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Cedar Rapids coach Mark Carlson's reaction to his 750th career win typically low key

RoughRiders team president and bench boss isn't interested in a team hall of fame, but he'd likely be the first inductee if there was one.

Putting teamwork ahead of the team, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach Mark Carlson says "I've always felt that it's important not to have a RoughRiders Hall of Fame and flat out, in some respects, put some people ahead of others. That's why we haven't done that."
Contributed / Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

(TNS) CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — You ask Mark Carlson about starting a Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Hall of Fame, and he flicks away that notion like a good goaltender uses his blocker to deflect a puck harmlessly to the corner.

Too many good players here over the years, he says. He doesn't want it to be just about hockey anyway, because that's only part of what his program has been about all these years.

It's about preparing kids for life, to be successful away from the rink, not just at the rink.

"We told the team this, and I like it, people are starting to talk more about sports teams, talking about the brand," Carlson said. "The RoughRider brand has always been about teamwork first. Nobody above the team. It's been like that forever, since day one, before we even played a game.

"So I've always felt that it's important not to have a RoughRiders Hall of Fame and flat out, in some respects, put some people ahead of others. That's why we haven't done that."


If there ever comes a time when a HOF does become a thing, the first person inducted should be Carlson. That's an easy one.

He hit the 750-win plateau for his head coaching career Saturday night when the RoughRiders beat Muskegon, 7-1, at ImOn Ice. The only coach Cedar Rapids has had since its inception into the United States Hockey League for the 1999-2000 season, Carlson has a 750-546-110 overall record.

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He's 33 wins away from tying P.K. O'Handley for the USHL record for most career coaching victories.

"I certainly don't want to diminish it because of the respect I have for the league and everybody involved in the league," Carlson said. "I've been fortunate to be involved in it. (750 wins) are nice, for sure. But at the same time, we're just working away on the same stuff, the day to day. We played a real tough opponent Saturday night in Muskegon and were able to win, and that was first and foremost.

"The other situation was nice to have be a part of it."

Carlson's RoughRiders have won a Clark Cup (2004-05) and three Anderson Cups for most regular-season standings points in his 23 years at the helm. He has developed over 500 players who have gone on to net Division I college scholarships, 41 NHL draft picks and 28 players who have advanced to play in that league.

We're just really excited about what the team can do moving forward.
Mark Carlson, Cedar Rapids head coach

They include multiple-time Stanley Cup winners Alec Martinez and Ross Colton.

His phone blew up with congratulatory texts Saturday night. But other than that, a graphic on the arena scoreboard announcing his milestone, a game puck presented to him by his team in the locker room postgame, and a couple of slices and drinks downtown at Need Pizza, that was about all the celebrating that was done.


You really shouldn't have expected anything else.

"We've got them well trained on being focused on the task at hand," Carlson said about his team, smiling. "We're just excited about our group, looks like we're going to get some guys back now that have been on the sidelines for us injured. We're just really excited about what the team can do moving forward."


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