Owatonna hockey is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. Three individuals that were instrumental in the origination of the sport in Owatonna will be honored with their names being connected to the rinks at the Four Seasons Centre. Dudley Otto was the first high school coach for the Indians. Ken Austin and Ken Wilcox each played a huge role in getting the sport rooted in town.

Otto, considered the "Father of Owatonna Hockey," served as OHS coach from 1968 through 1988 compiling a 232-177-9 record and is a member of the Owatonna Athletic Hall of Fame and the state high school hockey coaches hall. Otto assisted in founding the Southern Minnesota Hockey League which is now the Big Nine Conference.

Austin, called the "Godfather of Owatonna Hockey,"  helped found the local youth program in the mid-1950's. He coached midget teams and served in various roles in Minnesota hockey. Austin is also a member of the OHS Athletic Hall of Fame. He was Owatonna's mayor from 1962-66.

Wilcox moved to Owatonna in 1963 and was a youth coach. He was a strong leader in the initiatives to fund and build the Four Seasons Centre in the early 1970's after Owatonna spent its first several seasons without an indoor rink in town. Wilcox also helped lead efforts to add a second sheet. He served many years as the color commentator to Todd Hale for KRFO broadcasts of hockey.

The Steele County Commission game its blessing to the plan of naming the rinks. Their names will be included in the ice.

Owatonna hockey's reunion weekend is September 21-22.

Also read: Owatonna football youth camp is August 6-9.

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