“After developing for 10 years as an assistant coach, I feel I am ready for this challenge and excited for the opportunity to represent this outstanding organization as its head coach,” said Mikesch. “I’ve worked toward this goal and for it to happen in a great sports community like Green Bay makes it all the more rewarding.”
It's the 4th new coach in six years for Green Bay.
"At least were not the Oakland Raiders," joked Gamblers President Brendan Bruss. "None of these were because of my choice. It's all because of advancement and a lot of success."
"If you look at the names before me, they've accomplished a lot," added Mikesch. "But with that comes expectations and they have proven over and over before me that you win here in Green Bay."
Over the last six years the Gamblers have recorded 239 regular season wins, three regular season titles, and a pair of Clark Cup Championships.
With Mikesch running the team's draft over the past three years, the organization hopes his familiarity with the players leads to a smooth transition.
"I think this team was built for the way Derek and I like to be," said Mikesch. "We did add some size and some experienceb but we'll also have some great youth that are ready to play. Some younger kids that are going to be high end kids, so we're excited to work with that group."
The new Gamblers head coach and GM says you will definitely notice some differences in the Gamblers' style of play next season, and it all revolves around being a more physical team.
"Go back to a little bit of the (Jon) Cooper era where physical hits are expected," said Mikesch referring to the current Tampa Bay Lightning head coach's time in Green Bay. "The fighting game is moving on and it's not easy to just go out and intimidate a player, but you can wear teams down. You can go out and physically punish them shift in, and shift out and make it a tough place to play. I think our fans do a great job of that already, and we need to make sure our team does as well."
Mikesch boasts a perfect 15-0 record behind the bench as a head man leading the United States U-17 team to three straight gold medals. So the big question is, if he finds similar success here, will Green Bay be searching for another coach soon?
"We are very established in this community and I want to be here," said Mikesch. "I do want to be here and raise my kids in Green Bay, and I'm so excited that I'm having that opportunity."
Mikesch's background: Prior to the Gamblers, Mikesch spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Michigan Tech University of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. On the international level, Mikesch led the United States U-17 team to three straight gold medals at the Five Nations Cup (2011, 2012 & 2013). In Mikesch’s three years behind the bench at the Five Nations Cup, the U.S. team was a perfect 15-0-0.
Mikesch was a four-year member (1992-96) of Michigan Tech’s hockey team. He helped the Huskies to three WCHA Final Fives in four years. Mikesch is one of the most decorated players to ever adorn the Huskies jersey, as he ranks seventh all-time in scoring with 169 points (57 goals and 112 assists). After his collegiate career, Mikesch played eight years of professional hockey in the AHL, IHL, ECHL and in Germany.
Mikesch played two seasons in the USHL with the Des Moines Buccaneers (1990-92), where he was a teammate of former Gamblers head coach Eric Rud on the 1992 squad that captured the Clark Cup.