By Kyle Prudhomme | @Kyle_Prudhomme
Mike Bailey’s passion for the sport of ice hockey can be heard through his voice when discussing his new gig with Framingham State University.
If you know his hockey background, then it would be pretty easy to understand why he is very excited to be back at his alma mater coaching the same program he skated for from 1992-96.
“It is a dream job to represent Framingham State, a school that has given me so much,” said Bailey, who graduated in 1996, but was previously an assistant for the program for the past two seasons.
“I have a lot of pressure from the guys I played with up to the administration to represent the school the best I can, but I would like to return it (to where it was when I was a student-athlete) and guide the players not only in hockey, but with their education and ability to get a good job (after they graduate).”
As a student-athlete, Bailey competed for Guy Angers – the squad’s former bench boss for the past two years, as well as from 1990-96 – and led the Rams to a trio of ECAC Tournament appearances, including a semifinal contest during the 1994-95 season.
Angers, in case you don’t know, ranks second in wins in program history behind Jack Tannar, who was the first coach to guide the Rams from 1971-1980 (1971 marked the program’s first time they skated in a varsity contest). Tannar would lead the Rams to 129 wins in nine seasons, including an ECAC Championship victory over Trinity College in 1979.
Framingham State has not won a championship since stunning the Bantams, 4-3, in Natick in 1979, but perhaps Bailey could enjoy similar success behind the bench, if not this season, very soon.
“The way I see it is we will have some growing pains. There are a lot of kids who it will be their first year (playing college hockey), so I am going to allow them to make mistakes, while providing an atmosphere where they can have the most success without having to worry about being benched,” said Bailey.
The Rams maybe a young team on paper, but they should certainly look a lot different than they do currently come next January and February.
In the meantime, the Rams appear focused on doing the best they can against Suffolk University this Saturday, October 20th when the two schools collide in an exhibition match before the Black and Gold host Post University roughly two weeks later for their initial game of the 2017-18 season on Thursday, November 1st at 7:30 p.m.
Bailey’s approach for the upcoming season is cognizant of the bigger picture of the program. Of course, winning immediately would be fantastic, but the first-year coach knows it is a process and is going to take some time to become the program he imagines the Rams will become in the future.
“I like to think (of us) as an up and coming (team),” he said. “We are going have some growing pains, there is no doubt based on all the underclassman in our lineup, but I guarantee every night that the other team will know they are in a game (with us). It’s not going to happen overnight, but we are headed in the right direction.
“We are a very young team, but I feel we are a better team based on the kids we brought in and the maturity shown by our sophomores and juniors, (who were first-years and sophomore last winter).”
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