attended his first NHL training camp in 1989 with the New Jersey Devils
, the team that took him in the second round of the draft that season.
The Devils gave him a small binder with their logo on the cover, filled with various introductory tidbits. In the two decades since then, Skalde has kept that same binder within arm's length, cramming it with whatever useful tips, drills and various handouts he harvested in his journey across the hockey universe.
"It's a little crinkly, some edges are folded over," Skalde said. "I've always been a guy who's kept stuff. I've always wrote stuff down. I knew it'd come in handy at some point."
Now that point is here. Skalde must figure out where in that manual it tells him how to take over an ECHL champion and keep it molded into peak form.
"I entered the NHL as a top-prospect guy. I became one of those in-between guys, to a role player. I've filled a lot of different roles. You learn from everybody. I know stepping in (to coaching) after I retired, this is what I wanted to do. This isn't a convenience thing. This is a passion for me."
-- Jarrod Skalde
That's Skalde's mandate after the Cincinnati Cyclones, Kelly Cup winner in 2008 and 2010, named him coach Thursday. Skalde, 39, had been coaching Bloomington of the IHL since retiring as a player two seasons ago.
"When you can enter a situation where they've had success, the people in the organization are highly motivated, that's an ideal situation for me," Skalde said. "This organization works extremely hard. I'm looking forward to keeping this train on the track."
If the Cyclones wanted a new boss who won't be surprised by anything, the hiring already is a success. Even by the standards of the most extreme journeyman's career, Skalde has packed a lot of suitcases.
Skalde, a former center, played 115 games with eight different NHL teams -- New Jersey, Chicago, Anaheim, Calgary, San Jose, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia. He also played professionally in the IHL, AHL, Switzerland, Sweden and Japan during a professional career that spanned more than 1,000 games.
He's a five-time team captain and seven-time assistant captain. Among the coaches he played for are Herb Brooks, Ken Hitchcock, Bill Barber
and former Cincinnati Stingers great Robbie Ftorek
"I entered the NHL as a top-prospect guy," Skalde said. "I became one of those in-between guys, to a role player. I've filled a lot of different roles. You learn from everybody. I know stepping in (to coaching) after I retired, this is what I wanted to do. This isn't a convenience thing. This is a passion for me."
Step back is a step forward for Goldie
-- Before he could move on, Wes Goldie
had to backtrack quite a bit.
So earlier this week he and his wife loaded up their three children, all their belongings and a hamster into two cars and a U-Haul for the 2,600-mile drive from Victoria, B.C., to his hometown of London, Ont.
The plan is to relocate everyone in London, and then when the season starts, Goldie will fly alone to join his new team, the Alaska Aces.
"I was hoping it would take us five days, but that ain't going to work," Goldie said in the middle of his adventure. "We've been going pretty steady right now, eight, nine hours a day. It's sad and exciting at the same time. It's sad that the Victoria era is over, but now we're excited for our new journey."
Goldie, a 31-year-old forward, didn't get any going-away parties from the Salmon Kings despite setting or tying 30 franchise regular-season and playoff marks during his four seasons there. Victoria wanted to bring him back despite stripping him of his captaincy, which Goldie said was fine by him. But when Goldie felt the organization made some disparaging personal remarks, he thought it would be better for him to uproot his entire life than stay there.
"I'm fine with everything. It was my decision to leave," Goldie said. "They seemed willing to part with me. I didn't feel it was a place I was very welcome. I decided to take matters into my own hands and leave."
Goldie's relocation to Alaska represents a search for at least a little stability. He's very familiar with that side of the ECHL, and instead of looking for a team closer to his family he decided he'd rather keep playing out west.
"We've had a lot of decisions to make, a lot of different changes," he said. "We wanted some things to stay the same. It (being away from his family) is one of the sacrifices you have to make. It's in the best interests of the family for them to put their roots back in London. It's definitely not a good situation, but it's something I had to do."
Dean ready to take charge in Trenton
-- After four years of watching how it's done, Kevin Dean
finally gets to run a team of his own.
New Jersey has tabbed Dean, 41, to coach its ECHL team in Trenton this season. Dean spent the past four seasons as an assistant in AHL Lowell, including last season under first-year New Jersey coach John MacLean
. Dean's professional playing career spanned 12 seasons, beginning in 1990-91, including eight with the Devils' organization.
"My opinion is the hockey side will be the easy side of it," Dean said. "Managing the personnel side of it is what separates the good coaches from the not-so-good coaches. I think I've always been a good communicator. The one thing I learned last year from John MacLean
is accountability. They (the players) want to know what they do well and what they don't do well."
Dean said he was hoping to start as a head coach in the AHL, but realized he owed it to his players to make sure he is ready before getting that kind of role.
"This is my first kick at the can," he said. "If I make a mistake, there's a lot at stake there (for the players)."
In other coaching news, Wheeling has named John Wroblewski
as its new assistant coach. Wroblewski comes to the Nailers after coaching in the United States National Team Developmental Program since 2007.
Call of home motivates Lampl, 'Cody's Crew'
-- "Cody's Crew" will ride again in 2010-11.
The group's captain is Idaho defenseman Cody Lampl
, who has re-signed with the Steelheads. The worker bees are students at Boise's Frank Church High School who tend to listen when Lampl talks.
Lampl spent a few hours a week at the alternative high school last year trying to encourage students to meet academic and attendance goals. The Steelheads backed him up by donating tickets to those who cleared the standards. Lampl became so popular and his group was so enthused that together they became known as "Cody's Crew."
"It's just a great way to get kids to show up and stay in school," Lampl said. "It's tough in their situations to even show up to school -- they are working or taking care of younger siblings. I really believed in what they have going there. It's also good for our teams. People want to support a team where players give back to the community."
Lampl feels a tug from the area because he's a part of it. He grew up in Ketchum, Idaho, about 2 1/2 hours from Boise, and feels obligated to show that success can start at home.
"Since I was 16 I always had to move away to play hockey. I grew up there and feel a responsibility to be that role model as a hockey player," he said. "Now I get to play in front of my friends and family. I definitely feel the responsibility to give back."