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St. Cloud State Names Brian Idalski Head Women’s Hockey Coach – Grand Forks Herald


ST. CLOUD, Minnesota Brian Idalski came to UND in 2007 with a construction project on his hands.

He took over an UND women’s hockey schedule that had gone 3-31-2 the previous season, 0-27-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s game and ended the year with a 20-game losing streak.

Within five years, Idalski turned the program into an NCAA tournament team.

St. Cloud State announced Thursday that it has hired Idalski to do the same with the Huskies program.

Idalski becomes the next head coach for women’s hockey at St. Cloud State, taking over from Steve Macdonald, who was fired in March after just three seasons.

St. Cloud State went 9-23-3 last season. The Huskies have never made it to the NCAA women’s hockey tournament in the history of the program.

“Coach Idalski has successfully built the UND women’s program into a national contender and is recognized for his ability to raise performance expectations through recruiting and developing players,” said Heather Weems, St. Cloud State athletic director, who will soon be the commissioner. becomes of the National Collegiate. hockey conference. “He has a great understanding of the recruitment landscape and how to compete in the WCHA.”

Before joining UND, Idalski spent a year at St. Cloud State as an assistant coach.

“I’m very excited to be back in St. Cloud and to have the opportunity to lead the women’s hockey program,” Idalski said. “The WCHA is the premier collegiate hockey conference in North America and I look forward to building St. Cloud State into a winner. I am grateful to Heather Weems and the Search Committee for entrusting me with this opportunity and can’t wait to go to work.”

For the past three seasons, Idalski has coached the KRS Vanke Rays, which are based in Shenzhen, China. Idalski led the Vanke Rays to the WHL Finals all three years, winning it twice.

He was also China’s head coach at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, leading the Chinese to their first-ever Olympic victory.

“His background, experience and success as a head coach at the international, professional and collegiate levels of women’s hockey make him a prime candidate for our Huskies program,” said Weems.

At UND, Idalski has made his mark by recruiting high-level players.

The first two players to change programs were Grand Forks natives and American Olympians Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, who switched from rival Minnesota. Others soon followed, such as Olympians Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani from Finland, Josefine Jakobsen from Denmark and Tanja Eisenschmid from Germany.

Idalski also brought in American and Canadian national team players such as Amy Menke, Halli Krzyzaniak, Becca Kohler, Meghan Dufault and Shelby Amsley-Benzie to bolster the roster.

UND reached the NCAA tournament in 2012 and 2013, falling in triple overtime to eventual National Champion Minnesota in the 2013 Regional Finals.

Next season, Idalski will coach against a number of players he has recruited for UND.

Minnesota Duluth’s star players are Gabbie Hughes and Ashton Bell. Both were determined to play for the Fighting Hawks when the program was eliminated. Bell won Olympic gold with Canada earlier this year and the Bulldogs made it to the NCAA Frozen Four.

St. Cloud State opens the season October 7 at Ohio State.

Ice Hockey - Prelim Women.  Round - Group B - China v Sweden

Former UND player Rebekah Kolstad (44) listens to head coach Brian Idalski and assistant Max Markowitz during China’s match against Sweden at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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