Joakim Flygh • Susan Cavanagh Head Coach of Women’s Hockey.
Joakim Flygh, who went to the NCAA Tournament five times as an assistant coach at Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth, was named Yale’s head women’s ice hockey coach on July 28, 2010. Flygh (whose name is pronounced YOU-a-keem FLEEG) is the 10th coach in Yale women’s ice hockey history.
In 2014-15, Flygh led the Bulldogs to their best winning percentage in eight years, finishing with the second-most overall wins in school history (15). Yale also made its second straight ECAC Hockey Championship playoff appearance. The team tied the school record for wins in conference games with 12 and scored the second-most goals in a season in school history (93).
In 2013-14 Flygh led the Bulldogs to their first ECAC Hockey Championship playoff appearance since 2008, and their first postseason win since 2005 (a 3-2 double overtime win at then-No. 5 Harvard Feb. 28 in game one of the quarterfinals). The Bulldogs eventually lost the series two games to one (including a double overtime loss in game two), falling one goal shy of the program's second appearance at the ECAC Hockey semifinals.
Matt Woodard • Associate Head Coach
Matt Woodard, who spent four seasons at RIT and helped the Tigers make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, joined the Yale women’s ice hockey staff as an assistant coach in the summer of 2017.
Woodard, a native of St. Louis Park, Minn., began coaching at RIT for the 2013-14 season and helped the Tigers win College Hockey America Championships in each of his first two years. In 2014-15, they advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
Prior to his stint at RIT, Woodard spent two seasons as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Manhattanville College. The Valiants went 33-18-5 in that span, advancing to the ECAC East Championship game each year. In addition to his coaching duties, Woodard earned a master’s degree in sports business management from Manhattanville in 2013.
Woodard is a 2009 graduate of American International College, where he played defense for the Yellow Jackets. He tied for fourth on the school’s all-time games played list (133), the most for an AIC blueliner. He then played semi-pro hockey for the Fort Wayne Komets and the Bloomington Prairie Thunder of the CHL in 2009-10.
A double major in criminal justice and psychology, Woodard was a four-time Atlantic Hockey Association All-Academic Team selection at AIC. He was on the Dean’s List every semester and was the recipient of the Dr. James A. Brennan Award for outstanding achievement as a double major. He also earned the ECAC Award of Merit for excellence on the field of competition and in the classroom.
Mel Ruzzi • Assistant Coach
A veteran coach with 12 years of experience, Mel joined the Yale Women’s Hockey coaching staff on July 1, 2018.
Ruzzi comes from a six-year stint at Providence College where she built the program to a PairWise ranking of 10th and 2nd in Hockey East as the Associate Head Coach. She worked primarily with the defensemen, helping the first blueliner to win the Hockey East Rookie of the Year (Whitney Dove in 2017). She also coached a pair of skaters who finished the 2016-17 season in the top 10 in scoring among blueliners.
Ruzzi also worked with the Friar’s offense, In fact, the 2013-14 PC team ranked ninth in the nation with 3.17 goals-per-game.
Ruzzi has been very involved in USA Hockey, serving as a coach for its development camp since 2006. In addition, she has been the director of the USA Hockey’s multi-district camp for the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Districts since 2017.
The Burnsville, Minn., native graduated from Providence College in 2003 after a decorated career as a defenseman and team captain.
During her playing career, Ruzzi helped lead the Friars to two championships, including the ECAC Eastern title in 2002 and the inaugural Women’s Hockey East crown in 2003. She served as captain of the 2002-03 team, earning Hockey East Honorable Mention status and the team’s Coaches’ Award. For her career, she played in 141 games, fourth on the Friars all-time list, and accounted for 13 goals and 38 assists for 51 points.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Providence, Ruzzi spent two seasons (2004-2006) as an assistant coach with Amherst College where she helped the Lord Jeffs to their first conference title and a semifinal berth in the NCAA tournament.
Ruzzi then spent four (2006-2010) seasons on Katey Stone’s staff at Harvard, helping lead the Crimson to their eighth NCAA tournament appearance in 2010.
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