Jan. 30, 2009
Blais’ presence entices Stafne to
By Kerry Collins
Chris Stafne was given a choice.
He could stick with the team tied for first in
the USHL’s East Division, or he could go to the team hanging
in third-place in the West.
It was a no-brainer for the Duluth, Minn., native,
and now he’s the latest addition to the Fargo Force.
“You don’t ever expect to be traded,
but the coaches there 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, who scored his first goal as a member of the Force against
Des Moines last Saturday.
Fargo hosts Omaha today and Saturday. Both games
are slated for 7:05 p.m. at Urban Plains Center.
Stafne, who starred at Duluth Denfeld in high
school, came to Fargo after tallying six goals and three assists
in 22 games with Indiana.
“We had talked with them in the past about
him,” Blais said. “I would’ve drafted him, but
we didn’t have picks in the first three rounds.”
It was a pretty quick turnaround for Stafne.
Stafne was traded to the Force on Jan. 17. He
got to Fargo the following Tuesday, practiced the next two days
and then was on his first road trip with his new team.
“I definitely think I can get more playing
time here, and there is a better opportunity to play my game,”
Stafne said. “Getting that goal (on Saturday) gave me some
confidence because you want to come in and show you can do your
This is the second time the Force have traded
for a Duluth product this season, and the first one worked out pretty
Right before the regular season started, Fargo
acquired Keegan Flaherty in a trade with Green Bay. Flaherty hasn’t
played since Jan. 2 because of a broken arm, but he’s 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
Fargo sits eight points behind second-place Omaha,
and the Force are just two points ahead of Sioux Falls in the West
Division. That means this weekend is a big one for both teams, even
though there is a third of the schedule remaining.
“Omaha’s right in front of us, and
Sioux Falls is right behind,” Blais said. “From first
to fourth is just a few points, so you have to keep winning.
“It’s an important weekend, and we
definitely have to take care of things at home.”