Plante interested in UMD opening

Derek Plante made his mark at Minnesota Duluth as a Hall of Fame athlete and would like to return to his alma mater as a coach with the men’s hockey program.

 An assistant’s job opened a week ago when Steve Rohlik, after 10 years as the top aide to Scott Sandelin, accepted a position as Ohio State’s associate head coach.

Plante, 39, a Cloquet native, has been out of professional hockey for two years and lives in Hermantown with his wife, Kristi (Duncan) Plante, a former UMD star softball player, and their three sons, Zam, 5, Max, 4, and Victor, 2.

“The UMD job is intriguing to me for a number of reasons – it’s a high-profile program that is doing well with high-profile players, they’re moving into a brand new rink, and I’m an interested alumnus,” Plante said Friday. “This is an exciting time for Bulldog hockey.”

The hiring time frame includes a job posting of two weeks and the interviewing of three finalists by a selection committee, said UMD assistant coach Brett Larson. As of Friday, the coaching opening had yet to be posted on the university’s website. Sandelin said he hoped to have an assistant hired by early June.

Plante is UMD’s second all-time scorer with 96 goals and 123 assists for 219 points in 138 games as a center from 1989-93. He was named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009, the same year he completed an undergraduate degree in community health and health education at UMD.

He played 14 professional seasons, including seven in the NHL with Buffalo, Dallas, Chicago and Philadelphia, and was a member of the 1999 Dallas team that won the Stanley Cup. He finished with 96 goals and 248 assists for 248 points in 450 NHL games. He played most recently with Langenthal in Switzerland in 2007-08.

Coaching is in Plante’s family background. His dad, Bruce Plante, 61, has coached on the youth and high school level the past 36 years, and has 360 wins at Hermantown High School the last 21 years.

“Derek has always had a high hockey IQ. He listens, and watches and learns. He’s very sharp,” said Bruce Plante. “He worked with out (Hermantown) players the last two seasons and they responded very well to him.”

Derek Plante said he spent much of last winter talking to folks in college and professional hockey to let them know he’s interested in returning to the game in a coaching or scouting capacity. He’s coached in summer camps in the Duluth area and in 2009-10 scouted for Des Moines (Iowa) in the U.S. Hockey League, coached by friend Mike Guentzel.

“I don’t have a lot of coaching experience, but I have a lot of hockey experience,” said Plante. “I’ve always thought I’d be good at helping players develop.”

Larson said UMD has received about 35 inquiries about the assistant’s job in the last week.

14 thoughts on “Plante interested in UMD opening

  1. Plante is my favorite UMD/NHL player of all-time, but I will absolutely freak if he is named/considered for the top assistant job with basically zero coaching experience. However, given that fact that a percentage of UMD fans have never fully accepted Sandelin because he isn’t “one of us”, I fully expect to see a trio of inexperienced and under qualified former Bulldogs making up the finalists.

  2. I think the “experience thing” is very overrated. The concern I have is Rohlik played a major role in the Bulldogs recruiting. Even the fans that want Sandelin gone cannot argue that at no time in the history of this program has the recruiting been this strong. The next assistant needs to have a strong recruiting background and I’m not sure Plante has that. Having said that, Derek Plante would bring a ton to this program. I still would love to see Norm Maciver get the job but not sure he would even consider it. My guess is he would only take a head coaching job.

  3. Just to clarify, my comment about Derek’s coaching “experience” has way more to do with what would be expected from a top assistant in the recruiting sense than it would Xs and Os. I have no doubts that Derek has a lot to offer from a coaching sense, but to echo your points BFICP, Rohlik is a great recruiter and whoever replaces him is going to have to be able to place extra emphasis on that part of their job.

  4. “However, given that fact that a percentage of UMD fans have never fully accepted Sandelin because he isn’t “one of us”, I fully expect to see a trio of inexperienced and under qualified former Bulldogs making up the finalists.”

    You know, this is really getting old. I have had tickets to UMD hockey for decades and do not know more than maybe 2 people that give a crap that Sandelin “isn’t one of us”! It’s all about the win/loss record. But if that obsession works for some Sandelin excuse makers, whatever??

    I couldn’t care less if the new assistant is a former Bulldog or not. I want a competent coach and a good recruiter.

  5. I’d definitely vote for Derek. There’s nothing that says he has to be the “top” assistant but I don’t think I’d have a problem with that, either.

  6. Whatever

    In an ideal world, you’d be right.

    This isn’t an ideal world.

    Ask people in the know how the fundraising has been going since Sandelin came aboard. Even in Sertich’s lean years — and there were many — fundraising was pretty good.

    There are a lot of big-money alums at UMD who do not believe in Scott Sandelin, and they won’t believe in him if he wins a national title.

    Why? Because he went to North Dakota. God forbid.

  7. Plante is a respected former player and area guy, how could that not work for the bulldogs? Rohlick was a great recruiter during the lean times for the bulldogs, they always took a backseat to the gophers badgers and sioux when it came to getting top end players., after winning the final 5 and having a good season this past year and especially a new arena, the program is beginning to sell itself

  8. We will see if this program really does sell itself in the next few years. Considering there is almost zero marketing for the program to sell it to its own community, I don’t think it can sell itself to future recruits who are considering schools like UND or UMTC where the players are treated like celebrities/gods.

    This program is not nearly strong enough to take a chance and lose its foothold in recruiting.

  9. “There are a lot of big-money alums at UMD who do not believe in Scott Sandelin, and they won’t believe in him if he wins a national title.”

    Whaaaaat? I would think that many fans and alums alike are not looking for a national title, just a team that does not puke the last month of the season year after year. With the talent recruited in the past few years, the incoming class included, there is no reason that the Bulldogs are not a top 3 or 4 program for the forseeable future.

    OR are the rumors true and the players start to give up later in the season?

  10. “Ask people in the know how the fundraising has been going since Sandelin came aboard.”

    Finishing with home twice, since Sandy’s been here, is about 98% of why Alumns, average Joe’s, “Big Money” fans, have been pushed away. 1%don’t like that the coach didn’t play for UMD. 1% pathetic marketing by UMD, from high kids ticket prices to taking the long time season ticket holder for granted, etc.

  11. Bottom line should get his facts straight on home ice.

    Not only that, but Sandelin is responsible for back-to-back 20-win seasons twice. That’s only happened three times in school history.

    And it’s not like they were consistently thriving under Sertich, yet money was never really an issue then.

  12. Home ice 2004 we beat Mankato and 2010 we beat C.C..

    When else since Sandelin has been here? I may have forgotten one?

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