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Gulutzan serving as guest coach in Memorial Cup

by Mike G. Morreale

It didn't take Glen Gulutzan very long to find a role behind the bench following his release as coach of the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

Less than 24 hours after new Stars general manager Jill Nill fired Gulutzan, the 41-year-old was preparing to serve as a guest coach for the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League at this weekend's MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament in his old stomping grounds of Saskatchewan.

Blades coach and general manager Lorne Molleken reached out to Gulutzan last month when Joe Nieuwendyk was fired by the Stars and inquired about the possibility of his assisting the host Blades at this year's nine-day tournament.


May 17, 8 p.m. ET - London vs. Saskatoon

May 18, 7 p.m. ET - Portland vs. Halifax

May 19, 7 p.m. ET - Saskatoon vs. Halifax

May 20, 8 p.m. ET - Portland vs. London

May 21, 8 p.m. ET - Halifax vs. London

May 22, 8 p.m. ET - Saskatoon vs. Portland

May 23, 8 p.m. ET - tiebreaker game, if necessary

May 24, 8 p.m. ET - semifinal game

May 26, 7 p.m. ET - championship game

The WHL champion Portland Winterhawks, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Halifax Mooseheads and Ontario Hockey League titlist London Knights join the Blades for a chance at winning the Canadian Hockey League's ultimate crown. The quartet of teams will play May 17-26 at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon.

The tournament opens Friday when the Blades play the Knights at 8 p.m. ET. Last year, the Knights lost the Memorial Cup final in overtime, 2-1 to the Shawinigan Cataractes.

Gulutzan played for the Blades in 1992, serving as captain for a team that reached Game 7 of the WHL final before losing to the Kamloops Blazers. Molleken was Gulutzan's coach back then.

"It's one of those things where you don't want to prepare for [being fired]," Gulutzan told The Star Phoenix. "Certainly with the change of Joe Nieuwendyk, who was the guy that hired me and Jim Nill coming in, I had a pretty good idea that there was going to be changes.

"When a new GM comes in, he wants to bring in his own people."

Gulutzan told the paper he hasn't decided on his next move following the four-team round-robin tournament. He admitted he is "taking it easy" between full-time jobs.

"[I'm here] to give some feedback and some ideas," Gulutzan said. "Just to stay out of the way, but give them a fresh perspective. If there's anything I can help with as far as some of the systems they're running, I'll take a look."

Gulutzan also said returning to the area brought back some fond memories.

"Right away when I walked in here, I heard somebody yelling my name," he said. "I haven't been in [the Credit Union Centre] since 1993. It brought back some real good memories. It's good to come back to where it's familiar."

Saskatoon is making its second appearance in the Memorial Cup and second as the tournament's host. The Blades hosted the 1998 event, dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Swift Current Broncos in the tournament championship.


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