16009 Steve Molaski: #23 on his jersey; #1 in their hearts

The many faces of #23 off the ice!

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16009 Steve Molaski being honoured

Royal Military College of Canada is going to honour the best hockey player in college history this Friday night (4 Dec) prior to the opening face-off against the McGill Redmen by retiring the number 23.

Steve Molaski wore that #23 over five seasons for the RMC Redmen where he piled up 205 career points — 81 goals, 124 assists. He is still listed in the Top Ten – all – time in OUA scoring.

The ceremony is scheduled to start at 7PM. Many family, friends and former teammates are expected to attend.

These 30 and others have much more to say about Steve Molaski as a: brother; teammate; officer; friend,mentor, coach and much more…

 

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  • “Steve was a hardnosed and talented hockey player who seemed to come alive on game day.”

Todd Crawford…Childhood friend

  • “Dr. Kirk did a fair amount of recruiting in his days and it was 83/84 where we met at RMC. The team had not performed very well in the previous season in the OUAA.”

Shayne (Wiz) Wisniewski #18 – Redmen teammate

  • “He learned to skate on a backyard rink which my Dad created every winter for us when we were kids.”

Betty Molaski – older sister

  • “After the game, I met Steve, his Mom & Dad and ‘some of his siblings’ as he comes from a large family and long story short he accepted our invitation to visit RMC and the rest is history.”

Dave Honsinger – former RMC Redman assistant hockey coach – Honorary Grad Class of ’85

  • “Steve understood exactly what was going on and made it clear that any member of the team who decided to take a run at her would then have to deal with him.”

5300 Bob Thomas – former RMC Director of Cadets

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  • “I remember kidding him about how I had never seen him on a parade.”

– 4459 Ed Murray – former RMC Commandant

  • “Mo is someone who I not only view as a mentor and best friend, but as the big brother I never had. “

C.D. Downie – Army buddy

  • “I think if you were to ask Mo what event in his time at RMC had the greatest effect on his future he would tell you the first time he went to Gagetown on summer training.”

-16012 Andrew Mott – one of his longtime ‘buds’

  • “When doing the advanced scouting on RMC in my first year has head coach at York one player on RMC stood out, number 23 Steve Molaski.”

– Graham Wise – Currently Head Coach Ryerson Rams – longest serving coach in CIS hockey

  • “He’s supposed to be some big shot ex-player from Ontario.”

Danny Morrison – proud brother-in-law

 

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  • “I know Stephen as the respected officer and outstanding hockey player however more importantly as a trusted husband and father, who married an awesome girl.”

– Cheryl McKinnon – family friend

  • “He had high expectations for his team-mates and you did not want to let him down.”

– 15976 Bill Harris Jr. former Redmen teammate for four seasons

  • “One name kept coming up when the guys would sit around the room telling hockey stories; it was Steve Molaski.”

– J.D. (Derek) Millard – friends from their time serving together in Naples, Italy

  • “I’m not certain anyone at RMC knew “the Dog’s” real name until he was in his fourth year when somebody overheard his mother shout it at a game.”

– 16470 Richard Neumann, aka “Neumie” – Big part of the Redmen hockey team back in the day

  • “If you asked me the best RMC player I coached against it was #23 Steve Molaski . He was a dominant offensive player, and we congratulate him for the well deserved honor.”

– Rob Riley – former West Point hockey coach (son of Jack & big brother of current coach Brian)

 

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  • “I figured out what I needed to do early in the season…get the puck on Steve’s stick anywhere inside the blue-line.”

 – 16888 Al Meinzinger – teammate for three seasons

  • “I remember Steve for most, and I believe many who know him would agree, is that Steve has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known.”

15004 Karl Michaud – long time army colleague and good friend 

  • “He is a notable ex-cadet, an outstanding senior officer and a true friend of the College.”

14458 H.J. (Harry) Kowal – current Principal RMC

  •  “He sucks at Karaoke – still does it but he sucks!”

Giorgio Frausin – colleague from their time in Naples together

  • “If I was asked to compare Steve’s style of play to an NHL player it would have to be Joe Thorton of the San Jose Sharks.”

Tom MacKay – Was Head Coach of the 1987-88 Redmen – Steve’s graduating year

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  • “I had the chance to witness many of Mo’s spectacular plays being on his line for his first two years.”

15565 Gord Plue – winger on the same line for two seasons

  • “I recall that night because not only was it the first time that we were not treated like recruits but it was the first time I got to meet Steve.”

– 16839 Mark Brouillard – Foggy #22 -Redmen teammate

  • “My first impressions were of a cheerful, knowledgeable, and incredibly fit officer, who maxed his physical fitness scores and left all others in his wake.”

Howard Coombs former Commander – 33 Canadian Brigade Group

  • “Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Molaski is a highly respected Canadian Army leader who has served our great nation and the Canadian Armed Forces both at home and abroad with great distinction for the past 32 years.”

14493 Paul Rutherford – Professional and family friend

  • “It brought the room back to reality and business and we accomplished one of our goals in that first game by winning 4-2. Team leadership was established.”

15992 Andre Labrie ‘Buds’ since their recruit days in 1983

  • “Combine effort and raw talent and that is what I saw on the ice for 4 years playing with him at RMC.”

15950 Brian Collict – Started off as ‘rooks’ together and remain ‘buds’ to this day

Read much more what these folks had to say about their: brother; teammate; officer; colleague, friend, and mentor …Here…

Todd Crawford…Childhood friend

“I have known Steve’s family forever. Our parents and families were connected on many levels. Hockey bound both of our large families. I played with Steve twice (Midget AAA and Jr. B Trenton Bobcats 1982-83). He played with my brother Marc on the Cornwall Royals (when they won the 1981 Memorial Cup against my brother Lou Crawford’s Kitchener Rangers team).

