ESPN: Hakstol is NCAA’s top NHL-coach candidate

There’s been buzz in hockey circles for a few years that some higher-ups in NHL organizations are high on UND coach Dave Hakstol, and now it has been brought out in public.

ESPN posted a story today, listing five highly regarded potential NHL coaching candidates — one from each rank (NHL assistants, the AHL, major juniors and college), and it listed Hakstol as the top NHL coaching candidate from the NCAA ranks.

A source told ESPN’s Craig Custance: “This guy is really intelligent. I think he’s got a pro mind.”

The article quoted Hakstol, who would consider an NHL some day if an opportunity with “a good organization” presented itself. But Hakstol said his interest lies at UND.

“I feel like our entire staff has been around the game long enough to have a real appreciation for what we have here and has a commitment to producing that longterm success and sustainability,” Hakstol told ESPN.

The article also notes that Hakstol just signed a new contract at UND through 2017-18, so if Hakstol does eventually go to the NHL, it’s unlikely that it would happen in the near future.

Since being named head coach in 2004, Hakstol has won more games than any coach in the WCHA.

32 thoughts on “ESPN: Hakstol is NCAA’s top NHL-coach candidate

  1. It’s just too bad he hasn’t brought home a National Title yet. It’d really quell the fans who constantly bemoan about Hak.

    • No doubt, those same fans that complain about him, will be the first ones to running to catch up, so they can jump on the bandwagon when he does win one.

  2. Could not agree more! Time for the Hak haters to stop their whining. Great coach with great success. As long as he sticks around for a while, he’ll bring home some titles!

    • A coach can’t do anything about a puck hitting the pipes 4 times a game. Or a goalie letting an easy one by. He gets them there the rest is up to players. The hak haters need to realize that.

  3. If Denver University can confidently dump a very successful coach after a lengthy tenure but no FF crown in a long while, so can UND. Let’s hope the NHL helps us out. Get a coach who can get by much lesser teams deep in the NCAA tourney. I’m getting long in the tooth. I want a new FF pennant flying in the REA before I meet the Great Scorekeeper in the Sky Box.

    • I really wish they didn’t teach computer classes at the senior center. Confidently dump? Only after Peg has her 3rd cup of coffee and a visit to Chipotle maybe. Lesser teams? We lost this year to the national champion, which by my math makes them a better team. Long teeth? If you would clean your glasses there are plenty of dentists that advertise their services on the boards of the Ralph, call one of them or have your grandson do it.

    • I wondered when the mentally-challenged wannabe’s would start to comment on this post. Wait no more; the “fire Hak”‘s are here…… :-)

  4. Hakstol is a great coach. It’s really tough to judge a guys success on NCAA national titles. 7 game series (such as the NHL) can really define their ability to make adjustments. NCAA is really about how your teams’ game matches up with your opponents, your season peaking, and of course some good bounces. College hockey is a much different sport than it was 10 years ago. You’ve all seen the runs that teams have made that we would have never even thought to make the tourney at the beginning of the year. I think it’s pretty cool that Hakstol got a little recognition.

  5. Would the banter be so negative if Hak lost half his regular season games but won the national title? I think not, as it appears that is what we are playing for these days. The great college coaches are not just great strategists or tacticians, they are also great motivators. As noted, the college game is not the same as ten years ago, a much more level playing field, the coach that can motivate his or her team at right time of the year can win it all. We haven’t seen that happen lately in ND! However, to his credit, Coach Hakstol might be better fitted to coach in the NHL; he has skills that lend themselves to success at that level.

      • Good point, I just thought our fans would be more understanding after Hak won the National Championship. I have seen continued reverence for coach Blais even after his abundantly talented teams didn’t do so well….but he is remembered for his national championships. However, I suspect their regular seasons were above .500.

  6. Are they really saying that Hak could be a head coach in the best hockey league in the world? I can’t imagine the things he would need to change to be an NHL head coach. Assistant? Maybe. Head coach, no way.

  7. Unfortunately, like in all sports…..success is measured by titles. Hakstol is a very good coach and had a great teacher in Dean Blais. An yes, UND lost to the eventual National Champion…..But, the bottom line is……Success is measured by titles and his teams have won a number of WCHA titles. But, until you win the National Title, its hard to put his mark up there with Gino Gasparini, or Dean Blais.

    • I don’t know if anyone is putting Hak’s name up there with Gino and Blais, but he’s close. Is Gino or Blais available? Nope. Would we want either of them today… doubtful. How many titles does Blais have since he left? That’s right, none. It goes to show you its not easy bringing home the title. A bad bounce or a hot goalie at the wrong time will see your demise.

      • If Dean has the players he will win. Does Deano recruit for North Dakota, which has been a power well, since Gino and before? Does Deano have the best hockey facility in the world to bring them in? Does Deano have the fan base that ND does? All those answers are no. However, think about the World Juniors a couple years back and tell me again he has no titles! There are reasons Dean hasn’t won in Omaha…they are called recruiting tools…what’s Hak’s excuse?

          • Goes to show, you don’t win it all every year, and nobody expects that. But once in a while would be nice.

        • Please. Omaha hasn’t won a damn thing because they can’t win at the end of the regular season. Get off Dean’s you-know-what and face reality. It’s got nothing to do with recruiting. He gets good players. It’s about mentality/culture of that program. They don’t yet have the mentality to have any sustained success. That’s why they’ve won what? 0 games in March in the WCHA the last 3 years? Enough said.

  8. All the Hak haters absolutely need to realize that he’s had more consistent success than anyone currently an NCAA head coach. True he’s not yet won an NCAA title. But the one and done shows you who can get on a streak and a goalie stands on their head for one game (Hunwick 2011) any team can win. This past year Yale’s record was deceiving when their goalie was out. They beat the 7, 1, 2, and 3 ranked teams enroute to their championship. Dean Blais said the UND job is the best there is. He left for the NHL and came back because college is more fun. Dean also suggested the consistent winner Dave should be and he was right. Hak knows a great thing and he’s doing a great job. It will come. I’ll take annual trips as far as they go every year vs someone else behind the bench. Congrats to Hak and Faison for keeping him here thru 2018! Thanks Dave for a great job year in and year out. He gets them there and then it’s up to the players to execute and tuck some into the net vs bounce off the pipes. Go Sioux and thanks!

  9. I cannot express how lucky we are as UND fans to have not only an alumni based coaching staff but also a talented head coach. I would love nothing more than to see the boys win an NC but having continued success and home ice in the playoffs every year is really special and something that a lot of UND fans have taken for granted. The grass is brown and dead on the other side and Dave is as green as a sioux shirt.

  10. Good use of this long term contract to calm the locals nerves about Hak ever leaving….coaching contracts really mean a lot!

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