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‘I would prefer him to play at centre’: New Vancouver Giants coach wants Samuel Honzek playing up the middle

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Photo credit:Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
Change has been afoot throughout the world of hockey this off-season. Over in the Western Hockey League, the Vancouver Giants saw their head coach, Michael Dyck, depart for a position with the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies. Replacing him as the coach that’ll be directing the career of Calgary Flames first-round pick Samuel Honzek, at least in the short term, is decorated coach Manny Viveiros.
And based on a chat Viveiros had with Postmedia’s Steve Ewen, Viveiros would like to use Honzek at a centre in the coming season.
Here’s a snippet of their conversation:
“For me, I would prefer him to play at centre,” Viveiros said. “I think he has the skill set.
“I think he’s skilled enough, smart enough, mobile enough and big enough to be able to do both (centre and wing). We’re obviously going to take into consideration where Calgary wants him, because we want to give him the best opportunity to play in the National Hockey League. But I also think that he could benefit from being able to play both positions.
Honzek was the Flames’ first-round pick, 16th overall, in June’s entry draft. He’s played a single season in North America, primarily on left wing, but he was used very occasionally as a centre when needed. (He took the 7th-most draws on the Giants last season, and it translated to about a faceoff or two per game.) But based on Honzek’s size and smarts, you can understand why Viveiros (and the Flames for that matter) would be curious about him being used more regularly as a pivot.
Viveiros has a very cool resume. The 57-year-old has made stops in the NHL (as an assistant in Edmonton), AHL (head coach in Henderson), the WHL (head coaching stops in Spokane and Swift Current), Germany’s DEL (head and assistant coach with ERC Ingolstadt) and Austria’s EBEL (head coach and sport manager with EC-KAC). He’s also played quite a bit, with stops in the NHL, AHL, IHL and all over Europe.
In other words: Viveiros has played and coached everywhere, most notably at the specific rungs of the hockey ladder that Honzek will need to progress through to get to the NHL. Given his resume, he may be the ideal person to guide Honzek right now.
And if he thinks Honzek can hack it as a centre, there may be no better time to try to add that to his toolbox than the present.

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