APPLETON, Wis. -- Jocelyn Kleiber has been chosen to lead the new Lawrence University women's ice hockey program as it prepares to embark on its inaugural season.
The hiring of Kleiber as the team's head coach was announced today by Director of Athletics Christyn Abaray. Kleiber will spend the first year assembling the team, which will play its first season in 2020-21.
"What made Jocey stand apart was her detailed plan of growing a program from the beginning and her enthusiasm to become part of the community, here on campus, in the Fox Valley and the Upper Midwest," Abaray said. "It's an exciting time to be a Viking."
A native of Edina, Minn., Kleiber comes to Lawrence from Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Md., where she served as an assistant coach for the Mustangs.
"I first would like to thank Director of Athletics Christyn Abaray for giving me the opportunity to build the women's hockey program at Lawrence," Kleiber said. "I am very honored to be chosen as the first coach for this program and very excited to get to work with creating it from the ground up at one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation."
Kleiber has been an assistant coach at Stevenson since 2016 and worked in all phases of program, both on and off the ice. She was part of the staff that coached the Mustangs to the Middle Atlantic Conference championship in 2018.
Prior to working at Stevenson, Kleiber was an assistant coach at the North American Hockey Academy in 2015 and 2016. She also served as a graduate assistant coach at Robert Morris University (Pa.) from 2013 through 2015.
"It's an exciting time with all of the additions of women's hockey programs in Division III and to have this opportunity at Lawrence," Kleiber said. "This new program will help to continue the upward growth of the game in the Wisconsin market. I was also drawn to this program because Lawrence is closer to my home in Minnesota, and I have family scattered throughout Wisconsin. I'm excited to get Lawrence women's hockey on the map and to become a contender in the NCHA."
When Lawrence's team begins play for the 2020-21 season, the Vikings will join the school's men's program in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association and play at the Appleton Family Ice Center. Lawrence will be the 10th women's squad in the NCHA and one of 67 teams competing in NCAA Division III.
A 2012 graduate of Niagara University, Kleiber was a standout defenseman for the Purple Eagles. She earned a bachelor's degree in sports management in 2012 and went on to earn a master's degree in organizational leadership from Robert Morris in 2015.
"This is an important time for Lawrence athletics and Lawrence University as a whole," Abaray said. "The addition of NCAA varsity women's ice hockey will increase the footprint of athletics through this sport, which is growing throughout the youth levels across our region of the country. Our women's team also builds upon the groundwork put in place by our men's ice hockey program."