HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – Longtime Houghton Head Hockey Coach, Corey Markham, announced Thursday that he is retiring after spending 25 years behind the bench leading the Gremlins.

Markham released a heartfelt statement announcing his retirement, giving thanks to his loved ones and reflecting on his journey with the program.

“After long, hard consideration, I have decided to officially retire as the Head Hockey Coach at Houghton High School. This was not an easy decision. I have spent half my life, the past 25 years (24 as Head coach, 1 as Assistant) behind the bench for Houghton and I have absolutely loved every minute of it. I have poured my heart and soul into this program and I am extremely proud of the culture we have created. WORK ETHIC AND BE A GOOD PERSON are at the core of the program.

I would like to thank each and every one of the players that played for me over all these years. You have all touched my life and I cannot thank you enough for your time and effort. We are known as one of the hardest working teams in the state because of your willingness to punch the clock and work when you were at the rink. I am so proud of so many of you who I know have created outstanding professional careers, become loving husbands and devoted fathers. THANK YOU.

To my wife, Mandy. Words cannot describe what you mean to me for all you have done four our family over all these years. Being a coach’s wife is not easy and so much goes with that title that many don’t understand. You live and die with the team, had to deal with me when I wasn’t able to shut it off when I got home and you have taken heat because of decision I had to make. Yet you were always my support system. The amount of responsibilities that fell on your shoulders during hockey season is not really fair, but like the players, you punched the clock and you did it for me and our family so I could do what I loved. I cannot THANK YOU enough.

To my children, Daityn, Camden and Kiara. You are my life. Thank you for being my biggest fan ALWAYS. I could not be more proud of all of you an cannot thank you enough for putting up with me when I was crabby at home over stuff that happened at the rink and you had no control over. THANK YOU.

To all the Assistant coaches that worked with me over the years, your help and dedication to Houghton Hockey mean the world to me. Micah Stipech, Jeff Finger, Brent Peterson, Jimmy Pietila, Jeff Markham, Todd Mattson, Connor Hannon, Hunter Rajala, Marcus Gloss, Vincent Pietrangelo, Carter Edmundson, Patrick Aldrich, Terry LaJeunesse and Joe Burcar, THANK YOU.

I have loved my time coaching High School hockey in Michigan and have created man lifelong friendships that I will always cherish. My next chapter in the short term will be as a Dad, watching Camden carve his path in hockey and watching Kiara in all her high school sports, volleyball, basketball and softball. I wall also continue to teach and coach boys golf at Houghton.

To the Houghton community, THANK YOU for all the support you have given me. The season this year was so super special and I will never forget it.

Coach Markham”

The Houghton Gremlins finished a historic season 26-2 and made a run to the state semifinals before falling to East Grand Rapids.