Team History

2006 – 2007 Season

Coming up just one game shy of their first return to the National Tournament in 13 years, the Cats had an impressive season under Rob Docherty in his first full season as Head Coach. UK’s offense was led by two of the top 20 leading scorers in the nation, Sophomore Tony Valerino (7th nationally with 84 pts) along with Junior and Team Captain Mike Barnes (18th nationally with 68 pts). Defensively the Cats were led by Assistant Captain Patrick McAdams. Kentucky was backstopped by veteran goalie Drew Matichak. The Cats finished with a 22-8-4-1 record.

2005 – 2006 Season

Another winning season for the Cats who posted a 19-12-2 record. Captain and Senior Chris Zaremski and Assistant Captain Patrick McAdams led by example on the blueline. Sophomore Mike Barnes once again was the team’s leading scorer but a group of rookies including Tony Valerino and Johnny Micka also added to the Cats new found offensive punch. Drew Matichak continued to be the Cats’ No. 1 in net. Former Assistant Coach Rob Docherty took over the Head Coaching position for the Cats in January.

2004 – 2005 Season

In just their second year with the team, coaches Mike Sosnowski and Rob Docherty have been able to turn the program around and break a two-year slide of losing seasons. Posting an impressive 20-14-1 record, the Cats’ success came from strong leadership by veterans like Colin Hoss, Alex Poulos, and Josh McConnell with help from an impressive rookie class. Freshman forwards Mike Barnes, Kevin McQuade, and Aaron Leichty added much needed offense, while rookie goalie Drew Matichak took over between the pipes. Although there was no post-season play for the independent Cats, the future looks bright.

2003 – 2004 Season

The UK Hockey’s 20th year brought some big changes to the program with the addition of a new coaching staff led by new head coach Mike Sosnowski and assistant coach Rob Docherty with the help of other volunteers such as former UK coach Gord Summers. Coach Sosnowski brought to the Cool Cats a new sense of discipline as well as new systems to help the team get back to basics. On the ice the Cats were still struggling to break even despite the best efforts of senior goaltender Justin Clark. Offensively the Cats were led by sophomore Joe Obermeier while the defense was anchored by team captain Colin Hoss with help from sophomore Chris Zaremski. Despite another losing the season, the future looks bright thanks to a strong recruiting class and a developed core of returning veterans.

2002 – 2003 Season

The Cats’ 19th season could only be described as frustrating, to both the fans and the players. Finishing with a 12-15-1 record snapped the team’s 15-year streak of winning seasons. Despite the efforts of seniors Aaron Stehpenson and Alex Derhohannesian, the young team lacked experience and focus despite their obvious talent. A season filled with disappointment, it was capped off by the cancellation of UK’s first self supported game at Rupp Arena against Duke due to an icestorm.

2001 – 2002 Season

New head coach, Phil Sweeny had his work cut out for him this year with 10 new players joining the squad. Sweeny looked for help from veterans like team Captain Aaron Stehpenson, Davin McLeod, and Alex Derhohannesian to mold the new young players into a solid team. Freshmen Josh McConnell and Peter Notkin picked up the slack from offense power lost at the end of last season. Jared Christopher anchored the team’s defense, adding some impressive offense as well. In net, Justin Clark continued to be solid. Despite a 14-12-2 record, the Cats finished the season on a high note, winning the 1st Annual Frozen Pond Invitational Tournament.

2000 – 2001 Season

In two short years finish fan favorite, Pasi Holopainen has made his mark on UK hockey. One of the leading scorers in the country, Pasi helped elevate the entire team’s play. Despite the return of Kevin “Brickwall” Fraser (now as a grad student), sophomore netminder Justin Clark stole the spotlight with his incredible saves. Behind the bench Coach Graham was glad to welcome Assistant Coach Terry LeBlanc, a Montreal native with enormous hockey experience. Despite a solid 18-11-1 record, for a third straight year UK fell to Dayton in the first round of the MCHL playoffs.

1999 – 2000 Season

The Cats looked to begin the Millennium with a new head coach, as former UK defenseman Brian Graham stepped behind the bench. The Cats once again had strong leadership on the ice thanks to seniors Dave Phillips, Jason Painter, Assistant Captains Jim Braden and Corey Callahan, and Captain Ryan Gardner. The season’s greatest gift came in the form of two world-class players from Finland, Pasi Holopainen and Toni Haapala. The Cats had a change between the pipes as well when freshman Justin Clark arrived and stole the #1 spot. UK just missed another National Tournament berth and ended the post season with another disappointing loss to Dayton in the MCHL tournament.

1998 – 1999 Season

Ian Ward relinquished his coaching position back to Gord Summers and Ward resumed as General Manager. The team celebrated its 15th anniversary and Ward raised the bar by reshaping the club into a top notch hockey program. Off the ice the team was noticed nationally thanks to an appearance on our schedule poster by UK Alum Ashley Judd. Captain Ryan Hembree and a strong group of veteran players continued to earn the team respect in the MCHL on the ice. New comers Phil Sweeny, Aaron Stephenson, and Alex Derhohannesian added depth to an already strong team. Despite a strong season, the Cats were upset by Dayton in the first round of the MCHL tournament in Cleveland.

1997 – 1998 Season

A shake up behind the bench, as former GM Ian Ward took over Head Coaching duties, while Robert Horowitz became General Manger. On the ice Assistant Captains and line mates Dave Rioux and Ryan Hembree, along with veteran Bryan Morgenthaler set the scoreboard on fire. Dave Phillips and Ryan Gardner upped the Cats physical game, while Captain Ryan Ward kept the team focused as they skated out a strong season.

