Friday, February 19, 2016

Kodiaks' "Chugger Era" draws to a close

Steve "Chugger" Dietrich (left) has had a huge impact in the lacrosse world.
Here he poses beside his National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame plaque.
It was only a matter of time once the announcement came that Major Series Lacrosse's Kodiaks were moving from Kitchener-Waterloo to Cobourg, but it was still a sad day for the franchise when Steve “Chugger” Dietrich officially resigned as the team's head coach and general manager this week.

When I told Chugger about the plan to relocate the Kodiaks to Cobourg he committed to staying on until the Cobourg management team could find his replacement,” said Al Orth, who owned the team from the time it was founded as a Sr B club in KW in 2003 until he sold the majority interest in it to a Cobourg trio. “I reluctantly accepted his resignation fully understanding that being GM and Coach of a team 200 kilometres from home was impractical.”

Dietrich had also been associated with the Kodiaks since the team was created. “As a goaltender he led the team to a Presidents’ Cup National Championship in 2003 and again in 2005 when he backstopped the team through a perfect 14 and 0 postseason, including limiting B.C. to a mere three goals in the gold medal game,” Orth says.

In fact, Dietrich played a huge role in the team even before it existed. “My mother and Al Orth had talked about a Sr lacrosse team for a couple years prior to the Kodiaks coming into existence as they both wanted a place for there sons to play at home,” Dietrich said.

Sadly for Dietrich and the KW lacrosse community, his mother never got to see her dream realized. Ruth Dietrich died of cancer on Christmas day 2002.

Obviously my most favourite memory is being able to live out my mother's dream and play senior lacrosse in our home town and then of course winning the presidents cup at home in 2005,” Steve Dietrich adds.

Chugger has been the cornerstone of the franchise from its inception,” Orth says. “His contribution as GM and Head Coach cannot be overstated. He has a lot to be proud of, most importantly he should be proud of the key role he played in making his mother's dream of establishing a Senior team in KW come true.“

Over the years, Orth says, Dietrich became more than an outstanding player, coach and GM. “He has also been a loyal and valued friend. On behalf of myself and co-owner Mark Haskins I want to thank Chugger for his commitment, dedication and outstanding contribution to the Kodiaks.”