VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds women's hockey program is proud to introduce Mike Sommer as the team's full-time assistant coach. A native of White Rock, B.C., Sommer takes over from Kim Coates, who is on a leave of absence.
"This is a very talented team with a strong work ethic and I am thrilled about joining the coaching staff and the Thunderbird family," said Sommer. "It has been an exciting process getting to know the team on and off the ice and look forward to the season ahead."
"Mike is extremely enthusiastic about teaching the game of hockey," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. "He is professional, knowledgeable and is an excellent fit within our team environment. Mike strives to make himself and the people around him better on a daily basis.
"He loves to compete - the energy and passion he brings to the rink each day are contagious and we look forward to an exciting year."
Sommer has been a Lead Skill Development Instructor at Leslie Global Sports in Vancouver since April 2013 and currently also holds the title of Assistant Director.
In this role, he works with approximately 1,500 female and male hockey players a year, including those in the Vancouver Angels and Surrey Falcons female skill development and coaching mentorship programs.
Sommer is also a High Performance Hockey Lead Instructor at the Richmond Olympic Oval and a recruiter and instructor at the West Coast Hockey Prep Camp.
He returned to the Lower Mainland in March 2013 after spending two years helping build the sport in New Zealand.
Sommer served as an assistant coach with New Zealand's Under-20 men's national team from September 2012 to February 2013. In that time, the team claimed back-to-back bronze medals at the IIHF U-20 World Championship Div. III.
From May 2011 to March 2013, he was the Director of Hockey Development at the Queenstown Ice Hockey Club, developing and executing a curriculum for youth players and instructing the club's coaches.
As a player, Sommer, a product of Semiahmoo Minor Hockey, suited up as a defenceman for the Delta Ice Hawks and Grandview Steelers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League, before moving overseas, where he played for the Southern Stampede of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League from 2011 to 2013.
UBC is also adding Brendan Metz as the team's assistant goaltending coach.
"We are very excited to welcome these outstanding coaches to our Thunderbird staff," said Thomas. "These two character coaches are a great fit with our existing staff and team. We look forward to working with them."
Metz, a Richmond native, brings over three decades of playing and coaching experience to the Thunderbirds program and has instructed goaltenders at all levels, ranging from those in Major Midget to ones playing in the National Hockey League.
"Brendan is a very dedicated and knowledgeable goalie coach," remarked Thomas. "He brings a very focused, calming approach to the goalies and the rest of the team. Metz is no stranger to our current staff as he works with both Barb and Pasco. Brendan has also worked skill sessions for numerous organizations in Vancouver with Mike and myself.
"He will bring us a lot of experience, expertise and commitment. Metz cares deeply about the athletes he works with and our goalies will definitely benefit from his leadership."
For the past three years, Metz has instructed at every level of Elite Goalies camps – including the exclusive Pro Mentorship Camp – working closely with UBC goaltending coach Pasco Valana, Mike Valley of the NHL's Dallas Stars and former NHL goaltender Alex Auld. Metz and Valana also led the goaltending segment of this year's Canucks Coaching Day in B.C.
Metz is also a head coach with the Richmond Ravens, which was named the BC Hockey Ice Hockey Association of the Year for 2011-12 and the PCAHA Ice Hockey Association of the Year for the 2010-11 season.
He recently served as head instructor for the Selects BC Goaltending Development Program and led the West Coast Prep Camp Female Goaltending sessions in Port Alberni the past two summers alongside UBC head coach Graham Thomas and T-Birds assistants Sommer and Barb Bilko.
In his playing days, Metz suited up for the Port Coquitlam Buckeroos and the Richmond Sockeyes, with which he won the 1991-92 Cyclone Taylor Cup championship.
IMAGE CREDIT: Wilson Wong/UBC Thunderbirds