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Dave Hakstol hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs

121818 S Dave Hakstol
Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol stands behind the bench in a September game. Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

Back in the 1970s, there was a tradition every Saturday night in the Hakstol household.

Dave's father, Ed, would turn on Hockey Night in Canada at 5 p.m., and they'd watch the game of the week from their home in Warburg, Alberta. If the prairie wind blew, they'd climb on the roof and adjust the antenna until the picture came back.

Ed's favorite team was the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It may have taken a few decades, but Ed's son is now aboard the Maple Leafs bandwagon, too.

Dave Hakstol, the former UND captain and head coach, was hired as an assistant coach for the Maple Leafs on Saturday.

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Hakstol will join one of the NHL's most storied franchises and most intense media markets in Toronto, where he'll serve as an assistant coach under head coach Mike Babcock.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to join the Maple Leafs coaching staff," said Hakstol, whose father died in 2005. "I look forward to building relationships with the players and getting to work with the entire group."

The Maple Leafs are one of the NHL's most intriguing teams with star forwards John Tavares, Auston Matthew and Mitch Marner. Toronto made the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, but lost in the first round to the Boston Bruins in seven games. Boston went onto the Stanley Cup Final.

Hakstol will likely work with the defensive corps for the Maple Leafs. Hakstol was a defenseman during his playing days at UND.

An assistant coaching position opened up with the Leafs this offseason when D.J. Smith left to become Ottawa's head coach.

Hakstol previously served as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2015-2018. He was let go in December after an organizational shakeup in which the Flyers changed general managers, head coaches and assistant coaches.

Prior to working in Philadelphia, Hakstol served as UND's head coach from 2004-15, leading the program to seven NCAA Frozen Fours in 11 years. He left his post as UND's head coach in May 2015 for the Flyers job.

Multiple sources indicate that Hakstol had other opportunities this offseason, including at least one head coaching offer at the American Hockey League level.

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He will stay in the NHL, though, in one of the sport's biggest spotlights in Toronto. And he'll be a part of his dad's favorite team.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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