The Prior Lake girls hockey team will be under new leadership next school year.
After one season as an assistant coach, Kiersten Nelson will take over the head duties for Todd Johnson, who stepped down after six seasons leading the program.
Nelson is a 2009 Burnsville High School graduate. She played hockey and lacrosse in her athletic career for the Blaze, before heading to college. She received her masters degree in educational leadership at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She also coached hockey at the youth and varsity levels while there.
"Throughout the hiring process, [Nelson] rose above all others in a competitive pool of candidates," said Prior Lake Athletic Director Russ Reetz. "She has an athlete-centered mindset and is excited to start working with the youth program, our offseason training program and the Blue Line Club."
Nelson is the first female girls hockey coach for Prior Lake. She's also the program's fourth head coach since the 2009-10 season.
The Lakers' program has struggled the last seven years. Prior Lake finished this past season with an 8-15-3 overall mark (6-9-2 in the South Suburban Conference), falling 4-3 to Chaska/Chanhassen in the first round of the Section 2AA playoffs.
It was the seventh straight losing season for the Lakers. The last time the program had a winning record or double-digit wins was in 2009-10 when it went 15-9-1.
Prior Lake has average 17.8 losses over the last seven years. Since the Lakers moved up to the top class at the start of the 2003-04 season, the program has a 3-14 overall playoff record.
The Lakers' last postseason win was in 2014, a 4-1 victory over Jefferson/Kennedy.
Nelson is also a science teacher at the high school.