International Falls native Dean Blais, whose hockey career spanned six decades, and Jenny Potter, Minnesota Duluth’s all-time leading women’s scorer and an Olympic gold medalist, were selected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020, it was announced Monday.
Blais is most widely associated as a coach for the University of North Dakota, where he spent 19 seasons and is a member of the UND Athletics Hall of Fame. He was head coach of the Fighting Sioux program for 10 seasons (1994-2004) and led North Dakota to two NCAA titles (1997, 2000); seven NCAA tournament appearances, including three Frozen Fours; four Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season titles and two WCHA playoff championships. In his 10 seasons, Blais finished with a 262-115-33 record.
A former University of Minnesota player who was a member of the 1973 title team, also helped North Dakota to two NCAA titles as an assistant coach (1982, 1987).
Blais coached storied Roseau High School to a Minnesota boys hockey state championship in 1990 before serving as athletic director and head coach in his hometown of International Falls for two years (1992-94).
Potter of Edina, Minnesota, appeared in four Winter Olympics, including helping Team USA to a gold medal at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. She is one of only three U.S. women’s players to compete in four Olympics. Further, her 32 career points (11 goals, 21 assists) in Olympic competition are tops in U.S. history and second in the overall Olympic record books.
Potter played one season at Minnesota in 1998-99 before finishing her final three years with UMD (1999-00/2002-04).
The two-time WCHA Player of the Year was a three-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award and also a three-time All-WCHA first-team selection. She helped the Bulldogs to the 2003 NCAA Division I national championship, a year in which the team also earned both the WCHA regular-season and playoff titles. She finished her UMD career with a school-record 256 points (108 goals, 148 assists) in 102 games played. Potter was inducted into the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.