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Report: Mitch Love circling back to Calgary Flames for assistant coach vacancy

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Photo credit:Candice Ward/Calgary Wranglers
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
If there’s one thing we’re reasonably sure of, it’s that Mitch Love is a really good hockey coach. In two seasons in the Calgary Flames organization, coaching their American Hockey League affiliates, he’s won that league’s coach of the year award twice. While Love was an unsuccessful finalist for the Calgary NHL head coaching job that was filled by Ryan Huska, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Twitter on Wednesday morning that Love has circled back to the Flames to discuss joining Huska’s staff.
For the Flames, the appeal of Love is probably pretty simple: he’s a really good coach who knows the young players in the organization very well, and had success in getting a lot out of those players over the past two seasons. With new general manager Craig Conroy hoping to inject some youthful energy into the lineup, having a pair of coaches on the bench in Huska and Love that have history with the club’s homegrown talent makes a lot of sense. It’s also worth noting that Love’s AHL teams were among the best at both sides of special teams with him behind the bench, so if you need somebody to run your power play or penalty kill, he may be a good person to talk to.
For Love, Conroy discussed that one of the reasons he didn’t get the Flames’ head coaching job is a lack of NHL experience of any kind. Huska spent years in the NHL as an assistant coach, so the perception was throwing him into the big job would have less of a learning curve because he knew what the NHL is all about. If you’re Love, getting acclimated to the NHL on the Flames’ bench could give you an inside track to any future NHL openings throughout the league. (And moving into the NHL within an organization where he has some familiarity could be a boon for Love, rather than moving into a brand-new situation.)
Case in point: new Washington Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery was their AHL head coach for a few years in Hershey, but had to go to Toronto as an assistant coach to get some NHL experience before getting hired as an NHL bench boss. Love’s trajectory could be very similar, especially if the Flames have some success with him on their staff.
We’ll have more on the Flames’ coaching staff hires as that story develops.

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