U of S hockey coach retiring as winningest in Canadian men's university history

After nearly 30 years of calling the shots and winning the most hockey games in Canadian university men's hockey, Dave Adolph says he's ready to "take a deep breath and be free for a little bit."

Dave Adolph won 488 regular season games in 28 years with the Huskies men's hockey team

U of S Huskies men's hockey coach Dave Adolph works to get the most out of his players at a practice in 2015. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)

After nearly 30 years of calling the shots and winning the most hockey games in Canadian university men's hockey, Dave Adolph says he's ready to "take a deep breath and be free for a little bit." 

The long-time University of Saskatchewan Huskies men's hockey coach is hanging up his clipboard in the spring after recording 488 regular season wins, most of them with the U of S.

Adolph started coaching the team in 1993, but he also played with the Huskies in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"I really haven't done anything other than the Huskies since high school," he told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"I jumped right into something that I loved and I've been given the opportunity to do it for that long. Every day was a challenge, but it was a great challenge. Time flew by."

His hockey coaching career started with an interview at the University of Lethbridge. Adolph said he went to it on a whim after being coaxed into it by his then-coach.

"I went down just because, you know, a mentor of mine said I might be interested," he said. "And 32 years later, here I am."

No formula to winning games

When asked how he became the winningest coach in Canadian university men's hockey, Adolph had a humble answer.

"I wish I knew."

Adolph said he didn't have a formula, he just surrounded himself with "really good people."

"At the university level, you have an opportunity. You don't have tryouts. You go out and recruit kids. You recruit people who have traits that you're looking for," he said.

"[We] made sure that we continued to keep doing that and winning took care of itself."

As for career highs and lows, Adolph said he doesn't really have either. He said he never won a national championship, but many of his players won awards and the team won a "boatload" of conference championships.

More specifically, Adolph and the Huskies won seven Canada West titles, along with two national silver and four national bronze medals.

His players weren't the only ones to win awards, either. Adolph was named Canada West Coach of the Year four times, along with U SPORTS Coach of the Year in 2017.

Now, with nearly three decades of coaching and numerous accolades behind him, Adolph said he's ready to spend more time with his wife and pass the torch to the next coach.

"The tradition continues," he said.

"The next guy is going to be bigger, faster, more skilled than I am, so I look forward to the next opportunity to watch them continue to evolve."

With files from Saskatoon Morning