Minor League Sports

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders' Mark Carlson nominated for prestigious coaching award

First-annual Darcy Haugan Memorial Award honors top North American junior hockey coach

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach Mark Carlson.  (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach Mark Carlson. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Coach/General Manager Mark Carlson has been named one of four nominees thus far for the first-annual Darcy Haugan Memorial Award as North American junior hockey coach of the year.

Haugan was head coach of the Humboldt Broncos, who were involved in a bus crash on the way to a playoff game last winter in Canada that killed 16 players, coaches and other team personnel. The award is being presented to the current junior hockey coach that displays the characteristics of Haugan.

“Haugan was an unusual junior hockey coach that emphasized helping his players become better people as being more important than wins and losses,” said a press release, announcing Carlson’s nomination. “He also expected his players to give back to the community. He strongly believed that hockey is not about making players, but human beings, and was a frequent attendee at fundraisers, minor hockey clinics, and spoke with community leaders and schools about family, integrity and respect. Nominees, that display similar characteristics, are selected each month during the season leading up to the May announcement.”

Carlson is the only coach and general manager the RoughRiders have had, since they moved from Mason City for the 1999-2000 season. He has over 600 wins here, with his teams winning the Anderson Cup for most United States Hockey League regular-season standings points three times and the Clark Cup league championship once.

Carlson has coached over 500 players here who have received Division I college scholarships, 38 who have been selected in the National Hockey League Draft, 41 who have signed NHL contracts and 25 who have played in the NHL.

The other monthly nominees for the Haugan award are Clayton Jardine of the Kindersley Klippers (Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League), Marty Murray of the Minot Minotaurs (North American Hockey League) and Mike Johnston of the Portland Winterhawks (Western Hockey League). The award winner will be announced in May by a panel led by Haugan’s widow, Christina.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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