He coached against Armstrong in the section 6AA boys hockey semifinals in February as an assistant coach at Benilde-St. Margaret's. Now Dan Charleston is leading the Falcons' program.
Charleston, 27, is leading summer sessions at New Hope Ice Arena as he gets to know his new players and starts to put his systems into place. Charleston won a state title as a player at Benilde-St. Margaret's and then won another as a coach with the Red Knights last season. It was his first year in coaching after ending his professional playing career.
The new coach is emphasizing skating and playing at a high tempo, believing that today's game is very speed based.
Benilde's championship team last season included several players who grew up playing in the Armstrong youth program, and Charleston knows that keeping those players in the Armstrong system is vital to the success of the Falcons.
Armstrong alums Michael Zacharias and Derek Peltier, who played college hockey at Minnesota State-Mankato and Minnesota respectively, are helping out this summer before heading back to Europe to continue their pro careers.
It's part of Charleston's plan to boost pride in the Falcons' program.
Jay Wilcox reporting
Tuesday, June 26, 2012