Their resumes were short. Two of them were still college students. Another just finished his degree. None of them played a higher level of hockey than juniors.
And the truth is that UND women's hockey coach Brian Idalski didn't need to add to his staff.
He already had hired former Swedish Olympic coach Peter Elander and former UND men's hockey alternate captain Erik Fabian to round out the full-time positions. The team was set up to have success with American Olympic stars Jocelyne and Monique Lamouruex and Finnish Olympic standout Michelle Karvinen.
But during the 2012-13 season, the program's all-time best, you could find three young, aspiring coaches hanging around the UND women's hockey offices: volunteer goalie coach Eli Rosendahl and student volunteers Ryan LaDouceur and Max Markowitz.
"All three of them are passionate and wanted to do it and be better," Idalski said about why he brought them aboard. "We created an environment where they could be around, be in meetings, be in conversations, listen to the staff, be involved with post-practices planning, pre-practice planning. They were involved and around as much as they wanted to be and as much as NCAA rules allowed.
"That's what separates them and why they're successful. They were self-starters. They were people who were passionate about hockey. They were engaged and asking questions: 'What can I do? Why do you do this?' They were very much interested in coaching, becoming better and developing their own styles."
Six years later, Idalski has enjoyed watching those three volunteers rise in the coaching world.
Last week, LaDouceur, 29, was named the next head boys hockey coach at Grand Forks Red River. Rosendahl, 31, is an assistant coach for the reigning Clark Cup champion Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League. And Markowitz, 30, is an assistant coach for the Jacksonville Icemen, the ECHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets.
All of their careers began as volunteers with the UND program.
"It's not surprising," said Idalski, now the head coach at Culver (Ind.) Academy prep school, which reached nationals for the first time in program history this season. "Good things happen to good people. It's not shocking to me at all that all three of them are having success and doing good things within hockey, because you can tell when people are wired that way, even when they're younger.
"Their mindsets were good. Their work ethic was good. They wanted to be given an opportunity to hone their craft and create their own styles. It's not surprising at all to me. I thought that all three of them, when they were with us, were super good, professional and had all of the characteristics to be successful."
Red River's new coach
LaDouceur only spent one year with the women's program before head UND coach Dave Hakstol recruited him to join the men's program as a student assistant.
LaDouceur spent three years with the UND men, helping the team to NCAA Frozen Fours in Philadelphia, Boston and Tampa. The Fighting Hawks won the 2016 NCAA title in LaDouceur's last game with the men's program.
LaDouceur also led The Hockey Academy, which helps develop young hockey players from the area, before leaving to coach the Sioux Falls U15 team last summer.
Last week, LaDouceur was named Red River's next head coach, replacing Bill Chase.
"The cool part was that Brian was so open to letting us be around and be a part of everything and just let us off the leash," LaDouceur said. "Whatever we wanted to do, he was supportive of. The biggest thing for me was the fact that he let us hang around because you could just absorb so much from them as a staff."
Junior hockey champion
Rosendahl spent the longest time with the UND women's program.
He assisted with the goalies for five seasons, including one in which Shelby Amsley-Benzie set school records and was named a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best player in the country.
Rosendahl accepted an assistant coaching job with the Fargo Force-under former UND player and assistant coach Cary Eades-in 2016. In Fargo, he coaches alongside Pierre-Paul Lamoureux, who got his start coaching as a student volunteer with the UND men's program under Hakstol.
Rosendahl said he has taken lessons from his five years under Idalski with him.
"Something I'll take from Brian is that he has a ton of trust in his staff and people he works with," Rosendahl said. "It's not just cookie-cutter hockey people. He was willing to look beyond your playing experience. The biggest thing he looks for is people who are passionate about coaching, passionate about hockey and passionate about development. He understood that we were people who put the time and effort in.
"There's a lot of trust that he displays to all of his coaches. There wasn't one meeting or session that he didn't invite us to sit in on. There was certainly never an element of keeping your mouth shut and knowing your role or anything. He was open to any and all ideas. Certainly, the lines of communication within that staff were great. That's what made him a really good person to work for, and it's what gave that staff a lot of success."
In the pros
Markowitz spent four years with the women's program, where he became an expert on breaking down video.
The Finnish National Team even hired Markowitz to be their video coach for the World Championships in 2013 and for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
Upon graduation, Markowitz spent one year as the video coach for the St. John's IceCaps in the American Hockey League before becoming an assistant coach in the ECHL.
Markowitz coached the Tulsa Oilers for two years and just finished his second year with the Jacksonville Icemen. All five of his professional coaching seasons were with Winnipeg's organization.
"I owe a lot to Brian," Markowitz said. "He took a chance on me and gave me an opportunity to start my coaching career. He was patient and understanding and let me make mistakes. He was always there to help me fix those mistakes and learn from them. He made sure I was ready for the jump to pro hockey and he is still a resource and sounding board that I use today."