NEW RICHMOND, Wis. -- New Richmond hockey coach Zach Kier announced last week he is stepping down from the position after guiding the Tigers to the Middle Border Conference title this past season.

“With my job and personal life getting more complicated, I am not able to give my 100 percent effort to the hockey program,” Kier said in a statement. “That is not fair to the players or my assistant coaches.

“I will still be as involved with New Richmond Hockey as I can but I am formally taking a step back and allowing someone else to take over,” he added.

Kier, a 2011 New Richmond High School graduate, took over from longtime Tiger coach Adam Swanda in 2018 after serving as an assistant coach on Swanda’s staff the previous two years. He guided the Tigers to a 30-33 overall record and a 17-7 mark in the Middle Border Conference the past three seasons, including a 7-1 record and MBC title this past season.

First-year New Richmond athletic director Scott Farmer praised Kier’s work with the Tiger program, especially considering the COVID-related challenges of the past season.

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“I have to say I was really impressed by what he accomplished this year in our current situation to keep the team and coaches focused and competing each and everyday not knowing what to expect,” Farmer said. “Being new to the community and programs, I understand Coach Kier came in following an outstanding coach in Adam Swanda, which is never an easy thing to do whether you are trying to keep it going or trying to change some little things of your own. From what I have heard and can tell Coach Kier did an outstanding job. And for that I wish him the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his time and commitment.”

Kier said the future looks bright for New Richmond hockey as it prepares to make the transition to the Big Rivers Conference next year.

“There is an awesome group of kids coming up from the youth levels, not only at the bantam level but the peewee and squirt level as well,” he said. “Whoever takes the program over will not have a bare cupboard. Will be fun to watch them compete in the Big Rivers.”

Farmer said the school district has opened the application process and hopes to have Kier’s successor named by the end of the March.