Their paths cross againGRAND FORKS — When University of North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol looks across at his counterpart on the other bench tonight, he will see a guy who helped bring him to North Dakota more than 20 years ago.
By: Brad Schlossman, The Dickinson Press
GRAND FORKS — When University of North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol looks across at his counterpart on the other bench tonight, he will see a guy who helped bring him to North Dakota more than 20 years ago.
Air Force Academy head coach Frank Serratore was an assistant coach at UND in the late 1980s, and along with fellow assistants Cary Eades and Dean Blais, recruited Hakstol to play defenseman for the Sioux.
“I vividly remember going to Red Deer, Alta., with Cary and sitting down with Dave and Dixon Ward,” Serratore said. “We thought Dave was a solid player and he’s always been the captain of his teams. He was a good leader and he was an impressive young man. Those things were important to our staff.”
Hakstol committed to UND and eventually became the team’s captain. His eligibility ran out halfway through his third year because of when he started taking college courses.
“It was a bad deal,” Serratore said. “He had his career shortened because he was too good of a student. How ridiculous is that? He was too meticulous of a student. Typical NCAA — punishing the wrong kids.”
Serratore left UND the year before Hakstol arrived. After a short stint in the United States Hockey League, he was named head coach of the Minnesota Moose in the International Hockey League. His captain? Dave Hakstol.
“Once I got the job in Minnesota, I signed him to be our captain,” Serratore said. “I was always so impressed with the things Cary told me about him. I wanted him to be our captain. And keep in mind, that team had Dave Christian, Dave Snuggerud, Reed Larson, Mark Osiecki. . . there were some big-time players and big-time leaders on that team.”
Hakstol said he had fun playing for Serratore.
“He’s a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve,” Hakstol said. “He’s a passionate guy in both life and in hockey. That’s the way he coached. He has a great perspective on the game and he’s got a great passion for the game. He’s excited to get to the rink every day. It was a great experience playing for him.”
Tonight’s game will mark the first time that they’ve ever coached against each other.
“We’ve had a lot of different stops along the way,” Hakstol said. “And our paths have crossed an awful lot. Frank’s a great personality and one of the good men in college hockey.
“I know Frank has coached in a lot of different places. But to me, he’s a UND guy. And I say that with great respect to him as a man and as a hockey person.”
Four former Sioux players will be honored on the Legend’s Wall in the lobby of Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Sioux Legends are recognized for their success off the ice as much as their success on the ice.
Former players being inducted this fall include Ralph Engelstad (1948-50), Bob May (1949-51, coach from 1957-59), Dan McKinnon (1947-50) and Bill Reichart (1954-57).
The players, who will receive a plaque on the wall, will be honored during a Saturday brunch.
Stafford named alternate captain
UND has another captain in the NHL.
One day after Zach Parise was named captain of the New Jersey Devils, the Buffalo Sabres named Drew Stafford an alternate captain.
UND now has four players wearing a letter in the NHL. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is the youngest captain in the NHL. Matt Greene is an alternate captain of the Los Angeles Kings.
Fourteen Sioux start in NHL
The puck dropped on the NHL season Thursday night and a total of 14 former Sioux were listed on opening day rosters.
Only one was in action Thursday night — Matt Frattin of the Toronto Maple Leafs played against the Montreal Canadiens.
In addition to the four captains, Anaheim Ducks forward Jason Blake, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Taylor Chorney, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Commore, Ottawa Senators defenseman Brian Lee and St. Louis Blues forwards T.J. Oshie and Chris Porter will soon play.
Three players listed on opening day rosters are injured — Anaheim Ducks defenseman Matt Smaby, New Jersey Devils forward Travis Zajac and Montreal forward Hunter Bishop, who transferred to Ohio State after one year with the Sioux.
UND goaltender Brad Eidsness is one of 20 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award. The award focuses on four areas of excellence — community, classroom, character and competition. Eidsness was the men’s hockey recipient of the NCAA Elite 88 Award for having the highest grade-point average in the Frozen Four.
Schlossman is a sports reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.