UND HOCKEY: Boeser, other recruits happy with Berry hire

Brock Boeser was the subject of an intense recruiting battle this winter, a rare uncommitted top prospect ready to head to college hockey in a few months.

Brad Berry answers questions at a press conference regarding his acceptance of the Head Hockey Coach for the University of North Dakota on Monday, May 18, 2015, at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. (Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald)

Brock Boeser was the subject of an intense recruiting battle this winter, a rare uncommitted top prospect ready to head to college hockey in a few months.

North Dakota won that battle, and it doesn’t have to worry about losing the potential first-round NHL pick in the wake of head coach Dave Hakstol’s resignation to accept the head coaching job of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Boeser, Chris Wilkie and Shane Gersich -- three of the top 10 goal-scorers in the United States Hockey League last season and expected contributors at UND in the fall -- say they are all fully on board after UND quickly hired Brad Berry as Hakstol’s replacement.

“I was kind of shocked at first, obviously a little rattling,” Boeser said. “But it’s his opportunity to take and I’m excited for him.

“With the hiring of Brad and Dane Jackson, I’m really confident. When I committed to UND, I felt comfortable with all three coaches, not just Hakstol. I’m still feeling good about everything.


“I don’t think anything is going to change. It’s only going to get better.”

Boeser, a 6-foot-1, 192-pound forward out of Burnsville, Minn., tied Wilkie and one other player to lead the USHL in goals with 35. Gersich finished 10th in goals with 27.

Boeser is a potential first-round pick in June’s NHL Draft, which is being held in suburban Miami. Gersich was drafted by the Washington Capitals last summer. Wilkie is a potential mid-to-late-round selection.

The trio of goal scorers are three reasons why most have UND’s recruiting class ranked among the top in college hockey.

“It’s going to be a good group of guys,” Boeser said.

Gersich found out about Hakstol’s departure from Jackson, who called him Monday morning. Gersich hadn’t been on social media yet.

“Obviously, it’s good for him,” Gersich said. “It’s a big opportunity. I’m excited for him. But I don’t think too much is going to change. I think Brad is going to step in and do a good job.”

Wilkie, who had a big year for the Tri-City Storm, said he found out the news on Twitter just before he got a call from Berry.


“I guess it was pretty surprising at first, but once coach Berry called me, it was good,” Wilkie said. “I’m happy he’s going to be leading the team. I think he’s going to be really good for the school. I never really doubted that they wouldn’t bring in a good guy.”

Several of the rookies are expected to be in Grand Forks during June and July to learn the ropes. Then, they will go home for a month before returning for school.

Then, the Berry era will start against Lake Superior State on Oct. 9 at the Ice Breaker Invitational in Portland, Maine.

“I definitely just want to get there, fit in with the guys, work hard, win a national championship and get over the hump of losing in the semis,” Boeser said.

Dave Hakstol:

Brad Berry:




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
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