Local Sports Journal

The United States Hockey League announced that hockey coaching legends Ron Mason and Doug Woog will serve as honorary coaches for the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at L. C. Walker Arena on Jan. 23.

Mason and Woog will join Dubuque coach Jim Montgomery and Sioux Falls’ coach Cary Eades on the respective coaching staffs.

Montgomery and Eades were named head coaches based on the fact their teams were in first place as of Jan. 1.

The USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game features 40 of the top NHL draft-eligible players currently playing in the USHL as they compete in front of scouts and decision makers from NHL clubs.  Of the 40 players selected, 31 have secured NCAA Division I hockey opportunities following their USHL careers.

Mason had a 36-year career coaching hockey at the college level with stints at Lake Superior State University, Bowling Green State University, and Michigan State University.  He was the all-time wins leader in NCAA history with 924 before just recently being surpassed by Jerry York of Boston College.  Mason coached Michigan State for 23 seasons (1979-2002) and led the Spartans to 21 appearances in the NCAA tournament.  He guided the school to the NCAA Championship in 1986 with a team that included Team USA head coach Danton Cole.

Woog spent 14 seasons (1985-99) as the head coach at the University of Minnesota where he became the school’s all-time winningest coach posting a 389-187-40 record.  He led the Gophers to seven conference titles and 12 appearances in the NCAA tournament, including six trips to the NCAA Frozen Four.  Woog was an assistant for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team and has served in multiple coaching roles for U.S. National Teams.  In 2002, he was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.