Terry Ruzkowski – Athlete
Leadership has been a quality of Terry Ruskowski at every level of his hockey career.
Born and raised in Prince Albert, Ruskowski played all of his minor hockey in the city and from 1964‑69 he was a member of all‑star teams at each level as he progressed through the ranks.
At the age of 16, Ruskowski made the jump to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League where he was second in team scoring with the Humboldt Broncos and was named the top rookie and most valuable player in the play‑offs. In 1971, Ruskowski joined the Swift Current Broncos of the Western
Canada Hockey League and during his rookie campaign he qualified for the league all‑star game and was named the Broncos’ most popular player. Ruskowski captained the Broncos for the next two seasons and played with the likes of Bryan Trottier and Dave “Tiger” Williams. During his final year of junior eligibility ‑ 1973‑74 ‑ Ruskowski led the Broncos in scoring with 40 goals and 93 assists. He was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL draft, but opted to join the World Hockey Association’s Houston Aeros.
While in Houston, Ruskowski was captain for three years and helped the Aeros win the Avco Cup in 1977. Ruskowski’s teammate in Houston was none other than the legendary Gordie Howe. In 1978, Ruskowski played with the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA and helped that team win the Avco Cup.
When the WHA folded in 1979, Ruskowski headed to Chicago to play with the Blackhawks. He was captain of that team for most of his four year stay and in 1983 he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings where once again he quickly assumed the team captaincy. While in Los Angeles, Ruskowski was presented with an award for showing inspiration on and off the ice by his teammates. Ruskowski then moved on to Pittsburgh where he was a teammate of Mario Lemieux.
Ruskowski was captain of the Penguins in his second year with the club, but he was traded to Minnesota before the Pittsburgh dynasty began. Ruskowski played for two years in Minnesota before retiring in 1989.
Hockey was still in his blood, however, and he jumped at the opportunity to coach the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. Ruskowski stayed two seasons in Saskatoon before moving on to the East Coast Hockey League where he guided the Columbus Chill for three campaigns.
Ruskowski completed the full circle in 1994 when he became head coach of the International Hockey League’s Houston Aeros.
A tireless volunteer for charity work and speaking out against drugs and violence, Ruskowski is rightfully being granted a place in the Prince Albert Sports hall of Fame in the athlete’s category.