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 Dubuque Fighting Saints

Edmonton Oilers Hire Fighting Saints Executive Kalle Larsson

May 30, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Dubuque Fighting Saints News Release

DUBUQUE, IA - Dubuque Fighting Saints President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Kalle Larsson has announced that he will be leaving the organization to take on the newly created role of Senior Director of Player Development for the Edmonton Oilers.

Larsson has been a key architect of the Dubuque Fighting Saints organization which has had consistent success since its return to the USHL in 2010-11. This past season was Larsson's most successful of his nine year tenure with the squad orchestrating a run to an Eastern Conference title and a Clark Cup Final appearance for the first time in his Dubuque career.

"I have loved every single day working for the Fighting Saints, and the city of Dubuque has a special place in my heart," said Larsson. "I have so many great memories from my nine seasons with the Saints.

"First, I would like to thank the billets, fans, volunteers, current and former coaches and staff, and everyone else who dedicates their time and efforts making this a premier organization in North America," Larsson continued. "I am grateful to have been able to work alongside each and every single one of you, and your support of the team truly is a huge part of the success we had. I am so grateful for all the players who have trusted us with their development and allowed us to work with them. Personally, the most rewarding aspect about working for the Saints has been seeing players and staff move on in their careers and lives. Watching former Saints chase their dreams and knowing we had the privilege to be a small part of their journey is something that always put a smile on my face.

"I want to thank our ownership group for their support, and for providing us the resources necessary to compete at the highest level in the USHL. In particular, I'd like to extend a thank you to Brad Kwong. Working with Brad for the past nine years and learning from him has been an incredible growth experience for me, both as a person and as a leader. I am so grateful for the trust he has shown in me, the time he spent mentoring me, and for allowing me to be me. The dedication, effort, and care he puts into the Fighting Saints and the USHL as a league is nothing short of amazing.

"Last but not least, I want to thank my family. Their understanding of everything involved with this line of work is not something that I take for granted. I am grateful for their support."

"The Saints are in a great position moving forward. The team has a promising core of returners, and our group of prospects is as talented as it has ever been. The new GM, Trevor Edwards, is a great person and brilliant hockey mind; with the continued support from everyone - including the best fans in the USHL - I am certain he will help bring the Clark Cup to Dubuque.," Larsson concluded.

Since joining the Fighting Saints in 2015 as the Director of Player Personnel, and eventually rising to President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, Larsson emphasized a culture that promoted the best practices on and off the ice. That was showcased during his season with James Reeder earning the USHL's Scholar Athlete of the Year award. On the academic front, the Fighting Saints have seen over 95% of its players commit to Division I schools under Larsson's guidance. The Fighting Saints have had five USHL Scholar Athletes in the past six seasons, and it's players have represented over 33% of all USHL All-Academic team selections since the USHL began recognizing academic achievements in the 2016-17 season. Larsson wraps up his tenure with players earning the award in back-to-back seasons after Lucas St. Louis won the award in 2022-23.

Dubuque qualified for the Clark Cup Playoffs in ever one of Larsson's nine seasons with the team. Larsson drafted multiple NHL Draft picks to the Fighting Saints, including Stephen Halliday, Kenny Connors, Andrei Buyalsky, Erik Portillo and Connor Kurth. Most recently, Larsson brought Juraj Pekarcik to Dubuque, who recently signed an entry level contract with the St. Louis Blues. Multiple Saints who played under Larsson have gone on to play NHL games, including Matias Maccelli, Cole Gutman, Tyce Thompson, Wyatt Kaiser, Henry Thrun and Alex Steeves.

"To say Kalle's impact on the Dubuque Fighting Saints is significant is one of the greatest understatements in USHL history," stated managing partner Brad Kwong. "The results during his tenure speak for themselves but the organization has benefited most from his leadership, his professionalism and his overall character. Kalle's name has become synonymous with the Fighting Saints. He is a great person that we will all miss and I personally will miss our time together the most. I wish him the very best in Edmonton and know he will go far in his career in hockey."

Following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, Larsson was named USHL General Manager of the Year after helping piece together one of the best regular seasons in Dubuque hockey history. Larsson was responsible for drafting USHL Goalie of the Year Erik Portillo, USHL Forward of the Year Riese Gaber and three other All-USHL selections from that season's team.

In his tenure as General Manager, Larsson constructed two 40-win seasons for Dubuque, doubling the franchise's number of 40-win campaigns during his time in charge.

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