Director of Operations / Camp Coordinator
Christian Koelling took over as the Bulldogs’ director of hockey operations in the summer of 2008. Among his battery of administrative duties, Koelling in charge of all video-related endeavors, making team travel arrangements, coordinating community outreach projects, and overseeing ice scheduling, summer camps and budget management. He also assists with the program's media relations and marketing efforts.
The Bloomington, Minn., native has been heavily involved in the local hockey scene over the past decade or so, having spent three seasons as the head coach at the now-defunct Duluth Central High School (2005-08) and five more years coaching Duluth East youth teams. Koelling, the co-founder of the Duluth Area Special and Sled Hockey (DASH) association, is currently the Coach-In-Chief for the Minnesota district of USA Hockey and is a past-president of the Duluth Amateur Hockey Association’s Board of Directors. In August 2012, he served on the coaching staff for U.S. Under-18 Team during its tour of the Czech Republic. He also is a member of the Northern Lights Foundation advisory board.
A 2004 graduate of UMD (a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a coaching minor), Koelling played three years of varsity hockey for Bloomington Jefferson High School and paced the Jaguars in scoring as a senior while leading them to their second Minnesota State High School Class AA Tournament appearance in three years.
Koelling and his wife, Jennie, have one daughter (Charlotte) and make their home in Duluth.
Jason Herter, a former Western Collegiate Hockey Association standout and first round National Hockey League draft pick, is in his sixth year with the Bulldogs staff, having officially began his assistant coaching duties at UMD in the summer of 2011.
Since enlisting his services with the Bulldogs, Herter has been part of three NCAA Tournament participants (2012, 2015 and 2016) and, in his debut season, saw center Jack Connolly win the school's fifth Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
In 2015-16, Herter began a term on College Hockey, Inc.'s Board of Directors.
A native of Hafford, Saskatchewan, Herter doubled as the head coach and general manager for the United States Hockey League’s Fargo (N.D.) Force six years ago and guided that franchise to a regular season record of 33-22-5. He joined the Force in 2008-09 for their inaugural season as an assistant coach (under current University of Nebraska Omaha bench boss Dean Blais) before spending the following year scouting for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL.
Along with Pat Ferschweiler (now an assistant coach with the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings), Herter started the Russell Stover AAA midget U16 and U18 teams out of Overland Park, Kan., and spent five years with that program and coaching the U16 club before moving on to Fargo.
Selected in the first round (8th pick overall) by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1989 NHL entry draft, Herter skillfully manned the University of North Dakota blueline for three seasons (1988-91), racking up 119 points on 30 goals and 89 assists in 118 games. In his farewell year in Grand Forks, N.D., he secured a spot on both the All-WCHA second team and the WCHA All-Academic Team. A member of the Canadian National Junior Team in 1990, Herter went on to make one appearance in the NHL -- with the New York Islanders in 1995-96 -- as part of an 11-year professional playing career, which included stops in the American Hockey League (Hamilton) and the International Hockey League (Milwaukee, Kalamazoo, Utah, Kansas City and Orlando). His final four seasons of competition were spent in Europe where, in 2001-02, he and former Bulldog assistant coaching colleague Derek Plante were teammates with the Munich Barons.
Herter, 46 (10/2/70), earned his Bachelor’s degree in business management from North Dakota in 2005 and two years later received a Master’s degree in entrepreneurship from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He and his wife, Laura, have two children (Jordyn and Jacob) -- and live in Hermantown, Minn.
In his four years and two tours of duty with the UMD coaching staff, Brett Larson has been part of one of the most successful runs in Bulldog hockey history.
Larson, who spent three seasons as a UMD assistant before departing for the United States Hockey League in 2011 -- and eventually an associate head coaching job at Ohio State University, returned to the Bulldog staff in August 2015 to assume his old position. During his somewhat short time at his alma mater, (2008-11 and 2015-16), UMD has rolled up a 89-56-20 overall record, captured the school's first-ever NCAA championship (at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center in 2011), made three NCAA playoff appearances (2009, 2011 and 2015) and skated off with one Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff title) while qualifing for the WCHA Final Five/NCHC Frozen Four tournament fourtimes (2009-11 and 2-16). He also coached and/or recruited one Hobey Baker Award Memorial Award winner, four All-Americans, eight future NHLers and one 2014 U.S. Olympian.
In late May 2011, Larson left UMD to take over the head coaching and general manager duties with the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers. He spent two seasons in Sioux City and directed that club to the USHL playoffs as a rookie bench boss in 2011-12. He also tutored a pair of current Bulldogs in junior center Jared Thomas and senior defenseman Dan Molenaar.
Larson, who served as the head coach for gold medal-winning Team USA at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, returned to the collegiate ranks in 2013 when he signed on as Ohio State's associate head coach. He worked for two winters under Steve Rohlik, his former Bulldog assistant coaching colleague, for Buckeye clubs that went 32-33-8 overall.
