Jun 16, 2014 10:42 PM by Jordan Mason
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - One of the most recognizable names in the history of Colorado College hockey is returning to the program for the third time.
R.J. Enga, who played in 158 games as a Tiger from 1991-95 and served as an assistant coach during the 2008-09 campaign, has agreed to become the first member of Head Coach Mike Haviland's coaching staff.
"This is where I want to be," Enga said. "Colorado College is a great school with a great hockey program that is rich in tradition.
"Having been around coach Haviland for just a short period of time, I can understand why he wins. He's got a lot of passion and energy, and he's very detailed. He's a perfect fit for CC."
Enga spent the last three seasons with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, serving as assistant coach and director of player development.
During his tenure in the Windy City, he coached a trio of current Tigers - sophomore forward Christian Heil, sophomore forward Alex Roos and sophomore defender Jaccob Slavin.
Enga's on-ice responsibilities will include working with the forwards and power play unit. He'll also be heavily involved in the program's recruiting efforts.
"I'm really excited to have R.J. on our staff," Haviland said. "His mind for the game, especially the offensive side of it, really intrigued me. He put up a lot of big numbers in college and the pros, and he's got a lot of creative ideas on how he can help our young athletes improve every day."
Enga struck for 61 goals and added 82 assists during his four seasons at Colorado College. The right winger still is tied for 37th place on the program's all-time point list with Clare Smith (1953-56).
During his senior year, Enga set career highs with 23 goals and 46 points while leading the Tigers to the championship game of the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference Tournament and a berth in the NCAA Division I Ice Hockey Championship.
Enga, a member of the WCHA All-Academic Team as a junior, graduated in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in international political economy as well as a minor in philosophy.
A 10th-round selection by the New York Islanders in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Enga played 10 seasons of professional hockey at virtually every level.
His career highlights include being named to the East Coast Hockey League All-Rookie Team and All-Star Game in 1996, winning the West Coast Hockey League Taylor Cup as a member of the San Diego Gulls in 2003, and becoming the Colorado Gold Kings all-time leading scorer, recording 387 points on 165 goals and 222 assists in just four seasons.
Enga also played one season with TSV Erding in the German 2nd Eishockey Bundesliga, earning Most Valuable Player honors after recording 41 goals and 61 assists in 64 games.
After retiring as a player, Enga began his coaching career with Topeka of the North American Hockey League, where he helped guide the RoadRunners to back-to-back South Division Championships in 2009 and 2010, as well as the 2010 NAHL President's Trophy.
"R.J. made a commitment to his coaching career and really paid his dues," Haviland said. "He started as a volunteer coach at CC. I had to do the same thing many years ago and I like guys who do whatever it takes to get to where they want to be."
Enga also spent six years with Pikes Peak Miners AAA organization, serving as both hockey director and head coach of the 18U squad.
"I'm from Colorado Springs and started my youth hockey career here," Enga said. "I went out to coach juniors to get better at the task and one day have the qualifications to come back and coach at Colorado College. I have the drive and passion for this place and I want to help get the program to where it should always be - a perennial powerhouse."
CC has reached an agreement in principal with another assistant coach. However, due to contractual obligations, there will be no public release until July 1.