New hockey coach ready to fill some very big shoes

There’s a new coach on campus.

After a successful 27 year career as the SAIT Trojans men’s hockey coach, Ken Babey stepped down this past summer, opening the job up to a former player and former assistant coach, Dan Olsen, for the upcoming season.

Olsen, who coached alongside Babey for five seasons, and played Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) hockey himself during the 1986-87 season, believes he is ready to fill some very big shoes.

“I’ve learned a lot from Ken,” said Olsen in an interview on the eve of the new hockey season.

Olsen won back-to-back ACAC silver medals with Babey, as well as a Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) silver medal, and an additional ACAC bronze medal during their final year coaching together (1995).

Olsen hopes to continue on what Babey has built, and keep the winning reputation Babey forged at SAIT on track.

Despite being away from the collegiate level of hockey for several years, Olsen has not stopped coaching the game.

From 1997 to 2000, Olsen could be found in Germany coaching for numerous leagues as a head coach.

After his last year in Europe, he came back to Alberta to be head coach of the now defunct Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), for two seasons.

Since then, Olsen has coached with many different organizations and leagues, including various different age groups.

Most recently he led the Calgary Buffalo Hockey Associations (CBHA) minor midget AAA Rangers to the Southern Alberta Championship.

Olsen was also a coach in the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) tournament in 2012, in Calgary, and in the World Police and Fire Games, which was held in New York in 2011.

Before coaching, Olsen played for many years, most notably for the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Medicine Hat Tigers for three seasons (1978-1981), where he not only put up points as a defensemen, but was also not afraid to drop the mitts once in a while.

Olsen, as player and as a coach, is quite familiar with winning, and is no stranger to the league he is going to be coaching in.

“I’ve been around SAIT for a while, I know what the league is about,” said Olsen.

With what he feels is a similar philosophy to Babey’s, Olsen plans to build a hardworking and physical team that will take away opponents’ time and space on the ice.

“We’re going to wear teams down, use our size, and be physical.”

“We’re going to be like the L.A. Kings,” said Olsen with a smile.

But not only is the new mentor getting used to his team, the players have been getting accustomed to Olsen.

Riley Paterson, SAIT’s second leading scorer last season, feels it is still early on and the team and coaches are still in the process of getting to know each other.

“It’s a learning process,” explained Paterson in an interview.

“(We’re) just learning his style, and what he likes and doesn’t like.”

So far though, for Paterson, the new boss has made a really good impression.

“Both (Babey and Olsen) like hard work ethic,” said Paterson, who feels Olsen has definitely brought his own new style of coaching into the SAIT dressing room.

Asked what SAIT Trojan fans can expect from the team this season, Olsen promised a commitment to speed and scoring.

“I think we’re going to have a quick and skilled team, and we are going to be offensively strong,” said Olsen.

That doesn’t mean the team will neglect their own end of the ice, however.

Olsen believes the Trojans currently have 10 defensemen that could all play in this league based on their skills.

We’ve got some tough decisions to make. – Dan Olsen

Overall, Olsen was excited by what he saw in tryouts. With the addition of some players from the Western Hockey League (WHL) and his current crop of returning players from last year’s championship team, the Trojans should not lack leadership.

Get updated on upcoming Trojans sporting events at the SAIT Trojan’s site. 

About Luke Geddes 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Luke Geddes is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2014-2015 academic year.