July 28, 2010


Courtesy of Yale Athletics

NEW HAVEN, Conn. –
Joakim Flygh, who has been to the NCAA Tournament in five of the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth, has been named Yale’s head women’s ice hockey coach. Yale Director of Athletics Tom Beckett made the announcement Wednesday. Flygh’s nine-year career as an assistant coach has been marked by consistent success; teams he has coached for have a combined winning percentage of .701 (176-69-21) and he has been a part of six seasons of 20 or more wins.

“We are thrilled to have Joakim taking over our women’s hockey program,” said Beckett. “He has helped two programs become national powers while honing his coaching skills under the great leadership of Katey Stone (Harvard) and Shannon Miller (UMD).”

Flygh (whose name is pronounced YOU-a-keem FLEEG) is the 10th coach in Yale women’s ice hockey history. He comes to Yale after three seasons as an assistant at Harvard. There, he helped the Crimson to a 71-20-8 overall record, two NCAA tournament appearances, two ECAC Hockey regular season championships, two Beanpot tournament championships and one ECAC Hockey tournament championship. He was a part of Harvard’s perfect 22-0-0 ECAC Hockey regular season in 2007-08, the same year the Crimson advanced to the NCAA’s Frozen Four.

“It is a tremendous honor for me to be named the 10th head coach for women's hockey at Yale,” said Flygh. “I am thrilled to join the Bulldog community that has been very welcoming to both me and my wife.  I am grateful to Athletic Director Tom Beckett, to Senior Associate Director Wayne Dean, and to the entire search committee for giving me the opportunity to lead the Bulldog women's hockey team in the future. I am excited to be a part of Yale University, where there is a wonderful tradition of academic excellence and where there is a rich history in athletics.  I am impressed with and pleased by the support that is in place to have a very successful women's hockey program.  I am looking forward to working with our staff to ensure that we are competitive at the highest level and that the college hockey experience is truly enjoyable for our student-athletes.”

Flygh had a pair of stints leading Harvard while head coach Katey Stone was away coaching for USA Hockey. The Crimson went 4-0-1 in those games. His primary coaching responsibilities included working with the defense and the penalty-killing unit. Harvard was ranked in the top four in the country in scoring defense each year that Flygh was there, and led the nation in that category in 2007-08 (1.00 goals per game). Harvard was also ranked in the top six in penalty killing each year that Flygh was there.

Flygh’s off-ice responsibilities with the Crimson included coordinating recruiting, monitoring the squad’s academic progress and acting as a liaison between the team and the school’s admissions office.

At his two recent assistant coaching stops, Flygh has worked with two of the top five active coaches in career victories in the NCAA. Stone (339) is second and Miller (291) is fifth. He has helped coach seven All-Americans and a Patty Kazmaier Award winner.

“I would like to thank two of my women's hockey coaching mentors -- Katey Stone from Harvard and Shannon Miller from the University of Minnesota-Duluth,” Flygh said. “I have learned a lot about building and maintaining successful programs from these women and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to coach with them.”  

Flygh served as an assistant coach at Minnesota-Duluth for three seasons, working with the defense and penalty killing unit. The Bulldogs made the NCAA tournament every year that he was there. They advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game in 2007 and posted an overall record of 72-26-9.

Over Flygh’s tenure, UMD ranked fourth nationally in goals allowed per game and third in penalty killing. During his first season in 2004-05, the UMD penalty kill unit allowed just 16 goals in 206 power plays, leading the country with a 92.2-percent efficiency.

Flygh began his coaching career at his alma mater, New England College, as a graduate assistant with the men’s ice hockey team in 2001-02. He helped the Pilgrims to a 53-23-4 record and three second-place finishes in three seasons before moving on to Minnesota-Duluth.

As a player for New England, Flygh was the Pilgrims’ defensive player of the year. He went on to play professional hockey in Sweden for the Lysekil Vikings.

A native of Tyringe, Sweden, Flygh graduated from New England College with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2000. He earned a master’s degree in organizational management from New England in 2002. He is married to Angela Francisco Flygh, a 2001 Harvard graduate and former Crimson women’s ice hockey captain.