MUSKETEERS: Larson stresses importance of community
By Jerry Giese [email protected]
| Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 5:09 pm
SIOUX CITY -- Brett Larson has a great sense of community pride.
Following the press conference Monday afternoon that introduced him as the ninth head coach/general manager in Sioux City Musketeers history, the 38-year-old native of Duluth, Minn., took time to shake the hands with the public who also attended the event at the Sioux City Convention Center.
Fans met a man who Musketeer ownership believes will take the team to a United States Hockey League championship. An associate coach from the University of Minnesota-Duluth team that won the NCAA hockey championship this past season, Larson feels Sioux City has as much pride in their team as the city of Duluth had in the squad that went 26-10-6, winning the program's first national title in its 67-year history.
"I hope I can bring the same passion and energy to get the goals that you want," Larson said. "It was a Minnesota-Duluth team, but the people from Duluth felt like they were part of it and I know that is what Sioux City is expecting."
Musketeers president of hockey operations Craig Woodcroft lauded Larson for the role he played in Minnesota-Duluth's title run.
"I believe Brett was the architect of that (championship) team with his eye for talent and how he helped convey the conviction of how that team needed to play," Wodcroft said. "When I met Brett, I knew he'd be a reflection of what Sioux City is all about -- hard work, passion and being respectable."
Larson had 24 goals and 43 assists in four years as a defenseman for Minnesota-Duluth. He coached the Bulldogs for three years after concluding a professional playing career that spanned 11 years.
Larson was among 70 applicants for the position that came open when Luke Strand was fired on April 22.
Larson's excited to have Musketeers on the roster like Jordan Schmaltz, the USHL's leading scorer among defensemen last year with 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists). Another Musketeer he has high hopes for is forward Adam Krause (12 goals, 11 assists), a Minnesota-Duluth recruit who has the potential, he said, to set the tone in games.
"I'd like to see us pick up the pace, but along with pace, you have to be physical to get the puck," Larson said. "We expect the guys to put pressure on defense so that teams turn it over and we will get the puck. I like kids who are strong and play with grit.
"I like the roster. I've done a lot of research. Cam (Ellsworth) and Keith (Paulsen) did a great job of getting players and that's a big part of why I am excited. We have a good core of players to work with."