Special Thanks To Dreux Zimmer
Freddy Meyer is in his first season as an Assistant Coach with the Manchester Monarchs after a productive nine-year professional career as a defenseman in the NHL and AHL spanning 418 games. He joins a Monarchs team that currently sits in first place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division (As of Nov. 21).
LAKings.com had a chance to chat with Meyer about his shift from player to coach, what it takes to succeed at the professional level and his personal experience winning the AHL’s Calder Cup in 2005 with current members of the Kings organization.
Q: You’re in your first season as an assistant coach after nine years in the pros. How’s the transition from player to coach going?
A: I think so far it’s been going pretty well. Mark Morris, the head coach here in Manchester, has made the adjustments really easy for me, and really welcomed me onto his staff. He respects everything I have to say about the game, and my knowledge of the game. It’s been fun working with him and working with the guys, and trying to develop them and make them better players.
Q: How do you like being back in your home state of New Hampshire?
A: It’s good! I grew up on the other side of the state, but I kind of feel like my career has gone full circle playing youth hockey in New Hampshire to now coming back to the “Granite State” to coach here. It’s definitely a positive and it’s been fun being back in New Hampshire and working here.
Q: Talk about you experience winning the Calder Cup in 2005 with current Kings Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, led by current Kings Assistant Coach John Stevens, and what that meant to you.
A: That was a great year. That was another lockout year just like we’re going through now and the American Hockey League was probably the best league up until this year in terms of NHL guys on each American League team, and the competition was very demanding every night. In Philly, we had a great team, and Carter and Richards joined us late in the year on our postseason run. Obviously, it’s memorable to be a Calder Cup Champion, and [Philadelphia] has great fans, and we had some great games in the Finals against Chicago. All around a great experience and it really gives you a taste of the carrot at the end of the trail, and obviously to a great extent what L.A. got to experience with the Stanley Cup.
Q: Which of your young players has impressed you the most so far this season?
A: I think it would be hard to pinpoint one guy. There are a lot of extremely talented kids down here that all have great potential. It’s just a matter of them to continue to work on their game everyday and practice everyday. Just become true professionals. Show up early, work hard, put the extra time in and do everything it takes to reach the next level. I think the most important thing that I have preached to a lot of these guys is, obviously do everything you can now, but once that door opens up into the LA dressing room, hit the ground running and be prepared for it. I’ve been impressed with a lot of the young kids that are here. They’re all great kids and hard workers, and it’s a testament to the LA scouting department of guys they’ve drafted and pulled into the LA organization.
Q: Knowing the grind of an AHL season personally, how do you keep your players motivated?
A: Well I think this year it’s fairly easy, at least it should be fairly easy without the NHL right now. Every game we play and every game we continue to play you see a lot of NHL scouts, there’s GM’s, and there’s upper management from a lot of different NHL teams that are watching all these games. That should really fuel these young men to show up, prepare and play the best hockey they can because there are a lot of eyes watching, and if you can play well this year in the American League, you’re really setting yourself up for a chance at the NHL once the doors open up.
Q: What do you see as your toughest challenge as a coach this season?
A: The toughest challenge for me will be transitioning from playing to coaching, and I’m just learning on the go here as much as I can. I’m trying to develop my coaching resume, and my “what I feel works” and “what I feel doesn’t work.” But like I said, it’s been an easy transition with coach Morris behind the helm. He has 30 years of coaching experience and a wealth of knowledge that I’ve leaned on quite a bit, and I think that is the hardest part for me is just to come in here to understand the game from a coach’s perspective and ultimately try to get these young men to become better players.
Q: What does it mean to you to be affiliated with the Kings?
A: It’s a great honor. When this opportunity became available it was a great honor to have a chance to come to Manchester and work also with the Kings organization. I’ve been in organizations myself over the years playing wise, but everything from the top down has been done correctly. They treat the players in Manchester extremely well and so far it’s been an excellent experience.