WILLIAMSTOWN - There's never any sure-fire way to predict how well a new coach will, well, coach. The Trinity athletic program certainly brought in a big name as its new women's hockey coach last August
For the better part of a decade, Jenny Potter was the face of USA women's hockey - not as a coach, but as a player. She retired after the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games with four medals to her credit. She then turned her attention to coaching.
Last summer, she became the bench boss at Trinity, her first coaching job at the collegiate level.
"I just think instill in them what I learned as a hockey player and things that helped me become the best that I could be," Potter said. "In the process, teach them how to be great human beings, somebody that's going to go out in society and make a difference in the world through hockey or whatever it is and represent your country well, represent your school well and become better people."
Potter has coached at various youth travel levels with her two children, the high school level, the Olympic Development level and also co-founded (with her husband) a training school that has produced more than 30 Olympians and more than a dozen NHL draft picks.
Standing behind the bench, instead of sitting on it, is certainly nothing new to the Minnesota native. Her players, though, say its her playing career that exudes confidence.
"She's pretty calm behind the bench," Trinity freshman Alessandra Bravi said. "In situations like this, she knows what it's like to be down by a goal or be down against a team in the playoffs. She knows how to motivate us in situations like this, so I think it's good to have a coach like that in situations."
Potter led the Bantams to the playoffs for the eighth straight season, despite getting to campus later than she would have liked, which is no easy task, just ask Williams. The Ephs knocked Trinity out of the NESCAC tournament with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory Saturday in the quarterfinals.
She said her late arrival also made recruiting a bit more difficult. But she also didn't let on that there's been an overwhelming amount of interest from girls wanting to play for a four-time Olympian.
"I think the recruiting process is always hard because you're trying to find people you want as hockey players but also a place that they want to be," she said. "Every school fits somebody differently, and I want people that want to come to Trinity and be happy there because forcing somebody to be somewhere that they truly don't want to be, doesn't work in the benefit for anybody."
Potter was born, raised and played Division I hockey in Minnesota. The family's training camp, Potter's Pure Hockey, is also based in Minnesota. It's obvious she has strong connections to the state. So for someone who pushed for and pursued the highest level of competition, it begs the question: Is this a stepping stone?
"As far as I know, I'm building a program that's going to be a winner."