South/East Xtra: Hockey coach resigns at Serra

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Minutes after Serra Catholic's season ended in a loss to Mars Area last Thursday in the PIHL Class A Penguins Cup quarterfinals, Eagles coach Brian Boehm turned to senior Tyler Speis.

"I told him I didn't want to leave the ice," Boehm said.

It was the last game for both of them at Serra Catholic.

Boehm told the team earlier this season that he would be resigning at the end of the year. His wife got a job in West Virginia and he had already moved there.

"She got the job in September, but we kind of knew this was coming before that," Boehm said. "I thought about not coming back for this season, but we had such a young group that I wanted to see it through.

"I wanted to leave the program in good standing."

Boehm has been the Serra coach for the past seven seasons, but has been involved off-and-on with the program for more than 20 years. He was a player for the Eagles in the early 1990s and continued to help with the program throughout the years before becoming the head coach in 2006.

"I'm going to miss representing Serra," Boehm said. "Next year is going to be different without being around the program."

He leaves Serra Catholic with a 106-33-7 record in the regular season and a Class A Penguins Cup runner-up finish in 2010.

"One of my best memories is probably our trip to the finals about three years ago," Boehm said. "That was a pretty good year.

"I'll also remember all the different players who came through here. Not just the talented ones, but everyone. They all worked so hard."

Boehm wanted to keep his impending departure a secret so as not to cause any distractions for his team this year.

A few of his former players knew of the imminent departure, however, and one alumnus ran into a parent of one of his current players and spilled the beans.

So in December, he addressed the team and let them know that this would be his final season.

"I was a little shocked at first," Speis said.

But Speis said he and rest of the team knew the reason for his departure and they voiced their support for their coach.

Boehm has also gotten a lot of support from around the league.

"I've gotten a lot of really nice things said to me over the past week or so, from fans, parents, opposing coaches and players as well," Boehm said.

Which made it even harder to step away after his last game. He said he plans to get back into coaching in West Virginia. He also plans to find his way back to see Serra play next season at some point.

"I'm going to make sure I catch them next season," Boehm said. "It would be too tough to make a clean break cold turkey."



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