It’s just a coincidence that Andrew Stowe’s return to the Thomas Worthington hockey team came as a part-time volunteer assistant coach last season, when the Cardinals made it to a district semifinal.
Stowe was a junior on the last Thomas team to make it that far in 2003.
He’ll play a bigger role next season after being named the Cardinals’ new coach June 3, pending school board approval.
“I’d love to take credit for that, but no,” Stowe said. “The kids were great this year and obviously (former coach Bill McGill) has been around for the last seven years and has done a great job. I was just happy the guys got to make a deep run in the state playoffs because I think they all had a great time.”
The Cardinals, who won a CHC-Blue Division title in 2019 under McGill, finished 22-12-3-3 overall and 10-6 in the CHC-White last winter. McGill stepped down after seven seasons.
“I’ve always thought that I wanted to coach at some point in my adult life and then having the opportunity to do it at the school (where) I got to play for four years, I’m pretty fortunate,” Stowe said. “I helped out Bill in an informal capacity last season, but I was around the team quite a bit. I moved back to Columbus last year and really just wanted to get back involved with hockey.”
This will be Stowe’s first experience as a head coach. He plans to lean on several people for advice, including McGill as well as Andy Hartwick and Eric Stoller with the booster board and Stowe’s former coach at Thomas, Adam Smith.
“I have a good idea (of what I want to do),” Stowe said. “There are a few things (from when I was) growing up and throughout my hockey career and other times in my life – focus on teamwork and team building is a big one in high school. Working hard and being competitive are some of the core (values) I’ll try to instill for us. I don’t know what I don’t know at this point, so I’ll be listening to advice from those that are willing to share.”
He knows what he wants to accomplish at Thomas.
“Outside of all of the obvious more tactical-related things, (it’s) really about having fun,” Stowe said. “Looking back to the time when I played, some of (my) fondest memories and the most enjoyable times playing were at the high school level with guys I graduated with or guys I went to Thomas with – people I still keep in touch with and see everywhere.”
Stowe left Thomas holding records for goals in a season (59) and career (115), assists in a season (60) and career (152) and points in a season (119) and career (267).
Joey Pischel, a 2017 graduate, now holds the record for career goals with 154, but the other records still stand.
“He’s been around our program waiting to jump in,” athletics director Molly Feesler said. “He’s got a passion for the game and has a great understanding of the school and the program overall.”
Stowe has a familiarity with the program because of last season. Eligible returnees include goalie Elliott Hartwick, a rising senior, and forward Cam Stoller, a rising junior.
“We have a good group of kids and I think they’ll make it easy on me,” Stowe said. “It’ll definitely be a learning experience throughout the year.”