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Resch replaces Woods as Cards' head hockey coach

New Alexandria boys' hockey coach Ian Resch. (Echo Press photo by Eric Morken)

Alexandria's Ian Resch was approved by the School District 206 Board of Education in late June as the new head coach for the Cardinal boys' hockey program.

The hire was made public in a release issued by District 206 last Thursday morning. Resch will take over for former head coach Scott Woods, who was not brought back after serving as the team's head coach for the past six years. He accumulated a record of 94-66-8 during that time and coached the Cardinals to the 2011 state tournament.

"I chose to resign from teaching to help my wife with our photography business," Woods said by phone last Thursday. "Because of that, I was told the process was that I had to re-apply for the coaching position."

Woods did re-apply and went through the interview process again. He recently applied for the open head coaching position with the boys' program at Moorhead High School, as well. Woods was one of four finalists there before former Moorhead graduate and St. Cloud State hockey player Jon Ammerman was hired to coach the Spuds late last week.

District 206 Human Resources director Judy Backhaus said Woods having to re-apply for the Alexandria position was standard protocol for coaches who either resign or retire from their teaching position.

"Our coaching salary schedule is tied to our teacher's contract," Backhaus said. "When you resign from your teaching position, you really are resigning from a whole contract...if they want to coach, they have to re-apply. We encourage them to re-apply, but we open it up and treat it just like a regular interview."

Backhaus was part of the interview committee on the coaching hire, which she said also always includes the athletic director, the high school principal, two other head coaches within the district and usually a Cardinal Activities Advisory Committee member. Two parents of athletes currently in the program being interviewed for are also on the committee for some hires. That was the case in this situation, and Backhaus says the parents were chosen by the Alexandria hockey booster club. Having parents on a hiring committee is seen as a conflict of interest to some, but Backhaus feels they provide a valuable asset to the process.

"I have always seen parents' input as valuable," she said. "To me, it's just like in the classroom. We value parents' input on academics. They bring a different perspective to the table. I think there's a perception sometimes that parents can railroad through a person they want. The way our committee is set up, it's just not possible."


Resch was ultimately the choice for a position that Backhaus said had many interested candidates. Resch is a former Bemidji State University player and was a Division III All-American and team captain during the 1988 season. He was also a part of Bemidji State's Division III national championship team in 1986.

Resch has worked as a coach and program director for the Alexandria Youth Hockey Program for more than 20 years. He has been an assistant in the Alexandria High School program and spent this past year as an assistant coach for the Alexandria Blizzard in the NA3HL. Resch also has some high school head-coaching experience after guiding the Morris program for three years.

"I've had an interest on that [Alexandria] position for many years," Resch said last Friday. "Sometimes, it just comes down to timing, and I guess it was my time. I really appreciate the fact that I'm getting the opportunity to give back. All my years at the youth level, my playing career and my experience with the Blizzard have really prepared me for this step into the high school role."

Resch is a fifth grade teacher at Minnewaska Area Schools. He grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada before coming to play hockey in Bemidji. He's been living in Alexandria for more than 25 years, where he's been involved and followed the Alexandria hockey programs the whole way.

"I've got a lot of pride in our program," Resch said. "I have a genuine concern for the direction it's going. I want to do my part to help it get to the next level and create an environment that kids feel they're going to get better, going to learn, going to have fun, and hopefully we'll be competitive, too."

Resch said he wants his teams to be known for the way they compete on a nightly basis. He also wants to play fast and knows that has to be anchored by good goaltending and defensemen who move the puck up the ice.

"Probably the best way to describe our identity is upbeat, movement and puck pressure," Resch said. "We're going to pressure the puck all over the rink."

Resch is confident he has the pieces in place to play that style in his first year. The Cardinals have to replace a three-year starter in Ben Allen in goal. Juniors Christian Reimers and Austin Ressemann are two returning players who will battle for that spot. Resch said Sam Goetsch, who recently moved back into the Alexandria program, will also push for that spot as a senior after playing three games for the Alexandria Blizzard last winter.

"You have three experienced guys there that we feel really good about," Resch said. "All three guys will battle and give us, not only quality goaltending, but quality depth."

Resch likes the depth of this team in general. He says there are sophomores who will be ready to push strong junior and senior classes for playing time.

"Guys are going to have to compete to crack the lineup, which is great," Resch said. "That healthy competition is nice. I'm looking for us to be a real contender and be in every game."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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