Initial thoughts on joining the Thunder organization
I’m very excited. Obviously there’s a great hockey tradition in Adirondack so it’s good to join that. I know the ECHL is new but the AHL has been there for a while.
On moving up from a video coach position to an assistant coach role with the Thunder.
I’m looking forward to the added responsibility and also getting back behind the bench. With Portland I did a lot of video and I was able to get on the ice for practice and everything but I wasn't behind the bench for games, so I’m really looking forward to that, digging into it a little more on the coaching side for sure, and still using all the video stuff. I know that’s a great tool to have and video is so important these days, and I think that experience is key. I’ll certainly still be using that. It'll be nice to dig into more responsibilities and get behind the bench and get a little bit more involved.
What was your experience like at the AHL level in Portland?
It was great, the Coyotes organization is first class, and they treated me really well. I was part of it from the beginning, starting off as an intern and moving my way up a little bit, it was great. It was a great learning experience, the coaches are awesome the NHL and AHL and everyone was good with teaching and helping me learn. I got to travel with the team and be really a part of everything it was a great stepping stone to move on up here to Adirondack.
Describe your coaching style to someone who doesn't know you.
I’d say I'm a player’s coach. I'm still fairly young so I can still connect with players, I'm not that much older than a lot of the guys. I’m very analytical, I like stats, I like being able to have evidence to tell players things and not just go completely on a feel. I really try to communicate well at their level, I don't want to talk down to anybody or anything like that, I mean obviously there are times you do have to come down on players but for the most part I just like to have a chat and have them deal with some ownership.
You’ve got a pretty unique background at this level as you didn't play professionally. What is it like for you to be able to go into the coaching field with something that isn't the “cookie cutter” mold for a coach at this level?
It’s always going to be a challenge as people tend to prefer players or people who have played, which is understandable because that experience is invaluable. I guess the only thing I can say to that is instead of playing, I’ve been coaching for seven or eight years now, so I've been gaining experience that way. I did play in high school, then went away to college and didn't play there but I do have experience within the game. I think it’s good to bring an outside look and have a different perspective on the way things are done. I think new ideas are always good. You're starting to see more and more people “outside hockey” starting to join different organizations in general. Jon Cooper down in Tampa Bay really helps. He wasn't really a “hockey guy” and he obviously had a lot of success in his career and that certainly helps guys like me.
Many other coaches in other sports take the path you’ve taken. What’s your end goal?
I would love to have the opportunity to be an NHL Head Coach at some point in the future. It takes a lot of hard work and some luck to get there but I’m certainly willing to put in the hard work and I’m excited to continue that path here with Cail, helping him out and learning a lot from him. Obviously I have a lot to learn and I know Cail is going to be really good about helping me learn how to be a Head Coach and how to coach at the professional level. I’m really excited.
Is there anything you're looking forward to as you come into the Glens Falls area?
My first ever game with the Pirates during my first year three years ago was actually in Glens Falls, against Adirondack. There are some fond memories [in Glens Falls]. I’ve been once or twice a year with the exception of last season as Adirondack was in the Western Conference. I’ve also spent some time in Saratoga and some time Lake George. It’s a wonderful area, I’m from upstate Vermont so it’s going to be very similar just to enjoy the outdoors and obviously the people are always great, it will be a great environment. I’m definitely excited to get involved with the community and be a part of upstate New York.
What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming season?
I’m just really excited to get to know the guys and build a team together, it’s something you need in the ECHL, as you’re building from scratch a lot of the time. It’ll be good to get the group together and start building towards having a successful season. It’s the first year of the ECHL in Glens Falls so it’s going to be exciting to show the town what it’s really like, and that it’s not much different from the AHL. It’s an exciting time for an inaugural season so it'll be really good. To be working with Cail and the rest of the crew will be a lot of fun too.