At about 2 p.m., the shocking news came down that UND was not going to renew the contract of associate head coach Cary Eades for next season [full story in Herald here].
I reached out to Eades to see if he wanted to/was willing to comment on what happened. Despite the difficulty of the situation, he said he would talk, because he’s always been a straight shooter and he said he felt he owed it to the passionate Sioux hockey fans.
Eades said he has known for a little while now — before last week’s Florida meetings. When asked if he was surprised or caught off guard by it, Eades said, “Yes.”
His decision to apply for the MSU-Mankato job was independent of this development. Eades said jobs like that don’t come open very often and that was the first job he was interested in or applied for in eight years.
Head coach Dave Hakstol also said that Eades’ pursuit of that job had no bearing in the decision to switch assistants.
Hakstol repeatedly said the decision was because of the restructuring of duties. When asked about specifics, Hakstol indicated that we’ll know when the hire is made.
The first thought in my mind – not a clue whether I’m on the right track or not – is that Hakstol may be looking for a defenseman to coach the blue liners. That is something the staff doesn’t have among the current assistants and, if a defenseman is hired, it would be apparent when the hire is announced, as Hakstol indicated.
The first name that comes to mind has to be Brad Berry, a former UND player and assistant coach. Berry has been in the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the last two years, but his status for next year is up in the air because the Jackets will be making a change at head coach.
Other former Sioux defensemen (again, don’t know for sure if that’s what they are looking for) currently in the coaching ranks off the top of my head include Dane Litke, John Marks, Brad Bombardir, Jason Herter, James Patrick and Rick Wilson (not going to mention Scott Sandelin, who just signed a new deal with UMD).
Hakstol said being a former Sioux player isn’t a requirement for the job. “I think we’re looking for the best skillset fit for what I’m looking for.”
But as we all know, often times that’s where it leads.
Eades, who was one of those former players coaching at UND, mentioned that “everyone knows North Dakota is a special place for me.”
I asked him if this sours his thoughts about UND a little bit. Eades said: “Not in the least.”
Also, expect to hear a lot from Eades in the coaching world in the future. He said he will “absolutely” be staying in the hockey world and he already started fielding calls Thursday afternoon about his possible availability. Not a surprise.
“One door shuts, others can possibly open,” Eades said. “I’ve had the chance to investigate other opportunities since the news has broken. I’ve received a couple calls from a couple different levels today. I’m going to let the dust settle here and see what the options are.”