The tangled web of Brad Pascall

The Calgary Flames scored themselves a hockey operations coup a couple summers ago when they recruited Brad Pascall into the fold as an assistant general manager.

Arguably most popularly known prior to that hiring as Cassie Campbell-Pascall’s spouse, Pascall brought with him a decent hockey-playing resume and an absolutely massive Rolodex of connections that he accrued over a few decades in the national men’s team portfolio of Hockey Canada.

After just two short seasons, Pascall’s fingerprints are already all over the Flames organization and undoubtedly will play a part in the hiring of the next head coach and his staff.

RECENT FLAMES HIRES

Since Brad Pascall was hired as an AGM, here are the individuals recruited by the Flames:

  • Ryan Huska, head coach in Adirondack/Stockton (coached for Canada at the 2011 & 2012 World Juniors)
  • Scott Gouthro, goalie coach in Adirondack/Stockton (coached for Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinkas and 2014 sledge tournament)
  • Todd Gill, assistant coach in Adirondack/Stockton (coached for Canada at the 2012 Under-18s)
  • Domenic Pittis, assistant coach in Stockton (played for Canada at several Spengler Cups, previously a development coach with the Flames)
  • Ray Edwards, development coach (coached for Brad Treliving in the Phoenix system)
  • Cail MacLean, head coach in Adriondack of the ECHL (was assistant coach in Abbotsford during Craig Conroy’s first two seasons as assistant to the GM)

Over the past two years, the Flames have almost exclusively hired people with some history with the key members of their hockey operations department.

And when you consider how many connections Pascall has in the hockey world, and given that four of the six hirings they’ve made have had direct ties to him, either his connections are really good or he’s listened to by Treliving when he makes these types of decisions.

Based on that alone, it’s probably worth examining some names that the Flames may be looking at based on their experience with Hockey Canada during Pascall’s tenure.

SOME CONTENDERS

CURRENT NHL COACHES

  • Bob Boughner – San Jose Sharks assistant, formerly a long-time Windsor Spitfires head coach and former Flame
  • Kevin Dineen – Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach and long-time NHLer
  • Gord Murphy – Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach and former NHLer
  • Steve Spott – San Jose Sharks assistant and one of the more successful junior coaches in recent history
  • Scott Walker – Vancouver Canucks player development consultant, former NHLer and OHL coach
  • Trent Yawney – Anaheim Ducks assistant, former Flame

CURRENT JUNIOR COACHES

  • George Burnett – Hamilton Bulldogs head coach
  • Dale Hawerchuk – Barrie Colts head coach
  • Don Hay – Kamloops Blazers head coach, former Flames coach
  • Jody Hull – Peterborough Petes head coach
  • Mike Johnston – Portland Winterhawks head coach
  • Mark Lamb – Swift Current head coach, former Flame
  • Trevor Letkowski – Windsor Spitfires associate coach
  • Ryan McGill – Owen Sound Attack head coach, former Omaha/Quad City head coach and Flames assistant coach
  • Don Nachbaur – Spokane Chiefs head coach
  • Brent Sutter – Red Deer Rebels head coach, former Flames coach
  • Andre Tourigny – Halifax Mooseheads head coach
  • Mike Williamson – Tri-City Americans head coach, former Hitmen head coach

CURRENT EUROPEAN COACHES

  • Gordie Dwyer – Medvescak Zagreb (KHL) head coach
  • Yves Sarault – Lausanne HC (Switzerland) head coach
  • Doug Shedden – HC Lugano (Switzerland) head coach

OTHER GUYS

  • Dave Cameron – unemployed, former Ottawa Senators head coach
  • Mario Duhamel – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies assistant general manager
  • Benoit Groulx – Syracuse Crunch head coach
    • Stu Cazz

      Apparently Pascal’s finger prints are all over drafting Mason MacDonald over Thatcher Demko as well as hiring Huska who has experienced top prospects development digress under his watch…interesting to see how all this play’s out for him….time will tell.

      • piscera.infada

        If you’re going to make the same (lazy) argument over and over again, without any response to very reasoned and logical retorts, can you at least use the correct word?

        You’re looking for “regress” not “digress”–unless you do in fact mean that because of Huska, experienced “top prospects” temporarily divert attention from the intended subject during speech or writing.

    • FireScorpion

      Trent Yawney! Trent f#$/^ng Yawney? The same Trent Yawney that got split with Zalapski by Bure in that Game 7 OT, which followed a game 5 ot and game 6 ot loss and led to a 12 year old FireScorpion trash his room and tear hisnjwrseyss8and posters down?

      No thanks. I never want to see him again

        • FireScorpion

          For sure man guess I was 14 too. My math was off. That was brutal. Gut ripping stuff. Dad loved it as he always said the flames choke. Still does. All those first round exits we had..to van to ana to sj to chi I’m missing some, fed the old man

      • Azim

        Oh man, I remember Yawney being on the ice for that, forgot Zalapski was on there as well.

        Also, this means Zarley Zalapski was on the ice for two consecutive Game 7 OT defeats. He was on the for the less heralded Sharks double-OT loss in ’95 as well.

        The Bure goale made an almost-11 year old in northwest Calgary cry too (last Flames season spent in Calgary). The Sharks goal made an almost 12-year old cry.

