On Thursday the Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman broke the news that Minnesota was talking to former Gopher defenseman and current NHL agent Chris McAlpine to potentially fill the final assistant coaching spot on the Minnesota Golden Gophers bench.
Minnesota has been speaking with NHL player agent Chris McAlpine, a former Gopher player, as a potential new assistant coach per two sources. Assistant spot has been open since Scott Bell left to scout for Toronto Maple Leafs.— Brad E. Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) September 6, 2018
On Friday The Athletic’s Eric Vegoe confirmed the news that McAlpine will be hired as the second assistant coach on Bob Motzko’s staff in his first year as Gopher coach.
Bob Motzko is indeed adding @McAlpine39 to his coaching staff. The #Gophers alum was a top scoring defenseman on a 1994 Frozen Four team and played 10 years in the NHL, winning a cup with NJ in 1995.— Eric Vegoe (@evegoe) September 7, 2018
McAlpine has been a rep for @OctagonHockey with @BenHankinson for 11 yrs.
McAlpine fills the vacancy left after Scott Bell left the program in August to return to the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a scout. He will join former St. Cloud State assistant and player Garret Raboin on Motzko’s coaching staff.
Chris McAlpine played for Minnesota from 1990-1994 and helped the Gophers to four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and a Frozen Four berth in 1994. He was a co-captain along with Jeff Neilsen of the team that won the WCHA Tournament and would lose in the NCAA Quarterfinals to Boston University.
The Roseville native recorded 81 points in his four years on the blueline for the Gophers and scored 36 goals. His most notable achievement at Minnesota is that he is the all-time career penalties with 208. He only ranks second in penalty minutes with 453, 20 short of Matt DeMarchi.
He was drafted in the seventh round in 1990 by the New Jersey Devils. He began his NHL career with the Devils in 1994-95 playing in 24 games and winning the Stanley Cup. After two seasons in the AHL he caught on with the St. Louis Blues where he played four seasons from 1996-2000 with his high in games coming in 1997-98 when he played 54 games for the Blues. He then played half a season with the Tampa Bay Lightning before two years with the Chicago Blackhawks before finishing his NHL career with a year with the Los Angeles Kings. In total McAlpine played 289 games in the NHL scoring scoring six goals, recording 24 assists and totaling up 245 penalty minutes.
For the past 11 years McAlpine has been a player representative in the NHL with Octagon Hockey run by another Gopher alum in Ben Hankinson.
McAlpine was an early supporter of Motzko and was at his hiring press conference.
He will now get to spend some time on the other side of the bench and hope to mold this current group of Gophers to a team that regularly made NCAA Tournament appearances just his his teams did.