The Ohio State University will always be a football school but this year the men’s hockey team has started the season with a five game unbeaten streak. Much of the recent success of the hockey program can be traced to one guy, the head coach, Steve Rohlik.
Steve Rohlik has been a winner where ever he has been around hockey. Whether it be coaching or playing, success has followed him throughout his career.
Rohlik was a four year letter winner when he played at Wisconsin. Twice named the captain, he helped the Badgers win the 1990 NCAA Championship. He played 166 games during his time at Madison, compiling 34 goals and 47 assists. He was named the most competitive player on the team in 1990.
He started his coaching career at his high school alma mater, Hill-Murray High School, which is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. His coaching record was 107-2-1. In his five year with the program, the team made the Minnesota State High School Tournament twice. The tenure highlighted by a runner up finish in the 1993 Tier 1 event.
After two 1 year assistant coaching jobs at Wisconsin and Stillwater High School, Rohlik took over the upstart Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) program. He coached three seasons with the Mavericks. His time in Omaha was highlighted with the team’s first trip to the CCHA Championship Final in 2000.
From UNO, Rohlik spent the next ten seasons on the Minnesota Duluth coaching staff. A team known for its gritty and physical play, it was perfect match for Rohlik and his personality. The Bulldogs made the tournament twice and all the way to the Frozen Four once.
In 2010, Rohlik joined the Ohio State staff. He coached under Mark Osiecki, who was a former teammate of Rohlik when he was at Wisconsin. This lasted until 2013 when Osiecki was let go and Rohlik became the head coach.
The 2013-14 season was the first for Rohlik and the first for the Big Ten Hockey conference. Ohio State’s biggest win of the season came in the Big Ten Tournament when they upset #1 seed Minnesota. The Buckeyes almost won the championship but a furious comeback by the Badgers ended the dream.
The 2014-15 campaign started with a bang as the Buckeyes upset the eventual National Champions, Providence, 5-4 in OT. The team finished strong, going 7-4-1 in the last 12 games. The Buckeyes made it to the Big Ten Conference semifinals before being bounced by the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Last year, Rohlik and the Buckeyes had a tough start to the season but they did not give up hope. The team got things on track with a trip to the Florida College Classic. The Buckeyes upset Boston College 3-2 and then destroyed Cornell 8-3 to win the tournament. They finished the year undefeated in eight of their last nine games. They also were 3-1 on the season, against a highly ranked Michigan team.
Success has continued into this season, as Rohlik and the Buckeyes have a five game unbeaten streak to start the season. They started off with a huge upset of #3 Denver, who made it to the Frozen Four last season. They have added a shootout win over Miami (OH) and a sweep of Bowling Green to the 2016-17 resume. They are on the road against Niagara this weekend.
As you can see, Steve Rohlik has been a winner wherever he has coached. I believe at some point with his coaching, Ohio State will become a top ten hockey program. Right now, the sky is the limit for the Buckeyes, and hopefully that means an NCAA tournament appearance this year!
Steve Rohlik's Offical Bio - A great resource, used in the formation of this blog post.