CEDAR RAPIDS – He embraces the day-at-a-time grind. Never look ahead, never look behind.
His coaching philosophy always has been about staying on an even keel.
But there’s no question this weekend will be a little more emotional for Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach Mark Carlson, and it has nothing to do with the hockey games his guys are playing.
“Yeah, it means a lot to me, my mother, my sister, my whole family,” Carlson said.
It’s ALS Weekend at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, as the Riders host Dubuque Friday night and Green Bay Saturday night. The team will wear special black and green pinstriped jerseys that will be auctioned after Saturday’s game to benefit the ALS Association.
Robert Carlson, Mark’s father, died eight years ago of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“He was very hard working, very disciplined,” Mark Carlson said. “Definitely a tough-love type of guy. He really cared for and loved all the people around him. He certainly pushed me to do everything the right way, whether it was shoveling the driveway or cutting the lawn. Doing your running work for hockey or riding the stationary bike or shooting pucks or giving effort on the ice as a kid. It was all about details and those kinds of things.”
In this case, son definitely is carrying on those traits from father.
“It does (sound like me),” Carlson said. “Sometimes people don’t realize, as much as I didn’t know when I was growing up, that when people are pushing you, they see something in you. That’s the most important thing. When you’re being pushed or when someone is being hard on you, that means they see something in you and they care about you. You should be worried if you’re not being pushed.”
This is the fourth year the RoughRiders have conducted an ALS promotion. The jerseys are pinstriped in honor of Mark Carlson’s favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees, and have Robert Carlson’s initials (RLC) on the right crest.
Jan Sdao, wife of RoughRiders’ co-owner Tony Sdao, designed them.
“My dad loved all sports, but he really loved hockey. He loved coming out here to visit,” Mark Carlson said. “There are so many terrible diseases, but ALS is one disease that is flat out a death sentence. There is no cure, and there is no slowing it down. That’s one of the reasons why we really, really appreciate when (people) contribute and donate to the ALS Association. It’s great that 100 percent of the money from these jerseys will go to ALS research.”
- Carlson has hired a pair of new assistant coaches for next season in Dan Riedel and Phil Osaer. Riedel played for the Lincoln Stars from 2003-05 and two years at Ferris State University before embarking on a minor-league professional career. He has been coaching with the Oakland Grizzlies youth program in Michigan.
Osaer was a goaltender for the Waterloo Black Hawks in 1997-98 and also played collegiately at Ferris State. He recently completed his professional season with the Cardiff Devils in England.
The RoughRiders have been assistant coach-less for the past couple months after Travis Winter left to take a head coaching job in the NAHL and Phil Tetzlaff was relieved of his duties. Goalie coach Scott Meyer also left the team midway through the season. Former RoughRiders player Doug Leaverton has been helping out as a volunteer coach.
- The RoughRiders scored a huge get last week by signing highly touted 15-year-old defenseman Ivan Provorov to a USHL tender for next season. Provorov is from Yaroslavl, Russia, and played this past season for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights, where he was named the Atlantic Youth Hockey League’s top defenseman.
Provorov is considered by scouts a possible first-round NHL draft pick in three years if he continues to progress. He is not eligible to be play major junior hockey in Canada until the 2014-15 season.
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