Dave Hakstol is back in the Frozen Four after a two-year hiatus, making his fifth appearance since he took over North Dakota’s hockey program. He reflected on his coaching career at Wednesday’s press conference.
“I got into coaching, not knowing if I had any ability in that area or not or what it was all about,” Hakstol said. “I found out really quickly.”
Hakstol coached the Sioux City Musketeers to an 8-43-2 record in 1996-97, Hakstol’s first season behind the bench a year after his playing career ended. The following three seasons, Sioux City finished above .500.
Dean Blais brought Hakstol on as an assistant in 2000, and Hakstol replaced him in 2004.
“I am extremely happy and fortunate I was able to come back and coach at North Dakota,” said Hakstol, who played at UND from 1989 to 1992. “I can tell you it took two seconds to give [Blais] my answer as to whether or not I wanted to return.”
In seven seasons as head coach, Hakstol has 187 wins, two WCHA regular season titles and three WCHA Final Five championships to go with two appearances in the national title game.
A reporter asked Hakstol on Wednesday if he felt he had to win a title to get in good company with the best college hockey coaches across the nation. In Hakstol-like fashion, he kept it simple.
“I have so much respect and hold all of those in such high regard,” Hakstol said. “Personally, I have a great opportunity to work toward some goals this season with the guys in our locker room.”