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Published June 27, 2011, 04:04 PM

Former Sioux Herter Leaves Fargo Force, Becomes UM-Duluth Assistant Coach

The University of Minnesota-Duluth athletic department confirmed Jason Herter will be leaving the Fargo Force to become the next assistant head coach at the school.

By: Ryan S. Clark, Forum Communications

The University of Minnesota-Duluth athletic department confirmed Jason Herter will be leaving the Fargo Force to become the next assistant head coach at the school.

Minnesota-Duluth beat writer for the Fargo Forum, Kevin Pates, wrote on his blog and later on the News-Tribune’s website that Herter was offered the job and he was one of 45 formal candidates to apply for the position and the search was narrowed down to three.

Now that the 40-year-old Herter is leaving the Force, it means that the team will be looking for its fourth head coach in as many seasons. Dean Blais, the team’s first coach, left to take over the Nebraska-Omaha program, which arguably enjoyed its best season in school history.

Steve Johnson, the team’s second-year coach, took an assistant-coach position at St. Cloud State last September, a little more than a week before pre-season camp started for the Force.

There has been speculation as to who would be considered for the job. A name that has continued to pop up has been Lincoln head coach Chad Johnson. Johnson, a former Force assistant, was rumored as far back as April to take the job.

Johnson said earlier on Monday that he hasn’t discussed leaving Lincoln with his bosses.

It isn’t the first time Johnson’s name has been linked with the job this season. Johnson, who was at the Force’s last home playoff game against Dubuque, told The Forum that he hasn’t been offered the job and he would continue as the Stars’ head coach for the upcoming season.

Another name that has also been mentioned is assistant coach Byron Pool. Pool just finished his first year with the team and prior to that was the head coach of the Bismarck Bobcats (NAHL) where he won the Robertson Cup, the league’s championship.

Herter’s first and only season was one in which he led the Force to a fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs before ultimately losing to the Fighting Saints, which went on to win the Clark Cup Finals.

Herter, a native of Hafford, Sask., was an assistant in the team’s first season, when it achieved an appearance in the Clark Cup Finals. After Blais left, he was not retained and did some scouting for a few USHL teams before being hired by the Force to coach the team in its third season.

Prior to his time with the Force, Herter coached midget hockey with Russell Stovers in Kansas City.

He perhaps is more known in hockey circles for being the eighth overall pick of the Vancouver Canucks back in 1989. At one time, Herter was rated as the No. 1 prospect heading into that year’s draft, which included former Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Mats Sundin.

Herter was drafted by the Canucks out of the University of North Dakota. He never played for the Canucks because he was traded by the team and only played one NHL game that came with the New York Islanders.

He continued playing hockey in the minors then moved to Europe where he finished his professional hockey career before returning to America.

Clark is a reporter at the Forum in Fargo

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