Steve was a hardnosed and talented hockey player who seemed to come alive on game day. No matter where he landed, he was able to take his game to another level. He had and incredible quiet leadership quality and a great sense of humour that suited him well and have since taken him to great heights in the military.

Steve has always been humble and has always remembered where he came from.”

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Shayne (Wiz) Wisniewski #18 – Redmen teammate

“I did not know Steve “Mo Dawg” Molaski before RMC. All I knew of him was that he was a Memorial Cup winner while he was in Cornwall.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

After RMC I left the Military as I was RETP and other than the first few year where I returned for Reunion Weekend I never had contact with Mo directly. I just caught up through teammate’s stories of him.

I have many fond memories of Mo.

He was a fair size, had soft hands and a great shot – excellent hockey player.

Dr. Kirk did a fair amount of recruiting in his days and It was 83/84 where we met at RMC. The team had not performed very well in the previous season in the OUAA. If I remember correctly they had 2-3 wins only.

Mo (and the other first years) brought a different perspective to the Redmen that first year.

I remember playing Queens and we were down in the first or second period by a goal and the dressing room was content. RMC had not beaten Queens in something like 80 years and the seniors were content to be close. Mo lead the dressing room discussion with it’s not Ok to be content and close but we need to dig deep and give everything and win the game. We did that that game against Queens. It was quite the celebration that evening.

Mo also had as much fun off the ice as on the ice. That was echoed by all the other first years on the team also. Mo always came ready to play.

We had some great road trips over the years. Europe, Airforce, Westpoint and many other road trips.

Mo would at times lead the bus discussions – both hockey and none hockey discussions.

His leadership from first year through to his 5th was evident both on and off the ice. It was a pleasure playing with him and I look forward to seeing him again on Dec 4th and catching up over a few beers.”

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Betty Molaski – older sister

“I will try to be brief but when it comes to my brother it is very hard for me to contain my pride, respect and the joy he has brought to my life.

I will begin with how he learned to skate on a backyard rink which my Dad created every winter for us when we were kids. Stephen was around 3 years old and would be skated up and on the ice pushing a kitchen chair around the rink. He progressed to Tyke,Novice and Atom house league hockey. I watched all his games and saw quickly how really good he was. I told our Mom that he should be playing on an all star team and so at age 8 he started playing all-star hockey. I have fond memories of travelling up and down the 401 corridor to watch and support him.

Along with family support there were three coaches who trained, motivated and supported Stephen in his minor hockey career. Stephen started out playing defence and it was his Pee Wee coach Lionel Botley who taught him how to play centre. Bob Cooke was his coach in Bantom and he instilled confidence and gave him a very strong desire to play hockey. Floyd Crawford was his most demanding coach who saw the potential and leadership qualities in Stephen. He coached him in Midget and Junior B hockey.

All skills and confidence served him well as he was drafted into the Major Junior Hockey League by the Cornwall Royals. He left home then at an early age 16 I think he was. I used to travel to Cornwall at least twice a week for his home games and watched him when he played in Ottawa and Hull. He has made some pretty good achievements in hockey: Provincial JR,B championship, National Memorial Cup championship and an all star pick in the OUAA while playing at RMC.

Stephen aside from playing hockey throughout the years has coached several minor league boys and girls hockey teams.

He still plays hockey on a line with his son Camron in a men’s’ league in Ottawa. I saw a game last week and it felt great to see them play together.

All this is to say that Stephen through his skills, leadership, determination, support from family and friends has become an excellent Officer and a brave honourable man whom is dearly loved.”

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Dave Honsinger – former RMC Redman assistant hockey coach –  Honorary Grad Class of ’85

I was not aware but pleased to hear that you will be honouring Steve Molaski on Dec. 4 by retiring his # 23 jersey and know that Head Coach Dr. Wayne Kirk would agree that it was earned and most deserving for being a consistent performer and complete hockey player for the RMC Redmen Hockey Club

I remember Coach Kirk sending me out to scout and watch Steve when he was playing in Kingston one evening. After the game, I met Steve, his Mom & Dad and ‘some of his siblings’ as he comes from a large family and long story short he accepted our invitation to visit RMC and the rest is history.

BRIEFLY….”Big Moe”:

* was an effortless skater with deceptive speed, tremendous strength using his physical strength to dominate the opposition;

* exquisite skill & mental toughness & tough physical play;

* consistent performer with high compete level;

* gifted playmaker, great goal scorer with a great shot; and

* exceptional at face offs!!

Steve was a LEADER and gentleman both on and off the ice and I am so happy that he is being honoured and his # 23 jersey retired on Dec. 4th.

NOTE: For me it didn’t end at RMC as Steve would later play for me in Europe when I coached the Lahr Flyers when we won the Nationals and I don’t have to tell you who played a huge and key role in winning the Nationals….yes Capt. Steve Molaski. GREAT GUY….GOOD FRIEND!

Please convey my sincere & personal regards to Steve on the 4th for me okay?”

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5300 Bob Thomas – former RMC Director of Cadets

“While I obviously remember Steve’s skill and leadership with the hockey team which many others may recount better than I can, I have two memories that speak to his personal qualities.

During the summer following his first year, Steve and other members of the hockey team were at the College taking Second Language Training. They rented ice time at a local arena and, to defray costs, invited others to join them. My son, Steve, was playing rep hockey for Kingston at the midget level, and was one of the ones to join them along with some of his team-mates. What I vividly recall is Steve coming home and exclaiming “Dad! That Molaski is really big and strong.” When I suggested that everyone looks larger in pads, he replied “But Dad – he wasn’t wearing any!” He recalls being made welcome, treated as just another hockey player and significantly improving his skills during that period.

