A few weeks ago, when told associate coach Scott Sandelin was going to be leaving at the end of the season to take the coaching job at Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota players said they’d just have to win the national title to give Sandelin a proper sendoff.
Sandelin joined head coach Dean Blais behind the Sioux bench for the final time on Saturday as the two celebrated UND’s 4-2 win over Boston College for the school’s seventh national title.
It was sweet, but a bit bittersweet for Sandelin.
“It’s going to be tough to leave,” said Sandelin, who finished his sixth season with UND. “We’ve had a tremendous run in my six years, certainly the last four. I couldn’t be happier for our players. They’ve been a great group. That senior group has done amazing things that have helped put UND’s program back on top.
“It’s tough to leave, but I’m looking forward to that challenge and hopefully I can bring some of the things that I’ve learned here and the winning ways to Duluth.”
Sioux senior captain Peter Armbrust said the younger players were playing to give the seniors another national title, and the whole team was playing for Sandelin.
“We wouldn’t be in this game without him,” Armbrust said. “He’s done so much for our program. Duluth is getting a great coach and they’ve got the best man for the job. We’re happy that he can go out with the national championship. It was just just awesome to see that look on his face when we won it.”
Said Blais, “What a way to go. I’m so happy for him. I’m going to miss him a lot. He’s more of a friend than a coach. We hunt together, fish together, golf together, do everything together. He’s a buddy of mine and I’m going to miss him. You can replace a coach, but you can’t replace a buddy.”
But you probably also can’t replace the feeling of going out on top.