Smaby, who will serve as student manager, recently retired after an 11-year professional playing career and returned to UND to complete his bachelor’s degree.
Smaby played at UND from 2003-04 through 2005-06 and captained the 2005-06 squad to a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four. After leading the program to a pair of Frozen Four appearances and a WCHA title in his three seasons, Smaby went on to play in 122 games over four years with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We are really looking forward to Matt and his family coming back to Grand Forks,” said UND coach Brad Berry in a statement. “North Dakota hockey and UND are, and always have been, a very special place for Matt. He will be a tremendous asset to our program over the next couple of years as he completes his education.”
Smaby’s North American playing career also included stints with Norfolk and Syracuse in the AHL. He spent the past four years playing in Germany with Munich EHC and won the league championship in each of his last two seasons.