Club Sports News

Chung, Vandjelovic complete DI women's coaching staff

July 10, 2014  |  Lynchburg, Va. 

Jonathan Chung played six seasons of junior hockey in Ontario, Canada, before playing for the Flames' Division I men's team through 2011 and assisting the DIII squad last season.

Liberty University's ACHA Division I women's hockey team will feature plenty of new faces this fall.

Besides bringing in seven recruited student-athletes, Lady Flames Head Coach Paul Bloomfield will have two new assistant coaches on his bench.

Jonathan Chung, who played forward for four seasons on Liberty's DI men's team before serving as an assistant on the DIII men's coaching staff last year, was named this week as his top assistant.

"We see eye to eye," Chung said of his relationship with Bloomfield. "We have the same vision, same mission, same goals, obviously to support the girls, but, in a hockey sense, to bring home a national title."

Chung, who completed his master's degree in Arts and Teaching for Health/Physical Education in 2013, will be joined by Kaylee Vandjelovic, 21, who also finished her master's degree at Liberty last year.

Kaylee Vandjelovic

Vandjelovic, who played collegiately for the University of Western Ontario, near her hometown of Milton, will provide a women's perspective on the staff, helping to serve as a mentor for the players.

"I've never had a female assistant, so it will be a new experience," Bloomfield said. "I've wanted a female coach for a long time. It's healthier when you have that presence in the locker room."

Bloomfield said Chung's personality and demeanor, as well as his passion for the game, will complement him well.

"I like his style," he said. "He's quiet, and very respectful, and his chemistry especially with the girls, is the right combination."

Chung replaces Justin Forth, the Club Sports assistant coach of the year in 2013-14 who helped guide the Lady Flames to the ACHA Division I Final Four each of the past two seasons.

"Justin and Paul have done a tremendous job making it to the finals and then the semifinals back to back," Chung said. "That's a huge accomplishment."

Jonathan Chung (86) played center in 2009, setting up Dave Semenyna (20), Liberty's all-time leading scorer.

Chung, who grew up in Toronto and played six seasons of junior hockey in Canada starting at the age of 16, brings an offensive mindset to the coaching staff that neither Bloomfield nor Forth, a former defenseman, had.

"I'm a little more offensive-minded, being a center man myself," said Chung, who scored 68 goals and assisted 106 others in 132 games with the Flames from 2007-11. "My job was to score goals and set up plays and I did that to the best of my ability."

Diminutive in size, Chung found ways to score by being at the right place at the right time and using his quickness and deft stickwork to his advantage.

"I'm not a big guy so I wasn't up there throwing my body around," Chung said. "That's something that we're going to work on obviously this year — speed and quickness and being able to see the ice, see where the players are. That's something I hope to teach the girls at the DI level, to help them excel to their full potential."

He helped coordinate the DIII men's team's attack last season and anticipates serving in a similar capacity with the DI women's squad, in addition to leading many of the team's practices.

"It's always better when you have someone who's played the position to do the coaching," Bloomfield said. "Because of his experiences in the offensive lines, he will probably fit that role very well."

Chung expects to see Liberty continue to press forward in its pursuit of its first ACHA national title.

"From my perspective, through my experience, hard work, defense, goaltending, that's where it starts, that's how you win titles," Chung said. "The scoring, that will naturally happen, but I believe playing as a team, being united, being all on the same page, working hard, not only on the ice, but off the ice, will all help with us bringing home that championship. Any championship team you talk to, that's the No. 1 thing, they're one team, they're playing together. The camaraderie is very, very important."

He realizes it is a grueling season, involving longer road trips than he took with the DIII men, and knows the importance of staying psychologically strong over the long haul.

"Starting from the puck drop at the beginning of the season to nationals, we have to be mentally and physically tough," Chung said.

The Lady Flames will open their season Aug. 23 against the Hamilton (Ontario) Hawks at the LaHaye Ice Center before having a month to prepare for their next games, Sept. 27-28 against the Washington Pride.

 

By Ted Allen

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