It is another level of the game for Zoltan (Toots) Kovacs. A fixture within the local hockey community for decades, the 60-year old Kovacs has enrolled with the Sault College Cougars men’s team as an assistant to head coach Mike Hall.
A retired youth justice worker, Kovacs has been both head coach and associate coach with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and an assistant coach with the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. His most recent gig was with the Sault Major Hockey Association as its AAA league director.
“When Mike (Hall) and Mark (Hebert) approached me about joining the Sault College program I knew right away it would be a good fit,” Kovacs told Hockey News North. “I have worked with both of them over the years, Mike with Sault Major and Mark with the Thunderbirds and they are two gentlemen who I have a lot of respect for.
“I talked it over with my wife (Diana) and she gave me her full support,” Kovacs added.
Sault College is the only Canadian-based men’s team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association and the Cougars won the national championship in 2019.
Hall, as the Sault College head coach, said he is “excited to welcome Zoltan to the Cougar family.
“Zoltan brings a wealth of knowledge from coaching at the OHL and NOJHL levels,” Hall added. “Zoltan is a very committed person and enjoys working with young men and seeing them achieve their goals. We are excited to have someone with Zoltan’s ability join our staff.”
And Hebert, as manager of hockey operations for the Cougar men, can’t say enough about Kovacs.
“Toots comes with a lot of experience, a 100 per cent commitment level and shares the same passion to player development as Mike Hall and myself,” Hebert relayed. “Having worked with Toots in the past, I believe we are very fortunate to add such a person to our program.
“He will command a tremendous amount of respect from the players. Toots is a player’s coach. I also believe Toots will support, compliment and work very well with Mike Hall,” Hebert added.
PHOTO: Toots Kovacs (right) on the bench with the Soo Thunderbirds of the NOJHL. (Photo by Bob Davies.)