A Duluth native and 1991 Denfeld High School graduate, Larson patrolled the Bulldog blue line for four seasons, racking up 24 goals and 43 assists for 67 points in 133 games. He captained the Bulldogs during his senior year in 1994-95 when he attained Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic Team recognition for a third straight time and also landed the team's Community Service Award. Larson enjoyed a breakout season the previous winter when he finished with 28 points and nine power play goals en route to being named UMD's Most Improved Player. That same year he set a program record for fastest two power play goals (12 seconds vs. Northern Michigan University) which still stands. As a sophomore, Larson and the Bulldogs captured the WCHA regular season title and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA playoffs.
Selected in the 11th round by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1990 National Hockey League draft, Larson went on to skate 12 years in the professional ranks, including two (1990-2001) as a player-coach with the San Diego Gulls of the now-defunct West Coast Hockey League. He also did time with the Colonial Hockey League's Madison Monsters, the East Coast Hockey League's Louisville Riverfrogs, the International Hockey League's Utah Grizzlies, Las Vegas Thunder and Long Beach Ice Dogs in addition to spending another five years in Denmark, Germany and England. He wrapped up his playing days in 2006-07 as a player/assistant coach for the Florida Seals of the Southern Professional Hockey League before that Orlando-based franchise folded at midseason. During the spring of 2008, Larson coached Team RBK (AAA selects) in the Twin Cities metro area.
The 44-year old Larson (8/20/72), who received a Bachelor's degree in criminology from UMD in 2004, is a board member for Northern Lights Foundation He and his wife, Kelly, have one son (Lane) and one daughter (Calla) and reside in Duluth.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Brant Nicklin, who made a name for himself for his puckstopping prowess at University of Minnesota Duluth during the late 1990s, returned to the Bulldog men’s hockey program in 2014-15 as a volunteer assistant coach.
Nicklin had served as the UMD women’s goaltending coach the past five seasons and has been an assistant coach at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth since 1995-96. He’s also run a number of local goaltending schools and clinics over the past decade.
A native of Comox, British Columbia, Nicklin was the Bulldogs’ ace in the goal for four seasons and exited UMD in 2000 ranking first all-time in saves percentage (.895), shut outs (8) and appearances (137), second in saves (3,880) and goals against average (3.40) and third in wins (55). He still owns team records for games played (137), consecutive appearances (76) and consecutive starts (76, which at the time was a NCAA Division I mark). In 1996-97, Nicklin became just the second UMD freshman to play in every minute of his club’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association games and wound up landing a spot on that circuit’s All-Rookie Team. The following year, he posted a program-record five shutouts and a 21-16-2 overall mark while pacing the WCHA in saves for a second straight winter. Nicklin, the current WCHA record holder for consecutive league starts (80), was the recipient of the Bulldog Community Service Award as junior and the Goldie Wolfe Award (UMD’s Most Inspirational Player) in 1999-2000.
Nicklin went on to sign a free agent contract with the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins and participated in two of their training camps. In four years as a professional, he tended goal for the Central Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Blazers (2000-01) and San Angelo Saints (2003-04), the United Hockey Leagues’s Quad City Mallards (2001-02) and Rockford Ice Hogs (2002-03), the East Coast Hockey League’s Florida Everblades (2000-01) and the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals (2002-03).
Nicklin, who graduated from UMD in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in recreation, resides in Duluth with his wife, Kelly, and their two children -- Reese and Alex.
Former two-time All-American and Hobey Baker Memorial Award recipient Bill Watson, a name synonymous with UMD hockey, has lent his expertise with the Bulldogs staff for the past nine seasons, first as a volunteer assistant coach from 2006 to 2014 and as an operations assistant beginning in 2014-15.
Watson, 52 (3/30/64), closed out his memorable three-year playing career with a bang in 1984-85 by becoming the first -- and only -- Bulldog to ever crack the 100-point plateau. He wound up the year with a then NCAA-record 109 points while helping propel UMD to its second straight NCAA Frozen Four appearance and WCHA championship. The Powerview, Manitoba, native paced the WCHA in scoring for a second straight season that year en route to being chosen the league's Most Valuable Player For his efforts, was also bestowed with the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the most outstanding player in college hockey and received his second consecutive first team All-American citation. In 108 lifetime outings, Watson racked up 210 points for a 1.94 points per game average -- the best figure ever turned in by a Bulldog. He also set club single-season records (all of which still stand) for assists (60) and multiple-point games (36) as well as longest overall point-scoring streak (33 games).
A member of the both the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame (Class of 1997) and Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame (Class of 2013), Watson passed up his final year of collegiate eligibility to skate with the National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him in 1982 (fourth round, 70th selection overall). He played four seasons and 115 regular season games as a Blackhawk and in 1986-87 received the Emery-Edge Award for having the best-plus minus rating of any Chicago skater. Watson went on to serve as a student assistant coach at UMD during the 1989-90 season and as head coach with the (Junior B) Northlands Voyageurs (1990-91) and the College of St. Scholastica (1991-95). From 1995-96 to 1997-98, he was employed in an assistant coaching capacity at Western Michigan University.
Watson, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from UMD in 1990, currently is a managing director for the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. He resides in Duluth with his wife and fellow UMD graduate, Molly, and has three adult children -- Anthony, Patrick and Emily .