When we had a chance to sit down with Brad, Brad and Craig, I left the meeting feeling really good about the organization and the potential to work there. - Ryan Huska
CALGARY, AB -- Ryan Huska was waiting for the right opportunity to jump to the pro ranks.
He found it in the form of the Adirondack Flames.
“I’m really excited,” said Huska, who guided the Rockets to a WHL-best 57-11-0-4 record in 2013-14. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity for myself and my family and a chance to work with Brad Treliving, Brad Pascall, Craig Conroy and the rest of the management group there. It’s a thrill for me and I’m super excited for a chance to spend some time with and learn from Bob Hartley and his coaching staff.”
The 38-year-old has spent the past 12 seasons with the Rockets; five as an assistant coach and the last seven at the helm of a Rockets club that didn’t finished below .500 during his tenure.
But when contacted by Pascall about the possibility of fronting Calgary’s American Hockey League’s affiliate, Huska jumped.
“Over the last couple of years, my wife and I have talked about if the chance came about, if the situation fit with us and it felt right, it would be something we would look at,” he said. “When we had a chance to sit down with Brad, Brad and Craig, I left the meeting feeling really good about the organization and the potential to work there.
“It really got me excited about the opportunity and when it kind of came to be, we’ve been nothing but thrilled for the past couple of days.”
Helping the decision along, Huska admitted, was his relationship with Pascall.
The pair have worked together twice internationally, earning silver at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship and bronze in 2012.
“That was comforting for us, for sure,” said Huska, who also won three Memorial Cup titles as a player with the Kamloops Blazers. “I have a comfort with him and I’ve had a chance to work with him, even if it was on a short-term basis. For us, it’s helped a lot in regards to making our decision and feeling really comfortable.”
Calgary, too, is comfortable with having Huska on the farm developing the next round of future Flames.
Trelinving admitted Huska’s ability and reputation for developing talent made him an attractive option.
“He’s been around young players,” Treliving said. “He’s been around elite young players. He’s a teacher. He’s a communicator. Some people talk about teachers and it’s a softer personality. He’s a very firm coach in terms of his beliefs. I really like his ability to teach.
“We did a lot of homework not only talking to people in that organization but going back and talking to a lot of the players.
“It’s about fit. Chemistry is an important thing. There has to be a chemistry with the individual and right from the first meeting, he really fit, I think.”
Huska came to a similar conclusion.
And it’s one that will have him leave the Rockets after a dozen years.
“It’s going to be hard,” Huska said. “Today is a happy, exciting day but it’s also a sad day in that regard. We have so many great people that I’ve had a chance to work with in Kelowna. It’s going to be tough to leave. This is home for us and this is what my kids know.
“That part of it is sad, but the exciting part is the new challenge and an opportunity to work with a great organization. We really look forward to helping develop some prospects and get them ready to play for the Calgary Flames.”