CHICAGO, IL – In honor of the new NHL affiliation, the Weekly One Timer introduces you to one member of the Chicago Wolves organization with five facts and five quotes from that person.
Since the Chicago Wolves’ regular season opener just days away, I’ll be kicking off the Weekly One Timer with the Wolves’ bench boss this season – Rocky Thompson.
- Thompson was drafted #72 overall in the third round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames.
- He would go on to play professionally for 11 seasons, splitting 25 NHL games between the Flames and Florida Panthers, while spending 566 games in the AHL with a handful of teams.
- Thompson spent the last two years as the bench boss for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. This past season, he guided them to the 2017 Memorial Cup Championship, where the Spitfires did not drop a single Memorial Cup game on their way to hoisting the trophy.
- He amassed an 81-40-11-4 record coaching Windsor, with a .651 win percentage.
- Prior to his time with the Windsor Spitfires, Thompson was an assistant coach in the Edmonton Oilers organization for eight seasons, beginning with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.
- He had this to say about the difference between coaching at the OHL and AHL level:
“The way you treat the players is is a little bit different because you’re dealing with guys who are under 20 years old primarily, and our team was quite young where I was coaching. So that’s kind of nice that you don’t have to worry about some of the babysitting things which is good.”
- However, he does feel his coaching past makes him a better coach now.
Pros know certain things and then those young guys coming out of junior, with the experience I’ve been able to get, it’s easier and it helps to mentor them in their transition back to being a professional now.”
- Thompson enjoys the pressure that comes with being a new coach.
“There’s always pressure when you’re a coach, and there’s a great responsibility that comes with it. I’m very fortunate to be part of such a great organization surrounded by such good people who help you along the way, so pressure is good. I believe when you have that type of pressure and when it’s handled the right way, it makes you better. It breeds winning, and that’s what we’re here to do is to win, and so I’m excited.”
- As for a potential divide in the locker room? He was quick to squash that idea.
“We’re one family here in Chicago. Once you put on the Wolves uniform, you’re all together as one. That’s what we want to build. We’ve got really good people in this locker room which is great. It makes it easier but at the end of the day. you don’t think about St. Louis, you don’t think about the Vegas Golden Knights. You think about the individual and the team collectively in order to make them all better.”
- One thing to make sure you look for this season according to Thompson:
“I’m a coach that is known for playing a full lineup and I was able to do that tonight. That’s very important when you play a long season like this and you want to win a Calder Cup Championship, you’ve gotta use everybody and everybody will be invested and looked upon to provide for this hockey club.”
Stay tuned for next week’s edition of the Weekly One Timer. If there’s someone you’d like to hear from, tweet me @SinBinWolves.