March 21, 2013 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Quad City Mallards
MOLINE, Ill. (March 21, 2013) - Quad City Mallards head coach and general manager Terry Ruskowski has finished second in Central Hockey League Coach of the Year voting, the Mallards announced today in conjunction with the CHL.
Only Fort Worth Brahmas coach Dan Wildfong finished ahead of Ruskwoski in a vote conducted among CHL coaches. Ruskowski has piloted the Mallards to a berth in the Ray Miron President's Cup playoffs and a 31-26-6 record entering the final weekend of the regular season. The Mallards, who have earned 68 points so far this year, moved into sole possession of sixth place Tuesday night with a playoff-clinching 4-3 overtime win over the Denver Cutthroats.
In their first year under Ruskowski, the Mallards have improved steadily over the course of the season and have played their best hockey while making a late playoff push. The Mallards have gone 16-8-2 in their last 26 games and have posted the league's best record- 8-2-0- in the month of March.
"I'm thankful to the Mallards organization for having faith in me and my ability to do the job here, to our players for their hard work and dedication to being the best they could be and to the fans of the Quad Cities for their huge support. They made my job a lot easier with their great response to this team," said Ruskowski. "I'd also like to congratulate Dan Wildfong, who's done a tremendous job in Fort Worth this season, and thank those who voted for me."
Wildfong led the voting with a total of 41 points and seven first place votes while Ruskowski totaled 22 points and received a pair of first place votes.
The 2012-13 season has seen the vastly experienced Ruskowski reach a series of personal milestones:
On November 30, he moved into third place in league history in games coached when he guided the Mallards to a 2-0 road win over the Missouri Mavericks in what was his six hundred fifty-seventh game behind a CHL bench.
Ruskowski claimed his six hundredth career professional coaching win on December 22 when the Mallards blanked the Tulsa Oilers 3-0.
Ruskowski became the fourth coach to reach 400 CHL wins when the Mallards defeated Fort Worth 3-2 in a shootout on March 3.
With the Mallards' 5-3 win over Bloomington last Friday, Ruskowski became the third man in league history to reach 700 career CHL games coached.
In all, Ruskowski has gone 620-442-108 over 18 seasons and 1170 games as a pro head coach with the Columbus Chill (ECHL), Houston Aeros (IHL), Knoxville Speed (UHL), Laredo Bucks (CHL), Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL) and now the Mallards. He took the Mallards' reins after serving as head coach of the Bucks- who he steered to CHL titles in 2004 and 2006- for nine seasons before piloting the Killer Bees last year.
Ruskowski broke into coaching in the major junior ranks with the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades, whom he guided from 1989 to 1991. It was only after a lengthy and successful playing career that Ruskowski stepped behind the bench. The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native played 999 career games for six teams- the Chicago Blackhawks, Houston Aeros, Winnipeg Jets, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota North Stars- over 15 seasons in the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association. Ruskowski is also the only player in major professional hockey history to have captained four different clubs- the Blackhawks- for whom he wore the "C" from 1979 to 1982- Aeros, Kings and Penguins.
Ruskowski finishes as Coach of the Year runner-up after the Mallards' Mike Hellyer yesterday was named CHL Rookie of the Year and, on Monday, Hellyer was selected to the CHL All-Rookie Team and teammate Mickey Lang chosen for the All-CHL Team.
The Mallards return to action at home tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. against the Bloomington Blaze. Tomorrow evening will also see the Mallards will team with John Deere for the team's annual John Deere Community Night. Fans who wear green to tomorrow night's game to show their support for John Deere and the Mallards- and bring a "Green Out" to the i wireless Center- can purchase tickets to that game for just $10 at the i wireless Center box office. Tomorrow is also another $1 Dog/$1 Beer College Night. All fans will be able to purchase hot dogs and beer for just $1 at i wireless Center concession stands through the end of the second intermission. In addition, college students can purchase tickets to the game for just $10 in person at the i wireless Center box office.
Tickets for tomorrow night's game- as well as seats for all remaining Mallards regular season home games- can be purchased in person at the i wireless Center ticket office, at Ticketmaster outlets, through www.ticketmaster.com or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free at 1-800-745-3000. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the second period.