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East Ridge girls hockey: Badgers hero Talafous named head coach

East Ridge High School has hired University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Famer Dean Talafous as the new head coach of its girls hockey program. Talafous, 60, was the head assistant for the girls team this past season.

Following his fruitful collegiate career with Wisconsin, Talafous, a Duluth native, played 497 regular season games in the National Hockey League from 1974–82 for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and the Atlanta Flames as a right winger. 

At the college level, Coach Talafous is known for his NCAA heroics in the 1973 NCAA Frozen Four. Talafous was named the 1973 Frozen Four Most Valuable Player of the tournament after scoring game-winning goals against Cornell in the semifinals and Denver in the finals to deliver Wisconsin a national championship.

Talafous completed his Wisconsin Badgers’ career with 133 points in 111 games played, and led the Badgers in assists and game-winning goals in both the 1972-73 and 1973-74 campaigns. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

Following his career at Wisconsin, Talafous played eight seasons in the NHL with the Atlanta Flames (1974-75), Minnesota North Stars (1975-78) and the New York Rangers (1978-82), posting 108 goals and 269 points in 518 career games. He was originally drafted at No. 53 overall in the fourth round of the 1973 NHL Draft by Atlanta.

Talafous represented the United States in 1973 and 1974 at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship, and also skated for Team USA at the 1976 and 1981 Canada Cup.

Following his playing career, Talafous took to coaching, serving as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota (1982-88), before serving as head coach of University of Wisconsin-River Falls (1989-96). His tenure at River Falls peaked with the team's capture of the 1994 NCAA Division III championship. Talafous was also head coach of the WCHA's Alaska Anchorage Seawolves from 1996 to 2001.

A meet-and-greet event with Talafous will be held in early May. 

-Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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