Reid was named the club’s General Manager just over a year ago while Tugnutt just completed his first season as an assistant coach. In a way, it’s fitting this is where they both ended up as it’s where each of them started their professional careers back in the day.
“Yeah, it’s kind of the circle of life where you come back to where you started. When I was 17, the Petes gave me an opportunity to play in the OHL. That’s really where my career began,” Reid said. “I was here for three years. I met my wife while I was playing here.”
And when the Peterborough job came open, he didn’t hesitate to throw his name into the hat. “When the opportunity came up to get back in with the organization, I put my name in right away, went in for the interview and was very fortunate I got the job,” he said.
One of the first things he noticed was how much many things hadn’t changed since he had last laced ‘em up for the Petes some three decades ago.
“For all the things that change, a lot of things are very similar. It’s still the same tradition,” Reid said. “A lot of the people who were season ticket holders when I was here came in and re-introduced themselves. They’re still season ticket holders.”
Tugnutt played his final two NHL seasons in Dallas, starting a total of 42 games between the pipes in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. Even back then, he was already thinking about getting into coaching once he called it quits. That was largely because he was already mentoring younger netminders like Marty Turco with the Stars.
“I thought about goalie catching or something like that because my last two years with Marty [Turco] and with Marc Denis in Columbus, I found that I was a starter in Columbus but I was still bringing a young goalie along,” he said. “Once I was put into the backup role, I was more of a coach for them. I had some things to work on with Marty, go over stuff to develop his game. It was more mentoring than anything. At that time, that’s when I started thinking maybe I could be a goalie coach. I had spent my whole life playing net and knew I would enjoy doing that in that capacity.”
|Ron Tugnutt |
Reid and Tugnutt knew each other from their playing careers but their friendship has blossomed over the last few years after both former players returned to the Peterbourgh area.
“I’d see him in the summers,” Reid said. “He was cottaging here and then he moved back into the Peterborough area four years ago. Our oldest boys played together in the Triple-A team in town and we both coached the team. So I got to know him real well.”
And it was while they were coaching youth hockey together that he saw the qualities that eventually led him to offer the former NHL goaltender a position with the Petes prior to the start of last season.
“I really appreciated his input and the way he handled young goaltenders at the time in minor hockey. The passion for the game is there,” Reid said. “Tugger had been with the Oshawa Generals in our league, our archrival, and then worked with Hockey Canada. I really liked how he evaluated goaltenders and worked on the ice with guys. It was really an easy decision to bring him on as goaltending coach and assistant coach. He’s been a fantastic asset, not just as a coach but also as someone I can rely on as a friend that we can discuss things.”
Tugnutt’s responsibilities with Peterborough not only entail working with the netminders but also with the rearguard.
“Yeah, I’m the goalie coach but I also work the back end. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Team Canada as the goalie coach in two World Juniors and two Under-18 championships. I’m still being able to do that as well, which is great,” he said.
After retiring in 2004, he started coaching his kids, and that was when he first developed his coaching methodology.
“That’s where the coaching really started for me, when I started coaching kids’ hockey-doing practice plans, working on team concepts and really bringing the knowledge that all my coaches before me had brought to the NHL level. I really wanted to bring that into these young kids,” Tugnutt said. “I could use examples of players like Mike Modano and Derian Hatcher. This is what they would do and the kids would get it. So I was using that in my coaching tactics.”
Reid was a Star from 1996 through 1999 and played 73 games for that ’99 Stanley Cup championship team. Those remain memorable years for this former Dallas regular.
“My time was fantastic. It was three of the best years of my career,” he said. “I played with some fantastic players, got some excellent coaching with Hitch. I’ve learned a lot in my position as General Manager with Peterborough from how Bob Gainey handled the organization and how the organization was set up. The way Bob did things and Hitch did things, it was great, very first-class and professional.”
Tugnutt’s time in Big D didn’t go as well as he thought it would because he spent most of his days as a Star as Turco’s backup.
“I was the back end of my four-year deal I signed in Columbus knowing that chances were pretty good that I’d be retiring after the deal was done in Dallas,” he said. “There was some great leadership that first year. I really felt throughout my career that was my best chance of winning a Stanley Cup. When I initially came over there, the idea was for me to compete for the starting job with Marty. At the end of the day, he just outplayed me.”
Still, he took the news like a true professional.
“Marty’s a good guy and a hell of a goalie. He had some good years when I was there,” Tugnutt said. “I’ve always said you get what you deserve. He outplayed me. I continued to work hard and try but Tip was the kind of coach who liked to run one guy. Unfortunately for me, my ice time really dropped and when that happened, I felt like I just couldn’t keep my game where it needed to be.”
Not only does this pair of ex-Stars now work together, but after retiring, their career paths have taken them down similar roads. Both Reid and Tugnutt spent time behind the microphone as broadcasters before working together with the Petes.
“When I started my television career nine years ago, I thought this would be a great way to stay in the game,” Reid said. “Who cares who wins or loses, you’re just broadcasting. I think that was a great gig. As time went on, I thought I needed another challenge. This is the perfect challenge.”
And who knows, in the future, maybe one or both will be employed by an NHL team.
“Right now, I wouldn’t want to take that step. I’m very comfortable and am still learning. I don’t even think I’ve been at the job for a full year yet,” Reid said. “When I took this job, my goal wasn’t to get to the NHL. My goal is to be very good at what I do here. I have no plans to move beyond Peterborough.”
However, making that jump to the NHL isn’t something his current assistant coach would rule out were the right opportunity to present itself.
“I would have to look at it because I think long-term it’s something I’d want to do,” Tugnutt said. “I’d have to really consider it. Some teams do things differently now with their goalie coach. They’re on the books for 20 days a month. They work out a schedule. You’re with the big club and minor league clubs for this amount of days and you can still live at your residence. Some are still the other way where it’s full-time and you live there. Those are things you have to look at if you decide whether you want to do it or not.”