Tuesday night the South St. Paul City Council officially approved changing the name of Wakota Arena to Doug Woog Arena. The name change honors the former Gopher Hockey star player and coach as well as a South St. Paul native, and player and coach for South St. Paul High School.
Wakota was one of the first indoor rinks in Minnesota when it opened in 1962. Woog played in the arena in his senior season at South St. Paul High School where he was named First Team All-State in three seasons, and was the leading scorer in the 1962 High School Hockey Tournament. Woog would then come to the University of Minnesota where in his three seasons (freshmen were ineligible at the time) he would record 101 points in 80 games earning First Team All-American honors in 1965.
After coaching the Minnesota Junior Stars in the early 1970s, Woog returned to South St. Paul to coach the Packers beginning in 1977, where he would take them to state four times in six seasons. He would go on to be an assistant coach on the 1984 Olympic Team before taking over the Gophers coaching job in the fall of 1984.
Woog coached the Gophers from 1984 through 1999 earning a 390-187-40 record. He was the Gophers leader in all-time wins until Don Lucia eclipsed his mark this season. Woog would take the Gophers to 12 straight NCAA Tournaments, and six trips to the NCAA Frozen Four.
Woog left the Gophers after the 1998-99 season, but has remained in contact with the U working with Gopher Sports Properties and serving as on-air talent for FOX Sports North until the end of the 2013-14 season.
Woog was inducted into the University of Minnesota ‘M’ Club Hall of Fame in 2000 and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002. He was awarded the John McInnes Award, which recognizes "great concern for amateur hockey and youth programs," by the American Hockey Coaches Association in 2008. In March of 2015, Woog was honored by the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association with the Cliff Thompson Award, given in recognition of outstanding, long-term contributions to the sport of hockey in Minnesota.
Add one more great honor for a man who was proud to wear the M, and will go down in Gopher Hockey, and Minnesota Hockey history as one of the best coaches behind the bench! Congrats to Coach Woog from all of us at The Daily Gopher.