ANTIGONISH – St. FX Athletics announced Wednesday that X-Women hockey head coach David Synishin will be taking a one-year leave of absence from the program.
He will assume the position of director and head coach of the women’s hockey program at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, B.C. Current X-Women assistant coach Ben Berthiaume will assume interim head coaching duties for the coming season.
“I am fully confident that interim head coach, Ben Berthiaume, associate coach Don Davis and assistant coach Willie Joe Sofan will continue to build on the program's proud history as we fully commit to competing for and winning championships,” said Leo MacPherson, director of athletics and recreation, in a release.
Coach Synishin has been with the X-Women program for 15 years, the last 12 seasons as head coach, having spent three years prior as an assistant coach. With a 243-53-3 coaching record (regular season, AUS and CIS playoffs), Synishin lead the nationally ranked X-Women to five AUS championship titles, never missing a conference playoff appearance. His X-Women have also appeared in eight CIS national championships, claiming a silver medal in 2010-11 and a bronze in 2012-13.
Under Coach Synishin’s tutelage, the X-Women have been consistently ranked in the CIS Top 10 year in and year out, finishing as a top contender in the AUS conference and challenging for championships. The four-time AUS coach of the year guided the X-Women to three undefeated seasons in 2011, 2008 and 2004.
Despite his success with the StFX program, the head coach is eager to take on a new coaching challenge.
“As a coach, I am excited for this opportunity and how it is going to help in my personal development as well as the positive impact it will have on my family,” he said. “I am fortunate to have the support of my athletic director, players and staff. Things will be business as usual with the X-Women hockey team this year and I look forward to watching them play all year.”
The X-Women begin pre-season training camp in early September with home-and-home exhibition games slated with Dalhousie on Sept. 20 and 21, followed by an appearance at the Moncton Invitational Oct. 3-5.
Berthiaume will make his AUS regular season debut behind the X-Women bench on Oct. 17-18 when St. FX opens the season on the road at UPEI and Moncton. Their first home game is Oct. 24 against Dalhousie.