Aldergrove’s Sarah Potomak is coming home.
Trinity Western’s women’s hockey team has announced the hiring of the former Team Canada forward as an assistant coach, with the former University of Minnesota star joining the TWU Spartans as they enter Canada West and U SPORTS this fall.
Potomak, who led the University of Minnesota in scoring this past year with 19 goals and 27 assists in 36 games, comes to TWU as an assistant under head coach Jean Laforest, but will continue to train as a player as she pursues her Olympic dream with Canada’s national team.
She plans to play with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), which features regionalized training hubs and showcase events. Potomak will also be studying to earn her master’s degree in leadership and education.
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“Sarah is an extremely valuable addition to our program on many fronts,” Laforest said.
“She’s someone who will be a role model for our athletes and is someone who has just recently gone through exactly what they will be going through.”
Potomak called it a “perfect opportunity.”
“I’m looking forward to learning a ton and being part of a team in a different way. The fact that it is a brand new program is going to be a really cool experience to build a team and the culture of the team at TWU.”
She recently finished a four-year career with the University of Minnesota, combining for 65 goals and 114 assists in 145 career games. She capped her NCAA career by being named a WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) Scholar-Athlete and WCHA All-Academic Team honoree, while finishing the 2019-20 season sixth in the WCHA in points and first in the WCHA (6th in the nation) with a +39 plus/minus rating.
Internationally, Potomak has regularly been part of Hockey Canada’s senior team for the last five years, with her Team Canada career highlighted by winning a silver medal at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship. She was also part of Canada’s centralized National Women’s Team during the 2017-18 season and was named to the national team for the 2018 Four Nations Cup, but was unable to participate due to injury.
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“I think having a lot of experience at different levels is going to help me as a coach,” Potomak said. “I think that continuing to be a player is going to help me as a coach and being a coach is going to help me as a player because it’ll give me different perspectives.”
As a freshman at the University of Minnesota, in 2015-16, Potomak was the National Rookie of the Year, USCHO Rookie of the Year and WCHA Rookie of the Year and was instrumental in the Gophers winning the NCAA national championship, as she was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Frozen Four.
Potomak will help lead a TWU team that will be an almost entirely new roster, as the Spartans side is being elevated to Canada West and U SPORTS after previously playing as a non-varsity team in the South Coast Women’s Hockey League.
Potomak joins her brother, Brandon Potomak, at TWU, as he will enter his fourth year as a Spartan with the men’s hockey team this fall. Her sister, Amy Potomak, who also has experience with Team Canada, will be entering her third year of eligibility this fall with the University of Minnesota.