The other memory relates to the desire of a Lady Cadet to join the hockey team. There was some discussion between Wayne Kirk and I and it was agreed that she should be given a try-out. It is my understanding that Steve understood exactly what was going on and made it clear that any member of the team who decided to take a run at her would then have to deal with him. The try-out proceeded without incident. It was clearly established that she (and others) lacked the skills to play at that level and were subsequently cut. His leadership contributed to that fair and uneventful decision in no small way.”

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4459 Ed Murray – former RMC Commandant

“Steve graduated at the end of my first year so our time together at RMC was short. I have not seen Steve since he left the College. I remember him a a very pleasant, polite and soft-spoken cadet. He was the best hockey player we likely ever had at RMC but you would never know from the way he conducted himself.

I remember kidding him about how I had never seen him on a parade. There was always at hockey practice or there would be some other reason for him missing drill. I would ask him how he would march off the Square at Graduation given that he had never practiced marching. He would laugh and assure me that he could fake it! I wish I had had the opportunity to get to know him better.”

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C.D. Downie – Army buddy

“I have known William (Mo) Molaski since 2012, when we were both posted to Naples, Italy. Our first meeting was at Villa Maple Leaf, the Naples MFRC, where he was staying while he was awaiting his rental agreement to finalize on his house in Monte di Procida. Bored and without his wife, Cindy, who would follow a month later, I found him sitting at the kitchen table enjoying his Espresso. Being the avid sports fan that I am, I invited Mo to my house that evening to watch NFL football, in which the Pittsburgh Steelers were playing. Unbeknownst to me, Mo is a huge Steelers fan and so the acceptance to my invite was an easy one.

During the course of the evening, Mo and I got to know each other, both football fans, both hockey fans, both golfers and more importantly both hockey players. As we chatted more in depth regarding tournaments in the European theatre, Mo humbly mentioned, upon my prompting, his hockey resume. Starting first with his days of glory in the OHL, defending the honour of the like of Dale Hawerchuk and stepping in for and cleaning up the messes that Doug Gilmour would get himself into, winning the Memorial Cup and moving on to his days at RMC, his recruiting and the lean yet memorable years that ensued while playing for the Redmen.

From those first conversations, a friendship and a comradery began. We started playing golf together in a competitive men’s league at Carney Park, located in Quarto, a suburb of Naples, with both Americans and other Canadians. Regularly, Mo found himself at the top of the food chain, putting good golf players to shame. Some good laughs and great friends were made during our 3 years of playing golf together in Naples.

Eventually, plans were made to put together a hockey team. Mo and I made a pact. I did the managing and goaltending and Mo did our scoring. Comprised of Canadians from the Naples community, supplemented by a couple players flown in from Canada and an American found on the US Naval Support Site, we were able to send a team from 2012 – 2015 to the Annual Armed Forces Alpine Classic in Garmisch, Germany. Due to lack of ice in Naples, we struggled and fought, but made a valiant run at the tournament, mostly being propped upon the shoulders of our RMC bread superstar. This past year, Mo kindly invited an old hockey buddy to join us for “professional development”, former Stanley Cup winning coach Marc Crawford, who was coaching in Zurich Switzerland and with whom Mo played with in Cornwall. Meeting coach Crawford and listening to the stories he graciously shared with us will be remembered for a long time.

Now posted back to the NCR, I feel very fortunate to be able to keep up with Mo. As he is also posted to the NCR, we try to play golf as regularly as possible and have mulled the possibilities of putting together a hockey tournament team during the winter. Moreover, in military life you meet and lose contact with so many people within a limited amount of time, even when posted to the same area, schedules conflict and opportunities to get together become fewer but I have made a life-long friend with Mo. Mo is someone who I not only view as a mentor and best friend, but as the big brother I never had. Mo and his wife, Cindy, are two of the kindest people who my wife, Karen, and I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

The retirement of his jersey by RMC couldn’t happen to a better man.”

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16012 Andrew Mott – one of his longtime ‘buds’

“I met one of my best friends on day one of Officer Candidate School in the summer of 83 as a roommate in 3 Pl. At the time I, like most other rooks, was probably too nervous, awestruck, or overwhelmed to notice that Mo wasn’t any of those things. In that initial process of being “moulded” into something the CF might find some use for, he wasn’t a guy who panicked or lost sight of the goal (even if that was getting to Vancouver for a weekend). He had a focus and quiet confidence that rubbed off on most of us up in that room, or out on some DS inspired “task” that helped us move on through the most chaotic experience of our young lives to that point. He may not have been the top Officer Candidate in that intake, but he helped a lot of us who definitely needed the help.

At RMC

I doubt if recruit term phased Mo much more than CFOCS did, but I wasn’t in his Sqn so I can’t say. We all had our ups and downs over those four years trying to balance the three legs of academic, military, athletics with some semblance of a social life that all 20 somethings need. As a pair of hapless arts men trying to sneak through the pain of comp sci and physics we spent a lot of painful hours “cramming” in desperation during exams. It was always “c’mon shift…look at that formula again….or how did you answer that?…Stephen never gave up, no matter how brutal the outcome was looking, wasn’t in his nature that I ever saw. Of course once the academic pressure was off or hockey wasn’t the immediate focus he knew how to have a good time as well as anyone. The little yellow fiat in the picture attached was all over Ontario, sometimes needing a cheapy repair (muffler bandages from Canadian Tire were a particular necessity) but mostly transferring us to some kind of laugh. Sometimes it wouldn’t start unless you opened the driver door with the key in to make the alarm bell ring. Always an adventure.

