The Minnesota hockey community lost one of their own on Saturday as former Minnesota Gophers head coach and South St. Paul icon Doug Woog died at age 75 of complications from Parkinson's disease.
Woog was a standout for South St. Paul in the early 1960s and graduated with the class of 1962. As a two-sport athlete, Woog excelled at both football and hockey and earned scholarship offers in both sports from the University of Minnesota.
Of course, hockey would be Woog's specialty as the 5-foot-7 Woog would lead the Packers to state tournament in each of his four seasons from 1959-62. The success continued as a member of the Gophers, as he was a first-team All America selection and the team's captain and MVP during his senior season.
Woog returned to the program in 1985 as the Gophers' head coach and kick-started a widely successful coaching career. In 14 years on the bench, Woog compiled a record of 388-187-40 while leading the Gophers to four WCHA regular-season titles. He also led the Gophers to six Frozen Four appearances including reaching the 1989 final in St. Paul where Minnesota lost to Harvard. Woog also was honored as the 1990 WCHA Coach of the Year.
In addition, Woog played for the United States national team and was an assistant for the 1984 team in Sarajevo. Woog's impact also reached off the ice as a broadcaster throughout the 2000s and having the ice arena in South St. Paul renamed Doug Woog arena in 2016.
Woog's impact was felt throughout the Minnesota hockey community on Saturday night as several who played for or were influenced by Woog shared their condolences on Twitter.
“Coach Woog was one of a kind,” University of Minnesota Director of Athletics Mark Coyle said. “He had a huge heart, an engaging personality and everyone he encountered loved him. From playing to coaching to commenting, his impact on hockey, the Gophers and the state of Minnesota is immeasurable. To many, he is Gopher hockey. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time.”
“Doug Woog bled Maroon & Gold as both a player and as a coach, and his legacy is one of the greatest in the history of the University of Minnesota,” Gopher Hockey head coach Bob Motzko said in a statement. “Wooger’s dedication and contributions to hockey in the state of Minnesota are immeasurable as are the number of people impacted by his lifetime of work. He will be remembered fondly by all and forgotten by none. We lost a true Minnesota treasure today.”