West officially takes over as head coach

It didn’t take too long for the “acting” tag to be removed, as Lance West was named UAH’s head hockey coach on Wednesday.

After over 20 years in the business, West finally is a permanent Division I head coach.

“I have spent 18 years either playing or coaching with the program, and I am very aware of and share the passion of our alumni and fan base for UAH hockey,” West said in UAH’s press release. “The challenges that lie ahead are tough, but I am excited to work together with the young men, staff and The University that have committed to making this a successful program.”

West, who was an assistant for the Chargers the last two seasons, was named the acting head coach on June 3 after the resignation of Mike Corbett.

Since then, West has been rebuilding the roster, which has seen significant turnover since the May 22 announcement that the program was cancelled. Several players have transferred even after the program was reinstated on May 29.

One of the biggest transfers was revealed Wednesday. Michigan Tech announced that Mark Sinclair, UAH’s top goaltender the last two seasons, will play his senior season with the Huskies.

Sinclair is the ninth player to transfer from UAH, including six of the seven top point-scorers from last season. Including five graduating players, UAH has lost 14 players.

West has been busy finding players. So far, 12 have committed to play for the Chargers this fall (pandemic permitting). Only one, Ayodele Adeniye, was on this spring’s original recruiting class before the program was cancelled and reinstated.

West served as an assistant coach for UAH for seven seasons under Doug Ross from 2000-07. The Chargers won two College Hockey America regular season championships (2001 and 2003) and one tournament championship (2007) during that time.

Then West moved to Fairbanks, becoming an assistant with the Alaska Nanooks for nine years. He was the interim head coach in 2017-18, recruiting many of the players who helped the Nanooks earn a winning record last season.

West was a Charger winger from 1991-95. He scored 45 goals and 68 assists for 113 points, tying him for 15th in UAH varsity history.

West becomes the Chargers’ sixth varsity head hockey coach, and the first UAH alum to be head hockey coach.

Recent commitments:

Jonah Alexander, a forward from Toronto, was a first-team OJHL all-star after a 78-point season with the St. Michael’s Buzzers.

Josh Corrow is a defenseman from New Port Richey, Fla. He was most recently the alternate captain for the Whitecourt Wolves of the AJHL, notching 15 assists in 57 regular-season games.

Noah Finstrom, a forward from New Baltimore, Mich., spent the last two seasons with Jamestown of the NHL. He had 42 points in 54 games with the Rebels last season.

Quinn Green from West Chicago comes to Huntsville after back-to-back 39-point seasons with Topeka of the NAHL.

Michael Heneghan, a defenseman, had 37 points in 48 games with the Northeast Generals (NAHL) last season. Neutral Zone had him ranked 30th among uncommitted players born in 1999 and 174th in North America.

Derek Krall is a goaltender from Crofton, B.C. He had a .917 save percentage and 2.62 goals against average in 30 regular-season games with the Powell River Kings of the BCHL.

Nick Michel of Waconia, Minn. had seven goals in 32 games with Janesville of the NAHL last season.

Bennett Stockdale, a right wing from Ottawa, switched his commitment from Division III Geneseo to UAH. The alternate captain for Johnstown (NAHL) had 42 points in 50 games last season.