Minnesota hockey legend Doug Woog dies at age 75

Former University of Minnesota hockey coach Doug Woog
Former University of Minnesota hockey coach Doug Woog works with a group of young hockey players during the NHL All-Star Weekend in February 2004 at RiverCentre in St. Paul.
Elsa | Getty Images 2004

Minnesota hockey legend Doug Woog, who was a star player for the Gophers before coaching the team for 14 seasons, died Saturday at the age of 75.

The University of Minnesota confirmed Woog's death Saturday night. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Woog died from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

"Coach Woog was one of a kind," Gophers Athletic Director Mark Coyle said in a statement. "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."

Woog was a native of South St. Paul, where he was an all-state hockey player and led the Packers to four state tournament appearances. In 2016, the city of South St. Paul changed the name of the Wakota Arena to the Doug Woog Arena.

Woog went on to play for the Gophers from 1964-66 under coach John Mariucci; he led the team in scoring as a junior and was most valuable player as a senior.

After graduating, he played for the U.S. men's national team, coached at South St. Paul and was an assistant coach for the 1984 U.S. men's Olympic team.

In 1985, he became head coach of the Gophers men's hockey team.

He coached the program for 14 seasons, including 12 straight NCAA tournament appearances and six trips to the Frozen Four. The Gophers reached the national championship game once during Woog's tenure, falling to Harvard in overtime in 1989 at the St. Paul Civic Center.

Woog's 388 career wins were a record at Minnesota until it was broken by his successor, Don Lucia.

After coaching, Woog served as a Gophers hockey commentator for Fox Sports North.

"Doug Woog bled maroon and 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," current Gophers 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."

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