Duluth's Stafne chooses Blais, Fargo
Kerry Collins The (Fargo, N.D.) Forum Chris Stafne was given a choice. He could stick with a team tied for first in the U.S. Hockey League's East Division, or go to a team hanging in third place in the West. It was an easy choice for the Duluth n...
The (Fargo, N.D.) Forum
Chris Stafne was given a choice.
He could stick with a team tied for first in the U.S. Hockey League's East Division, or go to a team hanging in third place in the West.
It was an easy choice for the Duluth native, the latest addition to the Fargo (N.D.) Force.
"You don't ever expect to be traded, but the coaches [with the Indiana Ice] gave me the choice," Stafne said. "They told me [Force coach Dean Blais] had talked to them, and when I heard that I said, 'Sounds good to me.' "
The Force gave up a fourth-round draft pick for Stafne, a forward, who scored his first goal with Fargo against Des Moines on Jan. 24 and got his second against Omaha on Saturday.
Stafne had 77 points as a senior at Duluth Denfeld in 2007-08 and finished with 175 points in three high school seasons. He came to Fargo after recording six goals and three assists in 22 games with Indiana, and joined fellow Minnesota Duluth recruit Keegan Flaherty of Duluth, now sidelined with a broken arm.
"We had talked with [Indiana] in the past about Stafne," said Blais, a former International Falls High School and University of North Dakota coach, who also coached in the NHL. "I would've drafted him, but we didn't have picks in the first three rounds."
It was a pretty quick turnaround for Stafne, who was involved in a Jan. 17 trade and was playing with the Force a week later.
"I definitely think I can get more playing time here, and there is a better opportunity to play my game," Stafne said. "Getting that [first] goal gave me some confidence because you want to come in and show you can do your part."
Just before the season opened, Fargo acquired Flaherty in a trade with Green Bay. Despite not playing since Jan. 2, he remains tied for the team lead in goals with 13.
"We're hoping Chris can give us some scoring, and he's got speed," Blais said. "I hope it's a good opportunity for him, and we think he can help us out."