After Eric Park resigned as coach of the Dublin Coffman High School hockey team, athletics director Tony Pusateri went searching for another coach with an extensive background in the sport.
Pusateri believes he has found that coach in former professional hockey player Darcy Cahill.
“I had already heard of Darcy’s reputation as being a good coach and he came highly recommended from several of our players’ parents who follow the game very closely,” Pusateri said. “Darcy played hockey at the highest level and he knows the game and our program. We’ve already made it to the (state tournament) once before (in 2010), and he thinks he can get us back there again.”
A native of Kingston, Ontario, Cahill was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the 12th round (239th overall) of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft and played professionally for parts of 12 seasons, though he never played in the NHL.
After retiring as a player in 2002, Cahill got involved with coaching. He coached the Dublin junior varsity program for three seasons from 2002-05 and the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets pee-wee team for seven seasons from 2005-12 as well as other teams at the youth level.
Cahill, who also runs hockey camps, gives private lessons and trains athletes for the Hockey Training Center in Powell and Grandview, is looking forward to leading the Shamrocks.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to coach this team,” Cahill said. “I’ve been coaching hockey players fulltime since I retired and I had the opportunity to coach a lot of these kids when they were real young, so I’m thrilled to have another opportunity to work with them.
“I’m not into making predictions, but obviously I want our team to have success. I believe schooling comes first and hockey is second, because if you do well in school, you’re going to do well on the ice as well. I know these kids and this team have all kinds of potential.”
Cahill, a 6-foot, 190-pound center, played six seasons at the junior level before turning pro late in the 1990-91 season. As a pro, he spent parts of eight seasons in the United Kingdom, part of one season in Germany and parts of five seasons in Canada and the U.S., including the 1997-98 season with the now-defunct Columbus Chill of the East Coast Hockey League.
Over the course of his pro career, which ended with the Isle of Wight Raiders in the English League in the 2001-02 season, Cahill scored 313 goals and had 579 assists in 391 games.
“I was a world traveler while I pursued my dream of playing in the NHL,” he said. “I had a lot of great experiences and I played with or against tons of guys who went on to play in the NHL. I centered a line with (former NHL standout) Owen Nolan as my winger and I played against (former NHL standout) Eric Lindros, just to name a few.”
After his playing career, Cahill settled in Columbus with his wife, Renee, whom he had met while playing for the Chill. The couple has three children: Kylie, 10; Blaine, 5; and Brett, newborn.
“I lived in a lot of interesting, but I really enjoyed Columbus the most because that’s where I met my wife and started up my life,” Cahill said. “Now I’m fortunate to stay involved in hockey and I’m trying to give something back to the sport by teaching kids how to play the game.”
Park stepped down after two seasons with Coffman, compiling a 32-32-1 record. The Shamrocks went 16-16 last season.
“My professional career is keeping me too busy to coach at the moment,” said Park, whose family already owned a Goddard School in Canal Winchester and recently opened another in Dublin. “... But the program is in good hands and Coffman hockey won’t miss a beat with Darcy running the show. Darcy is a good person and he will keep the quality of the program growing.”