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Patience pays off for Treliving, Gulutzan

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

He’s intelligent about the game, tactically, structurally. The interpersonal skills is what jumped out to me … his ability to communicate to people, his ability to drive players, and ultimately at the end of the day from my perspective, to maximize the ability each player has, the team has.Brad Treliving

CALGARY, AB -- It took Brad Treliving 46 days, including the day of the announcement.

One month and 15 days.

Over 1100 hours.

More than 66,000 minutes.

Nearly 13 percent of the 2016 calendar, in fact.

But the Calgary Flames general manager is convinced he’s found the right man to manage his bench.

Even if it wasn’t a surprise by the time he announced Glen Gulutzan as new head coach at a press conference at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

“It’s one of Calgary’s worst-kept secrets over the last couple of days,” Treliving admitted.

“We went through a real thorough process in this search. This is an important person we need to bring into our organization. We spent the first while building a profile. What is it we’re looking for in a coach? What’s the best fit? You talk about who the best coach is for a particular team. What kind of coach was our team ready for? We went through a lot of those attributes before we got into the field and the market and talking to people.

“We built a real in-depth profile and started going through the process.

“As you went through it, it became very clear meeting with Glen early that this was a perfect match.”

The former Dallas Stars bench boss has been waiting much longer for another opportunity at a head coaching gig. Three years, in fact.

It was by design, Gulutzan admitted.

Which is why he’s been able to stay patient.

“I really wanted to get back and be a head guy,” Gulutzan said. “You always want to run your own thing. I enjoyed being an assistant. I enjoyed it. The reason I chose that route when I left Dallas, I had other routes I could’ve taken, is I wanted to stay with more experience in the National Hockey League. It’s a different league than any other league. That was the one thing I felt I didn’t have when I was in Dallas.

“Five years later you build up that base and you get to know the league. That was important to me. To run your own bench, run your own staff, put your own ideas, that’s where I get the juice from. You love winning, you love competing, I love having fun.

"At the end of the day it’s nice to be able to run your own thing.”

Gulutzan, 44, has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks.

Prior to that, he served as head coach for the Stars from 2011-13, going 64-57-9 in two seasons but failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He coached the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League from 2009-11, losing in the Calder Cup Finals in 2011. Gulutzan also coached Las Vegas of the ECHL for six seasons, from 2003-09. Las Vegas was the ECHL affiliate of the Flames during that time.

He's learned a lot since.

“When I was hired in Dallas I was two years removed from the East Coast league and I had spent two years in the American Hockey League,” Gulutzan said. “I was a young guy, I was 39. It was a great experience. That was my introduction to the NHL.

“When you’re a head coach it’s a trial by fire. I could write a long list of what I know I did well; I could write a list of what I would change. At the end of the day the biggest thing is experience. Moving onto Vancouver, if you’re talking about experience, it opened the doors to a plethora of coaches. Perry Pearn. I had Curt Fraser in Dallas. Mike Sullivan, who just won the Cup (with the Pittsburgh Penguins). Him and I spent the year together.

“John Tortorella ... Willie Desjardins ... all that is experience. It’s like going to university and becoming an engineer. They’ll all tell you, ‘I went four years and studied my tail off and when I got out I realized I didn’t know a thing about building a building until I went on-site and started to figure it out.’ You can’t replace experience.

“These five years have certainly given me a good base in the National Hockey League.”

Treliving certainly agrees.

Which is why he’s tagged Gulutzan as his next head coach.

“This is an individual who is smart,” Treliving said. “He’s intelligent about the game, tactically, structurally. The interpersonal skills is what jumped out to me … his ability to communicate to people, his ability to drive players, and ultimately at the end of the day from my perspective, to maximize the ability each player has, the team has. That’s the most important quality for a coach.

“We did our homework, the one thing that kept coming back … we talked to all sorts of people that were around Glen in certain areas at certain times of his life, at certain stops, and it was not only the coach but the person who was drilled home.

“A very special person; a very special coach.”

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