The Minnesota Wilderness, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), have announced the remainder of their coaching staff for the 2013-14 season. Joining the staff as assistant coaches will be Dan Daikawa and Josh Petrich. They will join Cloquet native Corey Millen, who was named the Wilderness head coach a few weeks ago.
“We are proud to have such a talented and experienced coaching staff. The addition of Dan and Josh added to Corey’s leadership to help make our organization one of the league leaders,” said Wilderness Owner and Governor Scott Thielen.
“We are very excited to have both Dan and Josh on our staff,” added Millen. “Dan has a big list of accomplishments as head coach in the NAHL and he was able to build a championship-caliber team in Jamestown in a short period of time. Josh is a familiar face having coached with me in the NAHL previously in Alaska. He is a very hard worker and is eager to keep gaining experience as a coach.”
Daikawa was most recently the head coach and general manager of the NAHL’s Jamestown Ironmen for the past two seasons. After missing the playoffs in 2011-12, Daikawa turned the Ironmen around in 2012-13, as they finished in 2nd place in the NAHL’s North Division during the regular season. The Ironmen then went on to win the North Division Playoff title and secured a berth to the 2013 NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament, where they finished 4th. In two years under Daikawa, the Ironmen posted a winning record of 56-55-9 and had 11 NCAA commitments.
“I had some good conversations leading up to this point with Scott and Corey and it felt like the right fit for me and my family at this time. Ultimately, that’s what my decision boiled down to and I look forward to working with a guy like Corey Millen, who has a lot of knowledge and experience behind the bench,” said Daikawa. Daikawa, who is originally from Apple Valley, Minnesota, said that being able to come back to his home state also weighed heavily in his decision. “That was a big part of it too. There ia a lot of family and friends in the state, so to continue coaching in the NAHL and also move back to Minnesota was something I couldn’t pass up.”
Petrich is in his second stint as an assistant coach in the NAHL, as he previously served as an assistant under Millen when both were with the Alaska Avalanche during the 2011-12 season. During that season the Avalanche finished 3rd in the West Division standings with a 35-19-6 record and five players made NCAA commitments. Last season, Petrich was the head coach for the Russell Stover 16U Tier I Midget Minor team based out of Overland Park, Kansas.
"I am very excited to join the Wilderness staff and get to work on building a championship caliber team,” said Petrich. “Getting to work with Corey again and now Dan, while getting to move back to the Northland, where I began my coaching career, is a dream come true. I would like to thank everyone at the Russell Stover organization. I am going to take everything I have learned there and bring it to try and help make the Wilderness the best place to play in the NAHL."
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)