Q & A WITH NEW HEAD COACH JEREMY COLLITON
On Friday, July 1st, Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrick Alvin announced that Jeremy Colliton had been named the second Head Coach in Abbotsford Canucks franchise history. It was also announced that former Head Coach, Trent Cull, had been promoted to the position of Assistant Coach for the Vancouver Canucks.
Colliton, 37, was previously the Head Coach of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, where he served for parts of four seasons. In 205 career NHL games coached, all with the Blackhawks, he posted a record of 87-92-26. Prior to coaching in the NHL, he acted as the Head Coach of Chicago's AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, where he accumulated a record of 46-31-0-11 in 88 games.
We sat down and spoke with Jeremy ahead of the upcoming Canucks Development Camp at UBC.
"What appealed to you about the opportunity in Abbotsford?"
I had some general conversations in the wintertime with Patrik and right from the beginning it felt like he and the Canucks had a belief that I could make an impact and help build something here. It wasn’t about any particular position but just his overall vision for where the Canucks are going and that was exciting, to be part of something for the long-term. I believe the American League team is a huge part of the puzzle to build an elite NHL club and so when that opportunity was put in front of me it appealed to me.
For my family it’s exciting to be able to live in Canada and relatively close to home as well. I was a big Canucks fan in the early 90’s so it’s pretty neat to have a chance to be part of that history and hopefully future success.
"How would you say that your NHL coaching experience has helped or benefitted your coaching in the AHL?"
Well I know what I’m getting into, I understand both leagues and feel comfortable in my role. I’m very relaxed and confident that I can make a difference, which is a great feeling. I’m a better coach now than I was 3 or 5 or 8 years ago and that comes with experience, just having been through different situations that give you the confidence to deal with things that will inevitably come up.
"What does success look like for you in Abbotsford?"
As a staff my view is we have 3 objectives, which there will be a lot of overlap on but we want to execute on all 3. The first is to develop players who can contribute to the long-term success of the Canucks, play significant roles for a long time at the NHL level.
The second is to prepare the players who Bruce will need to come in and play in the short-term, make sure they are ready to step-in and be options for him that he can trust during the season.
The third is to do it all in a winning environment, I believe that winning comes from winning habits, a mentality that you either have every day or you don’t. You can’t just flick the switch when you get your NHL chance. It has to be something you do every day at the AHL level as well.
"How do you feel about taking the reins of a relatively new franchise? Is there any extra excitement or pressure knowing that the team is only in it's second year?"
It’s exciting. I’ve heard that we’ll receive great support from the fan base which is a huge help for the players. When you step on the ice in a great atmosphere it helps give you the energy to play the way you need to play. I also believe being so close to Vancouver is a positive, the players will feel closer to the Canucks and that comes with some pressure that I also feel is a benefit as they try to develop into NHL players.