From hockey to casual softball he was a natural athlete, maybe more importantly he had a drive to perform or win but never at the expense of his good nature. He would talk about a play or game, or even how to tape/curve a stick but it was always friendly….to improve the team or offer individual advice based on his experience. There were a lot of good players on that Redmen team over his time there, but his experience in Major A made him an unusual commodity in the OUAA, much less RMC. Now it is the norm of Major A players to end up in University hockey but back then they were just starting to make an impact in the OUAA.

I think if you were to ask Mo what event in his time at RMC had the greatest effect on his future he would tell you the first time he went to Gagetown on summer training. I believe it was called Phase II but can’t quite recall. In any case it was his first contact with the Army that changed him and put him into his element. He came back to RMC after that summer, not changed so much because he was still the same guy but now he had a passion which I guess you could say drove him to be the officer he is today. While some of his slacker friends (me) took the easy road of four walls and a bed, he absolutely loved the Army and of course Artillery. He still loved hockey, a good party, hanging with the buds…but if the conversation turned to training and our futures…there wasn’t too much doubt about what he wanted and how he was getting there. Others who trained and served with him can tell you more about that.

After Grad

After grad we were in contact a fair bit. It was the same old laugh except that we were slowly heading off to our respective professions which put some distance between us except for when we got together during leave. His parents (Ken and Dot) were as generous as he was; it seemed that one or the other of his friends was always crashing at his place even if Mo was somewhere else. He was always the best kind of friend to have around, easygoing, generous, and willing to let you know you were full of crap. We both got married to wonderful women, raised families, and went where our careers took us. Like many buds, distance and commitments made it hard to stay in contact as much as we did when we were kids, but with Steve I always knew we could pick up pretty much where we left off with a phone call, so when the opportunity came up to celebrate his hockey career it was a no brainer. Besides we might just relive our 20’s for a brief moment.”

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Graham Wise – Currently Head Coach Ryerson Rams – Longest serving coach in CIS hockey

“When doing the advanced scouting on RMC in my first year has head coach at York one player on RMC stood out, number 23 Steve Molaski.

As a result there was always a number 23 on the board in the dressing room to let the players know who to watch. A power forward with lots of speed and a relentless worker it is great to see RMC retire his number 23.

An honour well deserving for this consummate hockey player.”

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Danny Morrison – proud brother-in-law

“I have been married to his youngest sister (there were 11 Molaski’s) for almost 20 years. I never did see him play in Cornwall or RMC, but I remember hearing about him in Belleville minor hockey circles. He was really good in midget and got drafted to Cornwall in about the 11th round. Cornwall had won the Memorial Cup the previous year and so he was probably not expected to make the team. Well, he did make it and helped them win again in 1981. This is a good example of Stephen, because if you tell him he can’t do something, he will find a way to do it.

I have seen him play a number of times over the years, and the first time I saw him was in Barrie. He was about 32 years old, and was playing in the Canadian Forces championship. He was voted the MVP of the tournament and for good reason. Every team they played had someone trying top shadow him. They weren’t very successful, as Stephen scored a lot and set up even more.

A few years later, we were both living in Edmonton. He was posted there, and Anne and I were working at the U of A hospital ( we are both nurses). Stephen was coaching a PeeWee ‘B’ team and asked if I would like to help him with practices and on the bench. He might be as good a coach as he is a player. These kids were cycling the puck in the corners, and had set plays for breakouts and the powerplay. By Christmas, the kids were unbelievable compared to when they started. I remember the first practice I was at. There were parents standing behind the glass and Steve stayed out after practice to shoot some pucks around. I was standing behind them when one parent asked “where did this guy come from? I don’t remember seeing him coach before”. One of the others said “he’s supposed to be some big shot ex-player from Ontario”. Just then Steve was at the goal line and started firing pucks into the top part of the net at the other end. He hit about 16 or 17 out of 20 pucks into that net, 180 feet away. Then he did a couple of laps full out to finish off his time on the ice. They didn’t have much to say after that. In fact, they all became pretty friendly with him. In the end, these kids won Edmonton minor hockey week. This is one of the biggest tournaments in North America. They were tied in the final game and got down to 3 on 3 in OT. Steve pulled the goalie in OT to make 4 skaters on 3 and they scored to win the tournament.

Did I mention Stephen doesn’t like to lose? Hockey, golf, 1/2 marathons, mountain man race, lacrosse, baseball, wall ball, euchre, tiddlywinks, ….you get the idea. He, and my wife, are the most competitive people I’ve ever met. Stephen and I went to North Carolina golfing a few years back. We had about 7 rounds of golf booked and what fun would it be without a friendly wager? We bet 1 US dollar bill with the words “I am the loser”, with a signature on it. He still has that dollar bill on his golf bag, laminated in plastic, as a conversation piece. It was fun, but when it came down to crunch time, he would bear down and make that shot, or putt, or whatever it took to win. It was one of the best trips I was ever on, even if I did lose the bet.

The best sporting trip I’ve ever been on, was last February, Stephen called to see if I wanted to play in a Military hockey tournament in Garmisch-Partenkirken, Germany. It didn’t take long to say yes. We played in the arena that the 1936 Olympics was played in. Stephen was 51 years old and he made kids half his age look average. He led the team in scoring and although we didn’t get to the finals, we came very close. Once again, every team had someone shadowing him, but it didn’t matter. Our second game, saw a familiar face show up in the dressing room. Marc Crawford, the coach of the Zurich Lions of the Swiss league, and former Stanley Cup winner as coach of the Avalanche, came down to Garmisch at Stephen’s invite (Stephen and Marc played together in Cornwall, where Marc was the captain). He could only play in that one game as he had to get back to Zurich but we had fun. Stephen and Marc scored 7 seconds into the game and we won 14-2.

