By @MichaelCaples –
Minnesota assistant coach Grant Potulny has been named the new head coach of Northern Michigan’s hockey program.
Potulny takes over after the Marquette-based program decided to part ways with Walt Kyle earlier this off-season.
“Grant impressed everyone throughout the interview process and truly earned this opportunity,” said NMU Director of Athletics Forrest Karr in a press release. “He is a tremendous leader committed to excellence and has achieved success at each level as a player and as a coach. Grant has had quality mentors throughout his career, and it shows in his attention to detail and plan for Northern Michigan hockey. This is Grant’s time to lead and continue the program’s rich history.”
Potulny has been an assistant coach for Minnesota, his alma mater, for the last seven seasons. That has been the extent of his coaching experience; he played for Minnesota from 2000-01 before a pro career that saw six years in the AHL and one in the DEL.
“My family and I are very excited to be joining the Northern Michigan community,” Potulny said in the release. “The hockey team has been a great source of pride for alumni, fans and students for the past 41 years. This is a wonderful opportunity, and I look forward to adding to the tradition and success of Wildcat hockey.”
The new Wildcats bench boss has the support of his previous boss in his new endeavor, as well.
“Grant is very deserving of the opportunity to be the next head coach at Northern Michigan University,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said in a statement. “He’s had a tremendous career at the ‘U’ as a player and as a coach, and it’s been enjoyable to watch him grow. There’s no question in my mind that he’s ready to be a head coach. Grant’s a great family man, and he and his family will be a tremendous asset in their move to Marquette.”
Potulny has experience coaching at the international level – he worked as an assistant coach on two gold medal-winning U.S. National Junior Teams at the IIHF World Junior Championships (2013 and 2017).
He’s the only player to serve as a three-year captain for the Golden Gophers since 1947, too; Potulny guided Minnesota to back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003.
Potulny will be just the third head coach in NMU program history; Rick Comley was the Wildcats’ first head coach, and Kyle followed after working as Comley’s assistant.
Kyle served in the head coach capacity for 15 seasons, finishing with a 265-263-68 record. NMU finished eighth out of 10 teams in the WCHA regular season (10-15-3-1 in conference, 13-22-4 overall) this past campaign.