Can he Hak it? Flyers coach Dave Hakstol Makes his NHL debut
Flyers goalie Steve Mason was sitting in his backyard at his Oakville, Ontario home on May 18 when his cell phone went off.
One of his news apps told him that the Flyers hired a guy named Dave Hakstol to succeed Craig Berube as head coach.
“I had never heard of him, to be honest,” Mason said. “That’s not a slight to him. I just don’t follow college hockey.”
Mason grew up in the Toronto area, played his junior hockey in London, Ontario and went right to the NHL. Like most Canadians without college degrees, their knowledge of the NCAA is limited.
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Those who follow hockey in American colleges knew Hakstol’s name well. He was the 15th coach in the history of the University of North Dakota, taking the team to the NCAA playoffs each of his 11 seasons there with seven trips to the Frozen Four, the most of any program in the country during that time period.
One of the first text messages Mason sent to do some research was to Chris VandeVelde, his Flyers teammate who played under Hakstol for four years at UND from 2006 to 2010.
“Probably five or six guys just asked what he’s all about,” VandeVelde said. “‘Is he a good coach?’ and all that stuff.”