This summer the women’s ice hockey team welcomed a new addition to the coaching staff. Former graduate-assistant, Kevin Salinas, became the new assistant coach, leaving an opening in his previous position. NEC Women’s Ice Hockey is happy to welcome Cassidy Vinkle as their new graduate-assistant coach.
Vinkle comes from Belleville, Ontario, where she started playing ice hockey at the age of 4. Located halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, Belleville’s population is roughly 50,720 people, compared to Henniker’s 4,933 residents. She played for the Belleville Bobcats until her junior year of high school, when she then joined the PWHL (Provincial Women’s Hockey League) playing for the Whitby Jr. Wolves.
Our small town of Henniker is similar to Vinkle’s college town of Potsdam, New York, where she attended Clarkson University. There she played for their division one women’s ice hockey team, and won 2 back-to-back NCAA National Championships. “My four years at Clarkson were amazing. Being able to get a great education and play a high level of hockey was a dream come true,” said Vinkle. “I will always treasure the memories and friendships I made.”
From playing at a small school, to coaching at a small school, Vinkle enjoys the small-town feel of both schools and stresses the importance of being able to have a good relationship with professors, as well as recognizing faces around campus. Coming from such a successful program, Vinkle chose to come to NEC because, “I wanted to be a part of the growing hockey program. I saw what head coach Maria Lewis was doing with the program and knew it was something I was interested in. I wanted to help lead the team to success and try to help the players have a great college hockey experience, just like I did.”
With the start of the 2019-2020 hockey season approaching, Vinkle says she is, “looking forward to jumping on the ice with the girls and having some fun. I want to use my hockey knowledge and experience to help the players and the team as a whole. So far everyone has made me feel very welcome, I am enjoying class and I cannot wait to see what NEC Women’s hockey can accomplish this season.”