HELENA — There will be a shakeup behind the bench for the Helena Bighorns of the NA3HL.
Recently, Bighorns coach Scott Cunningham stepped down to pursue other opportunities, and new head coach Damon Hanson is taking over responsibilities for next season. Hanson spoke to MTN Sports about how the Bighorns will continue to remain consistent by working towards the same goal — a Fraser Cup championship.
“It was a good opportunity for me to learn a lot,” emphasized Hanson while speaking about his predecessor, Cunningham.
Hanson’s assistant coach will be Alex North, a native of Faribault, Minnesota. North will serve as associate head coach as well as director of player personnel for the 2023-24 campaign.
“Everything about the organization is top notch,” North said. He will be relocating to Helena to join Hanson in leading the back-to-back Frontier division champions in the coming weeks.
Hanson expressed gratitude when speaking about North joining the Bighorns and what he will bring to the squad. North also has big goals.
“I just want to make sure that I come in and contribute to help make this team Fraser Cup champions. The team is not far off,” said North, who was able to watch the Bighorns play at the national tournament during the previous two years.
North carries previous Junior A coaching experience. Throughout the 2022-2023 season, North was head coach and general manager of the New Ulm Steel of the Tier III NA3HL. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach with the North Iowa Bulls and later the Lacrosse Freeze — both members of the NA3HL — before being promoted to assistant coach for the Coulee Region Chill of the Tier II NAHL.
North started his high school hockey journey at the highly regarded hockey development program at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault. He and his wife Eliza can’t wait to be a part of the Helena Bighorns family.
"We're excited to get going," North said.
Hanson said: “Nothing really changes, we still have one goal. It doesn’t take one person; it takes a village to get the job done."