Matt Cullen Joins Fargo Force as Minority Owner – InForum

The team announced on Wednesday that Matt Cullen has joined the Fargo Force ownership group.

Colin is a Morehead graduate who played 21 seasons in the NHL with eight teams and a three-time Stanley Cup champion. The team said in a statement that it will take a minority stake in the organization and play a key role in shaping team values ​​and player/coach development.

“With his experience in the NHL, (Colin) brings an exciting new perspective on off-ice training, nutrition and skill development,” the statement said. “In sum, he knows firsthand what it takes for a player to be successful at the highest level and he brings invaluable knowledge and experience to our organization.”

“For me, it provided a bunch of different opportunities,” Colin said. “This is home. USHL and Fargo Force – this has probably become the best junior league in the world, and so it’s a great opportunity for me to get involved and stay in the game close to home.

Colin already wears many hats in the hockey community. Not only does he have a stake in Colin Force Academy, but he is also a coach and committee member for the Morehead Youth Hockey Association, runs the Colin Children’s Foundation and is a player development coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“When I had the opportunity and when asked if I wanted to get involved with the ownership side, I took some time[to think],” Colin said. “Obviously, I have a lot of different irons in the fire, and so I wanted to be fair with everyone I work with in Pittsburgh and also to make sure I could make enough time for that to be fair to everyone here and make sure I was able to do my best with both. .

“For me, the biggest thing is a new opportunity to try something different in hockey. I’ve been through a lot as a player and have never been through the management side or the ownership side and everything that comes with that.”

Prior to the purchase, Cullen consulted fellow NHL teammate Jim Rutherford, who is currently the head of hockey operations at Vancouver Canucks. Rutherford was the head of hockey operations for the Carolina Hurricanes during the team’s 2006 Stanley Cup season, of which Colin was a part, and went on to become the general manager of the Penguins from 2014 to 2021, with Colin winning the Stanley Cup twice in 2016 and 2017.

“He was a good friend and a good teacher,” Colin said of Rutherford. “When I reached out to him, he thought this was just a great opportunity to learn this aspect of the game and put yourself in a new situation and increase your capabilities. There are some areas that I can improve and learn about, and that is what this provides.

“So it kind of all goes together to create a great opportunity. And he’s here. It’s home.”

Colin has already made his mark on the organization thus far, as he leads weight room and locker room upgrades, which will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Part of the newly renovated weight room is photographed on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, at the Scheels Arena.

Michael Vosberg / Forum

These two initiatives play a small role in the bigger picture to help local hockey players develop and advance.

“The biggest piece is that I share these kids,” Colin said. “We have young coaches who are also trying to develop them as coaches. I think once the experience I have in the game gives me a perspective maybe I can help these players develop as coaches in some way. I can help these players. Hopefully the players will continue to develop as players by providing the right facilities and getting coaches.” The right ones around them, and then also get a chance to hit the ice with them and work with them.

“I’ve found that since I finished playing I’ve really enjoyed being on the snow with the kids. I’ve been home training my kids in Morehead and I really enjoy this a lot so here’s another chance to get on the snow with some really cool kids and hopefully give them something Different a little or more from what they learned earlier and helping them get where they want to go is the biggest thing.”

The Force exits a 28-28-6 regular season in 2021-22 and finishes fifth in the USHL Western Conference. The team lost to Omaha in the first round of the USHL playoffs and split from former coach Scott Langer in the off-season.

Nick Oliver will be the new coach on the bench this season. The 31-year-old native Russo played with The Force from 2009 to 2011 and is a Saint Cloud State alumnus like Colin, who played for the Huskies from 1995 to 1997.

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Training tips are filmed on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, in the Fargo Force weight room.

Michael Vosberg / Forum

With a new training crew on board, the new minority owner hopes to see results right away. Perhaps most importantly, though, Colin hopes he can help propel the team to become a larger part of the hockey community.

“I would love to see this become a little more of a bigger part of the hockey culture at Fargo Moorhead,” Colin said. “I think for whatever reason, he might have stayed kind of in the background a little bit. And if I wasn’t in the same camp, I probably wouldn’t realize what good hockey we have here. Those kids you see would come through this building on our team and on opposing teams.” They’re going to be playing Division I hockey in a year or two, and a bunch of them will be playing in the NHL in a few years. So we have such a very high level of hockey across this arena at night. Helping it become a bigger part of the hockey culture at Fargo Moorhead is going to be another goal. Here just because it’s a high level hockey and continues to evolve to the top of the league.”

Prior to reaching the NHL and college leagues, Cullen played three seasons for the Spuds hockey team from 1992-95, leading Moorhead to the state championship three times and a two-time runner-up in that span. He was named Mr. Hockey in the 1995 Finals, and was also named Minnesota Player of the Year by the Associated Press.

Colin was named 36th in the 1996 NHL Draft by Anaheim Ducks and made his NHL debut in 1997. He retired from the NHL on July 10, 2019, and is one of only 21 players to have played more than 1,500 games in his career, playing 1, 516 during its 21 seasons.