PROVIDENCE, RI – Mike Souza has been named an assistant hockey coach, joining Brendan Whittet's '94 staff in 2011. Souza comes to Brown after a successful professional playing career, having competed in both the AHL and internationally.
"He's someone that our guys will lean on because he's played at such a high level," said Whittet. "From my side of it, he's an unbelievably personable guy, he knows everybody. He's well-connected in the hockey world. I'm very excited. I don't think we're going to miss a beat."
Souza spent the last five seasons playing in Italy, most recently with Bolzano after four seasons with SG Cortina. In his first season with Cortina (2005-06), Souza helped lead the Sharks to the team's first Championship dating back to 1975. From 2008-2011, he was also on the Italian national team, participating in the IIHF World Championship all three years and wining the Division I gold medal in both 2009 and 2011. In 2010, Souza and Team Italy participated in the Elite Division at the World Championships, as Souza led Team Italy in scoring with 5 points (1g, 4a).
A graduate of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Kinesiology, Souza was a four-year member of the Wildcats' hockey team, where he finished with 156 career points (66g, 90a) in 156 games. A teammate of Brown Associate Head Coach Mark White at New Hampshire, Souza was a part of two NCAA Frozen Four teams, scoring a key goal in the third period of the 1999 National Championship against Maine. He was named to the All-Regional Team in 1999 as well as the 1999 All-Tournament Team after leading the Frozen Four in scoring with six points.
As a senior in 2000, Souza captained the Wildcats and was a Hockey East Second Team All-Star that same year, while also earning New England All-Star honors. He finished his senior season second on the team in scoring with 40 points (15g, 25a) and won both the Charles E. Holt Coaches Award and the UNH Jim Urquhart Award, given to a UNH senior student-athlete who excels in both athletic competition and the classroom, as well as possessing great character, sportsmanship, and a passion for sports.
Following his playing career at UNH, Souza played in the AHL for three full seasons with the Norfolk Admirals (2000-2003) and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2002-2003). From 2003-2005, Souza spent time in both the AHL and ECHL, playing for the Portland Pirates, Sound Tigers, and Hersey Bears. From 2002-2004, Souza was the Sound Tigers' player representative for the Professional Hockey Players' Association.
A 1997 draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks (67th overall), Souza began playing in Europe in 2005, competing for the Cologne Sharks of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, EHC Basel of the Swiss National League A, and EHC Olton of the Swiss National League B. In 2006, he moved to Italy to play in the Serie A, where he spent the next five years, finishing with 194 points (90g, 104a) in 183 games.
A native of Wakefield, MA, Souza was inducted into the Wakefield High School Hall of Fame in 2009. He is the cousin of Paul Thompson, who was the 2011 Hockey East Player of the Year, while at UNH and is currently playing in the AHL.
Souza and his wife, Kelly (formerly McManus), have two young daughters, Ella and Ava. Kelly captained the Boston College women's hockey team in 2001 and is the older sister of Brown alumnae Krissy, a four-year member of the Bears' women's hockey team, and Kim, who is married to Chris Bourque, son of Ray Bourque and current member of the Washington Capitals.
Pictured: Mike Souza (in blue) scoring against the Netherlands, while playing for Team Italy. Photo by Fintan Planting.