|Alma Mater:||North Dakota|
Few individuals have ever had more impact in their first year at the helm of a program than North Dakota men’s hockey coach Brad Berry, who became the first person in the history of NCAA Division I men’s hockey to lead his team to a national title in his first year as head coach.
The former National Hockey League defenseman and coach masterfully guided his alma mater to the program’s eighth national championship in his debut season, bringing to a halt a 16-year drought for the storied program. Berry and the Fighting Hawks went 34-6-4, establishing a team record for most wins by a rookie head coach, and their .818 winning percentage was the second best in program history.
Berry also led North Dakota to its second straight Penrose Cup as National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season champion, resulting in NCHC Herb Brooks Coach of the Year honors. He also garnered national coach of the year honors from U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) and was one of eight finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Coach of the Year.
Four of Berry’s players – forwards Brock Boeser and Drake Caggiula, defenseman Troy Stecher, and goaltender Cam Johnson – earned All-America honors, joining UND’s 1986-87 team as the only entries in school history to boast four All-Americans.
Following the season, eight players signed professional contracts: Caggiula (Edmonton Oilers), Stecher (Vancouver Canucks), Paul LaDue (Los Angeles Kings), Keaton Thompson (Anaheim Ducks), Nick Schmaltz (Chicago Blackhawks), Luke Johnson (Chicago Blackhawks), Bryn Chyzyk (AHL’s Rockford IceHogs), and Coltyn Sanderson (ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears).
Highly-regarded within the hockey world as an outstanding recruiter and teacher, Berry boasts a wealth of coaching and playing experience at the professional, collegiate and international levels.
Berry was named head coach at North Dakota on May 18, 2015, becoming the 16th head coach in program history and the sixth former UND player to take the helm.
“We are excited to have Brad take leadership of the UND men’s hockey program,” said UND Athletics Director Brian Faison after appointing Berry head coach. “He is an effective recruiter, has an outstanding reputation as a teacher of the game, and brings a tremendous energy and passion to the position. His core values and his understanding of the unique culture that has made UND hockey so successful are the traits that make him the right coach to carry the program forward.”
Berry had recently completed his ninth season as an assistant coach at UND in 2014-15. He served two stints in that role, first from 2000-01 through 2005-06 and again from 2012-13 through 2014-15. He also previously spent time as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets (2010-12) and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose (2006-08).
During his nine years on the UND staff, Berry helped lead the program to eight NCAA Tournament appearances, five NCAA Frozen Four berths (2014-15, 2013-14, 2005-06, 2004-05 and 2000-01), three regular season conference titles (2014-15, 2003-04 and 2000-01), and one conference tournament championship (2005-06).
Berry oversaw the team’s defensemen during both of his stints at UND and routinely produced blue line units that ranked among the conference national leaders, both offensively and defensively. In each of the last two seasons, UND led the nation in both points and points per game by defensemen. At the other end of the ice, UND allowed a league-low 2.24 goals against per game in 2014-15 and ranked among the top three in the conference in that category in five of Berry’s last six seasons with the program.
Before returning to UND prior to the 2012-13 season, Berry spent two years (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Prior to that, Berry founded The Hockey Academy in Grand Forks, which focuses on developing and training youth hockey players within Grand Forks and surrounding areas. During that time (2008-10), he doubled as a part-time scout with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.
Berry was an assistant coach with the Manitoba Moose from 2006-08 and helped lead the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate to a playoff appearance in each of his two years, including a North Division title in 2006-07.
At every stop during his career, Berry has enhanced his reputation as a coach who develops National Hockey League defensemen. Eleven of his former UND pupils have reached NHL rosters, including two-time Stanley Cup champion Matt Greene of the Los Angeles Kings. While with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, Berry mentored future Vancouver Canucks stalwart Alexander Edler. During his two years with the Blue Jackets, Berry coached the likes of James Wisniewski, Mike Commodore, Marc Methot, Jack Johnson, Kris Russell, Anton Stralman, Fedor Tyutin, and Rostislav Klesla.
Berry himself was a standout defenseman as a player, first at UND where he collected 74 points (12 goals, 62 assists) in 112 games from 1983-86 under legendary head coach John “Gino” Gasparini. Berry also won a gold medal with Canada at the 1985 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
A second-round draft pick (29th overall) of the Winnipeg Jets in 1983, Berry went on to play in 241 NHL games over eight years, including stints with Winnipeg, Minnesota and Dallas. His professional playing career also included stops in the Swedish Elite League and the International Hockey League (IHL). While with the IHL’s Michigan K-Wings, Berry was a three-time IHL All-Star and was named the K-Wings’ Defenseman of the Year three times.
After his playing career ended, Berry was a professional scout with the 1999-2000 Dallas Stars team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.
A native of Bashaw, Alberta, Berry’s family includes his wife, Suzanne, daughters, Brianna and Brooke, and son, Bauer.
The BRAD BERRY File
· April 1, 1965
· Bashaw, Alberta
· Bachelor’s Degree, Business Admin. (UND ’02)
· Wife, Suzanne
· Daughters, Brianna & Brooke
· Son, Bauer
· 2015-16 USCHO Coach of the Year
· 2015-16 NCHC Herb Brooks Coach of the Year
· 2000-04: Assistant Coach, University of North Dakota (NCAA)
· 2004-06: Assoc. Head Coach, University of North Dakota (NCAA)
· 2006-08: Assistant Coach, Manitoba Moose (AHL)
· 2010-12: Assistant Coach, Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
· 2012-15: Assistant Coach, University of North Dakota (NCAA)
· 1999-00: Scout, Dallas Stars (NHL)
· 2008-10: Scout, Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
· 2008-10: Director, The Hockey Academy
· 1983-86: University of North Dakota (NCAA)
· 1985-90: Winnipeg Jets (NHL)
· 1990-91: Canadian National Team
· 1990-91: Brynas IF Gavle (Swedish Elite League)
· 1991-93: Minnesota North Stars (NHL)
· 1993-94: Dallas Stars (NHL)
· 1994-95: Kalamazoo K-Wings (IHL)
· 1995-96: Michigan K-Wings (IHL)