Terry Ogden has been a fixture behind the Muskie hockey team’s bench for the past 18 years, crafting a winning tradition here on the ice that goes unsurpassed on the NorWOSSA circuit.
But during last Tuesday’s session of the week-long tryout camp at Memorial Arena, Ogden gave word to assistant coach Glen Edwards that his reign was over.
Ogden, affectionately known by fellow players and coaches as “TO,” shockingly retired as head coach.
Players were informed of Ogden’s decision at practice by Edwards, who has taken over the helm. He’ll be helped behind the bench this season by long-time defensive coach Ken Christiansen and former Muskie player Jason Kabel.
Kabel will fill the vacated assistant coaching position left by Ogden’s departure.
Ogden, who joined the team in 1979 as an assistant coach to Doug McCaig, led the Muskies to the all-Ontario championships 12 times since becoming head coach a year later, winning seven medals over that span, including gold in 1986 and here in 1989.
But just two days into the team’s tryout camp, Ogden announced he would be stepping down, citing he didn’t feel he had “enough juice” to complete the season.
“I’m really going to miss it but I just didn’t have any zip and you need to have a lot of energy to do this job and teach at the same time,” said Ogden, who teaches at J.W. Walker School here.
"People don’t understand coaching the Muskies is a volunteer position and there’s a lot of physical time, thought time, and administrative time.
“It’s real important that the person who does this job has a lot of zoom,” he stressed.
Still, Ogden admitted it will be hard to leave the job behind.
“I’ll let you know I’m not happy with my decision," he said in a phone interview last Friday. "The Muskies have become part of my family.”
And holding true to form, Ogden helped the Muskies, and their new head coach, at last Wednesday’s tryout session, putting the players through a variety of drills to allow Edwards and Kabel a chance to evaluate this year’s talent from the stands.
Ogden also said Edwards must now put “his stamp on the team,” something he hasn’t been able to do since he took the job as Ogden’s assistant back in 1980.
Meanwhile, Ogden said he hasn’t ruled out the fact he may return to the game as a coach at a different level.
“Coaching is in my blood," he said. ”I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m just going to let the future dictate itself, but I think I would like to coach again.
The high school position may never be open but I would like to take a travelling team or a competitive team," he added.
Although he captured two all-Ontario crowns in the 1980s, Ogden called the fact the Muskies consistently iced competitive, “character-filled” teams as being his biggest coaching accomplishment.
For him, respect on and off the ice was his biggest reward.
“There were so many things but the command and respect we got when we went to all-Ontarios, and when the coaches went to NorWOSSA meetings, meant more to me than anything,” said Ogden, who was a standout for the University of North Dakota during his college playing days.
And that respect for Ogden definitely filtered down to the players and coaches, who had nothing but high praise for the retired coach.
“You don’t replace a guy like Terry Ogden," offered Edwards. "I learned a lot from him and hope to carry some of things that he did.”
Trevor Armstrong, an assistant captain with the Muskies last season, said Ogden had an “aura” about him that commanded respect from his players.
“Every kid growing up in this town wanted to be a Muskie and play for Mr. Ogden," he said. "You always have respect for him because you could talk to him if you ever needed to.”