HOUGHTON - Rodger Moy left Houghton nearly 30 years ago after a stellar four-year hockey career at Michigan Tech that left him eighth on the all-time list for assists, with 98.
Since then, he's had a brilliant career playing amateur hockey in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and on June 3 the 53-year-old forward was awarded Adult Ironman of the Year by USA Hockey at the organization's "Night of Tribute" banquet in Colorado Springs, Colo.
This was the first such award of Moy's career and it's come after a 28-year career with Bucks Unpainted Furniture/Wright Homes adult teams on which Moy has been part of 22 Minnesota State Senior titles and 14 USA Hockey Adult National Championships.
"I was totally overwhelmed and blown away," Moy said of winning the award.
USA Hockey flew Moy out to Colorado and put him up at a hotel. Because of delays at the airport he arrived an hour before the banquet took place. When he got there he was surprised yet again.
"There was probably 700 people there," Moy said. "I thought it would be like 10 guys in a room saying, 'here you go.'
"It wasn't until 20 minutes before the banquet that I realized how big of a deal it was."
Moy said he saw many of the who's who in amateur hockey including Walter Bush, the chairman of the board for USA Hockey, Colin Wilson, the NCAA player of the year, and Lou Nanne, who won USA Hockey's Distinguished Achievement Award.
"It was quite something, a great thrill of my life that's for sure," Moy said.
Moy was nominated by Dave Jensen, whose brother, Pauly, played at Tech and was on the 1976 Winter Olympic team. He said he wasn't expecting to win, but was gracious and let everyone know during his acceptence speech.
"It was about 45 seconds long, I talked about how I was honored and humbled and that when I heard the H word I think of hockey," Moy said. "And also how hockey becomes family and when one person in the family is involved with hockey, everyone is involved.
"The hockey family is everybody that plays hockey, thank you to USA Hockey for keeping the hockey family alive."
Moy said he isn't done with hockey and plans to be right back on ice next season, playing his 29th consecutive year with the full-check hockey team.
Moy also spent time playing with the Portage Lake Pioneers after finishing his career with the Huskies.
This year, his team played against the Pioneers at the National Tournament in Fond Du Lac, Wis., and earlier in the year, had played against fellow Great Lakes Hockey League member Mosinee Papermakers.
He said a trip up to the Copper Country could be in the works for the 2009-2010 season to play against his old team.
"I loved it up there, I miss it, I miss the pasties," Moy said. "Playing at MTU was great."
Moy will continue to hit the ice 3-4 times a week in the Twin Cities area, playing hockey as he has since he was a youngster growing up in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, sometimes inside, and often times enjoying the plethora of outdoor ice available in Minnesota.
"I just love it," he said of playing on outdoor rinks. "That's where you'll find me every New Years."
Michael H. Babcock can be reached at mbabcock@mininggazette. com.