Stephen is probably in his last year or two in the military. He will be sorely missed, I’m sure, by his colleagues. We, his family, will be glad to have more time with him. He is a great father, brother, husband, and friend. We all love and respect him, and we all look forward to being there on December 4, 2015, as RMC pays tribute to Stephen.”

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Cheryl McKinnon – family friend

“My friendship with the Molaski’s began in the early 1990’s, post the Cornwall Royals and Royal Military College of Canada days, when many of our Canadian families were posted to Lahr, Germany. My instantaneous friendship with Stephen’s wife Cindy, sealed our fate. As the wives of hockey playing military husbands, we had endless opportunities to bond while cheering for our spouses from the stands.

On a personal level, camping, skiing, wine tours, being asked to play extras in a commercial (yes there is a story…) and dinner conversations have led to many tales and highlights of Stephen’s career beginning with his notorious RMCC hockey playing days. Stephen has been graced with many well-deserved opportunities that have influenced the path he travels. He has a wealth of experience to draw from and anyone who knows Stephen, knows how much he enjoys recounting his days of glory which he articulates with impeccable detail; rightfully so.

Like many, I know Stephen as the respected officer and outstanding hockey player however more importantly as a trusted husband and father, who married an awesome girl. Putting a modern twist on the saying “beside every good man; stands a good woman,” dutifully applies.

I have born witness to # 23’s on-ice talent and whether on the ice, off the ice, in uniform or out of uniform, what you see with Stephen is what you get. A humble guy with a playful crooked grin, blessed with skill that sincerely merits a night to honour his prestigious RMC hockey career, which in essence, is where it all began.”

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15976 Bill Harris Jr. former Redmen teammate

“I arrived at RMC the same year as Mo (August 1983). Together with my brother Bob, Andre Labrie, Shane Wisniewski, and Brian Collict, we were part of Wayne Kirk’s largest recruiting drive up to that time. Most of us had played high school hockey or Junior B. Mo was the only one with Jr. A level experience.

For us rookies, the hockey rink was an escape from the intense atmosphere of being a first year cadet! Once we were at Constantine arena we were all equals and there was no pulling ranks. Our record of 5 wins and 5 ties that first year (1983-84) was quite remarkable given the high caliber of the OUAA. To top the year off we also beat West Point convincingly at the Memorial Centre 8 to 5 with all but one goal scored by the rookies! Right from the very start of that 83-84 season, every player felt that on any given day we had a chance to win. This change in mindset was not only due to Mo, but with him on the ice, we knew we had a chance!

Mo is one of the most humble and soft spoken guys I have ever met. You would hardly believe that he was the same person that wore #23. His off-ice persona is very different from that on-ice. On the ice he was determined, focused and always wanted to win. That intensity influenced all of us. It rubbed off on all of us and lifted the play of the entire team. Mo was an obvious leader on the ice. He had high expectations for his team mates and you did not want to let him down. He noticed everything that happened in the course of a game and would complement his teammates between periods or after the game. He would come up to you and quietly say, “that was a great pass in the second period you made to so and so..” or he would say “nice effort on getting the puck out when we were shorthanded..”. A compliment from Mo was genuine and lifted your confidence to play better. On the other hand if you were dogging it, he would let you know without embarrassing you in front of others.

It was a thrill to play with Mo for 4 years. Equally impressive is to see his hard work and determination to give his best as an officer in the CF lead to such a successful career. I am very excited to see Mo honoured in this way. It is certainly merited and having #23 raised to the rafters is a deserving recognition of an outstanding player and gentleman.”

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J.D. (Derek) Millard – friends from their time serving together in Naples, Italy

“I was very happy to hear the RMC will honour Steve with the retiring of his jersey. I know that Steve would be the first to tell you that it is not necessary, but we all know that he absolutely deserves this.

I think it is very important to stop and reflect on Steve’s accomplishments and the way he represented both RMC and the Canadian Armed Forces.

I did not meet Steve until the summer of 2013 when I was posted to Naples, Italy, but I can tell you that since I joined the military the name “Steve Molaski” was synonymous with hockey legend. When I first arrived at CFB Shilo, MB in January of 1991, I played for the 3 RCHA Gunners. During this time, one name kept coming up when the guys would sit around the room telling hockey stories; it was Steve Molaski. They spoke about his scoring records at RMC, his championships in Germany and at the Army Championships.

He was in fact, a living legend!

By the time I left Shilo in 1995, Steve was just arriving, so we never had the opportunity to meet or play hockey together. Then I arrived in Naples two years ago and we had the opportunity to meet Steve and Cindy and we have become great friends.

While in Naples, I had the pleasure to play in a recreational tournament in Germany with some other displaced Canadians and Americans, Steve was one of them. This is where I was able to see Steve’s true competitiveness come through first hand.

Although it was a recreational tournament and our team was significantly under manned, Steve provided the guidance, leadership and competitive edge that took the tournament by surprise. We may not have won, but we turned many heads!

But Steve is not all about hockey. He is an outstanding officer and soldier, a wonderful husband, father and brother and a terrific friend. Congratulations Steve on this most deserved honour, we will definitely raise a glass on the 4th!

Shawna and I wish you, Cindy, Holly and Cameron all the best!

Take care my friend!”

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16470 Richard Neumann, aka “Neumie” – Big part of the Redmen hockey team back in the day

“Stephen Molaski, was many things during his time at RMC. To most of the cadets of the day, he was that big guy who was built like a brick outhouse usually near the league lead in scoring on a hockey team with more guts than talent. To those of us who knew him, he was simply Moe Dog.

In sports, you get a nickname because you fit in, and usually the more respect you have, the more people use your nickname. I’m not certain anyone at RMC knew “the Dog’s” real name until he was in his fourth year when somebody overheard his mother shout it at a game.

