WALPOLE, MA -- This past Friday, the Express Hockey Club officially announced the return of Nic Cota as the program's new Head Coach for their team in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL). The former defenseman spent two years with the Express (2012-14), serving as the team's captain back in the 2013-14 season, the inaugural campaign of the EHL.
Cota spent two seasons in Walpole as a player, serving as the captain of the Express back in the 2013-14 campaign.
“Growing up, playing college hockey was always ‘the dream’ and after many years of hard work, I was fortunate enough to see my dreams become my reality,” said Cota. “Before getting there, I spent two seasons playing for the Express, which ultimately I believe, is what lead me to play at the collegiate level. When the opportunity presented itself for me to coach the Express, all I could think was ‘Wow, what a full circle moment’.”
Full circle indeed, as this fall will mark the start of Cota's fifth season of coaching Junior hockey in the Northeast.
“Having Junior coaching experience under his belt, and the experience of playing his Junior hockey in our organization, Nic knows what it takes to help players get to the next level,” said Express general manager Todd Stirling. “He has been both an assistant & head coach at the Tier III level and has shown in New England that he can lead a team to great heights. I am confident that the players will be in good hands with Coach Cota."
After two years with the Express, Josh Holmstrom has earned a coaching job at a top Division I school. Holmstrom vacates the position after having guided the Express to the EHL Championship Game this past March.
Stirling went on to thank Holmstrom for his contributions to the Express program.
“He was elevated to the Head Coach position this past season and proved he was up to the task," added Stirling. "He helped eight guys commit to college and was instrumental in the championship run the team went on. We want to thank Josh for everything and wish him all the best in the college ranks.”
Coach Holmstrom will remember his time in Walpole as a success, because of more than just the playoff run his team went on to Providence.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of what we accomplished last season. We had a great group of guys that battled all the way to the end,” said Holmstrom. “I wish Nic and the team the best of luck. I will definitely be following along all year.”
This fall marks the start of the 10th season in EHL history, with six of the 19 teams having been along for the ride since the league's inception back in 2013. For the Express, they are one of those 'Original 6' franchises, and they will continue to chug along with what appears like it will be a smooth transition with the program's new, but very familiar, Head Coach.
“I truly couldn’t be more thankful to be here,” added Cota. "I look forward to helping grow and develop the future of the young men who are looking to make their dreams a reality."