The Bears made big moves during the offseason. Not only did they bring in 13 rookies, but also hired a new Head Coach in Devin Cox, who’s been leading the charge to playoffs.
Cox, who was promoted from assistant coach to head coach in March of 2023, is no stranger to Cal Ice Hockey. During his time at the University of California, Berkeley, he not only cemented himself as a valuable player on the team, but also served as Vice President, President, and Senior Advisor.
The team found assistant coaches in Cox’s former teammates Pravin Chandra and Darien Oliver, with Mark Arneson staying on. Cal’s three goaltenders–two of them rookies–look to Brad Martin for leadership.
“It’s been awesome having [Cox] here this season,” Cal Ice Hockey President and alternate captain Tyson Storr said. “The coaching staff have been very organized and have made practices engaging for all the players.”
These practices are obviously paying off. Since starting the 2023-24 season, the Bears have excelled to a 9-2-1 record without dropping a whole series to one team. The two regulation losses came from the University of Utah and San Jose State respectively, with an overtime defeat suffered at the hands of the Washington State Cougars. However, Cal picked up one win in both of those series’, splitting evenly.
Losses have been hard-fought, wins well-earned. Their most recent series saw the Bears face off against the UC San Diego Tritons. The games, played back-to-back, saw an astounding 29 goals in favor of Cal. Saturday’s score was a whopping 16-4, while rookie goaltender Charles Anaka picked up his first career win in Sunday's dominant 13-2 performance. Three newcomers–Mark Rejna, Bryan Bartolo, and Sean McAvoy–were joined by veteran Zachary Tam in recording hat tricks.
“[The coaching staff] have helped give us the ability to compete in every game,” Storr added.
Not only have the Bears been shattering records, as they currently hold the Pac-8’s No. 1 ranking, but also creating new traditions. This year, Cal hosted the first annual Halloween Face Off against USC, a tradition featuring the Cal Band and Oski that they will look to continue for years to come.
With rookies and veterans alike thriving under thoughtful coaches, the road ahead is bright for Cal Ice Hockey.