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Cobbers name Kirk Olimb head men's hockey coach

Concordia athletic director Rachel Bergeson has named Kirk Olimb as Cobbers head men's hockey coach.

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Former Willmar WarHawks head coach and general manager Kirk Olimb, shown in an October 2020 file photo, was named the Concordia Cobbers head men's coach Monday, April 4, 2022.
West Central Tribune file photo
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MOORHEAD — Kirk Olimb has been named Concordia Cobbers head men's hockey coach, athletic director Rachel Bergeson announced Monday, April 4.

After stepping away from being a lawyer less than five years ago, the 34-year-old Olimb said coaching at a place like Concordia was a goal.

“It’s something that has been on my radar for awhile, I’ve always wanted to be a college hockey coach," said Olimb, who played high school hockey in Warroad, Minn.

Olimb has been the head coach and general manager of the Willmar WarHawks in the North American 3 Hockey League the past three seasons. He is the sixth Cobbers men's head coach since 1967-68.

“Kirk’s success as a coach, player and student-athlete were a big part of the committee’s decision,” Bergeson said. “His familiarity with the MIAC, NCAA Division III, and the commitment it takes to excel at a high level made him a perfect fit for the position.”

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Olimb led the WarHawks to the playoffs the past two seasons. He also has coaching experience in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, serving as an assistant coach for Hamline University for the 2018-19 season. He was also a successful player for the Pipers.

“I’ve been open to other opportunities, but the MIAC was definitely at the top of the list and it worked out," Olimb said. “It really checked a lot of boxes.”

The Cobbers posted a 13-10-3 overall record and 10-4-2 MIAC mark last season under interim head coach Dale Lund.

"They have a great program and have been a really strong team for a long time," Olimb said.

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Concordia Cobbers head men's hockey coach Kirk Olimb.

Olimb played for Warroad High School and helped the team to a Minnesota Class A boys state championship in 2005 in his junior season. He played for the Hamline team that earned the 2011 MIAC regular-season championship, won the program's first conference tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament.

“I always thought the college level would be a really good fit for me," Olimb said. “It was just a good experience I had playing MIAC hockey.”

After he earned an undergraduate degree from Hamline, Olimb graduated from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in 2016. He spent two years as an associate attorney for a law firm in Minneapolis, but then got the itch to return to hockey.

“At the end of the day, I really didn’t like being a lawyer," Olimb said. “It’s really worked out and here I am.”

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This past season, Olimb led the WarHawks to a franchise record 32 victories. He posted a 72-56-4 record in three seasons at Willmar.

Olimb said returning to northwest Minnesota is an exciting prospect, especially with his familiarity with the area high school programs in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota.

“Being in hockey country is going to be a lot of fun," Olimb said. "I’m excited to be back up in northern Minnesota. It’s going to be fun to be up in that area. ... I like the location and the school and the student-athletes that they are able to draw there. The recruiting base are guys I am familiar with.”

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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