TOM MILLER: A wild Monday for hockey fans
UND sports information director Jayson Hajdu was one of the few insiders who knew Sunday night that men's hockey coach Dave Hakstol was headed to the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers.
UND sports information director Jayson Hajdu was one of the few insiders who knew Sunday night that men’s hockey coach Dave Hakstol was headed to the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
On Sunday night, Hajdu searched for stories from Philadelphia reporters to see if anyone was hot on the trail.
“I was amazed by the Flyers’ ability to keep this quiet,” Hajdu said. “In that market, given the big coaching names out there and available, it’s amazing. All of the speculation was on Mike Babcock and Todd McLellan.”
UND and Philadelphia had kept everything under wraps. That made for a wild Monday when news finally broke around 8:30 a.m.
“There’s a professional courtesy that you don’t want to scoop a pro franchise on their own news,” Hajdu said. “So you’re kind of in limbo and at the mercy of their timeline. You don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.”
When the cat finally was let out of the bag, Grand Forks and social media were abuzz.
This story had widespread appeal. UND fans were stunned that the face of the program was gone. College hockey fans were stunned of the rare leap from the NCAA to NHL. Flyers fans were stunned their coach wasn’t a splashy name, one who didn’t play in the NHL.
“I saw one tweet that said this was seismic news for college hockey and UND,” Hajdu said. “That made me sit back and think; we’re at the center of the hockey universe today.”
Speculation for the new head coach didn’t last long. Another news bomb came in a little before 10 a.m. when the Herald reported that assistant Brad Berry would be the next head coach at UND.
Berry’s hire wasn’t a surprise, but it set the buzz in motion once again. UND’s only had four head coaches since 1968, so it’s a big deal when the next one is named.
By 1 p.m., UND had organized a press conference to introduce Berry in the lobby of Ralph Engelstad Arena, where players, boosters, athletic department staff, as well as Berry’s family and friends were in attendance.
At the press conference, Berry and most UND staff members looked as if they’d yet to catch their breath on the day.
“It was a bittersweet, rollercoaster of a day,” Hajdu said. “In the end, though, it’s two guys I have great respect for getting a shot at their dream jobs.”
- UND's Hakstol resigns , accepts job in Philadelphia; Brad Berry to become next head coach
- Flyers general manager says he wasn't going for "the popular choice" when picking new coach
- Brad Berry takes the reins
- From the Archives: Ex-UND player Brad Berry returns as assistant coach
- A Brad Berry biography
- Players react to UND coaching change
- Boosters' expectations for UND hockey program remain
- The public ponders Dave Hakstol's move
- Brad Schlossman: Hakstol off to Philly , Berry takes reins
- Tom Miller: A wild Monday for hockey fans
- Wayne Nelson: No reason to wait on Berry hire
- Our Opinion: Hakstol's promotion speaks well of him - and UND