« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Published April 30 2012

Morinville to step down from Moorhead boys hockey program

MOORHEAD – Part of being a coach is realizing when to call a timeout.

Dave Morinville knew it was his time, as he said Monday he was stepping down from the Moorhead boys hockey program.

“There were just a lot of things,” Morinville said about the decision to retire. “My one daughter got married, one daughter is in college and my other daughter lives in Amsterdam, and my wife and I want to go see her. You realize life is going by pretty fast.”

He also cited his occupation in the medical field as another reason why he stepped down.

The 58-year-old Morinville walks away as one of Minnesota’s most decorated high school hockey coaches.

He coached the Spuds for 15 seasons leading them to a 275-107-30 record.

Playing in Class 2A means going against Minneapolis-area schools with larger enrollments, yet Moorhead never backed down from the challenge.

Morinville structured his team’s schedule to the point where it was full of state title contenders in order to prepare for a potential postseason run.

It worked with Moorhead reaching the state tournament eight times under Morinville, finishing second four times.

The Spuds, which have made 14 state tournament appearances, own a state record seven second-place finishes at the tournament, having never won a state title.

Morinville’s final season resulted in the Spuds reaching the state tournament and finishing fourth.

“I mean just look at the results, they speak for itself,” said former Spud star and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Brian Lee. “It takes a special coach to make it to state once and Dave’s done it eight times.”

Lee is proof, as he played in three state tournaments under Morinville and won the state’s Mr. Hockey Award as a senior.

He is also one of the countless players Morinville coached which made it to a Division I program.

Replacing Morinville will become a high priority between Moorhead’s outgoing and incoming activities directors in Don Hulbert and Dean Haugo.

Haugo was hired in April by Moorhead to replace Hulbert who is retiring following the school year.

Lee said whoever replaces Morinville has “big shoes to fill.”

Former San Jose Sharks general manager Chuck Grillo agreed.

Grillo, who was one of Morinville’s mentors, said his pupil’s longevity is rare in a sport where results are important.

“He must have established one heck of a rapport with his athletes,” Grillo said. “Knowing Dave, he was involved with the youth program and knew the players from the time they started until they reached high school.”

Morinville said he plans to be involved with Moorhead Youth Hockey in some capacity.

Being active in the youth program and helping stimulate alumni activity, Morinville said, was his greatest achievement as a head coach.

The former Concordia goaltender broke into hockey as a Moorhead assistant in 1976 before coaching Fargo North from 1979-1984.

He returned to Moorhead in 1997 where he was named Class 2A, Section 8 coach of the year six times.

Grillo said Morinville’s achievements have helped the program’s reputation.

“People around the United States know about Moorhead,” Grillo said. “Moorhead is bigger than the state of Minnesota.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com