Matt Smaby's hockey credentials have made him a candidate for numerous coaching positions around the world.

As a player, he captained UND to the NCAA Frozen Four, played four years in the NHL for the Tampa Bay Lightning and led Munich to back-to-back titles in the top German professional league.

As a coach, he spent two years with UND's program as a student manager before accepting an assistant job with the Salzburg Red Bulls in Austria's top league. He led the Red Bulls to their best regular-season record.

It's no surprise that Smaby was fielding coaching interest this offseason, but the former UND captain has opted to stay in Grand Forks.

Smaby will be the next Grand Forks Youth Hockey director.

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"I'm really excited about it," Smaby said. "It's something I knew was out there. The more I looked into it, the more I understood what the position was, the room for growth in the association and the potential to affect kids in a really positive way both as people and players. It's something the more I learned about, the more I got excited about the potential that's there. It's a great opportunity and I'm really excited."

Smaby will take over for Steve Johnson, who left to become the head hockey coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

"The job list is long, but there's a lot there as far as potential," Smaby said. "I think there's room for growth, room for change."

Smaby, who played prep hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's underneath coach Tom Ward, said he's looking forward to helping local hockey players both on and off the ice.

"I've been around the game my whole life," Smaby said. "For me, I think there's so much to be gained through team sports and youth sports as far as life lessons, growing, dealing with diversity and dealing with success. I love some of those elements and aspects that hockey brings. Hockey has been my life since third grade."