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Dean Blais steps down at Omaha

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Dean Blais, who led UND to national championships in 1997 and 2000, has stepped down as head men's hockey coach at Nebraska Omaha.

The move was announced Tuesday by Omaha.

“I have been extremely fortunate in my career to work in so many good places with so many people who care about the game of hockey,” Blais said. “Omaha is one of those places. Our administration, led by Trev Alberts and Mike Kemp, have been very supportive during my time as UNO head coach, and our fans are some of the best in college hockey. That’s what has been most important to me in my career – the relationships I have made everywhere I’ve been. My experience in Omaha has been so much fun, assisting Trev and Mike with the moves to two different leagues and the building of Baxter Arena. It was challenging but all very positive."

“And more than anything else, I have forged so many great relationships with our student-athletes, many of whom have gone on to play in the National Hockey League. They were great students, and great people. In the end, that’s what I appreciate the most. Jackie and I are going to miss Omaha, and we are looking forward to the next chapter.”

Blais spent eight seasons as head coach of Omaha.

During those eight years, the Mavericks went 146-133-30. They reached their high point in 2015, when Blais led the Mavericks to the NCAA Frozen Four in Boston.

But Omaha struggled in the conference playoffs, never reaching the semifinals. They were 3-16 in their final eight two-game playoff series.

Off the ice, Omaha's program went under a major transformation under Blais, transitioning from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. It also opened the new Baxter Arena last season, giving the Mavs their own venue closer to campus.

Prior to Omaha, Blais spent 19 years at UND -- 10 as a head coach and nine as an assistant.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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