Stephen was a hockey player first, a great friend second, and a cadet third, but he was good enough at the first two that the “powers that be” were prepared to accept that order. Interestingly, what made him an outstanding teammate and a better friend, were those qualities that always produce the best leaders.

Stephen was a leader on the ice in part because of his talent, born of soft hands and a powerful stride, and because he hit hard, usually clean, and when at his best, often. He was a leader in the clubhouse not because of the points, but rather because of that inviting grin, that sense of humour, and a determination to win that was for him an expectation every night. He was a great friend because he was always there to pick you up when you were down, and he enjoyed the success of others even more than he did his own.

As a hockey player who had enjoyed so much success on-ice during his days before RMC playing with future Hall of Famers, and deservedly was the most recognized and perhaps most popular cadet of his day. He was also perfectly capable of becoming the best of friends with those who were the opposite of all that. I was a physically challenged short guy who couldn’t skate and spent half his career on Rep PT, however that didn’t matter to Moe. He was never about the accolades, and he didn’t care much for popularity either. He just wanted to be around a great bunch of guys that made him smile, and that he knew had his back.

In the end, Moe Dog was simply too nice off the ice to remain “one of the guys” for long, and eventually as his RMC career approached the end, he began to spend more time with Cindy. We used to say that Moe Dog had become Moe Pup, but it was a good natured joke that Stephen took with his usual humour and timeless grin. What happened to the great hockey player and better friend was inevitable. Cindy merely discovered the guy we had gravitated to from the day we first marched on the square, and he was an even better man for it.

The long bus trips, the occasionally missed curfews, the nights on the town and the days doing what cadets do are distant memories now. RMC builds leaders, and it builds character, and who we are at nineteen is not who we are at fifty, but when you had friends like Moe you could not help but become better for it, and for me, RMC and Stephen will always be one and the same.”

***

15565 Gord Plue – line-mate for two seasons

“I had the pleasure of playing on Steve’s line during his first two years at RMC. During our training camp/tryouts for his first year, there was a ‘buzz’ at the rink as everybody quickly realized that a star quality player had arrived, having previously won the Memorial Cup with the Cornwall Royals. He quickly established himself as a leader on the ice and ‘go to’ player. Other teams would focus on him because of his skill set and being our primary offensive producer; however, Mo’s offensive production never slowed down and he went on to have an all-star career becoming the leading scorer in RMC history.

Mo possessed soft hands, outstanding skills with the puck and a great vision for the game. He regularly produced multi-point games; however, he also brought a tough, no-nonsense brand of hockey to the rink and being on his line enabled you to play tougher yourself realizing that he was there to back you up (having ‘Willy’, Jamie Williams, on the other wing didn’t hurt either!).

Most teams would try to draw Mo into penalties by ‘poking the bear’ and trying to get him to retaliate. Mo was disciplined and rarely let him himself be drawn into unnecessary penalties as we needed him on the ice. However; towards the end of a home game against Queens’ (which if memory serves we won by a goal), one of the Queens’ players was doing everything to get Mo off the ice as he had been a key part of our offence (like most games). Mo had put up with jabs and stickwork throughout the game and especially from this particular player. With seconds left, the play was whistled down and a scrum ensued. All of a sudden this particular player’s helmet is flying across the ice and Mo has him pinned up against the glass with his feet dangling off the ice. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, you didn’t want to be on the receiving end of Mo’s physicality!

I also have a clear memory of our line being tired at the end of a shift, I think against U.of T. Mo possessed a very heavy shot and on this occasion, he carried the puck just over the red line and launched a slapshot as we were starting to peel off for a change. I was directly behind him and will never forget the line of that shot. It went past the unmoving goalies glove side shoulder and was still rising as it went ‘bar down’ for an unexpected goal.

I had the chance to witness many of Mo’s spectacular plays being on his line for his first two years. It was a pleasure, and his production for RMC over his five year career was special and unlikely to be matched in the future.

Congrats Mo on an outstanding career and best wishes for the future!”

***

16839 Mark Brouillard – Foggy #22 -Redmen teammate

“As a young naïve first year cadet trying to survive the couple of months of school I was fortunate enough to have met some incredible people. Steve Molaski was one of them. I was in 8 Squadron (Mackenzie) and he was a second year.

The indoctrination into College life has its share of challenges. I first met Steve when Mackenzie squadron second year cadets took us out for a little night tour of the College. I recall that night because not only was it the first time that we were not treated like recruits but it was the first time I got to meet Steve. He chatted about College life and shared his experiences over a few beers. He may not realize the effect of that night had on this scared and confused RMC recruit. It provided me reassurance that this crazy journey is well worth it.

RMC hockey’s storied history is recounted in Bill and Rolande Oliver’s RMC History Digest. It highlights Steve’s 5 year history as an RMC Redman. His accomplishments still rank among the best, not only for the team, but the OUAA.

Being his teammate for 3 years was an incredible experience. “Mo Dawg” was a force to be reckoned with. He amassed 205 points in his career as a Redman. Teams knew of his talents and had to be aware that at any time he could change the outcome of the game. More importantly, being his teammate raised our level of play and forced us to strive to become better.

Points are one thing. Steve Molaski the person is another. He embodied all the positive attributes that an RMC cadet and should possess. We shared many laughs in the dressing room, on road trips, and on the ice. Mo was a true leader in every sense of the word and had the respect of all players and coaches. More importantly he was incredibly humble. He realized that we were a team and that our success was only going to come from a solid group effort and personal success was secondary. He was more likely to: encourage and not put down someone, to instruct as opposed to skate away, to listen rather than speak without thinking. He was an excellent ambassador of the College and Canadian Forces. I considered him a colleague in the Canadian Forces, a fellow RMC cadet, a great teammate, an amazingly talented player, and most of all a good friend. Thanks for the memories Mo Dawg!

