UND women's hockey: Ex-UND assistant now with Vermont
One of Brian Idalski's first moves as coach of the UND women's hockey team was hiring Grant Kimball. Kimball, known for his recruiting abilities and work ethic, would be a key part in Idalski's effort to bring the Sioux program to prominence. He ...
One of Brian Idalski's first moves as coach of the UND women's hockey team was hiring Grant Kimball.
Kimball, known for his recruiting abilities and work ethic, would be a key part in Idalski's effort to bring the Sioux program to prominence. He hit the road often, found some overlooked recruits and helped to land many of the players on this year's UND team, which has been nationally ranked for a program-record 14 consecutive weeks.
That's what will make this weekend's series at the University of Vermont (6 p.m. tonight, 1 p.m. Saturday) so interesting.
Kimball, who left UND two years ago to be closer to his ailing father, is now the associate coach of the Catamounts.
"It will be an interesting weekend, for sure," Kimball said. "I've been keeping tabs on everything happening in Grand Forks and it has been exciting. It's definitely been nice to see those kids flourish. Before we came in (to UND), we knew the history of the men's program and the women's program should have been there, too.
"It was neat to get a pretty good foundation and the (Lamoureux) twins were the huge jolt the program needed. With the recruiting class they have coming in next year, they have loaded up and they are going to be formidable on the national scene for years to come."
Kimball is trying to help Vermont launch a similar turn-around.
The Catamounts moved to Division I in 2001 and posted a .167 winning percentage in the first eight seasons (36-210-16) before his arrival.
"It's eerily similar, it really is," Kimball said about the rebuilding processes. "The scholarship situation is now in place, just as it was coming into place when I left UND. It has been very interesting comparing both situations. There are a lot of similarities there. I've really been able to use my experience at UND to help organize and get things going here."
Last year, Vermont posted a program-record 10 wins. This year, the Catamounts have made overtime a habit, going 4-8-8. They have two ties against No. 3 Boston University and one against No. 6 Boston College.
"It has been a little bit of a slower process development-wise than my time at UND," said Kimball, who enjoys working with head coach Tim Bothwell and assistant Mike Gilligan. "But I'm really excited about the progress in the short time I've been here and I'm really excited about the incoming recruiting class for next year. Tim will really have a skilled group to work with -- the kind of skill he has been hoping to get since he's been here. Things are going in the right direction."
Vermont will make a return trip to Grand Forks early next season -- a trip that Kimball is already looking forward to.
"It's just a great college hockey experience for anybody," he said.
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to email@example.com .