Fargo Force’s Associate Head Coach, Byron Pool, will be moving onto the Division 1 NCAA level as he has accepted the associate head coaching position at Northern Michigan University for the men’s hockey team. Former University of Minnesota assistant coach, Grant Potulny, was named NMU’s head coach in April. Also on the coaching staff is Rob Lehtinen, who was retained from the previous staff.
“It is with great happiness and excitement that our family starts a new chapter in our lives,” said Byron Pool. “We are thrilled to be joining a great institution in Northern Michigan University and a hockey program steeped in rich history and success. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with the Force organization for the opportunity to coach in the best junior league in North America. From our owner, Ace Brant, to Mike Vannett, Jon Kram, Whitney Baumgartner, Brian Knudson, Dorian Nelson and all of our other front office staff, thank you for your hard work and assistance over the years! A very special thank you to all the coaches and players I have had the pleasure to work with in my 7 years here, especially head coaches Steve Johnson, Jason Herter, John Marks and Cary Eades. I enjoyed working for you and learned immensely from you all. Also, thank you to Phil Faught, Paul Wixo, and Steve Baumgartner for all your hard work behind the scenes. It is not always recognized, but is greatly appreciated and plays a huge part in the Force's success."
"Lastly, thank you to the best fans in the USHL," added Pool. "Your support, loyalty, and energy are appreciated on a nightly basis. You truly make Fargo the best place to play junior hockey.”
Pool joined the Force organization in 2010 and has coached alongside three head coaches in his career with the team including Jason Herter (2010-11), John Marks (2011-15) and Cary Eades (2015-present). In seven seasons with Fargo, he helped the team to four playoff appearances including one trip to the Clark Cup Final in the 2012-13 season. Fargo’s overall regular season record with Pool assisting behind the bench was 210-176-38. Prior to joining the Force, Byron was Head Coach of the Bismarck Bobcats for 2 seasons, leading the Bobcats to the 2008-’09 Central Division Title in his first campaign behind the bench. He won the 2009-’10 National Junior A Tier 2 Championship in his second and final year with the Bobcats.
“We’re extremely happy for Byron and his family,” said head coach Cary Eades. “It’s a fantastic opportunity that he’s worked extremely hard for in moving up to the college ranks. Northern Michigan is getting an extremely dedicated, knowledgeable, and committed individual that will help build their program in many different ways. On behalf of the Force organization, we’d like to thank Byron for his seven years of service in Fargo. We are very proud of Byron’s development as a person and as a coach, and we wish him well in this next step up the developmental ladder.”
The coaching staff and front office staff will be meeting internally in regards to the fulfillment of Pool’s position.