Greg Haney on the Potsdam bench

SUNY Potsdam women’s hockey head coach Greg Haney (middle) used to be an assistant coach with Oswego State from 2015-2018 under former head coach Diane Dillon. Haney is in his first year as head coach with the Bears.

OSWEGO — Just a few years removed from his tenure as an assistant coach for the Oswego State women’s hockey team, Greg Haney made his first return to Oswego and the now-named Deborah F. Stanley Arena Sunday.

Except this time, he was on the opposing bench as the head coach of the SUNY Potsdam women’s hockey team.

“It was exciting. You come and see all the people, and they welcome you so warmly,” Haney said. “My time here, it was worth it. It’s exciting to come back for sure.”

Haney is currently in his first year at the helm of the Bears. From 2018-2020, he was an assistant coach for Lindenwood University’s women’s hockey team, an NCAA Division I program. 

The Lakers and Bears tied 4-4 in an overtime game.

While at Oswego State, he helped lead the Lakers to three consecutive postseason appearances, and to the Northeast Women’s Hockey League championship game in 2018, the league’s first year of existence. 

“We like the league. It’s a hard league. You’ve got to play hard every single night to get points,” Haney said. “Especially on the road against a good Oswego team like that — they just went out to Adrian and beat them — it’s something to hang (our) head on for sure.”

As a key part of recruiting, Haney brought the 2017 and 2020 NEWHL Rookies of the Year to Oswego State. Currently, the 2020 rookie is now a junior in Megan Teachout.

His recruiting efforts brought in this year’s junior class. But he also coached Philomena Teggart and Aislinn McAleer, both fifth-year seniors for Oswego State.

“There’s a handful of them that came through that were even a year out like (Kyleigh) Grugin and Teachout. It’s good to see them. They’re doing great,” Haney said. “(Teggart and McAleer), they’re hard working. They’ve always worked hard. It’s good to see them in a leadership role because it’s been that way since day one.”

During his tenure at Oswego State, Haney served under former head coach Diane Dillon, who retired at the end of the 2019-2020 season. He mentioned that Dillon “taught (him) a lot.”

“She taught me a lot of things away from the game, not even on the ice, that weigh more in the situation of being a head coach,” Haney said. “It’s really helped out and she helped me figure out some things at that time that are paying off now.”

Oswego State head coach Mark Digby — who was an assistant coach with the men’s hockey team while Haney was with the Lakers — said “Greg’s done a great job” with Potsdam in his first year with the program.

The Lakers and Bears will meet two more times in the regular season, and there’s always the possibility the two will meet in the NEWHL playoffs.

“Greg is an awesome guy. Everything that he tried to implement when he was here, I think it did mean a lot to the players,” Digby said. “He went on to do some good things. Now he’s just up the road. … You respect people that have worked their way up, and he certainly has.”

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