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Natalie Darwitz had no shortage of candidates to coach Minnesota's team in the new Professional Women's Hockey League. As she considered her choices, the general manager kept coming back to one name: Charlie Burggraf.

The league announced Friday that Burggraf accepted the job, bringing him back to hockey after a few years away. The Roseau native coached Darwitz when she was with the Gophers, helping lead the team to the 2005 NCAA championship during his two seasons as an assistant. Burggraf later was head coach at Bethel, leading the women's program from 2006-10 and the men's program from 2010-18.

All six PWHL teams announced their head coaches Friday. The league will hold its inaugural draft Monday in Toronto, where each team will add 15 players to its roster.

"Charlie is going to bring a wealth of leadership and knowledge to our organization,'' Darwitz said. "And he's going to impact it on the ice as well as off the ice. We're tremendously excited."

For the past few years, Burggraf said, he had been working out of state in a mentoring role. He considered getting back into coaching earlier, but he hadn't found the right situation until Darwitz called.

"Women's hockey has continued to improve, and the level of play [in the PWHL] is going to be pretty exciting," said Burggraf, who played at North Dakota. "It was a no-brainer."