By Tom Miller
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Grand Forks Red River is turning to a former Roughrider Mr. Hockey winner to lead the boys hockey program.
Ryan LaDouceur, who was the state’s most outstanding senior athlete in 2008, was announced Monday as the next head coach.
“It’s a position that as I got into the coaching side of things, I’ve been eyeing the job for a while and the opportunity was here so I wanted to jump at it,” LaDouceur said.
LaDouceur comes to the Riders after a stint coaching midget hockey in Sioux Falls.
Prior to leaving for Sioux Falls, LaDouceur was director of the Ralph Engelstad Hockey Academy and worked at the Academy in some capacity from 2014 to 2018.
LaDouceur has also served as the men’s hockey program’s student assistant coach.
LaDouceur’s three years with the UND men’s team ended with three trips to the Frozen Four and a national championship in Tampa.
“Coach LaDouceur’s knowledge of skill development and past work with players of multiple ages will translate well into the high school game,” Grand Forks athletic director Mark Rerick said. “We are excited to add a coach with not only a relationship with the current players in Grand Forks but also a high level of passion for Red River High School and Roughrider athletics. Coach LaDouceur will be an excellent addition to our coaching staff.”
LaDouceur described his coaching style as a skill-based, puck-possession game.
“I really try to encourage kids to make plays with pucks and encourage kids that mistakes will be made and I’ll keep putting the trust in you to make the play the next time,” LaDouceur said.
As a Red River senior in 2008, LaDouceur was fifth in the state in scoring and was the state’s top scoring defenseman with seven goals and 39 assists. In 2008-09, he played 43 games in junior hockey for the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League.
LaDouceur takes over for veteran coach Bill Chase, who resigned in late February. Chase had been placed on indefinite administrative leave prior to the East Region tournament.
The three-time state champion coach was placed on leave for “conduct unbecoming and unfitting of a high school coach,” according to a formal letter sent from Grand Forks Public School’s administration.
Red River finished 15-11 last season, finishing sixth at the state tournament.
“The kids in the locker room now, there’s a good crew of kids currently,” LaDouceur said. “I think with them and the kids that would be coming through the program, it’s exciting as a coach to see where those kids are at now in their hockey careers … it’s an exciting time for Red River hockey.”