excited about the chance in front of him this season.
"I've was always an older player even when I came here after being out of high school for two years," explains Sheahan.
"I always enjoyed having the chance to work with younger players. I learned a lot from my coach last year in California - Mark Hardy. He coached in the NHL after playing there 15 years. He was a defenseman and I tried to learn as much as I could. That is something that I always did, no matter where I played - just try to pick up different ways to play the game. I have notes that I have taken over the years with drills I liked, things like that."
"I could have played another year, but when I heard that Jason (Nightingale) might be leaving, I thought this was too good an opportunity to pass up," said Sheahan.
"College coaching is something that I want to do and this is the best way for me to do it personally. It's great to be able to come back and do it at a place that I absolutely love."