I can only say that the honour being bestowed upon Steve is richly deserved. Nice to know that others feel the same about the number 23.”

***

 – 16888 Al Meinzinger – Redmen teammate 

“During my time as a Redman, I had the pleasure of playing three years with Steve. Without question, he was the most dominant player I played with during my hockey career/life.

I fondly remember playing a full season as Steve’s right winger during his last season as a Redman. I figured out what I needed to do early in the season…get the puck on Steve’s stick anywhere inside the blue-line. He had a rocket-ship slap-shot as we used to say and was relied upon for gunning a goal or two a game.

He is most deserving of having #23 retired as he was the heart and soul of the team for five great years. I am proud to have skated with Steve Mo-Dawg Molaski.”

***

15004 Karl Michaud – long time army colleague and good friend

“Many people know Steve Molaski, or Mo, and I am fortunate, as are many to call him my friend.

Most remember Steve for his prowess on the hockey rink. After all, he played on the same line as Dougie Gilmour when they won the Memorial Cup with Cornwall, along with other NHL greats such as Dale Hawerchuck.

He made a huge impact on the RMC Varsity Hockey team from day 1, and was instrumental in so many Regional and National hockey tournaments throughout his military career. He is a gifted athlete in other sports such as fastball, track and field, and he is even a decent golfer.

Others, know Steve because he is a competent and compassionate officer in the Royal Canadian Artillery. Still others, know Mo for his desire to win, especially in sports, but also during pretty much any type of card game – playing Euchre throughout an entire Rhine River cruise was bad, playing in the parking lot at the rest stop under the lights holding out hands as the cards are dealt was maybe a bit extreme. Imagine what he is like during a poker game.

Still others see Steve as a devoted husband to Cindy, and father to Holly and Cameron. But what I remember Steve for most, and I believe many who know him would agree, is that Steve has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known.”

***

14458 H.J. (Harry) Kowal – current Principal RMC

“I remember Steve Molaski well when we were both cadets.

He succeeded in all 4 pillars, but it was his incredible ability on the ice as well as his leadership (on and off the ice) that always come to mind when I think back to those days.

It is great to see Steve recognized in this way. He is a notable ex-cadet, an outstanding senior officer and a true friend of the College. Well done Steve!”

***

Giorgio Frausin – colleague from their time in Naples togetherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Steve and I were posted to JFC Naples 2012-2015. He’s a phenomenal person and has become a close friend. We have enjoyed vacations together and many nights of sampling fine Italian wine!

Besides his stellar hockey accomplishments, Steve is also an excellent golfer and while in Italy he won the Carney Park Golf Club Senior Men’s title.

Molaski-trivia:

  • He has uncanny ability to recall every golf game he’s ever played LOL!!
  • He is a math wizard
  • He sucks at Karaoke – still does it but he sucks!
  • He’s a HUGE Bruce Springsteen fan and we got to see him perform at an outdoor concert in Naples, Italy

***

Rob Riley – former West Point hockey coach (son of Jack & big brother of current coach Brian)

In 1986 we travelled to Kingston for my dad’s last RMC game in his 36 years. Army had not won in Kingston since 1970. Molaski had four goals (?) as we somehow won 9-7. Not only was he RMC’s best player , but he was as good as any forward we played against in a very tough ECAC conference.

The following year (my first ) we lost 4-3 with Molaski leading the way for the Redmen. It seems like he had the puck most of the game. During the 70’s and 80’s the games in this series were always close with each team winning back and forth.

If you asked me the best RMC player I coached against it was #23 Steve Molaski .

He was a dominant offensive player, and we congratulate him for the well deserved honor.

PS that 86-87 loss was at 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon. That was the last afternoon game at West Point in the series.

We seemed to be better at night, and better after Molaski was gone from RMC!

***

 Tom MacKay – Was Head Coach of the 1987-88 Redmen – Steve’s graduating yearxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

“Steve Molaski a big dominant player in my opinion was the best all around hockey player to put on a Redmen’s jersey.

His points total during his RMC career speaks for itself. He was a great captain of the 1987-88 hockey team who led by example. His leadership both on and off the ice was a very good influence on other team members.

If I was asked to compare Steve’s style of play to an NHL player it would have to be Joe Thorton of the San Jose Sharks.

My congratulations to Steve on RMC retiring his sweater No. 23. It certainly was well deserved.”

***

Howard Coombs – former Commander – 33 Canadian Brigade Group

“I had heard about Steve Molaski’s legendary hockey prowess years before finally meeting him in 2011 when he was appointed the Chief of Staff of the Ottawa-based 33 Canadian Brigade Group.

My first impressions were of a cheerful, knowledgeable, and incredibly fit officer, who maxed his physical fitness scores and left all others in his wake. However, of the vaunted hockey skills I heard and saw nothing until that Christmas – when the officers played the non-commissioned members of 33 CBG Headquarters in ball hockey.

Unbeknownst to me Steve’s competitive streak regarding hockey had kicked in and although the officer team normally lost it was evident that this would not be permitted on his watch. He put together an officer’s team that he trained to take the win that year but did so in a manner that emphasized everyone’s strengths and complemented their weaknesses, forging a team of disparate staff officers into a unified group who had fun playing (and winning) ball hockey.

Although we really never discussed hockey or his involvement with it later that winter Steve and I were at the Senior Staff Mess for lunch when a group who know Steve encountered him making all kinds of allusions to his adventures with the College hockey team. From the conversation it seemed that he had been quite accomplished and when I asked him about it he said he played on great teams.

