Minor League Sports

'Bobby! Bobby!' Goepfert returns to Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, this time as assistant coach

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders goaltender Bobby Goepfert deflects a shot against the U.S. National Under-18 Team in a 2000 game at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Goepfert will return to Cedar Rapids for the 2018-19 season as an assistant coach. (The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders goaltender Bobby Goepfert deflects a shot against the U.S. National Under-18 Team in a 2000 game at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Goepfert will return to Cedar Rapids for the 2018-19 season as an assistant coach. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — To help develop the next Cedar Rapids RoughRiders goaltending great, head coach and general manager Mark Carlson has enlisted the help of the franchise’s first one.

Bobby Goepfert will join the coaching staff for the 2018-19 United States Hockey League season, it was learned Tuesday. The 35-year-old Long Island native starred here in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons before embarking on a college career at Providence and St. Cloud State, then a 10-year career in the pros, including five in Germany.

“Good to be back. I’m pretty pumped,” Goepfert said. “Those two years I spent in Cedar Rapids were two of the best years I’ve had. Just from a team standpoint, a life standpoint. I really enjoyed my time in Cedar Rapids. Every time I look back and reminisce, it has always been with a smile. To come back and realistically start my coaching career, start chapter two, at a place that provided chapter one is great. That’s kind of life coming full circle.”

Goepfert retired from playing after the 2015-16 season, then began coaching youth hockey on Long Island. He coached last season for the Syracuse Stars of the junior United States Premier Hockey League.

Carlson asked him recently if he wanted to come back to Iowa. He’ll join Ben Kinne as a RoughRiders assistant.

“Coach Carlson, I’ve kept in contact and helped him out with guys on the East Coast,” said Goepfert, who has a wife and two young children. “Doing some different things for him. A couple of weeks ago, he called me with the idea, told me what he was thinking. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for that phone call since I stopped playing.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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