Terry Ruskowski

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Terry W. Ruskowski
Born (1954-12-31) December 31, 1954 (age 59)
Prince Albert, SK, CAN
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 168 lb (76 kg; 12 st 0 lb)
Position Center
Shot Left
Played for Houston Aeros
Winnipeg Jets
Chicago Black Hawks
Los Angeles Kings
Pittsburgh Penguins
Minnesota North Stars
NHL Draft 70th overall, 1974
Chicago Black Hawks
WHA Draft 30th overall, 1974
Houston Aeros
Playing career 1974–1989

Terry W. "Rosco" Ruskowski (born December 31, 1954 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan) is a Canadian former National Hockey League centre, who played for the Chicago Black Hawks, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Minnesota North Stars.

Previously, he played for the Houston Aeros and Winnipeg Jets of the WHA. Ruskowski's leadership on the ice was recognized with his tenure as captain of the Aeros, Blackhawks, Kings, and Penguins, the only player in major professional history to captain four different clubs.

The Laredo years[edit]

In 2001, he was named the head coach of the since disbanded Laredo Bucks in Laredo, Texas, which had been affiliated with the Central Hockey League. On March 18, 2009, Ruskowski secured his 500th coaching win, as the Bucks defeated the Texas Brahmas of Fort Worth, 4-3, in the Southern Conference playoffs.[1]

In 2007, Ruskowski entered the final year of a four-year contract extension with the Bucks. Ruskowski told the Laredo Morning Times that his tenure was in the hands of Bucks chairman Glenn Hart, owner Julian "Kiki" DeAyala, and team president John Beckelhymer and that he had "full faith" that he will obtain his third contract with the club. Ruskowski's optimism paid off, for he was shortly thereafter given a "lifetime contract" as the coach of the Bucks.

Ruskowski led the Bucks to the postseason in seven of his years as head coach. The team won President Cup championships in 2004 and 2006 and four consecutive Southern Conference titles. As of 2007, Ruskowski had compiled a 209–78–28 overall record in Laredo and was the CHL "Coach of the Year" during the 2005-2006 season.[2]

Ruskowski became a well-known figure in the Laredo community. A giant poster featuring the coach plastered on city buses advertised Doctor's Hospital of Laredo. On June 3, 2010, Ruskowski was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Laredo Rotary International in a ceremony at Texas A&M University.[3]

A year after Ruskowski's departure from the Bucks, the team, citing declining attendance and revenue reversals, disbanded.[4]

From the Bucks to the Killer Bees[edit]

In May 2011, Ruskowski announced his resignation after ten years as the coach of the Bucks.[5] The decision to step down despite a lifetime contract came after declining attendance and depressed revenues to the Bucks.

The Laredo Morning Times described Ruskowski as: "one of a kind. He was gracious in victory and even more kind in defeat. He was balanced in temperament and truly loved the city his team represented. Members of the Bucks never got too high or too low, and when you have a professional team like that, people appreciate it. Not only did Ruskowski win [two professional championships], but his affable personality, easily won over Laredoans. . . . When he revealed his departure from the Bucks last month, he did so face-to-face with season ticket holders and fans . . . when a news release would have done the job. . . . And his final sight of the fans and the people he once so enthusiastically thrilled was a lasting standing ovation, as he walked off with tears in his eyes . . . "[5]

On June 28, 2011, Ruskowski became the coach of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees hockey team, based in McAllen, a staunch rival of the Laredo Bucks. Ruskowski has a two-year contract with the Bees.[6]

The early years[edit]

Ruskowski began his junior hockey career in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL - Tier II) in 1970-1971, playing for the Humboldt Broncos. His leadership ability at age sixteen was evident, as was his ability and toughness. He helped to propel the Broncos to the league final that year.

From 1971-1974, Ruskowski played for the Swift Current Broncos where he became captain in his second and third year and helped to lead the team until it lost in the semi-finals in 1974. As well, he still holds the team record for most assists in one year, 93 assists in 1973-74. He could be expected to stick up for his teammates, a situation which led to many fighting penalties each year.

Ruskowski is married and has two daughters.

Honours[edit]

In 2010, he was elected as an inaugural inductee into the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joy Lindsay, "Ruskowski reaches milestone as Bucks clinch, Laredo Morning Times, March 19, 2009, p. 2B
  2. ^ Dennis Silva, II, "Ruskowski's return still up in limbo", Laredo Morning Times, August 8, 2007
  3. ^ Laredo Morning Times, May 27, 2010, p. 9A
  4. ^ Kenny Ryan, "Goodbye, Laredo Bucks: Bucks out after 10 years in city; finances, attendance at issue", Laredo Morning Times, May 2, 2012, pp. 1, 10A
  5. ^ a b "Coach Rosco True Laredo example" (editorial), Laredo Morning Times, June 12, 2011, p. 17A
  6. ^ "Ruskowski introduced as Bees coach," Laredo Morning Times, June 29, 2011, p. B1
  7. ^ WHA Hall of Fame Members

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Keith Magnuson
Chicago Black Hawks captain
1979-82
Succeeded by
Darryl Sutter
Preceded by
Dave Lewis
Los Angeles Kings captain
1983-85
Succeeded by
Dave Taylor
Preceded by
Mike Bullard
Pittsburgh Penguins captain
1986–87
Succeeded by
Dan Frawley