Mars named new Viking boys hockey coach

Jacob Mars takes over a Viking hockey squad that is coming off their most successful seasons the past three years, including North Branch’s first-ever section championship in 2019.

North Branch Area Public Schools is pleased to announce Jacob Mars has accepted the position of head coach for the varsity hockey program at North Branch Area High School.

“I am honored to have been selected as the new Head Coach of the North Branch Vikings boys hockey team and am excited for what we can accomplish as a team and community,” said Mars. “As a staff, we look forward to meeting the players and getting to know the student-athletes as soon as possible. I am eager to be joining a strong high school program and helping grow our hockey at all levels.”

Mars, 30, of Eden Prairie, was an assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach at Coon Rapids High School from 2014 to 2019. Prior to Coon Rapids, Mars held positions in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, Simley High School, Minnehaha Academy and the Israel Ice Hockey Federation. In those positions and others, Mars has worked extensively with youth programs as well, serving as Hockey Operations Director for the Coon Rapids Youth Hockey Association from 2017 to 2019 and a head coach in the Minneapolis Storm Pee Wee program from 2009-11.

Mars received his level 5 coaching certification from USA Hockey in 2009 and is currently the Chairman and Statewide Coordinator for MN Hockey’s Hockey Director Committee, sits on the Hockey Operations Committee, and is the Program Director for the CCM Minnesota Hockey High Performance 14 Boys Program.

Outside of hockey, Mars is a Sports and Recreation Coordinator at the National Sports Center. He is also a public speaker for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), and has spoken to thousands of students, staff, and professionals on teenage mental health.

Mars has family history in both hockey and public service. Father Steve played hockey for Duluth East and is the current head coach of the Edina junior varsity program. Mom Linda works at SAVE as an Events and Development Director. Mars has two brothers, Max and Sam, also athletes.

“We are so happy to welcome Jacob into our hockey program,” said North Branch Activities Director Matt Lattimore. “His experiences are exceptionally well-rounded. He brings with him a long history of working collaboratively with youth programs and working outside of his sport to reach students with important messages. He will be an incredible asset not only to the high school hockey program but the community as a whole.”

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