TOPEKA, KS, MAY 22, 2007: The Topeka RoadRunners are pleased to welcome Mike Aikens into the position of Assistant Coach.
Aikens joins the RoadRunners after spending the last season scouring the country for junior talent, and coaching with the Russell Stover AAA midget program that finished third at the Midget National Tournament.
Being behind the bench is where Aikens is most comfortable. In 1992, after seeing his own playing career cut short by injury, he found his way to the bench as a student assistant at the University of Denver. In 1995 he moved to the USHL where he was an assistant with the Omaha Lancers. After 3 seasons, he accepted the Head Coach position with the USHL’s Rochester (MN) Mustangs. He then went on to stints as an assistant with the Fargo-Moorhead Ice Sharks and Chicago Steel (both USHL) before moving back into the head coach slot with the NAHL Billings (MT) Bulls. It was there that Aikens made a name for himself, where in 4 seasons he posted an impressive .703 winning pct (150-59-15 in reg. season). He won two Borne Cup Championships, and notched a 3rd place finish in the National Tournament. He helped a substantial number of players move on to college, a fact that he is more proud of than his won-loss record.
He ventured north into the BCHL, where he was head coach for the Williams Lake Timberwolves for a season before coming back to the States where he scouted for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs while coaching the Russell Stover Midget AAA club in Kansas City, MO. It was a natural fit for Aikens to fall in with the RoadRunners. His various experiences make him a valuable and welcome asset. “I consider myself a good teacher of the game, I feel I have a good understanding of the game”, Aikens reflected. “To me, junior hockey is all about development. I love to see players get better everyday and have the opportunity to play at higher levels. At the same time it isn't just the players who are here to develop. I honestly believe I am a better coach today then when I last coached in the league. I expect I will be better after having the opportunity to work with Scott and the Topeka organization.”
Prior to coaching, Aikens was an accomplished player, both with Rochester in the USHL, and Denver University of the WCHA. It’s that perspective that Aikens feels will help him in this new position in Topeka. “I am hoping my experience in Junior hockey and the contacts I have developed over the years in Midget, High School, and College hockey will not only help us recruit the best players in the country, but help move them on to higher levels of hockey as well”, he said.
Mike and his wife, Hope, live in Rochester, MN, with their two daughters, Maren and Brianna. He will begin his duties as assistant coach immediately, and will be arriving in Topeka in the next few days. His goals in Topeka are simple, and attainable. “I look forward to helping Scott (Langer) build a franchise in Topeka that the fans will be proud of and be recognized as one of the best in all of Junior hockey”.