I always say there's nothing like a warm summer day to start thinking about those cold winter nights in Young Arena. Hockey fans, the 2021/22 hockey season is less than a month away. It'll be an exciting year of change as long-time coach P.K. O'Handley moves into a new role with the team, and with the hiring of new coach Matt Smaby.

Black Hawks head Coach Matt Smaby - Courtesy: Waterloo Black Hawks

Black Hawks name two new asst. coaches and announce pre-season games

On Wednesday, the Black Hawks announced the hiring of Chad Kolarik and P.D. Melgoza ahead of the upcoming United States Hockey League (USHL) season.

Kolarik is a former National Hockey League forward and U.S. Olympian who entered the coaching ranks last winter. Kolarik is a former player that Smaby coached in Europe  In a press release, Kolarik said:

“Playing under Matt, he had a presence about him and immediate respect from all of us as players.  His style of coaching and connecting with players is something that stuck with me after our time together. Our coaching philosophies align, and because of this, I am really excited to join his staff and join such a great organization in the Waterloo Black Hawks.”

Kolarik's professional career lasted 12 years, playing in more than 600 regular-season games. His final season as a player was 2019/20 for the EC Salzburg Red Bulls, where  Smaby was then an assistant coach.

Chad Kolarik - Courtesy - Waterloo Black Hawks

Melgoza has coaching experience at the NCAA level, while also helping to develop youth and amateur goaltenders in Alaska. Melgoza is a former goalie who first took the ice as a youth player in southern California.

“I am extremely honored and grateful to be able to join the Waterloo Black Hawks", adding “with such a commitment to excellence on and off the ice, I’m excited to be a part of a first-class organization. Working under Matt will be a great learning experience as I’ve heard nothing but good things."


Since 2019, Melgoza has been part of the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolf hockey staff.

P.D. Melgoza - Courtesy - Waterloo Black Hawks

 Black Hawks Announce Young Arena Exhibition Games

The Black Hawks will host the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and the Des Moines Buccaneers for preseason games in PartyTown during the week prior to the USHL'S season-opening USHL Fall Classic, according to a press release.

The RoughRiders will visit first on Wednesday, September 15th. The Black Hawks and RoughRiders have not met since February 15, 2020, due to derecho damage at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, which idled the RoughRiders last season.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers come to Young Arena Saturday, September 18th.  Des Moines will be Waterloo’s most prolific regular-season opponent during 2021/22.  The teams are scheduled to play eight times during the campaign.

Hockey fans, it's time to dust off the cow bells!

Both home exhibition games will begin at 6 p.m. Season ticket holders will be admitted to both home preseason games at no charge. Single-game tickets for the September 15th and 18th exhibitions will go on sale Monday, September 13th.  Regular season single-game tickets will be available starting Wednesday, September 1st at 11 a.m.

Click here to purchase tickets or call (319) 232-3444.


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