Candidates line up to replace Omaha’s Blais

In an article in Omaha.com, Mavs Dean Blais Hints at the End, 65-year-old head coach Dean Blais lamented the retirement of popular University Nebraska Omaha Chancellor John Christensen. Coach Blais expressed his concern about future support for the hockey program from a new school administration.

Dean Blais is losing a huge hockey booster in outgoing Chancellor John Christensen. Christensen issued the ultimate kiss of death when he gave Blais his vote of confidence following a 9-1 Baxter Arena thrashing by the University of North Dakota January 6th. Blais also said, “Some things don’t sit right with me now.” Such as? The new Baxter Arena lost $1.5 million in its first year of operation. Also, Blais lost his radio show this year. Things are getting tough in Omaha.

Somebody needs a hug.

Three potential replacements for Dean Blais have been identified by the Maverick athletic department:

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Photo: Irv Schmott is cited by sources as a top candidate.

Schmott is from Grand Island, Nebraska. He drives to many of UNO home games and is known to be a friend of a friend of a friend of the box office coordinator at Baxter arena.

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Photo: Milo Katsikis was a former player in the Greek B league as a 24 year forward for the Parthenon Pirates. 

Mr. Katsikis moved to Council Bluffs five years ago where he opened a Greek diner called “Milo’s Gyro’s” off I-29 but a road-taking closed his restaurant. While volunteering to shag pucks at practice in his spare time, he has become increasingly critical to game planning and film study.

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Photo: Ivan Ivanovich played and coach for the old Soviet CCCP squad.

Ivanovich coached the Red Rangers in Apatity, Russia for five years and was a 15-year volunteer for the national squad. He overstayed his visa during a tournament in Helsinki. The Fins refused to take him in but his 2nd cousin twice removed from Kearney, Nebraska welcomed him with open arms. While working at the Pilot Truckstop on I-80, he caught the eye of Trev Alberts, the UNO AD.

UNO has steadied the ship over their last six NCHC games with three wins, one tie, and two losses. UNO travels to Denver for a 2-game set this Friday and Saturday night.

As the candidates jockey for position, the Blais’s fate could be determined as early as the end of the current season.

8 thoughts on “Candidates line up to replace Omaha’s Blais”

    1. To be completely fair, this piece isn’t really bashing Coach Blais so much as it is bashing the somewhat uncertain state of affairs at UNO; particularly now that Christensen has announced his retirement and Blais nears the age when he will hang ’em up as well.

      UNO hockey will always be in a weird place in Nebraska. Yes, it is the flagship sport of its institution, but the state’s college sports focus has always been (and will always be…) on University of Nebraska – Lincoln football. When the inevitable system-wide budget crunches hit higher education in Nebraska and the state looks for stuff to cut, losing Christensen’s clout and Blais’ cachet as a great coach may portend dark days for the UNO hockey program.

      That said, I agree with you on two points:

      1) Having played both for and against him at various stops in my youth/high school/junior hockey career; I can confirm that Dean Blais is, indeed, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet in hockey. He’s a total class act and a guy I’m proud to have known. College hockey will absolutely be poorer when he does decide he’s had enough.

      2) This article isn’t really funny at all.

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      1. And yet despite the fact that the state’s primary focus is Nebraska football, UNO has consistently had attendance numbers in the top 10 of D1 hockey. They have better attendance than more traditional perennial powerhouses like Boston College, BU, or Michigan. The real problem is that UNO doesn’t have a highly profitable football program to fund the rest of its sports.

        So I disagree with your premise, UNO hockey is not in a “weird” place. The problem is that UNO needs to make its other sports (besides just hockey) successful and this is something that UNL and Creighton make more difficult. Why watch summit league basketball when you have Big East and B1G basketball available.

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  1. I think all Denver fans know how good a coach Dean Blais is. Omaha is going through some growing pains right now as a program, but that school has come a long way in a number of sports…

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  2. I’ve been a life-long UND fan and we still have the utmost respect and admiration for Coach Blais in turning around a once-fledgling program in the mid-90’s and making North Dakota hockey relevant again. Because of that, I follow UNO somewhat closely and wish that program success. That said, I didn’t find this piece of satire disrespectful. I love the stories that the writers of letsgodu write about their various weekly opponents (especially CC and UND). I don’t believe the writers meant any harm or disrespect to coach Blais or the UNO program.

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