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Boys Hockey: Rajanen named Wingers' interim coach

Wanting to keep the Red Wing boys' hockey team in good hands, longtime assistant coach Bob Rajanen decided to make the leap from assistant to head coach. For the time being.

On Thursday, Red Wing athletic director Matt Schultz announced Rajanen as the interim head boys' hockey coach.

"He has a ton of experience and he's been in our program for quite a while," Schultz said. "He's a quality person and Bob has great hockey knowledge. ... He has the highest recommendations from who he's worked with, and the hockey community in Red Wing respects him."

Rajanen has been an assistant coach for the Wingers for 10 years, and has worked at youth camps and goaltending clinics. He replaces Mike Belisle, whom he served as an assistant coach for the past three seasons.

During Belisle's tenure, Red Wing went 28-51-3, including a 5-20-2 mark in 2012-13.

While taking the head coaching position on an interim basis, Rajanen hopes to keep the Red Wing program in good hands, whether he stays on as head coach or returns as an assistant coach.

"I wanted to give the school some time to get someone in the building, build the program for years to come and get the right fit," Rajanen said. "I'm comfortable as an assistant coach or a head coach."

With some teaching positions opening in Red Wing, Schultz, with Rajanen's blessing, would consider bringing in a new teacher hire as the boys' hockey coach should the scenario present itself. During the head-coaching search, Schultz said he received four applications.

"If we happen to have a candidate that applies, Bob would like for them to have a chance at it," Schultz said.

"The job should go to a younger person; skating isn't as easy as it used to be for me," Rajanen added. "I still have a passion for the game, but I can't get on the ice as much."

Regardless of how the situation pans out, Rajanen is ready and willing to help a Wingers' squad that will lose eight seniors.

"It's going to be a transition year," Rajanen said. "We're going to need some people to stand up and help with what we lost with that senior class."

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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