By Dan Ninham
Historically, Warroad, Minnesota was a large Ojibwe village on the Lake of the Woods at the northwestern tip of the state bordering Manitoba. The Dakota invaded the area to attempt to take over the wild rice fields on the lake. The Ojibwe and Dakota would battle on the “war road” that ended at the mouth of the river and village that derived their names.
NBC Sports filmed a recent documentary on Warroad, MN Hockey. The title is “The Road Through Warroad”. The story tells about how a small town produced so many Olympians, NHL and D1 players. Darrell “Son” Shaugabay was one of the leaders of Warroad hockey that was featured in the film. Shaugabay, 53, (White Earth Nation) was born and raised in Warroad, MN. He graduated from Warroad HS and then attended Bemidji State University for two years. He moved back to Warroad, and has lived there ever since.
“I started coaching hockey, baseball and football when I returned to Warroad,” said Shaugabay. “I coached football for two years and baseball for only one. Hockey became the favorite sport to coach for me. I coached at the Pee Wee (12-13 year olds) level for 19 years. The highlights of that tenure were the three state tournaments that our team made it to. This was at the time that there was a two-class system in hockey. So we had to compete with all the big schools.”
“I coached Bantam (14-15 year olds) hockey for two years. The highlight was coaching my oldest son Jason. I then started coaching Mite hockey (ages 6-8).”
“I was asked to join the girls’ varsity hockey staff. I was an assistant coach for five years. Highlights were two state tournament appearances with two third place finishes,” added Shaugabay.
“I spent the last four years coaching with the Warroad HS boys’ varsity hockey team,” said Shaugabay. “The highlight so far is making it to the State Tournament this past year and placing 4th in the Class ‘A’ tourney. It was 10 years since Warroad’s last appearance at the State Tournament. I’ve had a total of 34 years coaching hockey in Warroad, MN.”
Shaugabay’s eldest son Jason was a standout freshman forward for the Warroad Warriors this season. In 28 games, he scored 30 goals with 39 assists for 69 total points.
“I have worked with a lot of good athlete’s and coaches in my 34 years of coaching,” said Shaugabay. “I have helped develop over 40 NCAA D1 players during my time in coaching.”
“I have Grandmother core values,” said Shaugabay. “Grandma Shaugabay taught us to be honest, caring, and hard working. Her and my Grandfather Shaugabay left the White Earth Reservation in the mid-60’s for work and they settled in Warroad, MN. They taught us values that were very important. Those values have been with me as a young athlete and I have taken those values to how I coach and approach life in general.”
“I have one major leadership model I follow,” said Shaugabay. “I call it the ‘A.P.E.’. This is based on what you can control as an athlete or person. A= Attitude, P= Preparedness, E= Effort. If an athlete works hard on these three things, they will always be successful in whatever sport or extracurricular activity they participate in. I teach young men and women that this philosophy will translate in life when the sports are done.”
“Another philosophy that I get to my teams is: Discipline, Structure, Hard Work, and Skill. This is a great recipe for success. There is so much meaning in each of those words, and I teach the kids as much of those meanings in the time I have with them.”
“My definition of success is simple,” said Shaugabay. “You become a better person each day, you will be successful. If you choose to have a good attitude, prepare, and put forth the effort you will be successful in life and in sports.”
“I believe a good story is the commitment to help kids,” said Shaugabay. “I have coached all these years as a volunteer coach. The rewards are great when you’re doing things for a greater good, and when you serve others.”
To see, The Road Through Warroad, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGP91g4O2Uw