The current UND hockey staff — head coach Brad Berry, associate coach Dane Jackson and assistant coach Karl Goehring — has been together for two seasons.
During those two seasons, the Fighting Hawks posted winning percentages higher than .775, marking just the second time in program history that has been done in back-to-back years (the other was 1997-98 and 1998-99).
The Berry-Jackson-Goehring staff led the Fighting Hawks to a pair of Penrose Cups as National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season champions as well as the only NCHC Frozen Faceoff that was played during that timeframe.
All three coaches are planning to be back again, too.
Jackson, who has long been coveted by pro teams and whose close friend Dave Hakstol was recently named the head coach of the Seattle Kraken, will stay with the Fighting Hawks, the Herald has confirmed.
So will Goehring, who is viewed as a rising star in the coaching world and has played a role in developing players both at UND and with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are on the verge of winning a second-straight Stanley Cup.
Retaining both Jackson and Goehring is a big win for Berry before the season even begins.
The players are set to return to campus in two weeks to begin preparations for the 2021-22 season.
The roster will feature 13 new faces — eight rookies and five transfers — which is the highest roster turnover since 2005-06. UND also had 13 new players that season, all freshmen.
Berry, who has won the NCHC's Herb Brooks Coach of the Year in three of his six seasons at the helm, will be aided by keeping his all-UND alum staff together.
Jackson's roles at UND
Jackson, who has been at UND since 2006, coaches the team's forwards and penalty kill.
Last season, UND had the highest-scoring offense in the nation, averaging 3.93 goals per game. Its penalty kill also ranked No. 6 nationally and first in the NCHC.
UND spreads out recruiting duties, but Jackson has had success identifying players. UND was the first school to reach out to Jake Sanderson -- and one of just two overall -- after Jackson spotted the defenseman in Alberta. Sanderson has developed into one of the best players in the world for his age group. Jackson also was among the first to identify Shane Pinto, last year's unanimous NCHC player of the year.
Jackson has been sought after by pro teams at both the NHL and AHL level during his time at UND, most publicly when Hakstol was named the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2015.
Hakstol, who was named head coach of the Kraken last month, hired two of his assistants this week — Jay Leach and Paul McFarland. Hakstol has not yet completely filled out his staff yet, though.
Goehring's roles at UND
Goehring, who served as a volunteer coach at UND from 2010-17, returned in the summer of 2019 to be a full-time assistant.
Goehring coaches the goaltenders, defensemen and the power play. UND has finished in the top five nationally in team defense both seasons since Goehring's return. The power play also jumped over 21 percent in each of the last two seasons.
Goehring's goalies have been successful both at the college and pro levels.
During his time as a volunteer coach at UND, his primary starting goalies were Aaron Dell, Clarke Saunders, Zane McIntyre and Cam Johnson. Dell, McIntyre and Johnson have been in the NHL. Dell and Johnson earned deals and spots as free agents. McIntyre was a sixth-round draft pick. Saunders just completed his seventh professional season and is signed to play his eighth next year in Poland.
Adam Scheel has been the primary starter the last two seasons. Scheel, a free agent, also earned an NHL contract, signing with the Dallas Stars this spring after winning the NCHC's goalie of the year award.
During Goehring's two years away from UND, he worked for the Syracuse Crunch, the top minor-league affiliate of the Lightning. In Syracuse, Goehring helped develop several players who have gone on to play roles for Tampa the last two years, including forwards Anthony Cirelli, Ross Colton and Mathieu Joseph, as well as defenseman Erik Cernak.
The season ahead
Despite the significant roster turnover, UND was able to retain several key players. On defense, Sanderson is expected to be the best player in the NCHC. The No. 5 overall draft pick of the Ottawa Senators was a member of the all-rookie team last season and excels at both ends of the rink.
Up front, UND retained forward Jasper Weatherby, who had a breakout junior year, scoring 14 goals. Weatherby finished one goal behind Pinto and Minnesota Duluth's Cole Koepke for the NCHC's lead.
UND opens the season with an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba on Oct. 2.
The regular-season opener is scheduled for Oct. 8-9 against Niagara in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
UND's conference opener is scheduled for Nov. 5 against Denver in Grand Forks. The Fighting Hawks will attempt to be the first NCHC team to win three Penrose Cups in a row.