UND MEN'S HOCKEY: Players react to coaching change
At 8:30 on Monday morning, UND defenseman Gage Ausmus checked Twitter on his way to a morning workout at Ralph Engelstad Arena and saw the news that head coach Dave Hakstol was leaving for the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers.
At 8:30 on Monday morning, UND defenseman Gage Ausmus checked Twitter on his way to a morning workout at Ralph Engelstad Arena and saw the news that head coach Dave Hakstol was leaving for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
Ausmus told teammate Paul LaDue.
“I thought he was messing around with me,” LaDue said.
By early afternoon, the hockey team’s players had digested the news and their reaction was two-fold. First, they were congratulatory of Hakstol. Second, they were pleased with the school’s new hire.
UND announced at a 1 p.m. press conference at REA that assistant coach Brad Berry will be promoted to head coach.
The most common labels of Berry from the players were that he’s personable and hard-working.
“He’s a player’s coach,” Ausmus said. “He wants us to succeed as much as anyone. It’s fun to see a guy like him become head coach. It’s going to be fun to see what the future has in store.”
LaDue said Berry’s the kind of coach who puts in the extra time.
“He works as hard as any of the players,” LaDue said. “Like last year, he’s out there at 8 in the morning working individual skills. Then, he’s one of the last guys on the ice. I’m excited to move forward with him.”
UND defenseman Tucker Poolman has known Berry as long as anyone on the team. Poolman, whose dad Mark is the team trainer, grew up around the team when Berry was in his first stint as an assistant coach from 2000-06. Berry recruited Poolman out of East Grand Forks Senior High School.
“Brad is a great guy, as everyone knows,” Poolman said. “You can tell he cares a lot. He has his heart into it.”
Ausmus said Berry’s demeanor is a little lighter than Hakstol’s intense style, but the two share similar hockey ideals.
“They both want to play fast and hard,” Ausmus said. “Hak is a little more on the yelling side. (Berry) is more about telling you what you didn’t do right and what you can do better next time.”
The team was surprised by the news Monday, LaDue said, but there were no hard feelings.
“There have always been rumors that he might make the jump at some point in his career,” LaDue said. “I didn’t know it would be this year, but it’s a dream of his so we can’t spite him. We’d do the same thing if we were in his shoes.”
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- 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