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Owatonna’s ‘Father of Hockey’ Dies

Dudley “Duds” Otto, the first high school hockey coach in Owatonna and affectionately known as the “Father of Owatonna High School Hockey,” died Wednesday. He was 76.

Otto coached the Indians from 1968 through 1987. At the start of his tenure, Owatonna did not have an indoor arena and held their practices and played their games outdoors or at Shattuck Arena in Faribault. The Four Seasons Centre was completed in 1973.

The first winning season for OHS came during the 1970-71 campaign, going 12-8. The following season, OHS won the Southern Minnesota Hockey League Championship. In 1980-81, the Indians made it to the section finals. The next season they won a share of the Big Nine championship. Otto’s overall record was 232-177-9. Otto was inducted into the Owatonna High School athletic hall of fame in 2013.

Otto played in two state high school hockey tournaments as the goalie for South St. Paul and went on to backstop the University of North Dakota to the national title in 1963. He served as a president of the Minnesota State High School Hockey Coaches Association and was inducted into their hall of fame in 1993. Otto received the Cliff Thompson Award in 1997 to recognize his contributions to the sport.

Several players who skated for him went on to play college hockey.

Duds spoke at the season-opening banquet for the Huskies in December 2016. He told the players to cherish the opportunity to play varsity hockey. The Blue Line Club was formed during Otto’s time as coach when a booster club was still a new concept. He credited the organization for helping build a strong program.

Services for Otto are pending through the Brick-Meger Funeral Home of Owatonna.

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