It was a reunion of sorts during the introduction of the coaching staff for this season's Norfolk Admirals, Anaheim's new AHL affiliate.
Head coach Trent Yawney previously served in the same capacity with the club from 2000-05, when the Admirals were a part of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. Yawney would later serve as Chicago's head coach for two seasons and as an assistant with San Jose for three years. He returned behind the bench last season with AHL Syracuse, the previous affiliate of the Ducks, and guided the team to a playoff berth.
"It's great to be back. I never, ever thought that this would happen," Yawney said. "I go back to in February when we were here with Syracuse and the building was filled. Probably the next two weeks that was all our players talked about, the fans in Norfolk and how much fun that game was to play in."
The assistant coaches under Yawney also have previous ties to Norfolk. Mike Haviland, who has been an assistant with the Blackhawks the last four seasons, previously succeeded Yawney as the Admirals head coach from 2005-07. Fellow assistant Marty Wilford played under Yawney for three seasons in Norfolk from 2002-05.
"When I got the call from 'Yawns' and Bob Murray and heard they were coming back to Norfolk, it was a thrill for me because I love the city," Haviland said. "I had a great two years here. I was excited."
Norfolk had been an affiliate of Tampa Bay since the 2007-08 season. The Admirals captured their first Calder Cup championship last season by sweeping Toronto in the final. Earlier in the season, Norfolk set a record for the longest winning streak in professional hockey with 28 straight victories. With the team now joining the Ducks organization, the emphasis on winning and development at the same time will continue to be focal points moving forward.
"I think it's so important to win," said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, who joined the Admirals coaching staff on the podium at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk on Tuesday. "You learn more when you're winning and have more fun when you're winning. We want our whole organization from Anaheim down through Norfolk to be a group of people who just hate to lose."
Norfolk will open the 2012-13 season at its home arena, the Norfolk Scope, on October 12 against the Worcester Sharks.