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May-Port hockey co-op in time crunch to fill coaching position

The May-Port Ice Dawgs hockey program, which had about 90 participants a season ago, is struggling to fill its position of head coach as the 2022-23 season nears.

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Noah Mehus skates the puck up the ice as he plays for the May-Port Ice Dawgs in an East Region tournament play-in game last season.
Cole Short/Hillsboro Banner
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MAYVILLE, N.D. — The May-Port Ice Dawgs hockey program, which plays a schedule independent from the North Dakota High School Activities Association, has achieved notable wins the last two seasons.

May-Port has beat North Dakota East Region programs Grafton-Park River, West Fargo and Devils Lake across the past two years.

But as the Ice Dawgs' competitiveness has grown, the hockey program has hit a snag this offseason. May-Port is still searching for a head coach.

Ice Dawgs head coach Chase Knudson told the team's overseeing board last spring he was taking a job opportunity in the Twin Cities. Finding his replacement has entered a time crunch.

"It was a great opportunity for him and he left in great terms," Ice Dawgs president Ben Hershey said. "It has been challenging. We've had some applicants but the time commitment to coach a high school hockey program is a challenge."

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The May-Port co-op spans a large stretch of North Dakota Class B territory. The co-op includes Thompson, Central Valley, Hillsboro, Mayville, Portland, Hatton and Northwood. The program runs hockey for all ages and featured more than 90 participants a year ago.

"We practice fairly soon after school and anyone traveling from outside of Mayville has to do have a job that allows them to do that," Hershey said. "Honestly, it's challenging in this space to get the word out. We've used Facebook and word of mouth."

The Ice Dawgs play a schedule of quite a few programs from Northwest Minnesota, as well as teams from the Western Dakota Association in North Dakota.

May-Port has an arrangement to play the East Region tournament play-in game, as well.

The Ice Dawgs are in the middle of the registration process for the 2022-23 season. The program has 64 players signed up for the year with an expectation of nearly 100 by the end of the registration process.

"Not having a head coach there probably has some families wondering what to do this hockey season," Hershey said. "From a board perspective, the crunch is here. We want to get it filled as soon as possible but also want to get the right individual to lead us in the right direction."

The Ice Dawgs play in the Kim Braaten Memorial Arena, which was built in 2000. The arena has received a number of recent upgrades including a coaches' office, dryland area and shooting room.

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Applicants can send resumes to mayporticedawgs@gmail.com or submit through the team website at icedawgshockey.com.

Related Topics: MAYVILLE
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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