NMU alumnus and former Wildcat hockey player Ryan Black is one of two new assistant coaches joining the Sioux Falls Stampede Tier 1 junior hockey team in South Dakota this season. Black competed in NCAA Division I hockey at NMU from 2015-2019, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship.
A native of Stillwater, Minn., Black joins the Stampede bench after two seasons as an assistant coach with the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League.
"Ryan's name came to the top of our list very quick," said Head Coach Eric Rud in a team press release. "He has a reputation of being a hard-working, detailed coach who is great working with the players."
During this playing career for the Wildcat, Black was a defenseman and appeared in 141 games, tallying two goals and 33 assists. He then began his professional career in the ECHL in 2019 with the Utah Grizzlies, where he played one game before moving to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Black marked 34 games with the Swamp Rabbits, earning two goals and seven assists.
After ending his playing career with the Swamp Rabbits in 2020, Black went back to his alma mater as a volunteer assistant coach at NMU. After a season volunteering in Marquette, Black accepted an assistant coach position with the USPHL's Minnesota Moose in May 2021, working for Janesville Jets General Manager Joe Dibble. He then moved onto the Janesville Jets in August of 2021.
"Ryan has shown in a very short time both at Northern Michigan and Janesville to have an outstanding grasp of the game and what it takes to have success both on and off the ice," said Stampede General Manager Tony Gasparini. "As a former defenseman himself, his body of work with the position group in Janesville was impressive."
Prior to joining the Wildcat roster, Black skated for the Bonnyville Pontiacs from 2013 to 2015, recording 64 points (14g-50a) in 110 career games. He was one of three finalists for the AJHL Defenseman of the Year award in 2014-15 and was named an AJHL All-Star in 2014-15. He captained Bonnyville in 2014-15 and posted career-best totals in points (37) and assists (32).