BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Bloomington Thunder announced on Friday that general manager and associate coach Dan Jewell has been named an assistant coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
A member of the coaching staff since the Thunder’s inaugural season in 2014-15, Jewell becomes the organization’s first coach to move onto the NCAA Division I coaching ranks.
“With the hockey offseason in full swing, now is the time of year when a lot of coaching positions become available. We’re excited to see Dan fill one of those openings and take the next step in his coaching career,” head coach Mike Watt said. "We wish him nothing but the best in the future."
Jewell joined the Thunder in 2014 as an assistant coach and ascended to his role of general manager and associate coach prior to being hired by RPI. While with the Thunder, Jewell had a hand in helping 25 players earn scholarships to play Division I college hockey. This past season, the Medford, New York, native served as assistant general manager and assistant coach and helped piece together a roster that included 21 players with NCAA Division I commitments.
Watt will assume the role of general manager in addition to his duties as head coach. The Seaforth, Ontario, native has played a key role on the Thunder's coaching staff over the last two seasons, gaining experience in nearly all aspects of hockey operations from game preparation and scouting to fulfilling all the team's video and statistical analysis needs. The 32nd overall pick in the 1994 NHL Draft, Watt also brings 10 years of professional playing experience to his roles with the Thunder, including five years experience in the NHL. A three-year standout forward at Michigan State, Watt also has first-hand knowledge of NCAA Division I hockey to help in cultivating the next stars of both college hockey and the NHL.
The Thunder have already begun the search for an assistant coach to complete the coaching staff for the 2017-18 season.
About the Thunder
The Bloomington Thunder are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the future talent of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2016-17 season, there were 108 active NHL players who were USHL alumni. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20-years-old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit bloomingtonthunder.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.