What do you look for when you hire a Head Coach?
What are the criteria when your hire a Head Coach?
For Brian Burke, it’s the single most important decision a General Manager makes.
Burke, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim says it requires the most time and most consideration.
“That’s why this process has lasted as long as it has,” says Burke. “It is such a huge decision for a General Manager. The first challenge for me is to find a coach that matches my intensity level. That’s not easy. I don’t like to lose. In fact, I hate to lose. So, we have to start with a group of coaches that match my intensity level.”
“Secondly, you have to find a group of coaches that match my philosophy on how the game of hockey should be played,” said Burke. “All the things I have been talking about since I arrived here. Dictating the pace, activating the defense, banging in all three zones, fighting when you should, score goals, and basically playing an up tempo, exciting style of hockey.”
“So, you start with a small group,” added Burke. ‘That’s a small group of coaches that meet those two criteria.”
Burke says that Randy Carlyle is a fit on both fronts
“He’s intense and hates to lose,” says Burke. “He hates to lose as much as I do. And he’s committed to the same entertaining style of hockey that I believe this NHL needs to play as we go forward. He plays up tempo hockey, defense are active. Same philosophy as mine. If you don’t have the puck, you should be in aggressive, determined team in pursuit of the puck at all times.”
Carlyle has served in a number of capacities beyond being just a coach. He has been a Team President at the minor league level and a General Manager at the minor league level. Carlyle has been an assistant coach in the NHL, assistant coach in the AHL, and a Head Coach in the American Hockey League. His resume also includes time as a Head Coach in the IHL.
It’s an impressive resume.
Randy Carlyle also enjoyed a wonderful career as an intense, intelligent, skilled, competitive player. He was selected to play in four NHL All-Star games, winning the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 1981.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity,” said Carlyle, after being introduced to the local media on Monday afternoon. “The Ducks will play a high-tempo, aggressive fore check, puck moving style. That’s what we are about. That’s what I believe is necessary to have success at the pro hockey level. Not only at the NHL level, but at the AHL level.”
“Communication, honesty and accountability will be at the forefront,” said Carlyle, who spent last season as head coach of the Manitoba Moose, Vancouver’s primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League. “It will be a staple of our organization.”
How will the new NHL rules affect the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim this season?
Carlyle says the most dramatic change will be the removal of the red line.
“We are going to be an aggressive hockey club,” says Carlyle. “We want to fore check we want to have two men on the puck as much as possible. We want to make sure we are committed to that system. We don’t want to back off on people. We believe the best way to play this game is to be aggressive. To say that we are going to throw defense out the window, I’d be crazy to say that. The new rules are going to open up the game. We should be allowed to get in our fore check easier and close on people without the obstruction, that’s been customarily seen here in the NHL.”
Coaching is something that Carlyle didn’t look at seriously as a player.
“When you are a player, you think you are going to play forever,” added Carlyle. “I played 17 seasons and over a thousand hockey games. Usually there’s other people that make that decision for you. That’s what happened to me. I thought that I would play forever. That didn’t happen. I was afforded an opportunity to stay in a position of management in Winnipeg with the ownership that was there. It wasn’t actually coaching that I was involved in, it started with the color commentary and a member of the media.”
Carlyle spent a year working in the media. Then the organization made a change of General Manager’s.
“I was afforded an opportunity to get into the hockey department,” mentioned Carlyle.
“And that’s really where it started. As we all know, there are different avenues you can take. The avenue I was taking at that time was a management position. Then a year later, they asked me if I wanted to get involved with coaching. And that’s really when it started. Ice level for a coach is the closest thing to being a player. You never forget that. There’s always that feeling that you are going to rink and you are involving yourself with the team. You always have the ability to put those skates on and go out there and play. That’s one of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about the coaching aspect of it. You get to play the game you played for so long.”
Carlyle says the environment the organization creates in Orange County is critical.
“We are going to work diligently to create an environment for our players to have success,” said Carlyle. “It’s all about a program. It’s all about believing in the things we are going to put forward as a team and as a group.”