GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- North Dakota Director of Athletics Brian Faison announced on Monday that longtime assistant coach and former UND letterwinner Brad Berry has been hired as head coach of the men’s hockey program.
Berry was introduced as the 16th head coach in the program’s history – and the sixth former UND player to take over the program -- at a news conference this afternoon at Ralph Engelstad Arena. He replaces Dave Hakstol, who was named head coach of the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers earlier in the day.
“We are excited to have Brad take leadership of the UND men’s hockey program,” Faison said. “He is an effective recruiter, has an outstanding reputation as a teacher of the game, and brings a tremendous energy and passion to the position. His core values and his understanding of the unique culture that has made UND hockey so successful are the traits that make him the right coach to carry the program forward.”
Possessing a wealth of professional and collegiate coaching and playing experience, Berry recently completed his ninth season as an assistant coach at UND. He served two stints in that role, first from 2000-01 through 2004-06 and again from 2012-13 through 2014-15. The former NHL defenseman has also spent time as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets (2010-12) and the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose (2006-08).
“I’m very humbled and honored to be the next head coach at the University of North Dakota,” said Berry. “Men like Dave Hakstol, Dean Blais and Gino Gasparini have put that foundation in place for the program to be as successful as it has been. Myself, as well as Coach [Dane] Jackson and the rest of our staff, plan on carrying that torch to keep the program at the highest level.”
In his nine years as a UND assistant coach, Berry helped lead the program to eight NCAA tournament appearances, five NCAA Frozen Four berths, three regular-season conference titles (2014-15, 2003-04, 2000-01) and one conference tournament championship (2005-06).
Berry oversaw the team’s defensemen during both of his stints at UND and routinely produced one of the top defensive units in Division I hockey. In each of the last two seasons, UND led the nation in points and points per game by defensemen. At the other end of the ice, UND allowed a league-low 2.24 goals against per game in 2014-15 and has ranked among the top three in the conference in that category in five of Berry’s last six seasons with the program.
Nine of Berry’s former UND defensemen have gone on to play in the NHL, including 2004-05 UND captain and two-time Stanley Cup champion Matt Greene of the Los Angeles Kings.
Berry returned to Grand Forks prior to the 2012-13 season for his second stint at his alma mater. He had previously served as the program’s associate head coach from 2004-06 and assistant coach from 2000-04. He was also a defenseman at UND from 1983-86.
Before returning to UND, Berry spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Prior to that, Berry founded The Hockey Academy in Grand Forks, which focuses on developing and training youth hockey players within Grand Forks and surrounding areas. During that time (2008-10), he doubled as a part-time scout with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.
Berry was an assistant coach with the Manitoba Moose from 2006-08 and helped lead the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate to a playoff appearance in each of his two years, including a North Division title in 2006-07.
Berry was a standout defenseman at UND from 1983-86, collecting 74 points (12 goals, 62 assists) in 112 collegiate games under head coach John “Gino” Gasparini. Berry also won a gold medal with Canada at the 1985 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
A second-round draft pick (29th overall) of the Winnipeg Jets in 1983, Berry went on to play in 241 NHL games over eight years, including stints with Winnipeg, Minnesota and Dallas. His professional playing career also included stops in the Swedish Elite League and the International Hockey League (IHL). While with the IHL’s Michigan K-Wings, Berry was a three-time IHL All-Star and was named the K-Wings’ Defenseman of the Year three times.
After his playing career ended, Berry was a professional scout with the 1999-2000 Dallas Stars team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.
A native of Bashaw, Alberta, Berry’s family includes his wife, Suzanne, daughters, Brianna and Brooke, and son, Bauer.