In June, there was shocking news for many Waterloo Black Hawks fans, that P.K. O'Handley would be stepping away from coaching and starting a new role beginning with the 2021-22 season. After 19 years at the helm, O'Handley will now turn his full attention toward serving as the team's President of Hockey Operations. O'Handley leaves the bench as the winningest coach in United States Hockey League history.

It's the 60th season of Black Hawks hockey in the Cedar Valley

In a couple of months, for the first time since 2002, the Black Hawks will start their season with a new head coach. On Tuesday, the organization announced that Matt Smaby will be taking over the reins. The 36-years old has rubbed elbows with some of hockey's greatest players over the years, including  Stanley Cup champion captains Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Steven Stamkos.

According to a team press release, Smaby celebrated notable achievements as an amateur, then he climbed to the NHL, and was a productive player on the ice as recently as 2017. Some of his career highlights include being captain of the USA Hockey team that won a national championship in 2003. That summer, Smaby was chosen with the 41st overall selection by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second round of the NHL Draft. He played for the Lightning on and off again from 2007-2011. During his college career, Smaby played for the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“I am extremely excited and humbled to be joining an organization with such rich tradition.  There are so many positive aspects about Waterloo which make it a great place to play. I want to continue the success the organization has enjoyed while making my own contribution to Black Hawks hockey. I look forward to getting to work.” Smaby said.

Smaby's coaching experience

Smaby’s coaching career began with a homecoming to his alma mater.  Prior to the 2017/18 college season, he started a two-year stint on the staff at North Dakota. In 2019/20 he was an assistant for the Salzburg Red Bulls in Austria’s top league. Then during the coronavirus pandemic, last winter Smaby led the Grand Forks Youth Hockey Program.

Black Hawks Reveal New Emblem

A brand new Black Hawks logo will welcome fans to "Party Town" this fall. It mixes familiar elements into a fresh look. The most significant changes include a new team color, silver. The biggest changes to the original logo are two pairs of arcing silver stripes, which signifies the flowing Cedar River. You also notice the redesigned Hawk silhouette at the center of the design is now more symmetrical and streamlined, and it is now outlined in silver.

The crest will also be featured on Hawks jerseys when the team opens their home schedule on October 1st, and merchandise bearing the new insignia will be available soon.

The organization revealed this new logo for the upcoming season and beyond. -Courtesy - Waterloo Black Hawks
The organization revealed this new logo for the upcoming season and beyond. Courtesy - Waterloo Black Hawks

CHECK IT OUT - Former Black Hawks Currently In The NHL-Then & Now Photos

Top 10 Fantastic Breweries in the Cedar Valley & Northeast Iowa - List

It's a quote that rings true, "Local Beer is Better". Why? Because you're supporting your friends and neighbors. Heck, you might even personally know the brewmaster of your favorite local beer. How cool is that? The "dive bar" down on the corner might have it's own place in society, but they're quickly being replaced by local breweries with unique themes and spacious taprooms. On top of that, they take the joy of beer to the next level, with some really good (and sometimes award-winning) beer! Scroll down for our virtual brewery tour.

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