(Kraken piece by Glenn Dreyfuss and Rob Simpson)
When ESPN+ broadcast Thursday’s tilt between the Seattle Kraken and Anaheim Ducks, color analyst Cassie Campbell-Pascall was able to provide special insight into Kraken coach Dave Hakstol (far right in the Campbell-Pascall photo).
That’s because Hakstol and Calgary Flames assistant G.M. Brad Pascall – Cassie’s husband – patrolled the backline for the University of North Dakota hockey team in the early 1990s. When Cassie and Brad tied the knot in 2005, Hakstol was a member of the wedding party.
“We’re good friends,” Campbell-Pascal explained during the telecast. “He was the captain at the University of North Dakota when my husband went there. It’s great to see him doing so well.”
Whether he’s coach Hakstol behind the bench or with the media, he maintains a consistently thoughtful, reserved persona. Cassie revealed whether “Hak” ever exposes a wilder side with friends and family.
“He’s such a great person, but his demeanor isn’t much different than what you see as a coach,” Campbell-Pascall said. “He’s laid back and very detailed. My husband has a ton of respect for him as (Hakstol was) his former captain at North Dakota.”
Kraken ‘Won’t Make It‘
On the broadcast, Campbell-Pascall also made an admission about a previous TV prediction.
“I should apologize to Seattle Kraken fans,” she said. “At the start of the (new) year, I did predict they wouldn’t make the playoffs. I showed my wedding picture (including Hakstol) and I said, ‘Hey, he’s my friend, and this is how ruthless I am.’ Man, was I wrong. Still some work left, but it’s looking pretty good for them.”
Asked after Seattle’s 4-1 victory if he accepted his friend’s apology, Hakstol did a double-take that had the assembled media doubled up with laughter.
“Yes, of course,” the coach said with a smile. “I don’t think our group has worried a lot about external opinions. This group inside of this room has continued to find its way.” Echoing Campbell-Pascall, Hakstol added, “There’s still work to do, to get to that first goal we have on the list. Tonight’s a great two points.”
Editor’s (Simmer’s) Note – I actually happened to be watching the Hockey Night in Canada telecast when Cassie made the prediction and showed the photo during one of the intermissions. I brought it up to Hakstol the next day or two after a skate at Kraken Community Iceplex and he had a pretty good chuckle. He did point out and joke at the time that the Pascalls would have a special interest in the Kraken not making it, considering Brad’s Flames club was well behind and trying to give chase at the time.
I’ve done TV play-by-play with Cassie as the color commentator for women’s pro hockey and for Canadian university championship weekends for women’s hockey on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada on a few occasions in the past and I found her the same way I found her when watching her do an NHL game. A true pro, succinct, articulate and a delight to work with. She has set the bar as an analyst for others who follow.
Prior to that, during the culmination of a long hockey career, she won two Olympic Gold Medals as captain of team Canada (2002 and 2006), has a recreation complex in her hometown of Brampton, Ontario named after her, and was named A Member of the Order of Canada in 2016.
We hope to have a chat with her this week when that crew returns to Seattle.
As it stands, the Flames remain two points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final Western Conference playoff spot, and five points behind the Kraken. Seattle has a game in hand on Calgary, a team, like Winnipeg, with six games remaining. The Kraken have seven, for those unfamiliar with the term “game in hand”.