In putting together today’s story about Dave Hakstol’s new six-year contract, I got a couple of quotes from the coach and athletic director Brian Faison. Then, I thought it might add to the story to get comments from someone who is not connected to the university who lives afar.
So, I got in touch with Dave Starman. He’s a college hockey analyst for CBS, who broadcasted a handful of Sioux games this season and has watched many UND games in recent years (including a couple of trips to Grand Forks).
In addition to calling a lot of college games during the year, Starman is extremely connected at the NHL level, so I thought it would be interesting to hear his thoughts. They are below.
On Hakstol’s ability to build teams: “To me, the biggest affirmation of his success is his ability to build a team and to let a team build itself. That’s a trademark of great pro hockey teams. A lot of teams get better because they’re allowed to develop and allowed to make mistakes (early in the season). I look at North Dakota’s teams and they always get better. I think he lets them find their way a little bit.”
On UND: “North Dakota has an identity and it doesn’t change. I think that helps them in recruiting.”
On developing players: “I think you see guys come out of there who understand what pro hockey is, and they understand it because he puts them through a pro-like atmosphere in what he expects from them. When I talk to guys who have been through the North Dakota program, they say that Dave has gotten them not only ready for pro hockey but for life. I get the sense from them that he teaches a lot of life lessons through the game, not taking shortcuts and being accountable. That’s what you see from guys who have moved on from the program.”
On the elusive national title: “Red Berenson is considered a legend. He took over Michigan in ’84 and didn’t win a national title until ’96. Look at Hakstol and what he’s done in terms of putting out great teams consistently and getting players ready for the next level. He has a really good eye for identifying kids who can play at that level. He develops players, he develops teams, he’s been to the tournament every year, he’s been to a bunch of Frozen Fours…”
Starman said he mentioned on a broadcast in Duluth that if he were an NHL general manager, he would be trying to get Hakstol and Scott Sandelin to coach his AHL team, but added that he’s glad they are still in the college game. With new contracts for both of them, it looks like they will be staying a while, too.