It was only later that I found out Steve had been the all time high scorer. Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Molaski was gifted leader and an outstanding chief of staff who contributed greatly to our brigade. It was with great pleasure that I heard of the significant honour that this very humble man is receiving from the Royal Military College of Canada with the retirement of his jersey.”

***

14493 Paul Rutherford – Professional and family friendxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

“Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Molaski is a highly respected Canadian Army leader who has served our great nation and the Canadian Armed Forces both at home and abroad with great distinction for the past 32 years.

Steve and I were both cadets at RMC and I remember his dominant role while playing for the “then” RMC Redmen, particularly during the exciting annual matches against the US Army West Point Academy.

It was in Europe in 1989 where my wife and I became good friends with Steve and his new bride Cindy.

Steve led the “Gunners” of 1 RCHA onto much success in the fiercely competitive Canadian Forces Europe Hockey League.

The retirement of his RMC sweater is a tremendous tribute to one “heck” of a hockey player, a great Canadian Army Officer, a superb family man, and friend to so many.”

***

15992 Andre Labrie ‘Buds’ since their recruit days in 1983

“A few words jump off the page when I was asked for a few words about Steve Molaski. Both within the context of varsity hockey as well as throughout RMC life and beyond the words: leadership, humble, inclusion, optimism, loyal, family and commitment all come to mind. Steve was no doubt the best hockey player to ever lace up with either the Redmen or the Paladins. Beyond his hockey ability, his goal scoring touch, and his ability to play a hard hitting game Steve made those around him better both on and off the ice.

I remember as a group of 8 first years on the team, we had set some goals amongst ourselves one evening when we sat by the water’s edge hiding and delaying returning to our respective recruit flights. One of the goals was to beat Queens before we graduated. The reason this was even a goal was based on the fact that 4 of us watched RMC lose to Queens the year before by a score of 17-2 when visiting RMC on a recruiting trip organized by the late Great Wayne Kirk. Fast forward to Jock Hardy arena in late October of 1983 and the end of the second period on our first game against Queens. We were tied at 2 and the senior players were ready to break out the champagne and first years just thought we were in a game. Mo-Dawg pipes up with something to the effect of, ‘if anyone does not think we are going to win this game they should take off their skates now and get the (word censored) out of the dressing room.’ It brought the room back to reality and business and we accomplished one of our goals in that first game by winning 4-2. Team leadership was established.

Family was also very important to Steve and his dad was one of the Reddy’s most loyal fans. I remember when we went to Western to play the Mustangs in a double header right after midterms. We lost the Friday night game 12-2. Steve’s sister hosted us for a night at the University of Western. After making our way back to the hotel in the wee hours, to get a couple of hours of sleep before team breakfast, no one would have thought we were capable of playing hockey that afternoon. Our most loyal fan was the exception. Steve’s dad bet a western fan $100 that RMC was going to win that day. We left the rink with a 3-2 victory, a stunned Mustang team and the Molaski estate was up one hundred dollars.

With Steve at the center of our lineup we had many games like that one in Western where we had no business being in. Even though we relied heavily on his goal scoring ability, he also set the tone for hard work and desire to win. Even in games like that one in Western when anyone would have bet against us including ourselves, Mo-Dawg’s attitude was infectious and there was not a game we played that we did not believe we could win when the puck was dropped. He never took the credit and was the first one to compliment the next guy for a good effort or shift. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honour. Congratulations Mo.”

***

15950 Brian Collict – Started off as ‘rooks’ together and remain ‘buds’ to this day

“Steve and I entered RMC in the same year and my first recollection was during our class’ first 1.5 mile run which was strategically laid out to finish just in front of the Arch.

I was feeling pretty good about myself with about a couple of hundred yards to go because there were probably only about 10-15 other rooks in front of me and I was feeling sufficiently pooped out so I must have been putting in a reasonably good effort.

I looked to my left and speeding by me was this guy who was much larger than myself and sure enough; my first experience with Mo.

Combine effort and raw talent and that is what I saw on the ice for 4 years playing with him at RMC. It was odd for a guy to have brute strength combined with a soft touch, great passing skills and an awesome shot. But there it was every game (I don’t really recall him missing any games due to injury), regular shift, penalty kill, power play.

There was no question the other bench was keying on him every game so his career and statistics to me are that much more impressive. There are more than a few goals I can remember where Mo was being physically abused or had more than one defender draped all over him but he still would persist and make the play.

We had some good success such as our West Point wins, our Ryerson Tournament Championship, our trip to Florida/Alabama, and various regular season wins (not as many as we would have liked!).

The hockey was great, but Mo was and is much more than a great hockey player. He was flat out fun and a great guy loved and respected by all.

It is very fitting and completely deserving that RMC is retiring #23. A pleasure to have played with him, and to consider him a friend.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

  • Rob Duchemin

    December 1, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Congratulations Mo. The Jersey retirement honours the player the words written and spoken honour the man. It was a pleasure to have shared the ice and ride the bus with you. Enjoy Your night!

    Ducky
    Redman 86-90

  • Erik Carey

    December 2, 2015 at 6:18 am

    Belated congratulations Mo on a well-deserved accolade. I’ll always remember the encouraging word and tap on the pads as you rounded the crease on the way back to the faceoff circle. Speaking of pads, my shins still hurt from those booming slapshots. It was an honour to play with you in your 1st year at RMC, along with the rest of that outstanding 1983-84 team. It was good to bump into you and share a laugh from time to time while on Army business over the years after graduation. Once again, heartfelt congratulations on the retirement of #23.
    The Big “E”
    14404

  • Brent Mills

    December 2, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Congrats Steve on being honoured with the retirement of your jersey. Reading through the comments, it’s obvious that you were not only talented as a hockey player but we’ll respected by those around you.