Coach will be honored

John ‘Gino’ Gasparini legacy will be celebrated at Saturday’s game.

Before he stood behind the bench at UND as the only active Division I men’s hockey coach with a winning record in every season in his career, Dave Hakstol wore a green and white jersey from 1988 to 1992 —  learning from then head coach John ‘Gino’ Gasparini.

Gasparini’s accomplishments and legacy during his time as head coach from 1978 to 1994 will be celebrated prior to opening face-off Saturday in this weekend’s home series against St. Cloud State.

As the winningest coach in program history with a career overall record of 392-249-24, Gasparini’s success stretched deep into the lives of those he coached.

“He had a major impact on everybody that he coached and everybody that was part of the program in and around him,” Hakstol said. “Things that stand out to me — he was very prepared, but he demanded his players were prepared and he demanded that his players competed at a high level.

“He was able to motivate the people within the program to do that. I think that’s why he was so successful.”

While he was head coach, Gasparini collected three national titles, was a three-time WCHA Coach of the Year and taught those that skated through the program more than just the essentials.

“Guys learned the game under Gino,” Hakstol said. “They learned the x’s and o’s of the game and, again — probably coming back to the preparation, the motivation side and the competitive side — guys learned how to do those things on a daily basis with Gino.”

Like Hakstol, Gasparini’s coaching career can be traced back to the time he spent playing at UND from 1965 to 1968.

During his time playing and coaching at UND, Gasparini’s influence inspired others to do the same.

“There’s a lot of guys in the game that played under Gino that are still in the game as coaches or other parts of the game,” Hakstol said. “I think that’s a great tribute to Gino.”

Elizabeth Erickson is the sports editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].