Behind the ECHL Benches – Terry Ruskowski

Terry Ruskowsi is one of the most successful coaches in all of minor league hockey. Ruskowski has gone 656-465-118 over the course of his 19-year professional head coaching career.

He embarks upon his third season as Quad City Mallards head coach and general manager after last spring piloting the Mallards to the club’s first playoff series victory in 11 years and a berth in the Central Hockey League’s President’s Cup semifinals. Ruskowski last year led the Mallards to a 33-23-10 regular-season record and posted a mark of 67-49-16 over his first two campaigns behind the Quad City bench.

Ruskowski went 442-251-79 while spending the last 12 seasons in the Central Hockey League. He ranks second in league history with 772 games coached and is tied for second in career CHL coaching wins. Prior to taking over the Mallards, he enjoyed great success over nine years with the Laredo Bucks and one campaign with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Ruskowski piloted the Bucks to four straight finals appearances between 2004 and 2007, and twice won the CHL title (2004 and 2006) with Laredo. In 2011-12, the Killer Bees rebounded to post a 32-27-7 record under Ruskowski after enduring back-to-back losing seasons immediately prior to his arrival.

Ruskowski returns to the ECHL after last coaching in the league two decades ago. He went 96-80-20 in three seasons as coach of the Columbus Chill from 1991-94. From Columbus, he went on to take the reins of the International Hockey League’s Houston Aeros and United Hockey League’s Knoxville Speed before beginning his hugely successful CHL run.

All told, Ruskowski, who first moved into coaching when he took over the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades after retiring as a player in 1989, has been behind the bench for a total of 1,239 professional games and steered his teams to 40 or more victories in a season on six occasions.

It was only after a lengthy and successful playing career that Ruskowski stepped behind the bench. The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native played 999 career games for six teams – the Houston Aeros, Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota North Stars – over 15 seasons in the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association. Ruskowski is also the only player in major professional hockey history to have captained four different clubs: the Aeros, Blackhawks, Kings and Penguins.

Coaching Record

Reg. Season



Saskatoon (WHL)


1990-91Saskatoon (WHL) 7229412 
1991-92Columbus Chill (ECHL) 6425309 
1992-93Columbus Chill (ECHL) 6430304 
1993-94Columbus Chill (ECHL) 6841207 624
1994-95Houston (IHL) 8138358 413
1995-96Houston (IHL) 4212273 
1999-00Knoxville (UHL) 7429414 
2000-01Knoxville (UHL) 7439314 413
2002-03Laredo (CHL) 6441176 1156
2003-04Laredo (CHL) 644888 16115
2004-05Laredo (CHL) 6435223 1697
2005-06Laredo (CHL) 6443156 16124
2006-07Laredo (CHL) 6442175 21147
2007-08Laredo (CHL) 6442193 1174
2008-09Laredo (CHL) 6436235 624
2009-10Laredo (CHL) 64322012 734
2010-11Laredo (CHL) 6624348 
2011-12Rio Grande Valley (CHL) 6632277 514
2012-13Quad City (CHL) 6634266 514
2013-14Quad City (CHL) 66332310 1477
 ECHL Totals
 196968020 624