|Newly-appointed Binghamton Senators head coach Cory Clauston, middle, is joined by Ottawa's director of hockey operations Brent Flahr, left, and assistant general manager Tim Murray. |
Cory Clouston comes from a winning background.
As the new coach of the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators, he’s hoping to bring winning to the forefront.
“Those are your two main goals: to develop players and to win hockey games,” Clouston says in a recent phone interview from British Columbia — from where he’ll pack up and make the cross-country trek to New York State.
Winning is something the 37-year-old native of Viking, Alta., the small town that brought hockey the Sutter clan, is familiar with.
He spent the past five seasons, making the playoffs every year, as head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice, where he compiled a record of 209-110-24-15 in 360 games for an impressive winning percentage of .637.
He was twice named the WHL’s coach of the season, first in 2005, when he was also named the Canadian Hockey League’s coach of the year, and most recently this past season, when the Ice went 49-17-3-3.
When former Binghamton coach Dave Cameron returned to the junior ranks with the Ontario Hockey League’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, Clouston sought the Binghamton job and new Ottawa assistant general manager Tim Murray called and asked him if he’d be interested in assuming the AHL team’s reins as the third coach in the team’s history. Newly appointed Ottawa coach John Paddock also coached the AHL club.
In Binghamton, Clouston will be charged with the task of stabilizing a team that’s missed the playoffs the past two seasons.
The Senators went 23-48-4-5 this past season in the Eastern Conference’s East Division and finished last overall among the AHL’s 27 teams.
Clouston says that winning breeds good habits and it’s those traits he’ll be looking to instill in Binghamton.
He’s already familiar with a few of his possible charges. He’ll reunite with his former Kootenay goaltender Jeff Glass and he coached against a couple of other Senators players, defencemen Matt Kinch and Lawrence Nycholat, in the Western league.
With Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena the site of this coming seasons AHL all-star activities, it’ll be a special year in Binghamton and Clouston is looking forward to the new challenge.
“You’re still working on the same type of things (as in junior), but obviously you’re working with a more mature hockey player and that’s a benefit,” says Clouston, who himself spent four years as a player with the University of Alberta Golden Bears. “You’re trying to build a complete hockey player.”