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Gopher Hockey Legend Doug Woog Dead at 75

The Minnesota Hockey Legend passed away Saturday

MONDAY_12/15/03_Strib - - - - - - - Doug Woog Photo by DAVID BREWSTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Legendary Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach and All-American forward Doug Woog passed away at the age of 75 on Saturday. Woog had been battling Parkinson’s Disease since 2014. Woog was the head coach of the Pride on Ice from 1985 until 1999. His 388 career wins was a Minnesota record until Don Lucia eclipsed his mark in 2015. Woog was also an All-American forward playing for another Gopher coaching legend in John Mariucci. Woog played from 1964-1966 as freshmen were not allowed to play in those days.

The South St. Paul native led the Packers to four straight trips up the road to St. Paul for the State High School Tournament. He was named to the all-tournament team in three of those seasons and was the tournament’s leading scorer in 1962. He then moved onto the U under the tutelage of Mariucci. In three seasons in the maroon and gold Woog would total 101 career points scoring 48 goals in 80 games. He would earn First Team All-America and All-WCHA First Team honors in his junior season leading Minnesota with 26 goals and 47 points. He added the captain’s C to his jersey the next season.

Woog would play internationally for the US National team in 1967 and would try out for the 1968 Olympic team before getting cut. Woog’s playing career was over, but what he would become most known for was just beginning.

Woog began his coaching career with the Minnesota Junior Stars and led them to two Junior National titles before returning to coach his high school alma mater in 1977. In six years behind the bench for the Packers Woog took South St. Paul to two conference titles and four trips to the St. Paul Civic Center where the most painful moment of his coaching career would also occur.

Woog would be an assistant coach on the 1984 Olympic squad before taking over the reigns of the Gophers in the fall of 1985. in 14 seasons as the head coach of the Gophers he would lead Minnesota to a then record 12 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, six trips to the Frozen Four, and was one half of an inch away from a NCAA Championship in St. Paul in 1989. The Gophers would win plenty of hardware though taking home four MacNaughton Cups as WCHA regular-season champions and three Broadmoor Trophies as WCHA playoff champions during his tenure. Thirteen Gophers earned their way up on the Mariucci Mural under Woog while two would also add their own individual hardware as Hobey Baker Award winners. (Robb Stauber (1988) and Brian Bonin (1996))

Woog’s tenure at Minnesota did not end as well as many would have liked, but he remained a fixture around the program even after relinquishing the coaching job to Lucia. Woog worked for Gopher Sports Properties helping to sell suites in both Mariucci and Williams arena and then took over another role in which he is probably most famous to anyone 30 or younger.

Woog would team up with Frank Mazzocco to broadcast the Gophers games on TV for Fox Sports North from the early 2000s through the 2010-11 season. Woog remained on the air for FSN in a pregame capacity until the end of the 2014 season.

He was named to the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002, and in 2015 the City of South St. Paul renamed Wakota Arena Doug Woog Arena for his contributions to the city and to Minnesota Hockey.

As the news of Woog’s death broke Saturday afternoon remembrances of him came flooding in from across the Minnesota Hockey community:

If you are either a Gopher fan or a college hockey fan between the ages of 15 and 80 you probably have your own Doug Woog story. It was impossible not to. He was a true ambassador of Minnesota hockey, and the University of Minnesota. Nothing but class all around. RIP Wooger.