Adam Bruton

Lou Cotroneo Obituary and Death Cause: Age 93, a Former Hockey Coach for Johnson, Passes Away.

Lou Cotroneo Obituary and Death: Lou Cotroneo, a legendary coach and mentor, left an indelible mark on the St. Paul hockey community. Known as “coach” to many, Cotroneo’s passion and dedication to the game made him a cornerstone of the sport in eastside St. Paul. From his days as a backup goaltender for the state championship team to his 20-year coaching tenure at Johnson High School, Cotroneo’s impact on the hockey scene was undeniable. Beyond coaching, he served as an assistant principal, influenced the youth, and even became the VIP greeter for the Minnesota Wild. Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman aptly dubbed him “The Godfather of St. Paul hockey.” Cotroneo’s legacy is a testament to the power of one individual’s passion to ignite a lifelong love for the game within a community. Although St. Paul mourns his passing, his spirit lives on as the heart and soul of hockey in St. Paul.

Lou Cotroneo: A Legacy in St. Paul Hockey

Lou Cotroneo, a name synonymous with St. Paul hockey, left an indelible mark on the community with his passion and dedication to the game. His legacy in St. Paul hockey is one of greatness, as he was not only a legendary coach but also an inspiring mentor and an integral figure in the hockey scene.

Legendary Coach and Mentor

Cotroneo’s coaching career spanned two decades, with 10 years as the head coach at Johnson High School. His coaching prowess led the team to seven state tournament appearances, showcasing his ability to mold talented players into a cohesive unit. Beyond the Xs and Os, Cotroneo was a mentor to his players, instilling in them not only the skills needed to succeed on the ice but also the values of teamwork, discipline, and perseverance.

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Integral Figure in St. Paul Hockey

Cotroneo’s impact on St. Paul hockey extended far beyond the high school level. He was a pillar of the community, contributing to the sport in various capacities. From his role as an assistant principal at Humboldt High School to his involvement in the city’s administration, Cotroneo’s commitment to the youth and the broader community was unwavering. He also made his mark in the professional hockey scene as the VIP greeter for the Minnesota Wild during the franchise’s early years, embodying the spirit of the game at the highest level.

Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman aptly nicknamed Cotroneo “the Godfather of St. Paul hockey” to honor his influential presence in the sport. Cotroneo’s legacy goes beyond wins and losses; he was a mentor, leader, and figure who contributed greatly to the growth of hockey in St. Paul. His impact on players’ lives and community involvement fostered a love for the game that will endure for generations to come.

Johnson High School: Playing and Coaching

Johnson High School holds a special place in Lou Cotroneo’s heart, as it is where his journey in hockey began. Not only did he have the opportunity to play for the school, but he also returned as a coach, leaving a lasting impact on the team and the players.

Backup Goaltender and Coach for Two Decades

During his time at Johnson High School, Cotroneo showcased his skills as a backup goaltender for the Governors’ state championship team in 1947. His talent on the ice was evident, and it laid the foundation for his future coaching career.

After his playing days, Cotroneo returned to Johnson High School as a coach, dedicating an impressive two decades to the team. As a coach, he brought his wealth of knowledge and experience to the players, guiding them to success both on and off the ice. His coaching tenure included a remarkable seven state tournament appearances, a testament to his ability to develop talented athletes and build a winning culture.

But Cotroneo’s impact as a coach went beyond wins and losses. He was a mentor to his players, instilling in them the values of hard work, determination, and sportsmanship. His dedication to their growth as individuals and athletes was unwavering, and his influence extended far beyond the hockey rink.

Johnson High School holds a special place in the St. Paul hockey community, thanks in large part to the contributions of Lou Cotroneo. His time as both a player and a coach at the school left an indelible mark, shaping the lives of countless players and inspiring a love for the game that continues to thrive today.

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Nicknamed “The Godfather of St. Paul Hockey”

Lou Cotroneo’s impact on the St. Paul hockey community was so profound that he earned the nickname “The Godfather of St. Paul Hockey.” This moniker speaks to his influential presence and the lasting legacy he left behind in both amateur and professional hockey.

Influential Presence in Amateur and Professional Hockey

Cotroneo’s influence in the world of hockey extended far beyond the high school level. He made significant contributions to the sport in various capacities, leaving an indelible mark on both amateur and professional hockey in St. Paul.

