Doug Sauter grew up in Fairlight, Saskatchewan, became a professional hockey coach and spent 14 years, 1995-2009, coaching the Oklahoma City Blazers. The Blazers folded last year, and Sauter is the only remaining employee of Bob Funk’s Express Sports. Sauter plans to interview with the Edmonton Oilers to coach their American Hockey League franchise that will open play in Oklahoma City this October. Sauter talked about Oklahoma City, hockey and its place in his beloved Canada, which still is celebrating the Olympic gold medal in hockey, won with an overtime victory over the U.S.
Pretty proud nation today. The game itself was very, very exciting. Most-watched single program in the history of (Canadian) television. Most of the towns were ghost towns. A day people will remember where they were when (Sidney) Crosby scored the overtime goal. Most Canadians think hockey was invented here. It’s our national game, much like baseball’s America’s game, football’s America’s game, basketball’s America’s game. We feel hockey was started here. It’s the Motherland of hockey. I think the world really respects the United States as more of a hockey power than they did before. I think they have proved themselves very much as a hockey power. Hockey is a game that can be played by ordinary men. Much like baseball. It’s a game anybody has a chance to play. You can be 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-6. The other thing, it’s the fastest game played, with the skaters skating. The game itself is a fast-moving, hard-hitting game. The only game left where there is fighting in the rules. Bullies can’t intimidate teams without fear of retaliation. That’s what fighting is. Retaliation. Oklahoma City is a city of people. Probably one of the most friendly, down-to-Earth cities there is. It’s got a western heritage feel to it, which fits my lifestyle. The hockey history of Oklahoma City has been great. We’ve got a strong base. The new team, I wish ’em all the luck in the world, and we’re back on the hockey map. It’s a pretty unique place. The culture, the history. I can’t think of a better city in the United States to live in.