Now in his ninth season as the head coach at the University of North Dakota, Dave Hakstol has established himself as one of the most accomplished and well-respected bench bosses in NCAA hockey.
"You can get
and complete a great education and while
you're doing that, it's two simple things for us: No. 1, you'll be
part of winning, learning the importance and
difficulties of being successful. That's where the history of our
program plays such a huge role. And No. 2, we want to help players into
the NHL, but at the end of the day, not everybody will, which is why No.
1 is so important."
-- Dave Hakstol on North Dakota hockey
Through his first eight seasons as UND head coach, Hakstol has become the third-winningest coach in program history, compiling a 213-106-30 (.653) overall record and a 129-75-20 (.621) mark during Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play.
A six-time finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award as national coach of the year, Hakstol has guided UND to five NCAA Frozen Four appearances, four WCHA Final Five playoff championships, two WCHA regular season titles and has advanced to the NCAA postseason in each of his eight years. He was named WCHA Coach of the Year in 2008-09.
In 2011-12, Hakstol led an injury-depleted team to an unprecedented third consecutive Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA Final Five champions and was named Inside College Hockey’s National Coach of the Year. With eight players missing 110 games due to injury, UND was forced to dress fewer than 18 skaters on 14 occasions, yet went 11-3 in those games, earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA West Regional, and advanced to the regional championship game for the sixth time in eight years. UND finished the season ranked No. 5 in the USCHO.com poll and No. 6 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
In the classroom, 11 student-athletes earned All-WCHA Academic Team honors and three were named WCHA Scholar-Athletes, including 2011-12 WCHA Most Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year Brad Eidsness. Eidsness also received postgraduate scholarships from the WCHA and NCAA.
UND also reinforced its reputation as the top draw in NCAA Division I men’s hockey by leading the nation in three attendance categories: average attendance for all games (9,999.5), total attendance for all games (419,981) and total attendance for home games (249,501).
Hakstol, 35 years old when he was named UND’s head men’s hockey coach on July 9, 2004, is just the 15th head men’s hockey coach in school history and only the program’s fourth head coach in the past 44 years. Hakstol, who wore the Kelly Green and White from 1989-92, is also just the fifth former UND player to also become head coach at North Dakota.
Hakstol joined rare company when he took UND to the Frozen Four in his first four seasons as a collegiate head coach, joining Jack Parker and Doug Woog as the only three coaches to accomplish that feat.
In Hakstol’s first season (2004-05) as head coach, he led a team with nine seniors to the Frozen Four. In his second season (2005-06), he led a team with 13 freshmen and just two seniors to the Frozen Four.
In his third season, Hakstol took UND to the Frozen Four yet again, and sophomore forward Ryan Duncan won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the best player in college hockey.
In 2007-08, his fourth season, Hakstol led UND to a 28-11-4 overall record and 18-7-3 WCHA mark (second place).
UND went 24-15-4 overall and 17-7-4 in conference play in 2008-09 en route to their WCHA-leading 14th league championship. Hakstol was also recognized as WCHA Coach of the Year for the first time in his career.
In 2009-10, Hakstol and UND added another piece of hardware to the program’s championship lore with a Broadmoor Trophy as the WCHA Final Five champions, the second Broadmoor Trophy of Hakstol’s distinguished tenure. Hakstol led UND to a 25-13-5 overall record and a 15-10-3 WCHA mark, landing an eighth straight NCAA postseason appearance, the third-longest streak in the nation.
In 2010-11, Hakstol led UND to a second MacNaughton Cup in three years as WCHA champions, giving UND an NCAA men’s hockey-leading 15 conference titles. UND also won its second straight Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA playoff champions. In the process, Hakstol’s squad turned in the third-winningest season (32 wins) in the program’s illustrious history.
Three of Hakstol’s players garnered All-America honors in 2010-11: forward Matt Frattin (first team), defenseman Chay Genoway (first team) and goalie Aaron Dell (second team). Frattin, who led the nation with 36 goals, was also a Hobey Baker Award ‘Hobey Hat Trick’ finalist and the WCHA Player of the Year. He would debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada that same season. Genoway was named the WCHA’s Most Outstanding Student-Athlete, while Dell won a school-record 30 games, toppling a 24-year-old record previously held by Hockey Hall of Famer Ed Belfour.
The trademark of North Dakota hockey during Hakstol’s eight seasons has been UND’s ability to play its best hockey at the most crucial time of the year – in the playoffs.
During his first eight years, Hakstol has led UND to an overall postseason record of 42-15 (.737) that includes a 30-8 WCHA playoff record and 12-8 NCAA playoff mark. UND’s 42 combined NCAA and WCHA playoff wins the last eight seasons are 16 more than any other WCHA team during that time.
UND has also furthered its reputation for doing an outstanding job in preparing players for professional hockey careers and careers beyond hockey. Last season, nearly 50 products of the program played professionally, including 17 who played in the National Hockey League, the program's most since 1993-94. Among those 17were Stanley Cup champion Matt Greene of the Los Angeles Kings and Stanley Cup finalists Zach Parise and Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils.
