1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Wednesday “Gulls Hockey-New Season-New Leadership”

Posted by on July 13th, 2022  •  0 Comments  • 

“Gulls Hockey–New Day”

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San Diego Gulls hockey-next year began this week….on Tuesday.

New leaders, maybe a new era, after a housecleaing within the NHL-Anaheim Ducks,that has filtered down to the AHL Gulls.

A new GM in Rob DeMaio, coming from the St Louis Blues.  A new coach in Roy Sommer, who spent 26-years coaching in the San Jose Sharks farm system.  Both have a world of experience, as a former player, now exec, and a long time coach.

And hopefully better results after a miserable two seasons for the AHL-Gulls.  It has not always been that way, but what this became, was not acceptable.

The Gulls have had 6-winning seasons in 7-years.  They have a composite (238-164) record.  They built themselves with a huge fan base, averaging over 9,000-fans a game just prior to the pandemic.

Dallas Eakins, the current Ducks coach, was a thinking man’s coach with a roster full of young players.  Four years here led him to become head coach of the Ducks.  He is in the middle of coaching a long rebuild under new Ducks GM-Pat Verbeek.

Kevin Dineen, a former goal scoring star in the NHL, and a former Florida Panthers head coach, put in two solid years, but was fired by then GM-Bob Murray, who himself was terminated last year.  Dineen was demanding and pushy.  He left here to guide the Utica Comets to a 40-plus win seasons in winning their AHL division.

Joel Bouchard was hired away from the Montreal organization, on a 3-year deal but lasted one season.  He was passionate, full of philosphies as to how to make players better, but his season was marred by a mid-season Covid outbreak that shut the team down, injuries, and continual roster callups.  He was dismissed by new Ducks GM-Pat Verbeek, uder the banner ‘Pat wants his own men running his farm system’.

The Gulls have put 16-young players on the Ducks roster, led by all star goalie John Gibson and 30-goal scorer Troy Terry.  But as good as San Diego has been in the Eakins-Dineen era, they have fallen on very hard times.  The 2020-2021 season was played in a practice rink in Anaheim with no fans on hand.  The franchise then suffered thru its first losing season in 2021-2022, missing the playoffs, and playing before tons of empty seats.  Where attendance was 11-12,000 per game on weekends, the Sports Arena had turnouts of 2900 to 5500 on many nights this past winter.  The biggest fear, they have lost the community.

The personality of the team is about to change.  The Ducks have drafted big physical players the past two years, led by Mason McTavish and Nathan Gauche, big, physical, goal scoring players.

DiMaio projects ‘heavy hockey coming’.  Sommer, who has seen every type of player wear his jerseys, thinks the style of play will be determined once preseason camp is completed, but he too thinks his team will skate-hit-go get the puck and will play great defense.

The Tuesday press conference was all about the new leaderships philosophy and what they expect in the room, on the ice, and from guys wearing their crest.

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Rob DiMaio-General Manager

:..33 years NHL experience as player-coach-club exec
..13 years with St Louis Blues front office
..Longtime coming to become a lead GM
..Long history of success
..This is untapped market in pro hockey
..We must build young talent to win here-help the Ducks succeed
..Roy Sommer track record spectacular-he succeeds everywhere
..Gulls..one of best fan bases in AHL-just like Hershey
..Gulls-we want team that is competitive-goal to succeed each day
..Provide culture to young players
..Roy’s history proves his understanding of his culture
..Veteran coaches need to adapt to younger generation of players
..This type of coaching is an art
..His reputation precedes him-he was at the top of the list
..Coaching in the AHL is a challenge
..No 1-formuia to succeed-but you must demand accountability
..We need AHL vets on roster to stabilize the lockreroom
..We want to build a family in that room with chemistry
..Pat Verbeek-Ducks GM has a vision of game..we got bigger-faster draft
..AHL is talking about allowing 19-year olds from North America to play
..Euro players can come play in AHL at age 19
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Roy Sommer-Head Coach
..26-years coaching in the AHL
..All time winningest coach in AHL..(808) wins
..Coached entire career in San Jose Sharks organization
..Won championships in ECHL-AHL
..Coached at Kentucky-Cleveland-Worcester-San Jose
..Gulls was a sought after job in AHL
..Coaching in AHL-it’s number 1-development league in world
..Great place for young men to start their career
..Gulls great winning tradition
..Gulls fill building..let players feel what this is like
..Coaching…be fair to players so you don’t have to think about being fair
..Practice habits are non negotiable
..AHL is a tough animal for players-hard league-man’s game
..You want to move players up and down to Anaheim
..If you can put 3-or-4 players up in NHL you are doing a good job here
..Want to teach players to make a difference in Anaheim
..Young players need to trust their coaches to work their way up
..I want players to play defense..not everyone can score
..Key is practice habits get good…produce on their shifts
..You really don’t know what type of team you have till camp breaks
..We expect players we get to have alot of skills
..We must play defense, learn how to block shots, take care your own end
..Met Pat Verbeek at training camp with NJ Devils when he was rookie
..No other background with Ducks leadership
..Felt I had more to give as coach
..Want to take team on camping trip to bond
..Have to teach players you must excel to stay in NHL-careers short
..Key for us is to get solid veteran players to anchor AHL roster
..Expect Ducks to go play ‘heavy hockey’..our roster will reflect that
..Ducks want to be Blues-Tampa-Colorado..play big on back end
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