Former professional hockey netminder and coach Rick Szabo enters his fourth season behind the bench after returning to the Trojans in 2019.
Szabo was instrumental in the founding of varsity hockey in Troy in 1996, and led the team as inaugural head coach until 2007.
A native of Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, Szabo came up the hockey ranks as a butterfly-style goaltender, sharpening his skills in the Ontario Hockey League before turning professional and embarking on a career between the pipes lasting over a decade and seeing minutes played at nearly every elite level of the sport, including stints with the major-league WHA Cincinnati Stingers and time with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs at camp under legendary coach Roger Neilson.
An avid golfer in the warmer months, Szabo was working as a teaching professional at a country club in Kitchener, Ontario in 1982 when he received an offer to join a newly formed lower level professional club in Troy, Ohio named the Sabres. As a member of the Troy (and later Miami Valley) Sabres, Szabo helped the team win the 1986 Walmar Cup Championship, to date Troy's only professional sports championship claim.
Rick would return to the storied halls of Hobart Arena in the early 90's, helping lead the local youth hockey program and was instrumental in the formation of house leagues, introducing the sport to countless local athletes in the process.
In early 1996, a group of dedicated parents approached Szabo about the formation of an OHSAA varsity hockey program at Troy High School, along with then-athletic director Tom Mercer, established the Trojans on the ice as members of the fledgling Southwest Ohio High School Hockey League. Competitive level hockey had returned to Hobart since the Sabres left town seven years earlier with an inaugural win against newly founded Dublin High School on a cool November evening.
Szabo would continue to grow varsity hockey as a sport both in Troy, and regionally, as he provided guidance to several area high school hockey program foundings, notably Beavercreek who joined the OHSAA in 1997 as well as several Columbus-based schools at the end of the decade.
As the new Millenium rolled along, Szabo was fortunate enough to coach both his son JT and daughter Chelsea as members of the varsity hockey team, while continuing to grow the opportunity for Troy student-athletes to compete at a high level of the game.
At the conclusion of the 2007 season, Szabo was selected as coach of the OHSAA Senior All Star Game at Nationwide Arena, leaving the bench with a final win until returning for the 2019-2020 season.
Rick and his wife Gaye reside in Troy.