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Remembering what Peter Aus left

The impact that Peter Aus left runs far deeper than the stats when it comes to Bethel University hockey.

By Sebastian Studier | Sports Reporter

Peter Aus, the all-time winningest men’s hockey coach in Bethel history, passed away in May after complications from a stroke. Aus totaled 117 wins throughout the 13 seasons in which he coached the Royals. 

Aus had his most successful season in 2007 when he led the Royals to 18-10-1 overall and 12-3-1 MIAC record, Bethel’s first MIAC regular season Championship, MIAC Playoff Championship, NCAA playoff berth and NCAA playoff win. 

Brian Carlson, the current head women’s hockey coach, knew Aus during his time at Bethel and is adamant about how important faith was to Aus. 

“He was certainly a man firmly committed to his faith and to sharing his faith, particularly in the hockey world,” Carlson said.

Athletic Director Greg Peterson also knew Aus during his time at Bethel.

“Peter was a gentle, kind, friendly guy who cared deeply about the kids that he coached and taught,” Peterson said.

Peterson remembers spending time with Aus while he coached at Bethel. Peterson would take runs in the morning with Aus, and instead of calling it a run, Aus would always call it a “shuffle.”

Coach Aus and his assistant coach Carroll stand with the 2005 Royal hockey squad in St. Petersburg, Russia. | Submitted Photo

Chris Carroll is an applied health sciences professor at Bethel who was connected to Aus as he played for him on the Royal hockey team from 2000-04 and also joined Aus’ coaching staff after he graduated. Carroll believes that Bethel hockey would not be what it is today without Aus. 

Bethel hockey, currently under the leadership of Chris Mckelvie, is coming off its first winning season since 2007 with an overall record of 15-11-1 last year. 

“The legacy that he left here in the lives of so many men impacts generations and generations,” Carroll said. 

Aus spoke at Carroll’s wedding and during the speech, he touched on how Bethel didn’t feel like the right fit for Carroll at first. Carroll found Aus’ words very profound because when Carroll came to Bethel as a freshman he struggled with his faith. According to Carroll, Aus met him where he was and loved him for who he was. Carroll has been at Bethel ever since. 

Carroll also remembers how Aus always had his office door open. When Carroll was a player at Bethel, he and his teammates were in his office all the time, simply because they wanted to be around him. 

Chris Carroll was heavily impacted by Aus while he played for him. Carroll was hesitant to decide on Bethel as a college freshman but ended up coming because of Aus. | Submitted Photo

“He built a culture where guys actually cared about each other,” Carroll said. 

Carlson also praised the culture that Aus created.

“What he brought to Bethel hockey was a commitment to developing young men of character and integrity,” Carlson said. 

One of the most prominent aspects of Aus’s life was his commitment to an organization known as Hockey Ministries International. HMI provides offers young players spiritual support while teaching them to play hockey at camps.

Reagan Aus, Peter’s granddaughter, is a freshman at Bethel and plays for the women’s hockey team. She has memories of her grandfather and HMI as he took her and her sister to a camp in Alaska and coached them. 

 Reagan Aus and her sister Georgi with their grandpa Peter. | Submitted Photo

As a coach for Reagan, Aus taught her skating and the simple stuff. She learned how important the basics are even if they are boring sometimes. She always remembers how good her grandfather was at building from the ground up when it came to training her.

“He was very patient as a coach and always encouraging, never discouraging,” Reagan said. 

Carroll believes that Peter “never compromised who he was.” 

“With his leadership, his servant heart, and his dynamic faith in Jesus, he created an environment for success,” Carroll said.

Aus was inducted into the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007. 

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