For all the success the Muskies boys’ hockey team enjoyed throughout the 1980s, former head coach Terry Ogden doesn’t consider the two OFSAA championships to be the height of his legacy.
Ogden, when speaking of former player and current Lakers’ assistant coach Bob Mainville, made it clear he looked to the type of people the players became after they left high school.
“When I look back at coaching, you don’t look at who become hockey players,” he said. “You look at who become good citizens and good people, and I consider Bobby a good person and a friend.”
Mainville, 43, went missing following a boating mishap on Rainy Lake on Canada Day. His body was recovered late Sunday morning.
“You spend a lot of time with those kids, and you get attached to them,” said Ogden, emotion in his voice.
Lakers’ head coach Wayne Strachan remembered his long-time assistant as a quality coach. But his first thoughts about Mainville also were more about his character than his athletic ability.
“Bob was always a caring gentleman, a good friend, a funny guy that had a fun-loving spirit,” Strachan recalled. “If you had the chance to know him, he was a solid individual and a friend to everyone.
“He had a big heart and opened it up to everyone that he respected.”
Strachan said Mainville’s easy-going nature was an asset to the Lakers as he was able to keep a bit more of an even keel than the other coaches in tumultuous times.
“[He was] a reasoning voice that could keep me calm behind the bench and focused at times when my mind was maybe going in the wrong direction toward a referee or a teammate,” Strachan explained.
“He always seemed to be able to calm me down and keep me in the right direction for the team.
“He knew the game and was very good with the players, and how he treated them and helping them learn and develop the game,” Strachan lauded.
“He was the guy that would go into the room during the games if I was too upset or too mad to deal with the way the team was playing, he was the reasoning voice.
“I’m going to miss him a lot for that.”
Strachan also recounted the different tactics Mainville used to help drive the squad, especially in times of struggle.
“If we were in the low part of the game, he had a way that could get to the boys and reach them to get them motivated,” Strachan noted.
“Whether he did that with a story, or a serious speech, or by going in there and lightening up the room with a funny joke or a funny saying that could maybe take their mind away from what was happening on the ice and regrouping them to take the ice in the next period or on the next shift.”
In terms of x’s and o’s, Mainville held the duties of getting the Lakers’ attack on track. And Strachan felt his assistant was starting to pick out the intricate details of the game in more recent times, pointing to his development as a coach.
“Probably in the last two years, he really grew as a coach in watching video and watching NHL games, and picking little things up that could benefit our team and help us in offensive areas, especially in the power-play area,” credited Strachan.
“He played the game his whole life and was a very talented player, and one-on-one with the players, he was exceptional in the way that he could pass along the finer details that might give them the edge against an opponent to maybe get a shot away or open the ice up to get a pass to one of their linemates.“
Off the ice, Mainville was an OPP officer for seven years, and was helping the Windigo family deal with the tragic death of Clayton “Beef” Windigo earlier last week.
“He demonstrated sheer compassion and understanding for the Windigo family,” lauded Sgt. Marty Singleton, who worked with Mainville throughout his career.
“Bob was actively involved helping out the family there, and went beyond just being a police officer but being a real good person for them.
“He had a great rapport with people, and I’m sure that’s evident with the number of people that he knows in Fort Frances,” Sgt. Singleton added.
Cst. Guy Beaudry, Mainville’s partner while working on the general law enforcement beat, credited Mainville for being dedicated and hard-working, but also noted his sense of humour.
“We always shared laughs,” reminisced Beaudry. “We were always joking, playing jokes.
“He touched a lot of lives in Fort Frances and the area.”
Ogden, meanwhile, remembered Mainville as a Muskie hockey player in the heyday of the black-and-gold as the pair won three silver medals at the all-Ontarios in 1982, 1984, and 1985.
Mainville served as assistant captain in 1984 before taking the reins as captain in 1985.
Fort High was able to reach the zenith of provincial hockey dominance in 1986, capturing the championship.
Ogden noted while Mainville may not have been on the ice for the gold medal, some of the effects of his time with the team still remained with that title squad.
“The guys who were there in ’86 were all his good friends and he shared that with them,” Ogden remarked.
“Even after Bobby graduated, we won it [the OFSAA championship] in ’86 and he met us at the bus,” he added.
“He was a Muskie through and through.”
Ogden credited Mainville with being a positive force in the dressing room, getting along with the special mix of Muskies that Ogden was able to coach throughout the decade.
He felt that there was just something extra that clicked with some of the teams from those seasons, and Mainville was a big part of that in his years with the team.
“Bobby was always jovial and always had a smile on his face,” Ogden recalled.
“The kids all got along so well. We had quite a mixture of kids and they bonded well.
“Bobby always fit in whether he was the young guy or when he was the old guy,” Ogden said.
Strachan said the Lakers haven’t decided yet what to do going forward in terms of a new assistant coach since the team remains in mourning.
“At this time, we’re just sticking together as friends and family,” he said.
“We’re not going to rush into any decisions as far as the team goes,” he stressed.
“We’ll have to sit down and see what direction we want to go in, and if we do add another assistant coach, who a candidate would be, and how they could help our organization and the coaching staff out.”