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Blais was elected to the US Hockey Hall of Fame

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Men’s hockey | 14-9-2020 04:23:00 PM

MINNEAPOLIS USA Hockey has announced that Gopher Hockey alum Dean Blais has been elected to the US Hockey Hall of Fame for the Class of 2020.

Born in International Falls, Minn., Blais was a four-year letter winner for the Maroon & Gold from 1970-1973, scoring 139 points (56 goals, 83 assists) in 124 career games. The forward led the Gophers in scoring as a sophomore and never finished lower than second in the team in points. As a freshman, Blais helped Minnesota claim the regular season WCHA title before in its second campaign, the Maroon & Gold captured the WCHA playoff title and progressed to the NCAA title game in 1971. After playing professionally for three seasons, Blais returned to the ‘U’ and began his coaching career as an assistant under Herb Brooks during the 1976-77 campaign.

Blais went on to rack up 407 NCAA career coaching victories, winning a total of four national championships (two as an assistant coach, two as head coach). Twice in his career, he was recognized with the Spencer Penrose Award as the best men’s coach in NCAA Division I hockey, along with a four-time WCHA Coach of the Year Selection.

In addition to his college-level success, Blais’s coaching achievements spanned from high school to junior hockey and through college hockey to the professional level. He led Roseau High School to an MSHSL state title in 1990 and later coached the Fargo Force to a USHL Clark Cup in 2009, while earning the USHL Coach of the Year award. Blais also served on the coaching staff of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2004-07.

In addition, he was the head coach of the US National Junior Team in 1994 and 2010 and guided USA Hockey to a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship and was an assistant coach for the team in 1988 and 1989. He also served as a assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey team in 1992 and the U.S. men’s national team in 2000.

USA Hockey previously honored Blais in 2018 with the Distinguished Achievement Award, which is presented annually to an American citizen who has made hockey his or her profession and has made an outstanding contribution to the sport in the United States on or off the ice.

Blais is the 17th honoree of the US Hockey Hall of Fame with ties to Gopher Hockey, and joins Dr. V. George Nagbads (2010), Aaron Broten (2007), Gary Gambucci (2006), Murray Williamson (2005), Dick Dougherty (2003), Doug Woog (2002), Mike Ramsey (2001), Neal Broten (2000), Lou Nanne (1998), Reed Larson (1996), Bob Johnson (1991), Herb Brooks (1990), Larry Ross (1988), Ken Yackel Sr. (1986), Jack McCartan (1983) and John Mayasich (1976).

The US Hockey Hall of Fame, located in Eveleth, Minn., Was established in 1969 and the first division was established in 1973. The Class of 2020 is the 48th group of inductees with a formal ceremony taking place in December 2021.

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