    • Danomitee

      I think we grossly over value coaches with team Canada experience. Yea, like it’s hard to coach the most talented group of athletes in every tournament. You could put Boomer behind the bench and they still wouldn’t do all that bad.

    • RickT

      I know it’s reddit, but there has been much ado over Yeo. Someone posted in the Wild subreddit asking some common questions about him and his tenure in Minny, vs an article that was posted on hockeywilderness. I’ll transpose it here, but the source is here.

      I feel like this is relevant to post as we are talking Hockey Canada connections and he is over with Tre. Feel as though there will be at least an informal interview when there is the chance (also, Tre can see him in action).

      Questions:

      Hey Wildbros, apparently the Flames are in on this hot Yeo action too. There’s been some discussion around the office today about this column on Wilderness Hockey and I have questions

      1) Can I believe this dude?

      2) How true is the preference for vets thing? Was that Yeo or management/ownership making that happen?

      3) Any truth to the lockerroom rebellion stories?

      4) How the fuck do you say his surname without sounding like Tony Montana?

      Cheers lads, for what it’s worth, you’re my favourite non-Calgary Western team. Fuck the canucks.

      Most upvoted answer:

      [–]LRonHoward 52 points 1 day ago*

      1) Umm… nobody here really likes/trusts Hockey Wilderness anymore. And this article is really no exception. He is just painting with a really broad brush and generalizing 4+ seasons into a couple paragraphs. There are some legitimate points in here, but for the most part, it’s not really that accurate IMO.

      2) This is one of the somewhat true parts of the article. But it doesn’t really explain… The Wild’s locker room/veteran situation was “unique” when Yeo was behind the bench. He came into MN as the youngest coach in the league and in his first season had to coach the newly signed hometown heroes Parise and Suter, as well as the proud Kaptain Koivu. It was an awkward dynamic for a young coach to handle… He did defer to the veterans a lot. Probably to a fault at points, but if Pominville and Granlund could have scored on all the glorious chances they got it would be a whole different story. Pominville and Granlund are the two players that Yeo was criticized for “mismanaging” the most, probably. But they are both very solid two-way forwards who were in the right places but just couldn’t score. So what is Yeo supposed to do? Punish them for doing everything right but not being able to finish?

      But, for instance, at the end of a game, or when the first PP unit wasn’t doing well, Yeo would just dig in and try and ride it out with the same players. It was frustrating when Coyle, Nino, and Dumba were all playing well and Pominville + Granlund weren’t doing anything… that is a valid criticism. I think he mismanaged those situations at times…

      3) Probably a little bit. There was/is definitely something going on. We don’t know exactly what it was/is, but it sounds like Suter wanted all the ice time and wouldn’t listen to any of the coaching staff. Yeo wanted to limit his minutes to around 25 or 26 a game, but that quickly dissolved. I guess Suter and Leipold (the owner) are very close, and there is speculation that he and Parise are/were able to go over Yeo and Fletcher with issues. Again, this is all conjecture, but its kind of a “where there’s smokes there’s fire” kind of a thing. I don’t anticipate this being an issue with another team because it’s kind of a unique situation to the Wild.

      4) It’s pronounced “Yo”

      And a last point… don’t listen to all the ignorant fans on r/hockey talking about how it would be a mistake to hire Yeo. He was a fantastic coach. He clearly outcoached both Roy and Hitchock in his postseason series wins, and only ever lost to Q and the Hawks. His in-game management was fanastic, and his roster decisions were overall very good. He did have a tendancy to shelter the young players or keep a player in his doghouse for not playing defense… but that was only really Haula and Zucker (he never tried to make Vanek play defense, like the article states). They both turned out great afterwards… kind of… whether or not you want to put that on Yeo or whatever. Haula was probably not given the greatest chance to succeed under Yeo. But he was really bad for a good several months when given an oppurtunity, so it’s hard to say that’s Yeo’s fault IMO.

      Edit: Thanks for the gold kind stranger! 🙂

      • piscera.infada

        Thanks for the post. Good stuff there. I still don’t think it will be Yeo, as it definitely sounds that the management is in favour of “new blood”. More to the point, I’m not sure how I read Yeo as a coach–I don’t really like the Wild, so I’ll avoid them if I can–but that sounds like a pretty even assessment of his time in Minnesota. I know he’s well respected in the hockey community, although I’m not too sure what that actually means.

    • oddclod

      If you’re talking Pascal / Team Canada lineage….

      I wonder what Dean Lombardi would say about the perceived risk in hiring a Sutter coach? I wonder what Lou Lamourello would say about Brent’s two conference finals in NJ.

      Like him, I’d like to forget his time spent scratching his head during the final years of Iggy’s country club / Phaneuf’s locker room time-bomb.

      In his WHL coaching career he’s always sniffing around the conference finals. One championship, one memorial cup. Team Canada Juniors? not a bad record either.

      For Treliving, I don’t know what’s more risky, a young blood coach expected to make the playoffs, or the perceived issues of a former coach with a brand new clubhouse. If it’s a match made in heaven, then bring on the finals. Either way, Calgary is 2-3 years from contending so I don’t see the next coach as a make or break, unless he fails to be a good teacher.

      It’ll never happen but I don’t think the risk exceeds the reward. Brent knows the kids. He’s a mentor and father figure up in Red Deer. I suspect he would create a pretty good hockey factory. I also suspect Burke can’t handle anyone standing up to him. So onto the next candidate.