Photo: Courtesy of The Blog of the Brotherhood
It’s getting hot in Miami…of Ohio. Head Coach Enrico Blasi, a protege of Denver’s George Gwozdecky is under fire. Blasi, a former Redhawk player and DU assistant was hired to coach Miami in 1999, when he was only 27. Blasi got off to a fast start in the CCHA but recent results have caused a rift among the Miami faithful ( ‘the Brotherhood’) who recognize Blasi’s past accomplishments but bristle at the results from recent seasons by the Redhawks. Overall, Blasi was 387-288-72 before this season.
Most of Blasi’s success came in the CCHA . During the 2005-2006 season, Blasi became the winningest head coach in school history, surpassing coaching legend Steve Cady. The 2008-2009 season was their greatest season ever when the made it to the national title game only to fall 4-3 to Boston University in OT after an epic collapse in the final minutes. The collapse allowed the Terriers to even the game and eventually snatch the title from the RedHawks’ talons.
Blasi signed a 10-year extension in 2013 following speculation that he was a candidate to replace George Gwozdecky at Denver. And since then, well, the Redhawks have struggled but Enrico is still relatively safe until his current contract expires in four years – despite the local grumbling about their recent performance.
Since joining the NCHC in 2014-2015, Miami’s fortunes have crumbled averaging just eight conference wins per season and winning percentages of .638, .458, .347, .333.
This past offseason was particularly tumultuous, with the departure of two assistants, Brent Brekke and Nick Petraglia, and 11 players. Blasi brought in University of Nebraska Omaha assistant coach and former Pioneer Peter Mannino to “build a a new culture, a new environment in the locker room.” But the results have been largely the same. Earlier this season, the RedHawks needed a win to snap a nine-game losing streak and a 15-game winless streak. They got it by way of a 4-2 victory over the University of Nebraska Omaha. The last time Miami hockey had been winless for more than 15 games in a row was during the 1990-91 season. Now, they sit at 10-16-4 – and, barring a miracle, it’s yet another year outside the Frozen Faceoff and the NCAA Tournament.
The widely-respected Blasi has three more seasons under his current contract to get the Redhawks on track before there are serious discussions in Oxford, Ohio to make a coaching change.