By Matt Gajtka
Moon Township — After building her own college program from scratch across the state, Robert Morris University alumna Jen Kindret has returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach on Paul Colontino’s staff.
Kindret, 30, has put together quite the coaching portfolio at a young age, boasting assistant coaching stints in NCAA Division III and Division I before she was hired as the first head women’s hockey coach in King’s College history three years ago.
Following two seasons at the helm of the D-III program in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the native of Winnipeg is eager to take the next step: Returning to D-I and the school where she impressed many with her smarts and savvy as a forward from 2009-13.
“We’re really excited to have Jen return to us,” said Colontino, who coached Kindret in her final two years as an RMU player. “She brings great leadership. She has all that experience from building a program from the ground up. She’s been very strong in the recruiting area. She brings a wealth of knowledge.”
Part of that knowledge is of the championship variety, as Kindret was part of the first RMU women’s hockey team to raise a banner at the Island Sports Center. As a junior, she helped the 2011-12 squad to the College Hockey America postseason title.
Following that, Kindret went on to assist at Pittsburgh’s Chatham University in 2013-14, then moved on to CHA member Lindenwood for two more seasons behind the bench. But the big moment for her was getting the call to create the fledgling King’s College program in the summer of 2016. After a year of recruiting and planning, the sports management major sent her first Monarchs squad over the boards in October 2017.
With two years of head coaching logged in her memory bank, Kindret will aim to augment a team that has won three consecutive CHA regular-season championships, including a postseason crown and inaugural NCAA tournament berth in 2017.
“I’m super excited and grateful for this opportunity from Coach Colontino,” Kindret said. “Not many coaches get the chance to coach at their alma mater. I’m an extremely proud alumna. It was a great experience and a great four years here. I’m excited to bring my experience to this current team. It’s about commitment to excellence here, and I’m eager to see where this program is continuing to go.”
“It was a tough decision to leave (King’s). It just shows how much I believe in RMU and what they’re trying to accomplish.”
Before leaving Pittsburgh for Lindenwood, Kindret served as an instructor for the Pittsburgh Penguins organization’s youth camps and clinics. She’s also assisted at the Edge of Excellence Skating Camps based in western Canada, so it’s safe to say she’s found her vocation.
“Coaching never feels like a job,” Kindret said with a smile. “It’s about the student-athletes and how they grow from the first day on campus, to when they leave as seniors. It’s about the people they become and how we influence and develop them.”
Kindret joins a staff anchored by Colontino, who returns for his ninth season leading the Colonials, plus associate head coach Logan Bittle (10th season) and director of operations Liam Cavanagh (third season).
Kindret will bring her own kind of continuity, as she can appreciate how far the program has come in 15 years, starting with some of its earliest successes.
“She’s an alumna and she’s a great person,” Colontino said. “You really couldn’t ask for more.”
Center Ice Clipboard: “I would like to thank Coach Kindret for her many positive contributions to the women’s ice hockey team and the athletics department during her three years at King’s”, said Cheryl Ish, the Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation. “The challenge of starting a program is a difficult one, but Jen showed class and tenacity while leading our program to many firsts. We wish her the best as she explores other professional opportunities and are confident that her successor will build upon her achievements with the women’s ice hockey program.”
Looking Back – RMU Athletics 10/02/2017 – RMU Women’s Hockey Promo…
Matt Gajtka is the Media Relations Specialist for Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Men’s and Women’s Hockey, and Women’s Lacrosse at Robert Morris University.