Former U men’s hockey coach Herb Brooks killed in single car accident

Legendary hockey coach and St. Paul native Herb Brooks, who won three national titles at the University of Minnesota and coached the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey team, died Monday afternoon in a car accident on Interstate 35 near Forest Lake, Minn.

Brooks, who celebrated his 66th birthday just last week, was on his way home from a golf outing at Giants Ridge golf course in Biwabik, Minn., when his minivan rolled over just north of the intersection of I-35E and I-35W at 2:44 p.m, a state official told the Associated Press.

Brooks, traveling alone, was subsequently thrown from his vehicle and killed. No other automobiles were involved in the accident, the Associated Press further reported.

“It’s a shock, I was just with him today,” said Doug Woog who coached the Gophers from 1985-1999. “He had a huge impact on my life. He basically got me the (Gophers coaching) job.”

Woog also played in the golf outing Monday, part of an event celebrating the induction of Bobby Hull into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

“I’m just stunned,” said current Minnesota men’s hockey coach Don Lucia. “It’s a sad day for hockey and a huge loss for our state.

“All you have to do is look up in the rafters (at Mariucci Arena) to see what he’s meant to this program.”

Former Wisconsin hockey player and current Denver men’s hockey coach George Gwozdecky was recruited by Brooks in the 1970s but chose the Badgers.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Gwozdecky said upon learning of Brooks’ death. “(Amateur hockey) lost an icon, an absolute icon. He was always doing something for the betterment of hockey. He was a hockey treasure. It’s hard to think he will ever be replaced.” — Brian Stensaas contributed to this report.