SPECIAL REPORT: Morinville to retire from Moorhead hockey

Moorhead boys hockey coach Dave Morinville, one of Minnesota’s most decorated coaches, said Monday morning he is stepping down.

Morinville told his team at their banquet on Sunday he was going to resign.

“One of my daughters just got married,” Morinville said. “It makes you realize how fast life is going.”

His decision to step down comes weeks after Moorhead hired a new athletic director, Dean Haugo, to replace outgoing athletic director Don Hulbert, who has worked with Morinville going back to their days at Fargo North.

Morinville said another reason why he decided to walk away is because it seemed like a good time.

He just led the Spuds to their 13th Minnesota state hockey tournament appearance and had arguably one of the more memorable games of the tournament. The Spuds, led by goaltender Michael Bitzer, shocked title favorite Eagan and its four Division I commits in the first round of the tournament.

Moorhead reached the second round where it lost to state runner-up, Hill-Murray, before finishing fourth in the tournament.

As for Morinville he walks away with more than 250 career victories and in the process has coached some of the program’s elite talent. He coached former first-round pick and North Dakota star Brian Lee, who just finished his first season with the Tampa Bay Lightning following a trade from the Ottawa Senators.

Lee, who won Mr. Hockey as a senior, was a member of the four teams Morinville coached to the state tournament finals only to lose. Moorhead is a state record 0-7 in the state tournament finals having the most second place finishes in state history.

Moorhead returned to state for a second straight year after facing a turbulent year in 2009. The team was involved in a hazing investigation resulting in multiple suspensions for program not usually known for off-ice incidents.

Morinville was even suspended from the investigation and later in the year, more issues ensued with other players being suspended for other violations. Still, the Spuds reached the state tournament where they went winless for the first time in Morinville’s career at the event known as Minnesota’s crown jewel.

This year, with 12 returning seniors led by Bitzer, who won the Frank Brimsek Award for Minnesota’s best senior goaltender, the Spuds were just an overtime goal away from returning to the state title game.

“With my job, the time is right,” said Morinville, whose real profession is in the medical field. “There were times where I felt like George Jetson trying to walk the dog on the treadmill where sometimes you just felt like you had no control between my job and coaching.”

4 thoughts on “SPECIAL REPORT: Morinville to retire from Moorhead hockey

  1. Dave Morinville is as a great a coach as any ever seen in the Fargo Moorhead area, if not THE greatest. I worked for him for 2 years when he led the NDSU club program, and I wish him and his entire family the best of luck.

  2. We first met Dave in 1981 along with his fine parents. What a great time it was for hockey at Fargo North. We are still proud of those two state championship banners he was responsible for. He has always been a winner and won’t be forgotten!
    Bob and Pepper Toussaint

  3. I played for Dave Morinville for 4 years. Three at Fargo North and 1 at NDSU.
    He does bring success to every program he is with. He is a great coach! My best wishes to Dave and his family.

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