Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Derek Plante Named UMD Hockey Assistant Coach

A good day for the UMD men's hockey program, as they officially have welcomed a former star home.

Derek Plante was a great player for UMD in the early 1990s before moving on to a career in pro hockey, including a nice run in the NHL. Plante is a coach now, as he has been named to replace former assistant Steve Rohlik, who stepped aside in April to become associate coach at Ohio State.

Here is the release from UMD on Plante.

Derek Plante, who enjoyed an All-American playing career at the University of Minnesota Duluth nearly two decades ago, is returning to his alma mater to take on a new role -- assistant men's hockey coach.

"I can't say enough about how excited I am to be given this opportunity," said the 39-year old Plante, whose appointment officially begins June 10. " I grew up in this area, got a chance to play for my favorite college and now I get to coach here -- I couldn't be more thrilled. Coaching has always been in the back of my mind and my dad (longtime Hermantown High School Coach Bruce Plante) certainly had a lot of influence on me.

"This is what I wanted my next step to be in my hockey career and with the recent successes and a new rink on the immediate horizon, I think it's a great time to be involved with UMD hockey again."

Plante, a member of the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame (Class of 2009), was a driving offensive force for the Bulldogs for four winters, culminating with a senior year in which he racked up an NCAA-leading 92 points --- still the second highest single-season total in team history -- for a school-record 2.49 points per game average. The Cloquet, Minn. product captained the Bulldogs to the 1992-93 WCHA regular season title and a berth in the NCAA Regionals and, in the process, was chosen as a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist, a first team All-American, the USA Hockey Male Athlete of the Year, and the WCHA Player of the Year. In addition, he was a All-WCHA first team honoree as a senior after receiving second team honors the previous winter. Planted closed out his collegiate career with 219 points on 96 goals and 123 assists in 138 outings which currently puts him in a tie for second place on the UMD’s all-time scoring charts while his career points per game average (1.587) trails only current Bulldog volunteer assistant coach Bill Watson (1.94 ppg), Keith “Huffer” Christiansen (1.92 ppg) and Brett Hull (1.588). During his final season, he paced the Bulldogs in points for the third winter in a row en route to landing UMD’s Most Valuable Player Award an unprecedented third consecutive time. A member of the WCHA All-Academic Team as a senior and the owner of team records for most career game-winning goals (15) as well as most playoff assists (13) and playoff points (19) in one season (1992-93), Plante was chosen UMD’s Outstanding Senior Male Athlete for 1992-93. Plante, who was a collegiate teammate of fellow UMD assistant coach Brett Larson from 1991-93, went on to enjoy an eight-year stint in the National Hockey League with Buffalo (1993-99), Chicago (1999-2000), Dallas (1998-99 and 1999-2000) where he won a Stanley Cup, and Philadelphia (2000-01), producing 96 goals and 152 assists for 248 points in 450 regular season games. Selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1989 NHL draft (8th round, 161st pick overall), Plante also did time with the International Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves (1999-2000) and Michigan K-Wings (1999-2000) and the American Hockey League’s Philadelphia Phantoms (2000-01). He spent another seven seasons playing professionally in Europe and Japan before retiring following the 2007-08 season. He skated with Team U.S.A. at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships on seven occasions: 1992, 1993, 1996, and 2000-2004.

"Derek is a first-class person and a Bulldog through-and-through " said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin. "He has played the game at the highest level, knows what it takes to win, and is a great addition to our program."

Plante succeeds Steve Rohlik, who resigned this past April to join the Ohio State University hockey staff after 10 seasons of assistant coaching duty with the Bulldogs.

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