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Meet the Housleys: One wants a Cup, the other a governorship

One is a senator. The other is a coach.

She would like to become a governor. He would like to win the Stanley Cup.

Talk about goals.

When Hall of Fame defenseman and Buffalo Sabres legend Phil Housley was named June 15 as the team’s new coach, his wife, Karin Housley, was present and proud. She shied away from interviews that day, but Karin, who, like her husband, is 53, is hardly a private figure: She is the owner of a successful real estate company in Minnesota, an author and a media personality, and for the last five years, one of the most powerful politicians in her home state.

Karin Housley, a Republican, is a member of the 67-seat Minnesota Senate. She has spoken about running for governor, which would be the next big step in an aspirational career that began in Buffalo. It would also be the next plaudit for a husband-wife team that is a true power couple.

In a story published earlier this month, the Minneapolis Star Tribune dished the background of the Housley’s relationship: They started dating as seventh-graders in South St. Paul, Minn. That early romance was interrupted by a break-up, but they got together again for their senior prom.

That was in 1982. Shortly after graduating high school, Phil joined the Buffalo Sabres, launching what would become a two-decade career as an NHL defenseman.

Sabres hire Phil Housley as coach, bring back piece of history

Karin, meanwhile, enrolled in Augsburg College in Minneapolis, but she soon transferred to the University at Buffalo. She married Phil in 1985, graduated with a communications degree from UB in 1988 and worked in behind-the-scenes newsroom roles at WGRZ and WKBW.

In 1990, the Sabres traded Phil to Winnipeg. The next year, Karin moved to Canada with her husband and, according to one of her real-estate websites, “surrendered to motherhood.” (The Housleys have four adult children, ranging in age from 19 to 30.) The family lived in eight cities over the next 10 years, and Karin Housley developed a keen interest in finances. She started an investment group for women and wrote a book for Random House titled “Chicks Laying Nest Eggs: How 10 Skirts Beat the Pants Off Wall Street … and How You Can, Too!”

That was 2001. Phil had a couple of years left in his playing career, which he spent mostly in Chicago, but Karin moved back home to Minnesota with the kids for school purposes. She also earned her real-estate license and started building her business, Karin Housley Homes. She became a media figure as well, writing a newspaper humor column and hosting a Saturday morning radio show.

In 2010, Housley decided to run for the Minnesota Senate as a Republican. She lost that race, but ran again and won in 2012.

Today, state Sen. Housley represents Minnesota’s St. Croix River Valley. The duration of her political career nearly overlaps that of her husband’s pro coaching career, which began in 2013 when he became as assistant for the Nashville Predators.

After paying his coaching dues, Phil Housley cashes in with Sabres

Karin Housley has goals as lofty as her husband’s. Like every NHL coach, he wants to lead his team to a Stanley Cup. Karin, meanwhile, has brushed aside suggestions that she run for a seat in Congress or the U.S. Senate, according to the Star-Tribune.

She took to Twitter on Friday to say that her husband's move behind the bench in Buffalo will not affect her job.

She would rather aim high in her home state. Karin has strongly considered running for governor, perhaps as soon as 2018, though her husband’s new job could affect that timeline.

“I think a first female governor would be really cool, but with Phil’s situation up in the air, that might have to come later,” she told the Star-Tribune in that early June story. At the time, Phil and his then-team, the Predators, were in the Stanley Cup finals.

Whether her run comes sooner or later, or if she changes course and doesn’t pursue the governorship at all, this is certain: In the Housley household, the concept of goals is not limited to hockey.

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