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Search for new head Laker coach ends with Dwyer

Discipline will be a key ingredient under new Detroit Lakes boys’ head hockey coach Todd Dwyer, who installed that certain virtue during his six years as head coach at Breckenridge/Wahpeton.

Dwyer takes over head coaching duties from Chris Denardo, who had a successful run as Laker head coach, but decided to resign to focus more on spending time with his family and kids.

With the reins now officially handed over to Dwyer, the former Blades head coach is ready to dive in and start making his imprint on the Laker program.

“I am very excited coming to Detroit Lakes, they have a good tradition and excellent facilities with the two sheets of ice,” Dwyer said. “The numbers are also strong on the youth level, which is important.”

Dwyer made his mark on the Breckenridge/Wahpeton hockey program over the course of his six years there.

One of his biggest accomplishments was helping the program get sanctioned to play in the Minnesota State High School League, instead of North Dakota.

“The Wahpeton district was very supportive of the hockey program and getting able to get into playing in Minnesota was big,” Dwyer said. “We also increased our numbers over my time in Wahpeton.”

In that first season playing a Minnesota schedule in 2011-12, the Blades went a very respectable 16-6-0. Although the team struggled last year with a 3-13-2 record, his squad still displayed discipline.

“One thing we always had in Wahpeton was respect for other teams and we wanted to represent our community well to others,” Dwyer said. “Discipline is a big thing to me. My overall philosophy is it’s important what’s on the front of your jersey, not what’s on back.

“Playing as a team and not as an individual is important.”

Dwyer will take on physical education duties at the DL Middle School and elementary. He attended and graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and was an intern and eventually assistant coach under Fargo South’s Dean Wilson.

He will bring his family to DL, which includes fiancée Mandy Brossart and stepson Hunter, who will be in third grade. The couple is also expecting another child, due in October.

Dwyer’s teaching experience was important to his hiring by the DL district, as well as his involvement in youth hockey.

“We spent a lot of time going through candidates for the job,” said DL Superintendent Doug Froke. “It was a unique situation and we wanted to keep our options open, but we did want to hire a teacher for the position; that was important to us.”

Dwyer’s credentials of being a physical education teacher and boys’ hockey head coach matched that of the district’s search.

Also Dwyer’s involvement in the youth hockey program in Wahpeton was a distinct advantage, as well.

“We were able to link the two positions together,” Froke said. “The hockey position was no different than any of our coaching positions, in that the head coach needs to be involved in the youth programs.

“Todd interviewed and he spoke well to that kind of structure. We received a lot of input from the (DL Youth Association) board, as well.”

Now that the search is at a conclusion, the direction of the Laker boys’ hockey program is now set and will be led by Dwyer.

“I love the chance to work with two sheets of ice and that really helps the numbers for the youth programs,” Dwyer said. “The youth programs are everything for a hockey program. You have to make sure to keep that strong.”

Dwyer has seen firsthand the team he will be taking over, losing to the Lakers 3-1 in 2012-13 and defeating DL 7-3 in 2011-12.

“On paper, we have a lot of young, good players returning,” Dwyer said.

It will be a new era for the Detroit Lakes boys’ hockey program, with support by the community, players and parents needed to keep the Laker tradition alive.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.