The loss of hockey coach Hal Jordan is still fresh for Lewis-Palmer.
But rather than dwell on the past, the Rangers are instead looking toward the future. They have hired longtime assistant Kevin Margarucci as the new coach. Margarucci and athletic director Nick Baker confirmed the move to CHSAANow.com Saturday.
“I think it makes for an easy transition,” Margarucci said. “I know the program, I know the school and a lot of the returning players. It’ll make for some familiarity between me and the kids.”
Margarucci has been with Lewis-Palmer since 2006 and will provide a level of consistency to the team that Baker thought would be vital for the future of the program.
“He’s been with the program since its inception,” Baker said. “He was an assistant under two head coaches and he’s worked in a high school environment too. The fact that he’s worked with USA Hockey and he’s done some player development at the youth level.”
The Rangers went into the state playoffs as the No. 17 seed and came away with a 3-2 win over No. 16 Kent Denver in the first round.
But they ran into Regis Jesuit in the second round and fell 7-1 to end the season.
The hockey program at Lewis-Palmer is familiar with success. The team won back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011. Baker believes that under Margarucci, the team is capable of getting back to championship form.
“Being around a championship culture and being a part of it wasn’t a one and done thing,” Baker said. “He was a part of the entire process that made it to the Great 8, the Frozen 4, was a runner-up and then it was champions and champions. He went through the whole progression.”
On top of his duties now as coach of the Rangers, Margarucci also works with USA Hockey as the manager of player safety. He has also served as the athletic trainer at Lewis-Palmer.
He’s going to start getting the team together in Many and he’ll look to keep a little bit of what Jordan had installed systematically, but he also wants to throw in some new wrinkles.
“We’re going to run some different systems and do some different things,” he said. “But they know the way I coach and I know them and I think it will be easy.”