I don’t care that blogs normally come out on Thursdays. When I want to blog, I blog. And today I feel like writing.
Earlier today, Troy Mann left Condorstown for the much sweeter confines of Chocolatetown to become the head coach of the Hershey Bears. See what I did there?
When I found out late last night, one quote popped into my head.
“My goal is to be in the American Hockey League. 5-13-1 is not going to get me there.”
Troy said those words on Dec. 7, 2013 at a chalk talk with season ticket holders after losing the night before in Las Vegas and having a game postponed later that night. He never minced words. From the get go, he made his intentions known. He wanted to prove that he should be an AHL head coach.
Then the team started 1-10-1. But, he never questioned what was put in place when he took the job and was introduced on July 17, 2013. He stuck with it and we’re all better off for it.
He ran this operation like an AHL team in all aspects and never wavered from his standards of expectations.
On the ice, Troy put players in positions to succeed. He didn’t expect perfection, but he expected all hands on deck, committed to the cause. Look no further than Andrew Carroll, who was left for dead in Greenville and revitalized in Bakersfield. Troy knew what he could bring and put him in those situations.
He was hard, but he was fair. I think players respect that the most. Even I respected that. There was no sugarcoating or unnecessary tire pumping. If you were good, he said it. If you were bad, he said that too. There was nobody who was going to go to bat for his team more than him. Game 2 of the Western Conference Semis v. Rich Kromm was an example.
Off the ice, I saw and got to know a guy who was passionate about everything he did. I took great pride in trying to get places to eat on the road that were “conducive for what we’re trying to do Holty.”
He kept things light away from the rink, even though his mind was on last night’s game or the upcoming game. Whether it was joking with Willy (Paul Willett) about his number being retired, joking with an exhausted Murph (Ryan Murphy) to work even harder after being up all night breaking down video, or telling me that he needs his pocket square ironed, we had a blast this season.
Hershey picked the right guy. They probably should have picked him last year. Troy will succeed there and will definitely enjoy getting the AHL per diem on the road!
As far as Condorstown goes, the future has never looked brighter. This is an attractive place to coach, there are players under contract that will be announced in the coming weeks, and the Oilers now have an invested interest in putting someone in place who will continue to grow and develop this team and organization. All is well.
But for now, thanks Troy. Hope our paths cross down the road.
Until next time Condorstown … Have a safe holiday.
Ryan Holt a.k.a. “Holty” is now on his third head coach in four seasons. Maybe it’s his fault? Follow him on Twitter @BroadcastHolt