The Monroe Moccasins have been absent for two decades. And yet, there are still people with ties to Northeast Louisiana’s hockey team in the community.
“Yeah, it was a little bitter for me, because the team was folding, and I had to put some grown up pants on say ‘Ok, this is enough playing sports, ‘” says former Moccasin Darren Dougan.
20 years ago, the final siren sounded for Dougan and the Moccasins. After a four-year stay, the team was no more.
“It kind of forced me into retirement, ” says Dougan. “And, it wasn’t my decision. I didn’t like that. I kind of wanted to hang up the skates when it was my choice.”
Dougan, now an insurance agent played four seasons in Monroe. The former center ended his time with a career 80 goals scored. His memory takes him back to when team’s former home, the Monroe Civic Center, was rocking.
“All of the lights were off, and the music was playing, ” says Dougan. “And the place was just packed. And, I looked at whoever was behind me and I said, ‘Man, this is going to be a heck of a place to play.’ We went out and won that game. And, it was an awesome atmosphere.”
The fun lasted until 2001. Despite selling a record number of season tickets, the Monroe Moccasins folded.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to guarantee that the owners wouldn’t sustain a loss. And, Todd Newman was a big owner then … Todd tried to get the city to back him up some, had no efforts from that. Todd loved the sport, and the team.”
Over two decades later, Dougan has is own team at home. His son, Dillon, formerly played football for OCS. But, that’s just one of the real reasons he’s still here.
“Well, it’s a little ol’ thing called a southern woman kept me here. That’s what happens, I guess, ” Dougan jokes. “The team folded. I had an opportunity to go play elsewhere. It would’ve been selfish for me to ask [my wife] for her to go with me to play a couple of more years, when she’s already established herself.”
The Moccasins are gone. But, the memories will last forever for Darren Dougan.
“You know, maybe there was a reason why I came to Louisiana. Just wasn’t to play hockey, and sometimes you figure those things out in life.”