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Greg Powers is the embodiment of ASU hockey

From being a starting goaltender for ASU in the late '90s to now head coach, Greg Powers bleeds maroon and gold more than most

greg powers asu hockey

ASU hockey head coach Greg Powers (left) talks with then-freshman forward Carson Briere (48) during practice on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.

After being the starting goaltender for ASU's club hockey team from 1995 to 1999 and starting his own executive recruiting company post-graduation from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, ASU hockey head coach Greg Powers never thought coaching was in the picture, or so he thought.

Powers grew up in Indianapolis with his grandparents getting him into hockey as early as three years old. Once he started playing hockey at a young age, his heartbeat for hockey took over, and it hasn’t stopped since.

“I never thought I’d be a coach. I never wanted to be, and it never entered my mind,” Powers said. 

Back in 2008, Powers got a call from former ASU head coach Jeremy Goltz asking if he would want to come on as a volunteer assistant coach. Focused on his business and his family at the time, Powers didn’t have much interest until he got advice from someone close to him.

Powers said it was his wife who actually convinced him to take the volunteer coaching job because she thought he would enjoy it. After a couple of years, Goltz decided to run his youth program full time, which he still does to this day, and the players at the time talked him into being the head coach.

The past experience Powers has with his executive recruiting company helped him learn how to read and understand people within a specific type of culture, which translated over to recruiting the right players for ASU’s hockey program.

“We're all about finding the right kind of kid that fits our culture and who we want to be and how we want to play and how we want our guys to interact with people in the community and project our program positively in the community,” Powers said.

When Powers isn’t with the team he is spending time with his family. Although he is a family man, his hockey heartbeat doesn’t stop once he leaves the arena. 

Powers said that hockey is a huge part of his family's dynamic because he coaches and his kids play the sport. He also mentioned that his wife is a "hockey mom" due to both kids traveling for the sport and the fact Powers is always with his team. 

“Hockey can teach you so much about life if you let it and that's what I'm really focused with my kids on is just using the game to make them better people.”

Powers takes an all-around approach when it comes to his coaching, often helping his players out with finding jobs, putting together resumes and preparing for interviews. 

“I love being around the players and seeing young men turn into men, that's what really gets me out of bed,” Powers said. “It's not just what you see out here running practices. It's making sure these guys get what they need out of our program.”

Powers takes pride in the program as a whole, pointing out the adaptivity, dedication and character each player on the team has had with their constant traveling and smaller than average Division I hockey arena, Oceanside Ice Arena.

“We found a way to make that adversity our advantage,” Powers said. “And when you can do that with a group of people that are bought into kind of that mantra of the obstacles in the way and then you achieve success together, it's really gratifying and something we're really proud of.”

Graduate student forward Colin Theisen, who transferred to ASU from the University of Norte Dame this season, has played with many different teams and coaches. Less than two months into the season, Theisen sees the type of person and coach Powers is and what kind of impact he makes on the team. 

“He’s great. He pushes everyone individually to the best of his ability and I think I noticed that the first day I got here,” Theisen said. “He’s been on us and no matter who you are or how you’re playing, he’s still going to be on you which I think is good and what we need.”

Graduate student forward Johnny Walker, who is now in his fifth season with the team, said Powers is a person who he never second guesses and knows has the best interest in those around him.

“I think trust is one thing that I would say has grown. Over the years, I really believe in what he’s doing,” Walker said. “And when he says something, I wholeheartedly believe that’s the best thing not only for the team but for me personally. 

Powers is in the midst of his 14th season on the coaching staff and his 12th as the head coach. He represents the past, the present and the future of ASU hockey for years to come.

“You just can't forget where you came from. We were just a club program seven years ago and ever since we've accomplished a lot of really really cool things and now we are achieving a dream of having a beautiful facility on campus to play hockey in and grow the game in. You just can't forget where you came from and as long as I'm here, I won't.”  

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Austin ScottSports Reporter

Austin Scott is a sports reporter majoring in Sports Journalism, and has been writing sports stories for three years. He looks to continue writing impactful, engaging sports stories for years to come. In the future, Austin wants to use his outgoing personality to do play-by-play and live sports production or sports radio and podcasting.

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