Sacred Heart University head men's ice hockey coach C.J. Marottolo announced the hiring of Paul Kirtland to serve as the Pioneers assistant coach Friday morning. Kirtland will oversee the program's recruiting, implement penalty kill, assist with practice and game planning and the Pioneers video operations, while assisting in the day-to-day operations of the program.
"We are very excited to welcome Paul and his wife Colleen to our Sacred Heart University Hockey family," Marottolo said. "Paul stood out in a very diverse and qualified pool of candidates. Paul has gained a reputation as being a hard worker and a tremendous student of the game. His experiences as an assistant coach with Alaska Fairbanks in the NAHL, Trinity College, where he was apart of a National Championship team and the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL will no doubt rub off on our players and our program."
Kirtland is a former assistant coach for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL, where he helped lead them to the playoffs in 2018. While with Dubuque, Kirtland designed and implemented the penalty kill, which had an 80.2% success rate during the 2017-18 season.
Kirtland broke into the coaching ranks with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the NAHL as an assistant in 2013. In 2014, he helped lead the Ice Dogs to a USA Hockey Tier II National Championship. He eventually transitioned to being an assistant coach at Trinity College in 2015. At Trinity, Kirtland helped lead the team to back-to-back NESCAC Tournament championships and a runner-up in the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament. In 2016-17, Kirtland coached the penalty kill unit to a 89.4% success rate, which was the third-best percentage in Div. III that season.
A 2013 graduate of The Ohio State University, Kirtland played ice hockey for four years for the Buckeyes and tallied four career goals in 50 games.