COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team welcomes former National Hockey League (NHL) defenseman, James Wisniewski to the staff as a volunteer assistant coach.
“James has a wealth of knowledge about the game and he’s very passionate and invested,” head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “It’s not just the X’s and O’s, but it’s also the skill development that he can have with the girls. In just a short span of time he’s been working on edges and different looks from the blue line and how to improve the little pieces of their game to make them an overall complete player. He’s got a lot of energy so we’re happy to have his excitement on the bench.”
A Canton, Mich. native and current Dublin, Ohio resident, Wisniewski started his junior hockey career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Plymouth Whalers. He finished third among defensemen in overall scoring in the 2003-04 season which earned him the OHL’s 2004 Max Kaminsky Trophy as the most outstanding defenseman, as well as the Canadian Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year award.
“This is a team of elite athletes,” Wisniewski said. “These girls have been nothing but tremendous. They’re asking questions and wanting to learn and just better themselves as hockey players. Also, the coaching staff has been unbelievable. All three of the coaches have tremendous careers and now I’m just seeing what they want out of me and I’m seeing what I can give to help the team preform.”
Wisniewski was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2002 and went on to play in over 550 games with the Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes. Over his 14 seasons in the NHL, Wisniewski racked up 274 points from 53 goals and 221 assists.
“Last year was my first year out of retirement and I didn’t know what part of the game I wanted to get back into, but Nadine reached out and honestly the past two weeks have been amazing,” Wisniewski said. “The girls have responded tremendously and it’s been a lot of fun being back on the ice doing what I love.
Internationally, Wisniewski has a gold medal with Team USA from the World Junior Championships in 2004 and another gold from the World U18 Championships in 2002. In 2018, Wisniewski was part of the Team USA Olympic squad that competed in PyeongChang.