Ice Eagles have new head coach

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Allen Lalk

The Columbia Ice Eagles Board announced the hiring of Allen Lalk to be head varsity coach and Doug Mercille to be the head junior varsity coach of the club hockey program, which competes in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association.

Lalk succeeds Kevin Feager, who had served as varsity head coach of the Ice Eagles for several seasons.

“Both of these coaches have been a part of our kids’ development and we look forward to both of them continuing to build the Ice Eagles,” the board stated in its announcement.  

Assistant coaches for the Ice Eagles will be named over the next few weeks.  

Lalk, a longtime Columbia resident, and wife Larissa have five children.  Their oldest, Chance, 24, lives in Tupelo, Miss., and works for UPS. Dylan, 19, started playing for the Ice Eagles his eighth grade year and graduated in 2021.  He is currently playing college hockey at Ole Miss.  Carsyn, 13, competes as a gymnast for Power Haus Cheer. The younger two who are currently playing for the Meramec Sharks hockey club are Cash, 12, and Jax, 6,  who look forward to playing for the Ice Eagles.

Lalk played youth hockey growing up in Cahokia and began coaching several years ago for Meramec. During this time, he has led several teams to championships at various tournaments, as well as Blue Note cups, winning in 2020 with the 12U team and second place finishes in 2017 (14U), 2019 (16UAA) and 2020 (18UAA). 

When Dylan played for the Ice Eagles, Lalk served as both an assistant coach and held director and vice president positions on the board. 

Mercille is also a longtime Columbia resident who is familiar with the local hockey community.  

His love for the game started through an uncle, but quickly led to a passion when his daughter put on skates.  At that point he and wife Sandy quickly realized their lives changed forever.  

Their daughter played for the Meramec Ice Queens, which in time merged with Twin Bridges and became the Midwest Mustangs. Once age eligible, she was the first and only girl to play for the Ice Eagles. 

Mercille has coached for the Ice Eagles as an assistant or JV head coach for the past 12 years.  

Throughout his 20-plus years of coaching, Mercille has coached at all levels.  He assisted with the Meramec evaluation process and coached a few teams to championships. 

Additionally, while coaching the U14 and U16 teams, they traveled all over the Midwest and qualified for nationals. Within this time period is where he found his home on the Ice Eagles bench. 

“Allen and Doug are looking forward to working with our experienced assistants, Chuck and Matt. Together, they will be developing their vision for the 2022-23 Ice Eagles season,” the board announced. 

For more information on the Ice Eagles, visit columbiahockeyclub.com.

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