Changes to hockey coaching staff

OPRF hockey is heading in a promising direction this year after new coaches Pat and Mike O’Rourke join the team, following the resignation of varsity head coach Dave Dyson.
In his last season as head coach, Dyson led the team to an 11-30 record, including losing nine out of their last 10 games. The season prior, the varsity team went 26-18. This drop in record might be due to the team joining a different, more challenging conference. As tensions continued to mount between Dyson and the team, it was apparent to the players Dyson was on his way out shortly.
“Tensions were at their highest when senior Oliver Haussman [now graduated] was benched on senior night last year,” says junior Michael Decaro. “He was told minutes before the game that he wouldn’t be playing, and he had to get undressed.” According to Decaro, Dyson did not give a reason for benching Haussman. “It was upsetting to see because his family was there to watch the game. You could tell that the parents were starting to get upset as well.”
Decaro says that he and other players received a text over the summer from Dyson explaining his decision to resign. According to Decaro, Dyson’s reasoning behind his resignation was simply because the club was moving in a direction that he didn’t believe in. Days later, the players received word that assistant coach Steve Meagher had resigned as well.
Despite their disappointing record and a -80 goal differential last year, meaning that they scored 80 less goals than teams scored against them, Decaro says he has a positive outlook on the future of OPRF varsity hockey.
“I like the way that practices are being run now. The new coaches are doing a really great job.”
The OPRFHS hockey program hired brothers Pat and Mike O’Rourke to be the new varsity head coaches. When asked about his hiring, Pat O’Rourke said, “The OPRF hockey community has created a welcoming environment for Coach Mike O’Rourke and I. Coach Mike and I are impressed by the work ethic that the players have demonstrated thus far and see that translating into improved performance on the ice.”
The OPRFHS hockey Board of Directors President Chris Heyer said “While we considered several candidates, the O’Rourke brothers were the perfect fit for our club, both on and off the ice. Most importantly, their style of play and coaching philosophy aligns with our club’s goals. We feel very fortunate to have them leading our Varsity team for the 2020-21 hockey season.”
Both coaches live in Oak Park and have experience at the AAA level. Pat O’Rourke holds the IHSA record for points scored (121) in a single season, while Mike is a former Central States player.
The team has been practicing three to four times a week, However, they still do not know what their competitive season will look like this year.
“We remain focused on player safety first and adhering to the public health’s best practices for keeping everyone safe during our practices as we work hard to prepare for the hockey season,” said O’Rourke. “I’m excited about the opportunity to have a positive influence on the development of student athletes while creating an environment where they can learn and grow.”