Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service , Published January 02 2013
Ex-UND assistant Eades finds success in USHLGRAND FORKS – Cary Eades had a goal in mind this summer when he took over as head coach and general manager of the Sioux Falls Stampede, a team that finished dead last in the United States Hockey League a year earlier.
Eades wanted to turn the team into an aggressive, hard-working, exciting-to-watch squad.
“I think people in the Midwest relate to that,” he said.
Eades has done more than that.
At the midway point of the season, Sioux Falls has gone from worst to first in the Western Conference standings. The team has gone from sixth in attendance to first, averaging almost 1,000 people per game more than last year. And the Stampede have already won more games than they did all of last year.
The huge turnaround has made Sioux Falls president and chief executive officer Tom Garrity look good after making the decision to let go of Kevin Hartzell, who led the team to one USHL title, and hiring Eades, who had previously been an assistant coach at the University of North Dakota.
“We were able to make some deals within the league to gain more veteran players,” Eades said. “We did the best we could at the tryout camp to add some more players and try to develop our team.”
Even so, it looked like the rebuilding project was going to be a difficult one. Sioux Falls went
1-5 in the preseason and started the regular season 0-2, losing both games by four goals.
But then, the Stampede managed to win four games in a row and keep the momentum through the remainder of the first half. They will enter this weekend’s series against Sioux City on a four-game winning streak.
When asked if the quick start has surprised him, Eades said: “Maybe a little bit. We did not have a very good exhibition season and we lost our first two games. We started to win some games, gain some confidence and put some building blocks in place. Guys have stuck to our approach as a hard-working, lunch-bucket type of crew. We’ve been consistent with that.”
Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald