Patrick Andrews will be the next Hermantown boys’ hockey coach, the Duluth News Tribune reported Tuesday night. The Hermantown alum and former Hawks captain is set to take over, pending school board approval, for longtime coach Bruce Plante.

“I mean, how do you follow that?” Andrews, who was an assistant coach for Plante last season, told the News Tribune. “You can’t.

“I’ve got huge shoes to fill. I just met with the team after school [Tuesday] and I told everybody, ‘All I can do is be me. I’m not (Plante).’ ”

Plante, 68, announced his retirement in April after 28 seasons leading the program. He coached the Hawks to three Class 1A state titles, made 14 state tournament appearances and finished with a 547-197-23 career record.

Hermantown won its second consecutive state championship this year and finished with a 29-1-1 record in Plante’s final season.

Andrews, 37, played for Plante and graduated from Hermantown in 1998. He scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of the 1998 Section 2A final and helped lead the Hawks to state title game, but lost to Eveleth-Gilbert.

“First of all, he’s a Hermantown boy and he has Hermantown blood,” Plante told the News Tribune. “Just cares a lot about the program, and he’s well-respected in the community. Patrick’s a very big-hearted guy. He’ll take care of the kids.”

Andrews coached eight years of bantams before joining Plante’s staff last season and has been a part of Hermantown hockey most of his life. Andrews started playing the sport as a kindergartener and after attending St. John’s for college returned to the hockey town. Andrews teaches seventh-grade social studies and now will take over one of the state’s most esteemed hockey programs.

Read more about Andrews’ close relationship with Plante here

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