18:83 Speaker Series - Brad Berry

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 2:30 pm

Come and learn about leadership from a university/community leader during our 18:83 Speaker Series!  Each session will be at 2:30pm on a Wednesday in the Memorial Union (1st floor Social Stair).  Each speaker will be focusing on leadership and personal/professional development for students.

This week's presenter is Brad Berry, the head coach of the University of North Dakota hockey team. As his ninth year at the helm of North Dakota begins in 2023-24, head coach Brad Berry has put his own distinct stamp on a program already steeped in tradition and success. Berry has guided his alma mater to a 180-92-31 (.645) record in his eight seasons with eight winning seasons, four NCAA Tournament appearances (2016, 2017, 2021, 2022), a national championship (2016) and one of the best seasons in school history that got cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019-20. 

Berry recorded his eighth straight winning season in 2022-23, guiding the program to an 18-15-6 overall record and another appearance in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Semifinals following the first conference quarterfinal road win since 1995. UND captured seven wins over ranked opponents, including a thrilling overtime victory at top-ranked Minnesota in October. Three players earned All-NCHC selections, with Jackson Blake winning the league's rookie of the year award and Chris Jandric earning a spot on the first team. Ethan Frisch was also honored as the NCHC Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year, presented to the league's top senior for his performances on-and-off the ice. Berry won his third straight NCHC Herb Brooks Coach of the Year award in 2021-22, and had four players earn All-NCHC honors.

Navigating one of the oddest seasons in memory in 2020-21, Berry helped the Fighting Hawks return to the NCAA Tournament with a vengeance. UND posted a 22-6-1 record, despite playing only seven games at home, on its way to a second straight National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular season title and became the first team in NCHC history to win both the regular season and postseason title. The Hawks advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017, earning the No.1 overall seed. UND rolled past American International in the regional semifinals before battling Minnesota Duluth to the longest game in NCAA Tournament history, dropping a 3-2 thriller in five overtimes. 

Berry was named the Spencer Penrose AHCA Award co-winner along with National Coach of the Year honors from College Hockey News and USCHO.com. He also was named the NCHC Herb Brooks Coach of the Year, the second of his career. 

He began his head-coaching career in 2015-16 by leading UND to its eighth NCAA championship, becoming the first person in the history of NCAA Division I men’s hockey to win a national title in his first year behind the bench. In 2016-17, Berry guided the defending national champions to the program’s 15th straight NCAA Tournament berth, the second-longest streak in the history of the sport. Berry has also continued UND’s reputation for developing professional hockey players, churning out more than two dozen such players in just five years.

A former NHL defenseman himself, Berry masterfully guided his alma mater to the program’s eighth national title in his debut season of 2015-16, bringing to a halt a 16-year drought for the storied program. Berry and the Fighting Hawks went 34-6-4, establishing a team record for most wins by a rookie head coach, and their .818 winning percentage was the second best in program history.

Berry also led UND to its second straight Penrose Cup as National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season champion, resulting in NCHC Herb Brooks Coach of the Year honors. He also garnered national coach of the year honors from U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) and was one of eight finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Coach of the Year.

UND has also thrived in the classroom under Berry, placing 19 players on the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team for the third consecutive season in 2019-20, including a team-record 12 being named to the NCHC Scholar-Athlete Team. In his tenure, Berry's teams have boasted a whopping 93 NCHC All-Academic Team members. 

Berry was named head coach at North Dakota on May 18, 2015, becoming the 16th head coach in program history and the sixth former UND player to take the helm.

Berry had recently completed his ninth season as an assistant coach at UND in 2014-15. He served two stints in that role, first from 2000-01 through 2005-06 and again from 2012-13 through 2014-15.  He also previously spent time as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets (2010-12) and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose (2006-08).

During his nine years on the UND staff, Berry helped lead the program to eight NCAA Tournament appearances, five NCAA Frozen Four berths (2014-15, 2013-14, 2005-06, 2004-05 and 2000-01), three regular season conference titles (2014-15, 2003-04 and 2000-01), and one conference tournament championship (2005-06).

Berry oversaw the team’s defensemen during both of his stints at UND and routinely produced blue line units that ranked among the conference national leaders, both offensively and defensively. In each of the last two seasons, UND led the nation in both points and points per game by defensemen. At the other end of the ice, UND allowed a league-low 2.24 goals against per game in 2014-15 and ranked among the top three in the conference in that category in five of Berry’s last six seasons with the program.

Before returning to UND prior to the 2012-13 season, Berry spent two years (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Prior to that, Berry founded The Hockey Academy in Grand Forks, which focuses on developing and training youth hockey players within Grand Forks and surrounding areas. During that time (2008-10), he doubled as a part-time scout with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. Berry was an assistant coach with the Manitoba Moose from 2006-08 and helped lead the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate to a playoff appearance in each of his two years, including a North Division title in 2006-07.

At every stop during his career, Berry has enhanced his reputation as a coach who develops National Hockey League defensemen. Many of his former UND pupils have reached NHL rosters, including two-time Stanley Cup champion Matt Greene of the Los Angeles Kings. While with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, Berry mentored future Vancouver Canucks stalwart Alexander Edler. During his two years with the Blue Jackets, Berry coached the likes of James Wisniewski, Mike Commodore, Marc Methot, Jack Johnson, Kris Russell, Anton Stralman, Fedor Tyutin, and Rostislav Klesla.

Berry himself was a standout defenseman as a player, first at UND where he collected 74 points (12 goals, 62 assists) in 112 games from 1983-86 under legendary head coach John “Gino” Gasparini. Berry also won a gold medal with Canada at the 1985 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.

A second-round draft pick (29th overall) of the Winnipeg Jets in 1983, Berry went on to play in 241 NHL games over eight years, including stints with Winnipeg, Minnesota and Dallas. His professional playing career also included stops in the Swedish Elite League and the International Hockey League (IHL). While with the IHL’s Michigan K-Wings, Berry was a three-time IHL All-Star and was named the K-Wings’ Defenseman of the Year three times. After his playing career ended, Berry was a professional scout with the 1999-2000 Dallas Stars team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.

A native of Bashaw, Alberta, Berry’s family includes his wife, Suzanne, daughters, Brianna and Brooke, and son, Bauer.

2901 University Avenue Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202


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