Denfeld News

Jan. 30, 2009
Fargo Forum

Blais’ presence entices Stafne to join Force
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 part.”

This is the second time the Force have traded for a Duluth product this season, and the first one worked out pretty well.

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 us out.”

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.”

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