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Denver’s Knowlton stays in hockey with new USA Hockey post

 

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Pat Knowlton prepared himself for life after he retired as a professional hockey player.

That foresight paid off with a job in the sport he loves as the 29-year-old from Denver was recently named USA Hockey’s coordinator of adult hockey.

Knowlton will be assisting with the planning, recruitment, development and on-site administration of USA Hockey’s adult hockey programs and events.

“It wasn’t easy to retire from playing – I still miss going to rink every day to be with the boys,” Knowlton said. “But it’s been a smooth transition because I have a job where I’m talking and hearing about hockey and going online to read about hockey every day.”

Knowlton’s playing days as a gritty forward ended midway through the 2013-2014 season after he suffered a concussion while playing for the Tonsberg Vikings in the Get Ligaen, the top league in Norway.

Armed with a college degree — a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in management from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. — and a wealth of job experiences, Knowlton decided it was time to move on to another career.

“My parents kept telling me that I wasn’t going to be a hockey player forever, and I’d better get ready for that,” he said. “I positioned myself so I wouldn’t be a 28-year-old looking for an entry-level job.”

Knowlton was a marketing and promotions representative for Anheuser-Busch in Denver from March 2014 to June 2014 and an account manager for Charmer Sunbelt Group beverage distributors in Denver from Sept. 2014 until he accepted the USA Hockey position. He also worked at the Krivo School of Hockey in Denver and MAC Goaltending Hockey Camp in Albany, N.Y., since his retirement as a player.

His first day on the job with USA Hockey was Oct. 12. At the end of the week, he was in Charlotte, N.C., to take in an adult tournament with more than 30 teams.

“They didn’t give me too much to do, but I helped out as best as I could,” he said.

When he returned to the office, one of his biggest projects was writing a script and appearing in an off-ice training video that will be posted on the USA Hockey website.

While he gets acclimated to his new responsibilities with USA Hockey, Knowlton also is getting acclimated to a new personal life. He and his wife, Alison, have been married for six months.

Knowlton played college hockey at NCAA Division I Sacred Heart for four years (2007-11), serving as team captain during the 2010-2011 season. While he was there, he helped raise more than $15,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation childhood cancer charity.

He also participated in multiple community fundraisers and charity events while he was a professional player and he was an active member of the Professional Hockey Players Association.

“I think hockey players in general realize the importance of giving back,” he said. “I feel I’m doing that with USA Hockey. I’m a product of USA Hockey. It made me the hockey player I became through their festivals and camps I attended.”

Knowlton’s junior career included a great 2006-07 season with the Eastern Junior Hockey League’s New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, winning league and Tier III national championships while scoring 15 goals and adding 21 assists along the way.

He played professional hockey for three seasons after graduating Sacred Heart and was a key member of the Pensacola Ice Flyers team that won the Southern Professional Hockey League championship in the 2012-2013 season. He had 16 goals and 17 assists in 30 regular-season games and four goals and two assists in seven playoff games.

Work outside of hockey was important to Knowlton even when he was a professional player. He was a field marketing specialist for Cyto Sport-Muscle Milk in Denver from 2011-13.

— Steve Stein