Dave Hakstol will be reunited with his old captain.
The Philadelphia Flyers signed former UND captain Chris Porter to a one-year, two-way contract for next season.
This is no big surprise, as Hakstol loves the way Porter plays — fast and hard — and he loves the way that Porter is always in shape and ready to go. Being a fourth-line type of player, Porter is a guy who is often in-and-out of the lineup at the NHL level.
The luxury he provides is that, no matter how long he’s out, Hakstol won’t have to worry about putting him back in. If a guy has been a scratch for two weeks, coaches are often concerned about their performance jumping back in, but that’s not the case for Porter.
Everyone in Grand Forks knows this to be true — Porter set an NCAA record by playing in 175 consecutive games. He never missed one during his career. He also won the team’s Iron Man competition (offseason strength and fitness) three times.
To get him on a two-way deal is definitely a luxury for the Flyers. Porter was previously on a one-way with the Blues.
For those who may not know, Hakstol has a very long association with Porter and his family.
In the fall of 1996, Hakstol just finished rehabbing a knee injury that he sustained while playing for the Minnesota Moose in the IHL. It wasn’t easy finding a job coming off the surgery.
Out of nowhere, the head coach at Sioux City (USHL) quit a week into the season. Through USHL commish Gino Gasparini, Hakstol’s former coach at UND, he was offered a job coaching in Sioux City.
Hakstol accepted it.
“Within 72 hours, I decided I was done playing, I’m going to some town called Sioux City, which I’ve never been to, and I’m going to try to coach,” Hakstol said.
Hakstol said that when he got to Sioux City, a lot of things were in disarray, but he met some very influential people there who made a big impact on life. One of those people was the team’s orthopedic surgeon, Gord Porter.
Gord and Hakstol became friends. Gord’s son, Chris, was not a prospect at the time. He was just 12 years old. Gord eventually moved to Thunder Bay, but the two kept in touch.
As fate would have it, that 12-year-old kid turned into a good college prospect, and Hakstol (along with Brad Berry and Dean Blais) recruited him to North Dakota.
When Chris committed, Hakstol was still an assistant coach. But Years 2-3-4 on campus, Hakstol was the head coach. Chris was Hakstol’s captain as a senior.
Now, 19 years after the Porter family helped a young coach get his feet on the ground, their son is in the NHL, and he’s playing for that same coach, who has quickly risen through the ranks.
Crazy how things work sometimes.