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Getting back to his roots

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
CALGARY, AB -- After over three decades in hockey, it's understandable Clint Malarchuk would be sought out for his expertise.

He has 14 seasons in professional hockey under his belt, 10 of which were played in the NHL. He has worked in a variety of roles in hockey operations, starting out as an assistant general manager for the Las Vegas Thunder before moving onto coaching. Most recently he acted as the Atlanta Thrashers goaltending coach.

Once it became known he was looking for a coaching position in the NHL, he was in contact with several teams but Malarchuk knew exactly where he wanted to be. After interviewing with Flames head coach Brent Sutter and General Manager Jay Feaster, he made his intentions clear.

"I told them 'If you make me an offer, you'll be my first choice.'"

Three days later, that offer came.

"I'm excited, just so excited," he said from his home in Nevada. "It feels so good to be able to say I'm going to Calgary."

For Malarchuk, it's returning to his roots. Originally from Grande Prairie, he made the city his home after he started his playing career in the 80's.

"It's great because Calgary was my home for a lot of years, my off-season home when I was playing," he said. "It's like a bonus to getting the job."

Malarchuk has another tie to the city as he has participated in the Calgary Stampede. His deep love of horses and rodeos led him to taking part in The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Helping out the Stampede Committee by working the bucking chutes during a demonstration held for kids, Malarchuk attended to the animals and assisted the cowboys if they needed anything. Little did he know his involvement would lead him to climbing onto a 1,000 lbs animal whose only objective in life was knock him off.

"It rained and I think they all assumed it was cancelled or something," he chuckled. "I was the only guy there so I got on six bareback horses in a row just because they needed someone to be a test pilot to pull this off."

Everyone around him questioned if he wanted to volunteer himself, especially since he was still playing in the NHL, but Malarchuk shrugged off any concern.

"I said 'I'll do it for the kids, let's go.' It wasn't too bad."

While his return to Calgary thankfully avoids activities that have the potential to leave participants stomped and trampled, Malarchuk is entering a hockey market that is very devoted to its team and has fervent desire to win.

For success to be achieved, all levels of hockey operations have to be on the same page and solidarity through the ranks is the main reason Malarchuk wanted to join the organization.

"When I interviewed with Brent and Jay, I just really liked the feeling I got. I liked the questions that they asked me ... I just loved the communication they had with me and amongst themselves. You can tell there's a really good, solid foundation there.

"To be honest with you, I just flat out want to win a Cup," he told "I wasn't able to get it done as a player so I went into coaching and that's still the goal. And I think I can do that here."
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