His journey in hockey began as a stick boy for the St. Paul Saints, a minor-league team. This early exposure to the game ignited a passion within him that would shape his future. Cotroneo’s dedication and love for hockey led him to take on the role of officiating in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, further solidifying his presence in the sport.

However, perhaps his most notable contribution to professional hockey was his role as the VIP greeter for the Minnesota Wild during the franchise’s first decade. As the face of the team, Cotroneo embodied the spirit of hockey in St. Paul at the highest level. His warm greetings and genuine enthusiasm for the game made him a beloved figure among fans and players alike.

But Cotroneo’s influence was not limited to the professional realm. He was deeply involved in amateur hockey, serving as a coach and mentor to countless young players. His dedication to developing talent and fostering a love for the game had a lasting impact on the St. Paul hockey community.

Through his extensive involvement in both amateur and professional hockey, Cotroneo left an indelible mark on the sport in St. Paul. His influential presence, passion, and dedication to the game will forever be remembered and cherished by those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Role with the Minnesota Wild

Lou Cotroneo’s impact on the hockey community extended to the professional level through his role with the Minnesota Wild. As a VIP greeter for the franchise’s first decade, Cotroneo played a significant part in creating a welcoming and memorable experience for fans and players alike.

VIP Greeter for the Franchise’s First Decade

During the early years of the Minnesota Wild, Cotroneo held the esteemed position of VIP greeter. As the face of the franchise, he warmly welcomed fans, sponsors, and special guests, ensuring that their experience at the games was nothing short of exceptional.

Cotroneo’s genuine enthusiasm for the game and his infectious passion for hockey made him a beloved figure among fans. His warm greetings and friendly demeanor created a welcoming atmosphere that added to the excitement and energy of game nights at the Xcel Energy Center.

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Not only did Cotroneo interact with fans, but he also had the opportunity to meet and greet players, coaches, and other members of the organization. His presence and positive attitude served as a source of inspiration and motivation for the team, fostering a sense of unity and pride within the Minnesota Wild community.

Through his role as a VIP greeter, Cotroneo embodied the spirit of hockey in St. Paul at the professional level. His dedication to creating a memorable experience for fans and his unwavering support for the team made him an integral part of the Minnesota Wild family.

Although Cotroneo’s time as a VIP greeter came to an end, his impact on the Minnesota Wild and the St. Paul hockey community will always be remembered. His role as a greeter not only showcased his love for the game but also highlighted his commitment to fostering a strong and vibrant hockey culture in St. Paul.

Retirement from the Minnesota Wild

Lou Cotroneo’s time with the Minnesota Wild came to a bittersweet end in 2009, as he announced his retirement from his position with the franchise. This marked the end of an era and brought a sense of nostalgia to the St. Paul hockey community.

Retired in 2009, Marking the End of an Era

In 2009, after a decade of dedicated service as the VIP greeter for the Minnesota Wild, Cotroneo made the difficult decision to retire. His retirement was met with mixed emotions, as fans and players alike expressed their gratitude for his unwavering support and infectious enthusiasm.

Cotroneo’s retirement marked the end of an era in St. Paul hockey. His warm greetings, friendly demeanor, and genuine love for the game had become synonymous with the Minnesota Wild experience. His absence was deeply felt, and his legacy as a beloved figure in the hockey community remained intact.

Although Cotroneo’s retirement brought a sense of nostalgia, it also served as a reminder of the lasting impact he had on the St. Paul hockey community. His dedication to the sport, his unwavering support for the team, and his ability to create a welcoming atmosphere will forever be remembered and cherished.

While Cotroneo may have retired from his position with the Minnesota Wild, his influence and legacy continue to inspire and shape the future of hockey in St. Paul. His retirement marked the end of an era, but his impact on the game and the community will endure for generations to come.

Lou Cotroneo, a beloved figure in St. Paul hockey, left an enduring legacy in the community. Known as “coach,” he was a dedicated coach, mentor, and leader who made a significant impact on the sport. Cotroneo’s involvement spanned from his playing days at Johnson High School to his coaching tenure and administrative roles. He even had a role with the Minnesota Wild as the VIP greeter. Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman aptly dubbed him “the Godfather of St. Paul hockey.” Cotroneo’s retirement in 2009 marked the end of an era, but his influence and passion for the game will always be remembered.