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Matt Cullen's ties to SCSU program being honored

On Saturday, doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and there will be a pregame ceremony at 5 p.m. where SCSU will retire Cullen's jersey.

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Matt Cullen talks Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, about his contributions to the Fargo Force.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Matt Cullen, a standout with the Moorhead Spuds who played for St. Cloud State before a successful NHL career, will have his No. 9 retired by the Huskies on Saturday, Jan. 14.

The Huskies (7-3-0 NCHC, 15-5-0 overall) and Tigers (5-4-1, 9-10-1) will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday (both on FOX 9+) in an NCHC series at the Brooks Center.

On Saturday, doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and there will be a pregame ceremony at 5 p.m. where SCSU will retire Cullen's jersey.

Cullen went on to play 1,516 games in the NHL from 1997-2019 and win three Stanley Cups (Carolina, 2006; Pittsburgh, 2016, 2017). Behind the scenes, Cullen has kept his ties to St. Cloud State after playing for the Huskies from 1995-1997.

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In January 2019, Cullen was playing with the Penguins when the Huskies played in the Three Rivers Classic tournament in Pittsburgh. He spent time and spoke with the team that weekend and has remained in contact with SCSU head coach Brett Larson.

"Since I got the job in St. Cloud, he's been extremely supportive," said Larson, who was named head coach in 2018. "Any time we've asked him with help with recruiting, with coming in and speaking to our guys about leadership, he's been willing to do whatever he can to help the program. It's been really fun to get to know him through that process.

"It's been great to have him around our guys so they can learn from him."

Cullen tries to keep a low profile, but he has brought his kids and their hockey teams to games in recent years at the Brooks Center.

"Matt's probably stopping by the locker room 2-3 times during the season and comes in quite a bit in the summer since I've been here," Larson said. "I've talked to him a lot more since he stole our coach, Nick Oliver. I tell him he owes us one."

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Oliver was an assistant coach for the Huskies before being named the head coach of Fargo Force of the USHL after last season. Cullen is a minority owner of the Force and lives in Moorhead.

Larson said that Cullen's number being retired is well deserved.

"I don't think there's a better guy to honor," Larson said. "His reputation in the hockey world isn't just of a Stanley Cup champion. His reputation is of a high character guy who has always been a great teammate and worked harder than anybody else. To have that type of example in front of these players — it couldn't be any better."

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Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com
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