Coming back to Moorhead and leading a program which gave him his start would be a dream for Ryan Kraft.
But that’s all it is and will be. A dream.
Kraft said Tuesday afternoon he looked into applying for the opening but has opted against it. Moorhead has been without a boys hockey coach for the last week after longtime coach Dave Morinville resigned after a 15-year tenure.
Kraft said he notified Moorhead activities director Don Hulbert he would not be taking the job.
“I am interested but at the same time, I have a wife and three small children,” Kraft said by phone. “You are not just talking about moving a person. You are talking about selling a house, buying a new house, a complete lifestyle change. You are talking about a whole realm of issues that have been talked about by me and my wife. At this time, we are not ready to make that change.”
Kraft, 36, played at Moorhead and as a senior enjoyed one of the best individual seasons in school history scoring 84 points (44 goals, 40 assists) in 27 games during the 1993-94 season.
He went on to have a four-year career at the University of Minnesota and after his freshman year was drafted by the San Jose Sharks. Kraft had a seven-game stint with the Sharks that was sandwiched by stints in the ECHL and AHL. He played the last few seasons of his pro career in Germany before retiring in 2010.
Kraft now lives in Lakeville, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, where he is a personal skating coach and an assistant at Lakeville North. He had been an assistant with the Hastings girls hockey program during the 2010-11 season.
“We feel we have all the elements in place to put together a good program,” he said about Lakeville North. “Not just one that wins games but one that sends players to the next level.”
Kraft said he received quite a few phone calls last week after Morinville announced he would be resigning.
Taking over the Moorhead program was something he had to think about.
Aside from it being his alma mater, Moorhead has gone on to establish itself as one of Minnesota’s prominent yet at times, most hard-luck program having finished second a record seven times without a state title victory at the Minnesota state tournament.
Moorhead reached the state tournament this season where it upset title front-runner Eagan and finished fourth.
“I played for Terry Cullen and I loved playing for him,” Kraft said. “If it were me hiring, he’d be the prototypical guy and have him do the thing all over again. I think the program needs a kick in the butt. Not to say Dave Morinville didn’t do a great job. He did a tremendous job but there is always time for a change and its type of change the Moorhead program needs.”
He added the next head coach should be a former alum and/or someone who is willing to put the time into making Moorhead a winner.
“I know they are looking for a teacher/coach combination and filling a teaching position is something I know they are considering,” Kraft said. “If it were me and I had a list of 10 candidates, I’d pick the best one to do the job for hockey. There are so many great teachers at Moorhead, they don’t need another one. But they need someone to run a great program because hockey is what puts Moorhead on the map.”