06/22/2016 10:03 AM
Photo By: Robyn Iwaskiw / Brampton Beast
We caught up with Beast Head Coach Colin Chaulk and he filled us in on his offseason, the renewed affiliation with the Montreal Canadiens and looking ahead to next season.
Q: “The season has settled and is now behind us. Now that you’ve had time to reflect on it, what do you take away from the 2015-16 ECHL season?”
Chaulk: “I was really happy with effort, our execution, our attitude and our work ethic. I think there were maybe five times in the year where we were outworked but, the truth is that you’re judged on production. With 23 wins, that’s unacceptable. You read between the lines: we had 75 players, 14 goalies and 18 overtime games. All great excuses but 16 other teams found a way to get it done and get into the postseason. That should be the goal every year. We will be better. There is going to be anywhere from eight to 12 players back from last year’s team and they understand what needs to be done is some consistency and were going to bring that starting with personnel and then with production.”
Q: “What has the offseason been like so far?”
Chaulk: “Initially, when you don’t make the playoffs, you take a week or two to decompress and then you’re ready to get back at it again. Only now is it starting to heat up again. Initially there isn’t too much going on because half of the league is still playing. We had our exit meetings and we went through our own self-evaluation to we see how we thought we played in 5-on-5, and our game preparation, special teams and all of those things and what we need to change. I’ve also gone and met with a few coaches in the area at the university level and I’ve gone to a coaching clinic in Buffalo with Dan Bylsma among other NHL and AHL coaches, including Dan Lambert from Rochester. And I just listened. It is time for me to listen and learn because people are going to steal and recreate the things we did well and we need to try to stay ahead. The things we didn’t do well, we need to fix them and get better.”
Q: “What does the next couple of months look like? When does the busy period start?”
Chaulk: “We have already sent our first round of protected players and we have already signed our first players for the upcoming season. Once the ECHL approves the contracts, we will start announcing those signed players and things will start to heat up. It is unlikely for certain players to sign with us on July 1 because NHL free agency falls on that day and unfortunately we are at the bottom. Guys will seek NHL contracts first and then American Hockey League contracts, then AHL two-way contracts. So for those players who don’t land NHL or AHL deals, we want them to think of the Beast first around mid-August and September.
Q: ”We have re-upped with the Montreal Canadiens for this upcoming season. What has the relationship been like with the St. Johns IceCaps and Montreal Canadiens and what is that going to mean for the club this year?”
Chaulk: “It really was a great experience with the Canadiens organization last season. From Development Camp to the Rookie Camp in London, Ontario to Main Camp in Montreal. This organization is full of first class people who make you feel welcome. They understand that these are new relationships and they have to make sure you feel a part of it and they did a really good job of doing that. They’re really good as far as communication goes. Vincent Riendeau, the Assistant General Manager of the IceCaps, and I talked two or three times a week and it was always very professional and very informative. Jason King, the IceCaps’ Director of Hockey Operations, was always very professional and always made sure that we knew exactly what was going on when players were coming up and going down. It was great, so we’re back again for another year and I hope we continue to build that relationship.
Q: ”We would certainly rather be in the playoffs, but how does this two extra months of offseason help us in preparation for next year and how does it give you an advantage?”
Chaulk: ”We took that time to get together with other coaches at a variety of levels to share information and basically asking ‘Hey, what do you do?’ and really just taking that time to focus on how we’re going to get better. I met with a mental coach as well to really just find ways we can manage our players. We basically have taken time first to look at myself and the things that I need to change and what I need to get better at. First and foremost, we over-coached in the first part of the year and we just gave the players too much information. We will be much cleaner and there will be a lot less information at the beginning this season and we’re going to give that to them in chunks this time as the season goes on. How we coach is going to depend on what our roster is. You could never imagine having 14 goalies and if something close to that happens again, we’re going to be very simple and very fast and limited in the way we play. If our roster stays the same then you will see a lot more set plays and a lot more adjustments. If we were in the playoffs and playing deep into June, I wouldn’t have that time. I wouldn’t be able to go to a coaches clinic in Buffalo or be able to do any of those things and I wouldn’t have the time to because we would be focusing on trying to win games.”
Q: “What do you think of the 2016-17 ECHL schedule?”
Chaulk: “I know that it’s better. This year we had the staff to work on it to decide what we liked and what we didn’t like about certain games. We did everything we possibly could to try and create a competitive advantage. We still have some tough Sunday games and some tough travel and tough months but that’s par for the course for everyone at this level. The schedule is much better so we’re going to use that and work when we need too and at the same time rest when we need to.”
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