Hockey has taken Kevin Moore all over the world, and Duluth is his latest stop.
The 31-year-old Moore, who was named Thursday as the St. Scholastica men’s hockey coach, is a former collegiate goaltender who spent the last two seasons as an assistant at Adrian (Mich.) College, one of the Saints’ Northern Collegiate Hockey Association rivals.
Before that, he spent time at a camp in Beijing, teaching Chinese players the art of goaltending.
“At different times, we needed translators and that was a challenge, but when I had to talk with the goalies we didn’t need a translator because goalie is its own language,” Moore said Thursday by phone from Adrian. “Hockey is a global game and it’s neat for me to be able to spread the sport that I love to different kids from different cultures.”
Now, he will be teaching players he was trying to help defeat a season ago. Moore replaces Tim Madsen, who stepped down in April to pursue other opportunities, to become the school’s 11th coach.
While impressed with the quality and hard-working nature of the Saints, he also knows there were deficiencies on a team that went 9-17-1 overall and 5-14-1 in the NCHA.
“Digging through video of last season, they were very inconsistent with their habits,” Moore said. “Little things like their stick position and overpursuing. I think I do a good job of communicating that and holding guys accountable.
“I pride myself on coaching players who do things the right way and who are consistent, but who also aren’t afraid to fail. Our guys are going to realize that I’m going to be very hard on them and push them out of their comfort zones so they can be the best version of themselves.”
Those characteristics are part of the reason Moore was chosen by the St. Scholastica search committee.
“We received (positive) feedback about his ability to relate to the student-athletes and also he understood that while the development piece on the ice is extremely important, the development piece off the ice is important as well,” Saints athletic director Franco Bari said by phone from New York. “That falls in line with our values at the College of St. Scholastica.”
Bari said he was impressed by Moore being a part of winning programs at Adrian and NCAA Division I Princeton, where he spent two years as director of hockey operations and coached goalies, and also by his cerebral and analytical approach to the game.
“One of the main things we were looking for was someone with a really strong character,” Bari said. “We were fortunate to have had a very qualified pool and all the candidates checked that box. The one thing that was impressive with Kevin was not just his involvement with other programs, but how he impacted those programs was absolutely remarkable.”
Princeton made a remarkable run through the Eastern College Athletic Conference playoffs in 2018, reaching the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed, while Adrian won the NCHA regular-season and postseason titles last winter before the COVID-19 pandemic ended their season at the onset of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Now Moore hopes to have the same success in Duluth.
“First and foremost, it was the school itself and the community of Duluth,” Moore said of what attracted him to the position. “I think Duluth is the premier hockey city in Division III. I don’t think it gets any better than that.”
The native of Belle Mead, New Jersey, was a goaltender at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and graduated in 2012. He immediately entered into the coaching field, with stops as goalie coach at the University of New Hampshire and a New Hampshire junior team.
He also was part of USA Hockey National Player Development selection camps and served on the USA Hockey U-18 coaching staff at the 2019 Hlinka/Gretzky Cup.
“I got into coaching when I finished playing because I loved to mentor people and loved to help them make connections between life and hockey,” Moore said.
Moore’s first steps as coach will be dictated by the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to confront that head-on, like any other issue.
“You have to acknowledge it and recognize the adversity and problem solve it,” he said. “It’s my role to guide them positively and remind them that we’re all in this together.”
Bari said that while more negative scenarios are being planned out, currently there are no restrictions for the upcoming season.
“At this point, we are full steam ahead and are planning for a full season until otherwise noted,” Bari said.