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The University of Alabama in Huntsville Department of Athletics announced today that Kurt Kleinendorst has stepped down from his position as the program's head hockey coach. Kleinendorst guided the Chargers through the team's final season as a Division I independent as the program begins play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in the upcoming 2013-14 year.
"Kurt Kleinendorst has steadied the rough waters during our transition into the WCHA, and we will always be grateful to him for that," said UAH Director of Athletics Dr. E. J. Brophy. "He has signed nine quality recruits for next fall, and he has done a fantastic job with our program. Now that we have our program on firm footing, we will start the process of identifying the coach who will lead our hockey program into the WCHA."
Kleinendorst came to Huntsville with a wealth of experience, including nine years as an assistant coach and scout for the NHL's New Jersey Devils and – most recently – a two-year, championship-winning stint with the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League.
"This has been a great experience for me – my first in collegiate sports," Kleinendorst said. "I've grown to really respect the college game. This is just about me being true to myself, and my passion is for pro hockey.
"I'm going to miss the guys, but I know the program is in a great place," Kleinendorst continued. "I'm going to be watching closely as the new coach moves it forward as he comes into a really great situation. I'd like to thank President Altenkirch and Dr. Brophy for giving me this opportunity because without a doubt, I'm a better coach today because of it.
"I want to wish everyone great success as the team moves into the WCHA."
UAH will immediately begin seeking Kleinendorst's successor who will guide the Chargers through the program's first season in the WCHA. The upcoming season features a strong 16-game home slate, and among the teams that will be visiting the Von Braun Center in 2013-14 are St. Cloud State, who reached the 2013 Frozen Four, and longtime rival Bemidji State.