RALEIGH, NC— Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that Greg Stefan will become the head coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers, while Tom Barrasso will join the Hurricanes full time as the team’s goaltending coach.
Stefan re-joins the Plymouth Whalers after more than two seasons with the Hurricanes, first as Goaltending Coach/Pro Scout, and more recently as Assistant Coach/Goaltending Coach. Stefan began his coaching career in 1993 with the Detroit Junior Red Wings, who later became the Plymouth Whalers. He served as an assistant coach until 1998, and re-joined the Whalers as director of player development and assistant coach in 2003. The Plymouth Whalers are one of Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr.’s three hockey teams, which also include the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.
Barrasso joins the Hurricanes full-time as the team’s goaltending coach and will continue to serve in his role as director of goalie development which he has held since September 2007. An 18-year NHL veteran, Barrasso won consecutive Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992, and ranks 13th in all-time regular-season wins (369). The Boston native won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) and Vezina Trophy (top netminder) following his rookie season with Buffalo in 1983-84, and represented the United States throughout his career in various international competitions, including the 2002 Winter Olympic Games while he was playing for the Hurricanes.
Tom Barrasso Q&A
On his new role
”It totally changes the fact that I had no reaction with Cam or John besides training camp, and they are now going to be the primary responsibility for what I do, so that changes everything. I’ll still try and keep an eye on the entire goaltending situation throughout the organization. We’ve had really good success with all our guys in the minors, and I’d like to try to keep that going by maintaining contact with them and catching their games on DVD, and if I get the opportunity to see them live that would be great as well. Obviously the big club is now the primary responsibility.”
On Hurricanes goaltenders Cam Ward and John Grahame
“I like them both as people. They’re both good guys and their teammates like them, and that’s really an important aspect of being a goalie in this league is having guys that want to play for you. Really my job now is to start collecting information on them. I’ll go back and probably watch the last six games or so to start and build a database for what I see for each player. My philosophy is very simple: we want to take what you do well and make sure you continue to excel at that, but then find out what you’re not as good at and really work on those things to make you a better player. These guys are obviously not young kids anymore, they’re successful professionals, so it’s much more of a fine-tuning process than it is a real learning experience that you have with the kids in the minors.”
On how his personal experience will help him teach others
“I think you can teach successfully without playing in the National Hockey League or playing goal at any high level, per se. I think what I bring that someone who doesn’t have that experience doesn’t is that I have a pretty good idea of what’s going through their mind most of the time and I know the difficulties that they face on a daily basis.
It’s a very stressful job being the goaltender, you’re the last person back there.
I think I relate well to that feeling, and my job is to make sure they feel good about themselves and they’re ready to play and give the team the best chance to win every night.”