The Journal Gazette
Friday, May 17, 2019 9:40 pm

More on Boudreau, K's coaching search

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

I know you’re all eagerly anticipating some news on the Komets’ coaching opening. I wish I had more to tell you but the Komets are still doing their due diligence.

I wanted to share one more thing on Ben Boudreau, who is currently under contract as an assistant coach and is certainly one of the candidates to replace Gary Graham: while we know Boudreau’s father is Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, a former Komets player and coach, I like that it’s not really something Ben brings up unless asked.

But he did say this earlier in the week and I think it’s a great quote: “My biggest goal was to come here, learn and wait for an opportunity to spread my wings and fly. The Frankes, almost 30 years ago, took a chance on my old man and gave him his start (as player/assistant coach in 1990 and as a head coach in 1993) and he was able to turn that into a National Hockey League career. My goal is no different. But you’ve got to win at this level before you go anywhere else. That’s first and foremost; I want to win as a Komet. I know what the Komet history means to people … I understand what it’s like to be in this industry and this city, and it’s something you don’t take for granted.”

The big question is: Who is competing with Boudreau for the job? I know of several people who have applied for the post, but I cannot really name names except to say many had been previously mentioned among the 17 potentials on this site.

Who has ascended from applicant to someone who would get interviewed? That I don’t know yet.

If I were a betting man, I still think Aaron Schneekloth, who led the Colorado Eagles to Kelly Cups in 2017 and 2018, would become the favorite for the job if he throws his hat in the ring and I don’t know if he’s officially done that. He was an assistant with the Eagles in the AHL last season, after getting a raw deal from the parent Colorado Avalanche through the Eagles’ move up.

A coach I’ve mentioned that I’m also keeping a close eye on is Richard Matvichuk, who was an assistant on the Allen Americans’ championship teams, the ECHL’s Coach of the Year with the Missouri Mavericks in 2016 and had most recently been in the Western Hockey League before being fired midway through this season. Something worth considering: he’s coached Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma in Allen.

Barring Schneekloth being in this, though, the more I think about, the more I think Boudreau is the front-runner. The Frankes tend to prefer a situation where they have a good knowledge of what they’re getting into, as we clearly saw when they brought Al Sims back and hired Graham. A coach can have an amazing résumé, but you never know what kind of ego and rapport that brings with it.

I know a lot of coaches who have won but are known for being horrible to work with behind the scenes because of the sense of entitlement that comes with having a good winning percentage or a Cup on the résumé. The Frankes want to win above all else, sure, but they want it to be fun and have a good environment, too, as we all do when we go to work. In that sense, there’s something to be said for knowing Boudreau and what comes along with that – to a point. What I mean is, being an assistant is much different than being in charge, so we’d have to see a lot of things (recruiting, coaching style, how he is in the community) that we don’t necessarily know about him. But a young and hungry coach can often be a team’s best weapon.

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