The Quad City Mallards of the “AA” Central Hockey League today announced former Chicago Blackhawk captain and longtime CHL coach Terry Ruskowski has been named the Mallards’ new head coach and general manager replacing David Bell, who has resigned as the team’s coach and G.M.
“We’d like to thank David for his outstanding work in building a foundation last season for returning the Mallards to an aggressive and winning brand of hockey,” said John Prutch of CLUB 9 SPORTS, the Mallards ownership group. “We wish him and his family the best. While we are sorry to see him leave we could not be more excited about the future of the Mallards with Terry Ruskowski taking the helm. Terry’s vast experience and superb track record make him the ideal coach to lead the Mallards.”
Over 17 seasons as a professional head coach, Ruskowski, 57, has compiled a hugely impressive record of 589-416-102. Ruskowski is approaching the start of his tenth season in the CHL. He enjoyed great success over eight years with the Laredo Bucks before taking over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees last year. Ruskowski piloted the Bucks to four straight finals appearances between 2004 and 2007 and twice won the CHL Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup title- in 2004 and 2006- with Laredo. The Killer Bees rebounded to post a 32-27-7 record under Ruskowski last year after enduring back-to-back losing seasons prior to his arrival.
“I have a lot of admiration for the Mallards after playing against them with my teams for three years. In particular, I greatly admire both the organization and the way the fans of the Quad Cities respond to and support the team,” said Ruskowski. “The people there have always been extremely nice to me going back to the days when I was playing and I’d come over to the area for golf. I look forward to coming there and putting a quality team together for the fans.”
Ruskowski served as captain while skating for the Blackhawks for three-plus seasons between 1979 and 1982. In all, the Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native played 999 career games for six teams- the 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. In fact, Ruskowski is the only player in major professional hockey history to have captained four different clubs. As well as the Blackhawks, he also wore the “C” for the Aeros, Kings and Penguins.
“We are very excited as an organization to welcome Terry to the Quad Cities,” said Mallards executive vice president Ryan Simmons. “I know hockey fans in the Quad Cities are also going to be excited about the prospect of a former Blackhawk captain – and someone who also captained three other teams and has enjoyed such successful playing and coaching careers- leading the Mallards.”
Ruskowski, who first moved into coaching immediately after retiring as a player in 1989, has steered his teams to 40 or more victories in a season on six occasions. Prior to arriving in the CHL to take the reins of the Bucks in 2002, Ruskowski served as bench boss for the East Coast Hockey League’s Columbus Chill, the International Hockey League’s Houston Aeros and the United Hockey League’s Knoxville Speed. He broke into coaching in the major junior ranks with the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades, whom he guided from 1989 to 1991.
Ruskowski’s familiarity with the Quad Cities pre-dates even his time coaching rival clubs in the CHL and UHL. While playing for the Blackhawks, Ruskowski annually travelled to the area to take part in the Quad Cities Open- now the John Deere Classic.
Bell departs the Quad Cities after leading the Mallards to a 37-27-2 record last season in his lone campaign with the club. The Wiarton, Ontario, native took over with the Mallards after spending seven years as an assistant in the Ontario and American Hockey Leagues.
The date and time of a press conference introducing Ruskowski as the Mallards’ new coach and G.M. will be announced shortly. This week will also see the Mallards follow today’s announcement with the release of a series of player signings for the 2012-13 season.
2012-13 Mallards season tickets as well as the Mallards’ new Partial Punch Plan are on sale now. The Mallards offer ticket packages to meet any budget, including youth season tickets now available for as little as $165. The Partial Punch Plan provides flexibility and affordability- each Punch Plan punch card can be redeemed for ten tickets- whether those tickets are for ten different games, all for the same game or anything in between- subject to availability. Partial Punch Plans can be had for as little as $70 for youth 12 and under. For more ticket package information, fans can call the Mallards at 309-277-1364.