Hockey: IceHogs could look to the past for future coach

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

At press time, the Rockford IceHogs are in the market for a new head coach. Last week, it was announced Bill Peters, their head coach for the last three years, would be leaving for an assistant coaching job with the Detroit Red Wings.

Peters has some brief experience with Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock — he spent a year-and-a-half with Babcock during Babcock’s run as head coach of the WHL’s Spokane team.

Instead of a new head coach, I’d like to suggest the team look at an old head coach. Actually, a former head coach would be a much more accurate term. I think the team should give a call to one-time IceHogs Head Coach Steve Martinson.

In 15 seasons as a head coach, Martinson has never missed the postseason. His teams have taken advantage of their playoff opportunities, winning six championships.

In 2007, Martinson brought one of those championships to northern Illinois when his Rockford IceHogs won the UHL’s Colonial Cup in the league’s final season. Rockford defeated the Kalamazoo Wings in seven games. In his three seasons as the ’Hogs’ boss, his teams finished with no worse than a .631 winning percentage. His record speaks for itself.

He was always a fan favorite during his time here in the River City. Are you listening, Mark Bernard (general manager of Minor League Affiliations for the Chicago Blackhawks)? Call him; what have you got to lose?

Martinson was picked to be the head coach of the new ECHL Chicago Express. They are slated to begin play at the Sears Center Arena this fall. I think with the right presentation, he could be talked out of that position and coaxed back to where he rightfully belongs, here on the bench in Rockford, as the boss of the ’Hogs.

It’s at least worth a (slap) shot! Don’t you agree?

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the July 13-19, 2011 issue

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