U SPORTS WHKY: A day later, McGill have a new coach in Alyssa Cecere

Toronto, ON- Less than 24 hours after announcing that legendary head coach, Peter Smith was stepping down from the Martlets women’s hockey team, McGill have named Alyssa Cecere as the new bench boss. 

It will not be a major transition for the team, as much of the staff and roster are already attuned to Cecere’s coaching style. The French/English, the bilingual coach has been a full-time member of the Martlets staff since 2014 and is moving up into the senior role. 

A former McGill student-athlete herself, Cecere won five RSEQ titles, as well as three U SPORTS national championships in 2008, 2009, and 2011. During her time at McGill, she scored 43 goals and earned a spot on the Canadian 2009 FISU Winter Universiade team which won gold in China.

Cecere, second from right with FISU gold (FISU)

Following the conclusion of her U SPORTS career, she won the 2011 Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s Clarkson Cup with the Montreal Les Canadiens. 

“Martlet Hockey has a rich tradition of excellence, on and off the ice, and I have had the privilege to learn and grow as a player and coach here,” said Cecere to McGill Athletics, who is replacing Smith, with hopes of continuing the successful atmosphere that he had helped build.

Smith, who remain around the athletics programs as a mentor, spoke about his former player and associate head coach. “Alyssa is well prepared to take on the head coaching position,” he said to McGill Athletics. “The journey to this stage of her career has been extensive.  As a player, she was an inspirational and empathic leader. As a coach, she is a great teacher and a tireless worker with attention to detail. A passionate student of the game, she checks off all the boxes to be a successful coach at the university level. I could not be more proud of her appointment.”

With her behind the bench, she becomes the third female head coach currently serving a McGill U SPORTS program, alongside Rachèle Béliveau (volleyball), Rikki Bowles (basketball).

As for when she could coach her first game, that is still to be determined, but RSEQ competition could possibly resume as soon as Sept.14, 2020. 

Cover Photo: McGill Athletics/Can Unal

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