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Women's Hockey head coach Rick Osborne will retire at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season (Credit: Eva Ou)
Women's Hockey head coach Rick Osborne will retire at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season (Credit: Eva Ou)
WHKY head coach Rick Osborne set to retire
WATERLOO, Ont. (January 8, 2018) - Following an illustrious career that spanned 15 seasons behind the bench of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s hockey team, head coach RICK OSBORNE has announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2017-18 campaign.

Since joining the Golden Hawks as their head coach midway through the 2003-04 season, Osborne has gone on to enjoy arguably the finest coaching career of anyone in the history of Laurier Athletics and Recreation. He has won nine Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Championships and one CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Championship, including winning seven conference titles in a row between 2004 and 2010. During this time, he has accumulated 412 wins in non-conference, regular season and playoff action, ranking him fourth all-time on U SPORTS career coaching wins list for women’s hockey

“Rick has a coaching record of achievement in women’s hockey that has made a mark on Golden Hawk Athletics history,” said Wilfrid Laurier University director of athletics and recreation Peter Baxter. “He has had a major influence on shaping our department’s reputation that has made Laurier a destination for women’s sport excellence.”  

Osborne’s career with the Golden Hawks began midway through the 2003-04 season. He took over a program that had consistently been among the top teams in OUA women’s hockey since joining the conference in 1994-95, and turned them into a powerhouse, not only in Ontario but in the CIS as well. In his first year, he led the purple and gold to their third conference title in team history but that was just the beginning.

Over the next six years, Laurier was the cream of the crop in the OUA under Osborne, winning the next six OUA Championships while losing just 11 times in 151 regular season games. In 2004-05, the first year of that stretch of success, Osborne would guide the Hawks to the program’s first and only national championship, winning all five playoff games while outscoring their opposition 19-3 in the postseason, including a 4-1 victory over the Alberta Pandas in the CIS gold medal game.

While teams in the OUA got more competitive as his career progressed, Osborne and his team’s simply continued to win. Following a surprising loss in the OUA Semifinals in 2010-11 to end their championship win streak at seven, Laurier bounced back to win two of the next three conference titles in 2011-12 and 2013-14. The success also continued at the national championship where Osborne and the Hawks qualified 10 times, adding three silver medals and one bronze medal to the gold captured in 2004-05.

During his time with Laurier, Osborne oversaw the recruitment and development of some of the best student-athletes to ever don the purple and gold. Five of the top seven scorers in program history played for Osborne including Andrea Ironside, Katherine Shirriff, Lauren Barch, Laura Brooker and Andrea Bevan. He also coached one of the top goaltenders to ever play in the CIS in Liz Knox, who is the only player in team history to earn national Player of the Year recognition. In total, a Laurier student-athlete was named an OUA All-Star 42 times during his tenure while 11 times a player was recognized as a CIS All-Canadian.

Off the ice, Osborne’s impact was also evident on his student-athletes as had 37 players named CIS/U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians over the course of his coaching career.

“He has been a great mentor and coach pushing his student-athletes to achieve excellence in academics, their sport and in leadership within the community,” added Baxter on Osborne’s influence during his time with the purple and gold. “One of the highlights of my own career was celebrating on ice with my 12-year old daughter with Rick’s 2005 national championship team and that inspired my daughter to go on to have her own career at Laurier where she was eventually mentored and coached by Rick.”

Prior to his time at Laurier, Osborne coached at a variety of levels, including winning a Canada Games gold medal as head coach of the Ontario women’s under-18 team in 1995. His career also saw him make stops with the Mississauga Chiefs and Milton Merchants. A founding member of the National Women’s Hockey League, Osborne also served as a talent evaluator for the national women’s team and coached numerous members of Team Canada, including Olympic gold medalist and Laurier alumnae Cheryl Pounder.

As he enters the twilight of his coaching career at Laurier, the numbers don’t lie when it comes to the success he has enjoyed with the purple and gold. A career .774 regular season winning percentage, the best among any Laurier coach with at least five full years with a team, a career goal differential of +685 and earning OUA Coach of the Year recognition five times, the most of any OUA women’s hockey coach since the award was first handed out in 1997-98.

Osborne and the Golden Hawks, who have 12 games remaining this season, will play five more times on home ice before the team’s regular season home finale on Saturday, February 10 against the Queen’s Gaels. Prior to that contest against Laurier’s long-time rivals, Osborne will be recognized for his 15 years with the purple and gold.

RICK OSBORNE: By The Numbers (as of January 8, 2018)
256-81-10 Career Regular Season Record (W-L-T)
9 OUA Championships
1 CIS Championship
5x OUA Coach of the Year
11 CIS All-Canadians
2 CIS Major Award Recipients
42 OUA All-Stars
8 OUA Major Award Recipients
37 CIS Academic All-Canadians
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