Doc DelCastillo is coming home. He grew up in the Midway neighborhood near Hamline – his mother worked at the school and his sister Melissa swam for the Pipers. And now DelCastillo takes over the reins of Hamline NCAA DIII men’s hockey program.
A 20-year veteran of coaching at the junior and college level, DelCastillo was named today as the new head men’s hockey coach of the Pipers by Hamline athletic director Jason Verdugo. He replaces Scott Steffen, who resigned last month to return to his business interests after coaching for one season at Hamline. Despite having just five seniors and 10 first year players, the Pipers made the MIAC playoffs for the fifth straight season in 2011-12.
“I am thrilled to be getting back to Saint Paul,” DelCastillo said. “This is a great opportunity. In the last three years (coaching at Alexandria in the North American Hockey League), I have gotten to know several of the league’s coaches and had some of my former players play in the MIAC. I have tremendous respect for the school and the success the program has had in recent years. There is a very good foundation here to build on.”
Verdugo is pleased to have DelCastillo on board. “Doc has had considerable success as a head coach in the junior leagues,” he said. “He also has been a college head coach (one season at Alaska-Fairbanks) and spent several years as an assistant at top-notch programs (St. Cloud State and Nebraska-Omaha). He knows how to recruit and he knows how to teach players. We’re very excited to have him here.”
DelCastillo played high school hockey at Hill-Murray and four seasons at St. Cloud State, where he received his bachelors’ degree. Later, he earned his master’s in sports management at SCSU. In his senior season, he was the Huskies’ team captain.
Upon graduating, he worked as an assistant coach in the United States Hockey League. In 1994, he began a three-year stint as the head coach at Rochester, where he posted a 71-62-2 record. He returned to the college ranks for four seasons as an assistant at his alma mater and spent five seasons in Omaha before heading west to become the head coach of the Nanooks. After one season, he came back to his home state with the Blizzard, where he posted a 103-56-17 regular season record, including the franchise’s first-ever Central Division title in 2010-11.
“I was very impressed with how I was treated by Jason and (search committee members) Tim Ostroot and Steve DeBus,” DelCastillo said. “They’re classy guys. I hope to be able to contribute and add to what has already been built here.” DelCastillo assumes his new duties immediately. He met with the players on May 7 and intends to hire assistant coaches as soon as possible.