LAFAYETTE, La. — Last month, I emptied a few thoughts from the pit of my brain. Now with summer officially in full swing, it’s time to follow-up on a few things and dive even further into the silly season abyss.
Remy is now 12 weeks old and even more kitten-ish than ever. For those not familiar with kittens, there are only two things to know about them: Kittens are either in attack mode or sleeping. Stephanie and I have the requisite claw and bite marks to prove the former. The house is littered with as many toys as we can find, although it seems that actual litter is preferred by the tiny feline bundle of joy.
Then there are moments like these, where they can legitimately get away with murder.
1. The SPHL Coaching Roster is the Deepest it has Ever Been.
All of the coaching vacancies across the league have been filled, and the level of talent among all of the SPHL’s bench bosses is unmatched in league history. The expansion team in the Quad-Cities grew another branch in the coaching tree of Peoria’s Jean-Guy Trudel.
After the mid-season hiring of former Rivermen captain, Dan Bremner in Roanoke, the league’s newest team recruited another former on-ice boss, Dave Pszenyczny, to be the team’s inaugural coach. Pszenyczny, a 12-year pro across the ECHL, CHL, and SPHL, brings a wealth of experience into his first coaching assignment.
The Fayetteville Marksmen looks like they finally have some stability behind the bench. The team, long plagued by a revolving door of coaches, announced Jesse Kallechy, a three-year assistant coach in Huntsville, to head up the Marksmen. Fayetteville has gone through seven coaches over the past five years and is in dire need of a steady hand in their hockey operations.
Replacing Kallechy as Glenn Detulleo‘s assistant in Huntsville is long-time defenseman and captain Stuart Stefan. Stefan, a five-time all-SPHL pick during his seven seasons with the Havoc, is sure to become a head coach in the league in a few years.
With Kevin Kerr getting the coaching call-up to ECHL Greenville, the Macon Mayhem wasted no time in promoting Leo Thomas to the leading role. Thomas was an easy pick for owner Bob Kerzner to make. Thomas and Kerr guided Macon to a Presidents Cup in 2017 and another strong showing last season. Assisting Thomas behind the bench is another familiar name to Mayhem fans – former defenseman Ryan Michel. Michel played two seasons with the Mayhem and spent last season as an assistant for D3 SUNY-Cortland.
Finally, another familiar face returns to the Emerald Coast. Rod Aldoff returns to Pensacola for his third stretch as the Ice Flyers head coach. Aldoff won two Presidents Cups in his initial three-year stint as the Ice Flyers’ boss before a doomed-from-the-start period with ECHL Norfolk. Aldoff then worked as a scout for the Edmonton Oilers, returning only briefly to Pensacola to replace Kevin Hasselberg during the 2016-17 season.
In short, the new head coaches for 2018-19 (including Bremner, in his first full season) have four Presidents Cups and seven league runners-up between them. All of these coaches – Aldoff, Bremner, Kallechy, Pszenyczny, and Thomas – know how to win in this league.
2. I’m Really Getting Old
Other than chronicling my receding and graying hairline, being a parent is the easiest way to note just how quickly time passes. Case in point: today, my son – who turns 19 next month – a child just yesterday I held like a little football in my arms on the day he was born – just got his first tattoo.
My goodness… where does the time go? All of a sudden, my child went from a baby in a crib to a man in college with two jobs, spends his leisure time either learning piano, teaching himself Japanese, or working out at the gym. For Fathers’ Day, he takes me out to dinner. I couldn’t be prouder.
3. Hockey’s Future in Pensacola is in Big Trouble
Over the past two years, we’ve talked about the struggles in securing a renovation/replacement for the aging Pensacola Bay Center. Last Thursday, the prospects of a Bay Center replacement hit a dead end. Two years of debate and grass-roots petitioning by the fans has resulted in nothing but political posturing, inflammatory rhetoric, with zero results. Had the Escambia County Commission shown a single iota of vision, Pensacola could have a state-of-the-art multipurpose sport & entertainment facility. Instead, we’re left with a building rapidly approaching the end of its serviceable life. It’s a grave disservice to the people of Pensacola, and unfortunately for fans of the Ice Flyers, hockey now has a shelf life. Pensacola fans deserve so much better than how they have been treated by the Escambia County Commission. It would be no surprise to me if Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris pulls up stakes and moves the team to a city where hockey is supported by the city leadership.
4. The First Signings of the Summer are Here and it Just Feels Weird
For the past three years, Fayetteville’s Brad Drobot has been the league’s first publicly-announced player signing.
— Mike Campos (@SinBinSPHL) July 11, 2017
This year, however, the Evansville Thunderbolts would steal the spotlight and become the league’s first team to announce signings with a five-player slate. The Bolts return defenseman Brandon Lubin and forwards Mike Fazio & Hunter Stewart while inking rookies Fred Hein and Taylor Cutting. RIP Drobot Day.
5. I Thought I’d Never Say This, But…
McDonald’s finally makes a decent burger again. Today, I had my first Quarter Pounder with Cheese (Royal Cheese in France, not Royale with Cheese) since the chain made the switch to fresh beef over frozen patties. As Jules Winnfield would say…
6. Quad-City’s SPHL Team Will Finally Get a Name
The SPHL’s newest team will announce their new name and logo on Thursday. I’m still a loyal member of Team Quackers. In addition to the branding announcement, coach Pszenyczny will be publicly introduced at the press conference.
7. With Game of Thrones not Returning to HBO until Next Year, I Need Something to Binge-Watch.
Seriously, y’all… It’s not even July and I’m running on empty. Let’s hear some suggestions in the comments.
Until next month, or until I get a bunch of thoughts to get out of my head, y’all have a great summer!