Jr. | F | Faribault, Minn.
Stafford assisted on North Dakota's goal in last April's
national championship game.
by Sam Cooper
Statistics: Stafford was the third-leading scorer
for North Dakota last season with 38 points in 42 games, but
his best work usually comes when the ice on the Red River
is melting. In two seasons of wearing a Fighting Sioux sweater,
Stafford has played in 14 playoff games and recorded 14 playoff
points, including six points in four NCAA playoff games last
He Does: A national TV audience got the drift that
his second year of college would be a special one for Stafford
way back in October, when his overtime penalty shot goal gave
the Sioux a 4-3 season-opening win at Maine. That was the
first of his team-leading five game-winners as a sophomore.
He’s also been a hit on the international stage, winning
a gold medal with Team USA at the 2004 World Juniors in Finland,
and being named Team USA’s MVP last January after the
2005 World Juniors in Grand Forks.
Bigger Picture: Summers are notoriously short in
North Dakota, but with a rematch of the NCAA title game scheduled
for Oct. 28 in Grand Forks, this particular summer seems to
be taking forever for Stafford and some Sioux teammates. Along
with winning one more NCAA playoff game this time, Stafford
said his junior year goal is to expand the offensive side
of his game. Playing good hockey is a Stafford family tradition.
Drew’s heroics come a generation after his father, Gord,
played for the IHL’s Milwaukee Admirals for much of
the 1980s. With the next Frozen Four scheduled for the Admirals’
home rink, the Bradley Center, Stafford is aiming to earn
a trip to a special family hockey reunion next April in Milwaukee.
Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin on coaching
Stafford at the World Junior Championship:
“I really enjoyed coaching him. Drew was very
consistent, even with an increased role on the team. With
his talent level, and skill-wise, he was right at the top
of the roster. He was our best player.”