Fargo Force looking to make more history after breaking season win record

Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 1:01 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - We’re six months into the grueling USHL season, and the Fargo Force still remain at the top of the Western Conference.

“It goes back to our leadership, first and foremost, and the players we have in the locker room,” head coach Nick Oliver said. “It’s an extremely long year, there’s a lot that’s asked of the players, and for them to perform at such a high level as they have for such a long period of time, I think speaks volumes to the leadership and their character and their work ethic, to show up every single week and continue to get better.”

Fargo is just one point away from officially clinching the number one seed in the west, and with wins in both home games this weekend, they get the Anderson Cup, too: that’s the trophy for the best regular-season finish in the league, and all this success with a head coach in his first season.

“They’re a little more focused, they’re a little more upbeat, I think it’s Nick’s and Chad’s and Andrew’s coaching styles,” team president Jon Kram said. “It’s much more developmental and a teaching style, which I think encourages the guys to try new things, and they’re not afraid to make a mistake, and we’re seeing great success, they guys are having a ton of fun out there, they said.”

Having this level of success is especially tough at this junior hockey level because of the high turnaround, plus, the average birth year for this year’s roster: 2003.

“It takes a lot of energy and time watching a lot of youth games to find that talent, to keep bringing that pipeline, keeping it filled, and then once they’re here, it’s how do you develop them, how do you encourage them to be better hockey players,” Kram said. “That’s what the coaching staff has done, and I think you see that product and results on the ice each night.”

History isn’t just made on the ice this season, but in the stands too. Fargo is on pace to set a new attendance record, selling out six of eight games in their late-February, early-March run.

“One of our goals is to get home ice throughout the playoffs,” Oliver said. “Because we feel this building, this environment, the energy that our fans bring, is a huge advantage for us,” Coach Oliver said.

“It’s nice to see the support in the community, they’re willing to come out, I think winning helps, you see that with NDSU football, you’re seeing it with us, but it really makes a difference on the ice for the guys,” Kram said. “They really feel honored that people wanna come out, support them, cheer, and give them a great atmosphere in the building, it’s an advantage to us for sure.”

The Stars will host the Lincoln Stars, another playoff-bound team, for their penultimate home series of the season.