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Published May 21 2013

ESPN: Hakstol is NCAA’s top NHL-coach candidate

There’s been buzz in hockey circles for a few years that some higher-ups in NHL organizations are high on UND coach Dave Hakstol, and now it has been brought out in public.

ESPN posted a story today, listing five highly regarded potential NHL coaching candidates — one from each rank (NHL assistants, the AHL, major juniors and college), and it listed Hakstol as the top NHL coaching candidate from the NCAA ranks.

A source told ESPN’s Craig Custance: “This guy is really intelligent. I think he’s got a pro mind.”

The article quoted Hakstol, who would consider an NHL some day if an opportunity with “a good organization” presented itself. But Hakstol said his interest lies at UND.

“I feel like our entire staff has been around the game long enough to have a real appreciation for what we have here and has a commitment to producing that longterm success and sustainability,” Hakstol told ESPN.

The article also notes that Hakstol just signed a new contract at UND through 2017-18, so if Hakstol does eventually go to the NHL, it’s unlikely that it would happen in the near future.

Since being named head coach in 2004, Hakstol has won more games than any coach in the WCHA.