By cal fitzsimmons What are your expectations? Just be competitive? Battle for the cup? Did you put the decision about whether to move to Texas to a family vote? I would not say a vote but my kids and wife wanted to stay here in Wenatchee all along. It was tough because of the relationship I had with Bill Stewart. We moved out here last August and absolutely love living here.
If they made a movie about your life, which actor would be best to play you? Sean Connery. In The Rock.
Despite all your success, you were fired in Omaha. It’s an occupational hazard but how tough was that for you? Very tough. We were having a lot of success winning games and moving players on. I learned that owners can change coaches for any reason. I threw up every day for a month and lost 40 pounds after. Glad I had a good contract that kept paying me. It was very hard telling my boy he couldn’t be around the Lancers anymore. Oh man. You have to pretty much build a team from scratch right now. How is that going? It’s exciting. I am lucky that we have an outstanding staff that has put a few teams together.
Get better every week in all areas, win our last game and move players to college. We have a saying here: Do junior hockey better today, better than it’s ever been done before. What do you do for non-hockeyrelated fun? I have a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old daughter that take up most of my and my wife’s time. I do like to play golf and go to the lake. Did you know anything about Wenatchee before you were hired to coach here? I came out to the Robertson Cup when Wenatchee hosted it (2010). (Former coaches) Paul Baxter and John Becanic were friends of mine, so I had what they thought of it.
And they told you they liked it here, I assume. They both liked the area a lot, as well as the people. The travel schedule for this season looks brutal. (Hope you like Midwest winters.) How will you cope with that? Great opportunity for team building. Hats, boots, gloves and a warm jacket.
You’ve coached a few players who eventually were drafted by NHL teams. Do you keep in touch with any of them? Yes, that is the fun part of the job. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in a hockey game? In Billings one year, the lights went out during play in the neutral zone and nobody got hurt. Some comebacks have been pretty amazing, including the one against Jamestown last season here in Wenatchee when we scored two goals in the last minute and won in a shootout. How good were you as a player? Did you dream of playing in the NHL? Dream, yes, but I was an average junior player. I realized quick that the NHL was not in the cards as a player. I did play for some very good coaches. Ideally, would you be playing the former Wild team for the Robertson Cup in the near future? I think that would be a lot of fun. I would think with what they return they will be a favorite to win the league. The kids that went to Texas are great kids that I wish all the best. All the battles we went through last year. I love them all like family. The group we have coming in I’m very excited about. I would like to wish the former Wild players and Bill Stewart all the best down in South Texas. Do Wild fans make enough noise, or do they need to turn it up a couple notches? Wild fans are Awesome and make the Town Toyota Center a great place to play.
Published on Aug 21, 2013