I thought I would take time to recognize some WHL Head Coaches who have been a treat to talk to over the years. For the most part, WHL bench bosses are great with media, especially the radio broadcast crews that travel with the team. I thought I would point out a few noteworthy men who make my job easier over the course of a season.
He is terrific. No interview is the same. He always puts a lot of thought into his answers and you can tell he knows the game. He's done thousands of the pre-game chit-chats and he has it down to a science. Even in the midst of a losing skid, he always has a smile and time for you. Pete is approaching 1000 career games coached in the 'dub. He turned me to assistant coach Kris Knoblauch once this season in an attempt to change something up. The Broncos had won all six previous meetings and he was being a bit superstitious that day. He did it with a smile and a laugh. It didn't work. The Broncos went on to the 7-3 win.
Say what you want about his antics behind the bench, but behind the mic
he's golden. I always leave the interview a bit smarter. He left me with one quote this season I remember. I asked him if he thinks he has the team can win it all this season. To which he replied "You know it's funny. (Basketball Coach) Bobby Knight said one time you always see the other team's greatness, yet see your own team's limitations." I think he hit the nail on the head there. Constantine also did some work for TSN between coaching jobs and understands the role the media plays. Our first meeting didn't go so well back in 2003. It was the first time the 'Tips played the Broncos in their history. They featured five former Broncos and I was looking for a pre-game interview with Mitch Love and Jeff Harvey. He abruptly refused. Saying they wouldn't be available. He eventually recanted.
Jeff Truitt - Kelowna Rockets
Jeff Truitt - Kelowna Rockets
A good guy from Rosetown Sask. Always has a positive outlook. We only see the Rockets once in awhile but he is always a pleasure to talk to. Truitt is a student of the game and is always sporting a smile. After talking to him, you can't help but hope good things for him. Regan Bartel in Kelowna (play-by-play broadcaster) must be happy to have this guy around all season long.
Ok, he's one of ours but he deserves some credit. Deano is media savvy. He gets it. He also doesn't allow anything he sees, reads, or hears to rattle him. He doesn't allow outside distractions to waste his time. Sure he likes to answer the odd question with a question right back at you, and yes he gives me a hard time for making statements rather than asking questions but he usually has the local or out of town media at his command most days.
Don Hay - Vancouver Giants
I'm big time impressed with Don Hay. He genuinely is interested in what you have to say and soaks up everything. It seems he values your opinion and is one of those coaches you learn from too. He just commands your attention when he speaks. It's easy to see why he's had success over the years and has coached at the NHL level.
I always have a good time with Kelly Mcrimmon in the Coaches Show. He is an intense individual but has some quick wit to him which he brings out now and then. I sometimes throw him a curveball just to see his reaction. He routinely smacks it out of the park. A day before the WHL trade deadline our interview was delayed about a half hour because he was on the phone. I asked "Kelly, you were sure working the phone before our chat. Are you working on that big blockbuster deal?" To which he replied "no Jon, I was on the phone with my wife, she wants me to pick up some milk, bread and some eggs on the way home." He says it with a straight face and pulls it off well. He also said hi to my mom one night saying "I hope she's not your only listener out there". Kelly is great.
That's just a handful of some of the great individuals out there. Steve Young in Moose Jaw was always very courteous and great to interview. He's a favorite out there amongst the media throngs purely on how nice he is.
Broncos and Pats . . . more to come.