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Former Windom Area coach takes helm at Moorhead

Jon Ammerman, Monday, July 22, 2013, at the Moorhead (Minn.) Sports Center in Moorhead. Logan Werlinger / The Forum

MOORHEAD – Jon Ammerman, who played in three state tournaments for the Moorhead High School boys hockey team, will now oversee one of the state’s elite programs.

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In a press release issued Monday afternoon, Moorhead High School athletic director Dean Haugo announced the 26-year-old Ammerman will be the Spuds next head coach. The Moorhead School Board is expected to approve the hiring at its Aug. 12 meeting.

Ammerman, was introduced at a 10 a.m. news conference Tuesday at Moorhead High School, replaces Pete Cullen. He resigned June 26 after a complaint filed with district officials revealed a history of being investigated by police for domestic assault. Cullen was an interim head coach who led the Spuds to last spring’s state tournament, before being named the permanent head coach after the season.

“It’s always been a dream job of mine,” Ammerman said Monday. “Whoever is able to carry on the legacy of this program has a big responsibility but a great opportunity.”

Ammerman was the head boys hockey coach at Windom, Minn., the last two seasons. His teams compiled an 11-8-1 record his first season and 13-10 last season – highlighted by a 5-4 win over eventual Class 1A, Section 3 champion Marshall. Ammerman was hired last month to teach social studies at Moorhead High School.

Ammerman is a 2005 Moorhead High School graduate. He played college hockey at St. Cloud State, where he earned All-WCHA academic honors before graduating in 2011.

Ammerman, who interviewed for the job when Cullen was hired last spring, was one of four finalists.

The other finalists, according to Haugo, were:

E Moorhead High School graduate Tony Kunka, current teacher and assistant baseball coach at Moorhead High. Kunka is also involved with the Moorhead Youth Hockey Association.

E Sean Bertie, an insurance agent in Fargo-Moorhead who was Moorhead’s junior varsity coach last season and has helped with the A Bantams youth hockey team the last three years. He was a walk-on hockey player for one year (1997-98) at the University of North Dakota.

E Scott Woods, the head boys hockey coach at Alexandria (Minn.) for the last six years. Woods is a Valley City State graduate.

“It’s a difficult job,” Bertie said of the head coaching position at Moorhead. “There are always high expectations and the program is under the radar a lot.”

Woods, who was head hockey coach at Wadena-Deer Creek for six seasons before going to Alexandria, said he was just happy to get an interview.

“There’s no kidding that this is a program a lot of guys would love to be a part of,” Woods said. “Everybody knows the history of their program and what a great youth program is has to go with it.”

Since 1992, the Moorhead boys hockey program has played in 14 state tournaments – nine since 2001. The Spuds have six runner-up finishes (the most of any Minnesota school) and one third-place finish.

“As an alumni and someone who has been involved with Moorhead youth hockey, this is something I am very excited about,” Ammerman said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

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