Curt Giles, Edina Highschool Hockey Coach, stands behind the bench with his arms folded and dressed in black. He watches the game with a steely intensity that never wavers.
It’s the unflinching gaze of the North Stars defenceman, who was a pioneer in jolting hip checks on Met Center ice over 30 years ago. He also earned three team MVP Awards.
He’s trying to lead Edina Highschool Hockey towards a third consecutive state title. His team is steeped in excellence in sports. Willard Ikola (ex-Edina coach, who won eight state titles and is known for his houndstooth cap nicknamed “Champ”) doesn’t have that record.
Giles is a familiar figure to Minnesota sports fans, but few people are aware of him.
Ikola was proud to have Iron Range roots. Giles, however, was born in Canada and never played high-school hockey. He enrolled at Minnesota Duluth when he was 16. Brian Lawton, a former North Stars teammate, described him as a type of one-liners and “the greatest guy that you don’t see around very often.” Edina players recall a coach who they could share a joke with but was also a tough taskmaster.
Giles’ physical appearance was not a reflection of his 5-8 frame. He was neither the fastest nor most skilled player. Giles was a tireless air fryer memes player who survived. He is a coach as well as a player, insisting on consistency and treating all bench players the same way he treats goal-scorers.
Giles is still an outsider, even though he’s now in his 16th season at edina highschool hockey. Giles was subject to a petition for his removal before returning Edina back to the championships. He is not a teacher at the school. He does not participate in the influential association of boys’ hockey coaches, which is eager for his input.
Giles, 56 years old, said that if you truly care about the best interest of the children and the best interests the program, you will be able to survive. He was ranked 18th among active Minnesota high-school hockey coaches with career wins.
Giles was a fearful and even frightening figure to the edina highschool hockey Varsity players. They were afraid of the dark visage and the yelling, and they felt helpless.
They learned that Giles’ personality was characterized by humor and willingness to make sacrifices for the team. Giles, as a player, had his left ring finger amputated at his knuckle closest to his hand in order to remove a painful tumor. This was just in time for 1986’s playoffs. He tells stories about his playing days, and he scolds junior forward Garrett Wait for smiling too often. He is fair.
Senior defenseman Ben Foley stated, “Practice to practise, no one’s place is safe.” “He doesn’t give any special treatment to anyone, which makes for a really great team dynamic.”
Edina’s legacy is its team success. In its 30 year history, no Hornets player received the Mr. Hockey award. Edina highschool hockey is not lacking in talent. Wait has verbally committed Minnesota to Wait; Dylan Malmquist, Notre Dame, and Henry Bowlby, St. Lawrence are also college bound.