1996 – 1997 Season

The Cats elevated their game from the previous season thanks to strong core of first and second year recruits. Sophomores Ryan Hembree and Dave Rioux led the way with help from rookies Corey Callahan and Ryan Gardner. The team was anchored on the blueline by team Captain Ryan Ward. The Cats also received a gift on the blueline in the form of junior defenseman Brian Graham who transferred in from Connecticut. Justin Hosie took stepped up to take the #1 goalie spot in just his second season at UK. The Cats continued their winning ways, but continued to look forward to gaining ground in the MCHL.

1995 – 1996 Season

Looking for a higher level competition, Head Coach Summers and GM Ward decided to have Kentucky join the newly formed Midwest Collegiate Hockey League (MCHL). Arguably on of the toughest leagues in the country, the Cats had a tough season. A new tradition was started at the Cat House as Jim Hinkley made his debut as the new “voice of the Cool Cats”. Strong play from veteran scorers Bryan Morgenthaler, Paul Cerabona, and Captain Chris Boyd coupled with the goaltending of Kevin Fraser kept the Cats above .500 to finish 12-11-3 in one of their toughest seasons ever.

1994 – 1995 Season

The program continued to strengthen both on and off the ice thanks to the efforts of Coach Gordon Summers, second-year General Manager Ian Ward, and Matt Eichman the team’s new Media Director. After finishing the season with a 20-6 record the Cats were invited to the National tournament for a second straight year. The team traveled to Colorado to face the top ranked teams in country. The team consisted of veterans like Mike Wolf, Barry Holtzer, and Dan Gronowski balanced with a fresh crop of rookies like Tom Ladd and Arnie Fitzgerald, and showcased the skill of goaltender Kevin “Brickwall” Fraser. For the second straight year the Cats finished in the final four, but earned a great bit of respect and some new fans at the National Tournament.

1993 – 1994 Season

Gord Summers, a top young hockey mind, took over as the head coach. With a good core of experience and a solid freshman class, the Cats finished with a regular season record of 18-1-1. A National Ranking of #3 earned the Cats a berth in the National Championships in Albany, New York where they lost in the semi-finals to a strong Colorado State team despite the efforts of the high-power offensive line of Klaude Kocan, Don Kindrachuck, and Bryan Morgenthaler.

1992 – 1993 Season

Despite the past success the season almost didn’t happen. In came John Macintosh and the Wesley Foundation and save the program from going under due to problems with the ice center. Head Coach Carl Montgomery took over for Phil Davenport. On the ice, the Cats had some new additions: Klaude Kocan, the third Kocan brother to play hockey for UK, and Owensboro native Chris Boyd. Captain Jason Smithwick kept the team focused and even though there was no post- season party, the Cats had their 6th straight winning season.

1991 – 1992 Season

Coach Phil Davenport and Mark Shupe did it again, assembling a class of recruits that was second to none. Patrick Fortier, a junior college transfer, arrived in Lexington from New York. Barry Holtzer arrived after serving in the Marine Corps. Paul Cerabona was highly touted player out of Suffern, New York. Don Kindrachuk came south from British Columbia, Canada to team up with an already talented group of veterans. The Cats were ranked by the American poll, #1. An invitation to the National Tournament in Chicago was accepted. The Cats advanced all the way to the Championship game where they were defeated by the University of Toledo. Chad Cooper was named the Tournament MVP. A tough loss, but an unforgettable season.

1990 – 1991 Season

The Cats were all business defending their SCHA title. Led by league MVP Chad Cooper, the Cats won their second straight SCHA Championship in front of the best crowd in the South, here in Lexington. UK lost only one game the entire year.

1989 – 1990 Season

The start of something special, through long days and sleepless nights, Davenport and Shupe put together a new team. Chad and Jeff Cooper from Jackson, Michigan; Jason Smithwick from Minnesota; Art Wickson from Canada; Nick Pelligren, a gift from baseball; coach Keith Madision and Kurt Roberts were just a few members of this talented team. The Cats won their first ever SCHA Championship.

1988 – 1989 Season

The Cats were led by team captain Keith Kocan, who tallied 32 goals, to their second overall winning season and everything was on schedule for great things to come.

1987 – 1988 Season

General Manager Mark Shupe announced Phil Davenport, a Minnesota hockey schoolboy legend, as head coach. Shupe also announced the team would officially become new members of the Southern Collegiate Hockey Association (SCHA). The Cats skated to their first winning season.

1986 – 1987 Season

Bob Burns, Steve Lee, and Karl Gdovka teamed with freshman Keith Kocan to lead the Cats to their best season yet. However it was still a third straight losing season. Midnight Mayhem started and the fan support was unbelievable.

1985 – 1986 Season

Injuries and lack of bench strength hurt the Cats. Captain and leading scorer Frank Gdovka was out for the year with an eventual career ending knee injury. Coach Pelto resigned under pressure and was replaced by Ralph Peters. The team’s morale improved but not its record, another losing season for the Cats.

1984 – 1985 Season

UK announces it’s first ever mens ice hockey team. Terry Pelto was named head coach and Mark Shupe was named the general manager. Players such as Frank and Karl Gdovka came from Oswego, New York to set the standard. The program was started and even though the first year was a losing season the future looked bright.