In 2008-09, 17 former UND players also appeared in the National Hockey League. Thirteen of those players were coached by Hakstol during his 12 seasons on the UND staff.
In the last six seasons alone, 11 of Hakstol’s former UND players have debuted the NHL the year after completing their collegiate careers, including Chay Genoway (2011-12), Brad Malone (2011-12), Matt Frattin (2010-11), Chris VandeVelde (2010-11), T.J. Oshie (2008-09), Chris Porter (2008-09), Taylor Chorney (2008-09), Brian Lee (2007-08), Matt Smaby (2007-08), Drew Stafford (2006-07) and Travis Zajac.
In 2007-08, All-American Jonathan Toews made the jump directly to the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks after playing two years at UND. He was a finalist for the NHL’s Rookie of the Year Award and in the summer of 2008 was named the captain of the Blackhawks, becoming the third-youngest captain in NHL history. Toews was 20 years and 79 days old when he assumed the role as Chicago’s captain. In 2010, Toews led the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup Championship in 49 years, capturing Conn Smythe Trophy honors as playoff MVP in the process. Earlier that same year, Toews led Canada to a gold medal at the Olympics in Vancouver and was named the tournament’s top forward.
In the last eight seasons, 34 UND players have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft, including seven in 2010 and six in 2007 and 2008. Seven of Hakstol’s players have been drafted in the first round: Jordan Schmaltz (25th overall, 2012), Derek Forbort (15th overall, 2010), Brock Nelson (30th overall, 2010), Jonathan Toews (3rd overall, 2006), Brian Lee (9th overall, 2005), T.J. Oshie (24th overall, 2005) and Joe Finley (27th overall, 2005).
UND men’s hockey players are also outstanding students. Last season, 11 players earned WCHA All-Academic honors, including three who were named WCHA Scholar-Athletes. One of them, senior goalie Brad Eidsness, was named the WCHA Most Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year and received postgraduate scholarships from both the NCAA and the WCHA. In 2010-11, a school-record 16 student-athletes were named to the WCHA All-Academic team. In all, 86 of Hakstol’s players have been named to the WCHA All-Academic Team and 22 have been chosen WCHA Scholar-Athletes. In 2008-09, junior defenseman Chay Genoway, was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America third team.
In 2007-08, 10 UND men’s hockey players earned WCHA All-Academic honors, most in the league. In 2006-07, 11 UND players were named to the WCHA All-Academic team, tying for the WCHA league high.
Taking over a tradition-rich program that is synonymous with the word “excellence” was no small task, but Hakstol’s background prepared him for the challenge. Prior to taking over as UND’s head coach, the former Fighting Sioux captain was a member of Dean Blais’s coaching staff for four seasons and in that stint helped coach the program to a 101-47-19 (.662) overall record and 63-33-16 (.634) WCHA record.
During Hakstol’s four years under Blais, UND won two WCHA titles, made three NCAA appearances and finished as the 2001 national runnerup.
Named a UND assistant coach on July 1, 2000, Hakstol was elevated to associate head coach in December 2000, and he served as the team’s recruiting coordinator in his four seasons working under Blais.
In that capacity, Hakstol played a vital role in helping attract top-caliber student-athletes to UND. Eleven UND players or recruits were drafted by National Hockey League teams while Hakstol and former associate head coach Brad Berry were UND assistants.
Prior to joining the UND staff on July 1, 2000, Hakstol spent four seasons (1996-2000) as the general manager and head coach of the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League, posting winning seasons in his last three seasons. Overall, Hakstol had a 101-109-13 record with the Musketeers. He was named the USHL Coach of the Year in 1997-98, when he led Sioux City to a 32-21-3 record.
While coaching at Sioux City, Hakstol also coached the 1998 USA/USHL hockey team at the IIHF Four Nationals Cup in Oslo, Norway, and he was the head coach of the Central District team (USA Hockey) at the National Select 16 Festival in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1998.
Before beginning his coaching career, Hakstol played professional hockey with the IHL’s Minnesota Moose from 1994-96, serving as team captain for two years, and with the IHL’s Indianapolis Ice from 1992-1994, serving as team captain for one season. In five professional seasons, Hakstol played in 250 games, scoring 12 goals and recording 37 assists. He also accumulated 455 penalty minutes.
As a defenseman on the UND hockey team from 1989-92, Hakstol was a three-year letterwinner and served as team captain from 1990 to 1992. He played in 107 games for UND, scoring 10 goals and adding 36 assists for 46 points. He had 77 penalties for 191 minutes.
Hakstol and his wife, Erinn, have two children: daughter Avery and son Brenden.
Dave Hakstol's Coaching Record at UND:
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* - indicates WCHA Coach of the Year
Years at UND: 8
NCAA Appearances: 8
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: 5
NCAA Championship Appearances: 1
WCHA Final Five Appearances: 8
WCHA Final Five Championships: 4
WCHA Final Five Championship Appearances: 5
WCHA MacNaughton Cup Championships: 2