Grand Forks native Grant Potulny maps out plan at Northern Michigan

He was in a smaller city, and a college was on the forefront of it.

The hockey program — not the soccer or basketball groups — was what attracted probably the most consideration from the group.

And everybody appeared to be concerned with it.

“It’s not that a lot totally different from Grand Forks,” Potulny stated. “At a Huge Ten group, you’re all the time the varsity’s workforce. You’re all the time recognized as the varsity’s group. In a group like Grand Forks or Marquette, you’re the group’s group. Individuals are actually invested in this system. Individuals are actually excited to have a profitable program that may compete with the larger faculties.

“I’m going again to Tony Hrkac, Bob Joyce, Ian Kidd, Steve Johnson and the craze round Grand Forks when these guys have been doing what they have been doing. Individuals actually, actually care concerning the Wildcats right here, identical to they care about UND in Grand Forks. That’s enjoyable for me. You’ll be able to actually construct a fever when you do it the proper method.”

That’s the plan for Potulny, who left his submit as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the College of Minnesota, this summer time after eight years.

Potulny helped the Gophers to the Massive Ten common-season title in every of the final 4 years and in addition gained two gold medals as an assistant coach for the U.S. World Junior Championship staff.

Regardless of the success, Potulny all the time considered what it might be wish to run his personal program and name his personal photographs.

“I used to be very lucky to be in a spot the place I set to work with elite gamers, obtained to be round probably the greatest coaches within the historical past of school hockey and be at my alma mater,” Potulny stated. “It needed to be a reasonably good state of affairs to need to stroll away from that. This state of affairs is that. There’s custom right here. I feel you’ll be able to win right here.”

Northern Michigan gained a nationwide championship in 1991 underneath coach Rick Comley, however hasn’t been capable of persistently keep within the combine in recent times.

The Wildcats have solely reached the NCAA event one time within the final 18 years.

However within the revamped Western Collegiate Hockey Affiliation, there’s a alternative to deliver again previous glory days, simply as Michigan Tech has completed one hundred miles down the street in the Higher Peninsula.

Potulny began by giving the gamers a clear slate and by enjoying no favorites.

“The required evil of all sports activities is that you simply put a premium on guys who’re first-liners, energy-play guys, prime-pair D-males,” Potulny stated. “I need to make sure that, this month, till we begin enjoying video games and need to put guys in these…

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