Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving is still in Soviet Russia for the 2016 World Hockey Championship, but that’s not stopping him from his search for a new head coach.
Postmedia’s Michael Traikos talked to Treliving in Russia, and their chat resulted in a bit of an insight into what he’s looking for in a new coach:
Treliving said he is looking for someone with experience, but that
the quality of experience matters more than the actual years of service.
He is “not just looking for a name” or “someone who’s coached for 20
years” or even a former NHL head coach. But he does want someone,
whether it is an assistant coach, minor-league coach, or someone from
major junior or college, who had a role in building something of
“To me it’s not as much about where you’ve coached,
but what you’ve built and what your piece was in growing it,” said
Treliving. “It’s being involved in winning programs.”
Based on those criteria, here are five contenders with winning in their backgrounds that could merit a look from Flames management in their search.
Currently the head coach of the Barrie Colts, where Flames prospects Andrew Mangiapane and Rasmus Andersson ply their trade, Hawerchuk has earned some accolades for molding the Colts into a powerhouse in the OHL. He was also a pretty fair player in his own right, racking up 500+ goals and 1400+ points and earning the title as perhaps the best player to never win a Stanley Cup.
He’s been at the helm of the Colts for several years, so he might be itching for a move. The Colts have a good power-play, have developed a steady stream of good OHLers and Hawerchuk’s resume gives him instant credibility within the Flames locker room.
Flames connections? Flames drafted Mangiapane and Andersson from his club, while Hawerchuk coached for Brad Pascall at a past U18 tournament.
Currently the head coach of the London Knights, Hunter has been one of the most impressive OHL coaches in memory. Aside from a brief trip to Washington to replace Bruce Boudreau on an interim basis, Hunter’s been a fixture in London since 2001-02 and has built them into a terrifyingly good hockey club.
Hunter’s a powerhouse coach and may be looking for a challenge, but bear in mind that he basically quit his job as Washington’s coach to go back home – so homesickness or just not wanting to leave a cushy OHL gig may be a factor here.
Flames connections? Coached Sam Bennett and Mason McDonald at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Tournament (where he worked under Brad Pascall).
Currently the head coach of the Toronto Marlies, who are super amazing and you can follow at our sister site LeafsNation, Keefe has a long resume. He spent three seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, spent a ton of time before that coaching in Ontario, and has some Hockey Canada connections through experiences with the World Junior-A Challenge and the World Under-17 Challenge.
He just got to Toronto and might not want to move right away, but with Mike Babcock cemented in the Center of the Universe for awhile, Keefe will likely need to leave the Leafs organization to get an NHL job.
Flames connections? None directly, but he likely has crossed paths with members of the scouting and management team during his tenure in Ontario’s various levels.
Another experienced bench boss, Laxdal just finished off his second season behind the bench of the Texas Stars of the AHL. But prior to that, Laxdal made his coaching name driving the Edmonton Oil Kings to one of the best four season stretches the WHL has seen in recent memory (with three trips to the WHL final series in four seasons, along with a Memorial Cup win). He’s also coached in the ECHL and old CHL, and he had a lengthy pro career that emphasized the journey in the word journeyman.
Like Keefe, Laxdal did just arrive in Texas. But like Keefe, he may be hoping a strong AHL performance will get him some NHL attention.
Flames connections? Coached Brett Pollock in Edmonton, likely crossed paths with Brad Treliving during his time in the CHL.
Currently the head coach of the Providence College Friars, Leaman has built up a really good college resume. He was an assistant at Harvard for four seasons, left to be head coach at Union for nine seasons and just finished off his fourth campaign with Providence College. He’s won an NCAA championship and built up Union and Providence into really strong college programs, and he’s been behind the bench for USA Hockey at U18 and World Junior tournaments.
Leaman’s been a really good college coach for almost two decades; he may be looking for the next challenge.
Flames connections? Leaman coached Josh Jooris at Union and Jon Gillies and Mark Jankowski at Providence. Given his USA Hockey connections, Brian Burke is also likely fairly familiar with him.